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Ten Years Later, Sampson is Back

Published October 16, 2007

LAS VEGAS, NV (BRAIN)—Eric Sampson cites a variety of reasons for completing his road group. But it can be chalked up to old guys who love riding mountains.

At Interbike this week, Sampson is showing two groups. Stratics is the mostly carbon Dura-Ace or Force comparable group; a lower-priced, mostly alloy group, which is unnamed so far, will compete at the Ultegra SL and Rival level. Both groups will offer triple options as well as compact.

“We will be offering triples with both groups. I know a lot of companies have pulled their triples in favor of compacts, but in the mountain states with the current cassettes you need a triple,” said Sampson, owner of Sampson Sports.

Sampson notes the guys shelling out for the $6,000-plus bikes are in their late 40s to late 50s and they have different gear expectations from 20-year-olds.

“The last few years I haven’t really looked forward to coming here, but this year I’m excited to be here. The Demo went really well and the riders were positive about our new bikes and the groups,” he added.

In the mid-90s Sampson offered a group in partnership with Sachs that was more than a pound lighter than his competitors’. The company has been making components for more than 20 years. The shifter and derailleurs were the last piece of the puzzle to restart group production.

Like Campagnolo and SRAM, the Sampson brake lever only brakes. The up and down shifting is controlled by two small push levers behind the brake levers.

Sampson’s brakes are coming in at 260 grams (9 ounces) a pair, and he remains committed, for now, to an Isis-compatible crank system for its greater adjustability.

The company also is showing ceramic bearing kits for its popular pedal line. It has a new version of the Diablo, its top-of-the-line carbon frame that has been revised for a stiffer bottom bracket.

The Psychic also is new for next year. The magnesium and carbon bike has been tweaked a bit. Sampson has offered magnesium bikes for more than 10 years and is a believer in the material for frames.

Sampson also has two new aero bars, ski-tip and low rise. Both sell for $699 and weigh 740 grams (26 ounces). —Matt Wiebe

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