I was recently at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City and had a chance to sit down with one of Fixe’s designers to discuss some of the issues that have been cropping up with their new cams and get a few answers to some questions I had regarding the trigger wires and the absent black Alien Evolution cam.
As you may or may not know Fixe is a Spanish company and all the Alien cams are manufactured by them in Spain. What I found really interesting is that the Evolution cams are made by hand by a small number of workers and that each day they produce about 15 of them. The designer explained to me that this was the source of the issues that cropped up in the first batch that they made. Basically, if the guy installing the brass fitting into the cam lobes didn’t get it perfectly aligned the trigger wires were prone to fraying. The same quality control type issue of having the work done by a person and not a machine resulted in the issue associated with the trigger sleeve. Since that first batch of cams, however, Fixe has mechanized aspects of the assembly process such that the brass fittings are installed by a machine and not a person which they say has eliminated the quality control issue. So it sounds like the new cams should be problem free.
As I had a chance to talk directly to one of the designers there were a few questions that I wanted to take the opportunity to ask. First, what happened to the black alien? When the new Evolution cams were released this small but key piece of the original line-up was missing. Second, the trigger wires on the new cams are constructed from a thin cable made up of smaller wires not from a solid wire. How can these be replaced and were they planning on selling a trigger wire replacement kit?
Well, good news on both accounts. The Evolution family will soon include the small black cam which they had for viewing at the show. They also had a new grey Evolution cam at the show that had repaired trigger wires. The original trigger cables had been replaced with the more standard solid trigger wires. The repair is done by removing the brass sleeve from the cam lobes, heating up the glue that holds the trigger wire at the trigger wire bar and replace the assembly with a standard wire. An easy job for any trigger wire repair man.
If you have any other questions about these cams please let me know. I have been asked by a few people for comments or a review of the Totem Basic cams which look to be based upon the original Alien design but unfortunately I haven’t been able to get my hands on any to review. If that changes I will be sure to get something up.