A picture can paint a thousand words – but it’s not always better

Whilst a picture can paint a thousand words, I have been struck recently by how it doesn’t always show things in their best light.

Exhibit A is the new 2008 XT crankset:
2008 XT chainset

The previous incarnation of the XT crankset was striking, not necessarily beautiful, but it certainly stood out from the crowd. When the 2007 XTR crankset emerged, it was a thing of beauty, so when a revamped XT was announced, particularly celebrating 25 years, my appetite was well and truly whetted, expectations were high. Then the first pictures started to emerge, and I have to say I was underwhelmed, it was beyond understated, it just didn’t look anywhere as nice as the model it replaced, in fact the chainrings were more interesting to look at – oh no, what had Shimano done? But then I got to see them in the flesh. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a moment of revelation, I still think the previous model was better looking, and yet there is a certain something. They do look better in the flesh, you can see the attention to detail, and they are rather tactile, so maybe Shimano are onto a winner after all. I want some now, and I’m sure once bought and fitted, I’ll come to love them just the same.

Exhibit B are the new Hayes Stroker disc brakes:
Hayes Stroker

It was a bit round the other way with these. I saw them in the store first, and really liked the look of them, the orientation of the lever body for the bladder reservoir, and the aluminium dial on the piston for adjusting reach, there’s just something quite sexy about these, and they felt rather good too. Shame the picture doesn’t live up to much then.

Finally, Exhibit C – the new 2008 XT disc brakes:

2008 XT disc lever

OK, a little bit cheeky this one. When I first saw the pictures I thought they looked the dogs danglies. now I’ve seen them in the flesh and they are even better than that, I almost made my decision on new brakes on site of them without even trying! Having actually tried them, I’m pleased to say that they live up to the looks.

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