Japanese manufacturer Shimano has announced several new components as part of its 2017 product line.
Among the announcements is the updated Sora R3000 groupset, aimed at sport/fitness riders. In terms of the Shimano mechanical road hierarchy, Sora falls below the fourth-tier Tiagra family. It remains a 9-speed package, but the revamped budget-friendly group now emulates its more expensive cousins much more closely in terms of aesthetics.
Highlighting the change is the striking four-arm crankset, which again uses a universal chainring bolt circle pattern that works with either standard or compact ratios.
Only compact sizes will come standard, however, with either 50-34T double or 50-39-30T triple configurations, both with internally routed STI Dual Control levers. Sora R3000 will also come in a configuration for flat-bar bikes with the same gearing but a five-arm crankset that includes pant-friendly chain guards.
In either case, the compact Sora cranksets can now be combined with wider range 11-34T cassettes, an accommodating rear derailleur, and a long arm front derailleur, for an ultra-wide gearing range.
Brakes have been improved as well with a new dual-pivot rim brake caliper supposedly generating 20% more clamping power over the previous generation.
For the first time, Shimano introduces flat-mount Sora-grade mechanical disc brake calipers, which can be combined with steel or stainless steel disc brake rotors.
Sora R3000 components are set to be available on complete bikes and as an aftermarket purchase in summer 2016.
On the mountain side, Shimano has advanced the performance of its premium XTR and Deore XT 1×11 mountain bike drivetrains, offering more range and options, including new gear combinations for 2×11 and 3×10 cranksets, new hydraulic disc brakes, and a disc-brake rotor lock ring promising easier assembly.
Utilizing a modified tooth profile titled “Dynamic Chain Engagement” (DCE), Shimano’s new chainrings are designed to provide superior chain retention, less noise, and increased durability.
“Steel plated” teeth on the XT version provide greater durability, Shimano claims, while strengthened aluminum teeth on the XTR chainring reduce weight. The 1×11 drivetrain range has been extended from the somewhat limited 11-40T spread of last year to a more useful 11-46T range, providing a wider range of gear choices. The new 11-46T cassette is compatible with XTR M9000 and Deore XT M8000 drivetrains and has a target weight of 450g.
Shimano also announced new gearing in the entry-level mountain component category. Gear combinations offered on new 2×11 and 3×10 cranksets are focused on lower gears for steep terrain. The Dyna-Sis 11-speed MT700 34- 24T crankset features Hollowtech II crank arms, while the 3×10 MT500 crankset provides 40-30-22T rings and a two-piece crank arm with a stiff, solid construction.
To simplify chain assembly, Shimano has introduced a new tool-free 11-speed chain Quick Link for fast, on-the-trail repairs. The Quick Link is compatible with all 11-speed Shimano chains. For rapid assembly of multiple chains, a professional assembly tool is also available.
These new mountain bike components are set to be available as an aftermarket purchase in summer 2016. Pricing has not yet been set.
Shimano also announced Metrea, an “urban” component group positioned “between road and city sport use.” Metrea is specific to hydraulic disc brakes, is available in single and double ring options, in flat or H-shaped handlebars, and features and an integrated chain guard on the crankset.
The name Metrea, Shimano said, is derived from the words Metropolitan and Real, “two of the key concepts behind the urban sports category that balances function and luxury.”
Metrea components are set to be available as an after-market purchase in summer 2016. Pricing has not yet been set.