That incredible CeramicSpeed drivetrain concept we showed you a few days ago was unquestionably intriguing, but the fact of the matter is that it stands little chance of ever becoming a real product. For sure, Rotor’s new 1×13 — that’s its formal name, by the way, not just a description — hydraulic single-ring drivetrain isn’t nearly as outlandish. However, you’ll actually be able to buy it within a few months.
Aimed at nearly every cycling discipline that has a use for multiple gear ratios (including road, gravel, cyclocross, and mountain), Rotor claims the 1×13 groupset gives you everything: generous range plus pleasantly small gaps between ratios, all without the redundant ratios of conventional two-ring drivetrains. The system uses the same hydraulic design as Rotor’s current Uno 2×11 road groupset, too, so it should be fairly reliable, and it’s quite light as well.
But there’s a catch. Rotor can’t fit all of those sprockets on a standard Shimano/SRAM freehub body, so the full 13-speed system will only fit on Rotor’s own Rvolver rear hub, which shares the same spline, but has a freehub body that’s about 2mm longer than usual.
As if that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, SRM revealed more information on the power meter pedals it developed with Look, HED’s Vanquish range of disc-brake aero carbon clinchers grows from one model to three, Hayes unveiled a promising new mountain bike disc brake design, WTB showed off a complete revamp of its popular tubeless aluminum rims, and Edco previewed a new aero carbon fiber spoke profile.
For all this and more, set aside a few minutes of your day and scroll away.
HED released its first-ever fully carbon clincher, the 60mm-deep Vanquish 6, last year. Now joining the Vanquish family are the 40mm-deep Vanquish 4 and the 80mm-deep Vanquish 8. As with the original Vanquish 6, these are designed for disc-brake use only. Claimed weight for a set of Vanquish 4 wheels is 1,511g; the Vanquish 8 comes in at 1,799g per pair. Retail price for any of the Vanquish wheelsets is US$2,500.
Common to all HED Vanquish carbon clinchers is a 21mm internal rim width; external width is 30mm. According to HED, the tubeless-ready profile performs almost exactly the same in the wind tunnel with 23, 25, or 28mm-wide tires – and that’s in reference to labeled width. Actual inflated width will likely be about 2mm larger given the generously broad tire bed.
The hubs are the same as what HED uses on the Vanquish 6, including Center Lock splined rotor interfaces, cartridge bearings, and standard J-bend bladed stainless steel spokes.
Look and SRM have partnered for new power measuring clipless pedals, based on the former’s KeO platform.
The rechargeable batteries on Look and SRM’s new Exakt power meter pedals are claimed to last for up to 100 hours of riding. They’re quite light at just 155g per pedal, and have the same wide platform as other Look KeO pedals. Interestingly, though, SRM’s marketing materials don’t mention anything about data accuracy, which has historically been the claim to fame on SRM’s power meter cranksets.
SRM’s “Origin” power meter range is the latest incarnation of the German company’s iconic training tools. The modular system allows mixing and matching of different crankarms and spiders so that riders can choose the configuration that works best for their needs. Note the magnetic attachment for the rechargeable battery.
Want power data and also have a huge pile of cash burning a hole in your pocket? Well, let SRM alleviate your burden with something like this, including carbon fiber arms from THM-Carbones and carbon fiber-and-titanium chainrings from Italian outfit Carbon-Ti.
Rotor’s new 1×13 drivetrain is definitely intriguing, and offers some real benefits on paper – namely, the tighter gaps between gears that current single-ring drivetrains don’t offer, the security of a clutched rear derailleur, and the simplicity of having just one derailleur. Getting the maximum benefit requires a considerable commitment in terms of cost and equipment, however.
Rotor is actually offering is 1×13 drivetrain as both a 13-speed and 12-speed setup. Both use identical spacing between the sprockets, so the same shifters, derailleurs, and chains can be used. But the 12-speed configuration won’t require users to purchase a dedicated hub and wheel.
The rear derailleur operates on the same general principle as Rotor’s current Uno hydraulic road rear derailleur, with indexing built into the derailleur, not the shifter. The same derailleur is used for road, gravel, and mountain bike setups.
Rotor’s new single-chainring transmission uses just a single shift lever. The right-hand road lever is shared with the current Uno groupset.
Just like Rotor’s road-going Uno groupset, the new 1×13 drivetrain is fully hydraulic, with no cables to wear out or get dirty, and no batteries to recharge.
The shifter uses the same mounting standard as SRAM, meaning shared compatibility with the wide range of integrated mounts already on the market.
Rotor hides the sensitive indexing mechanism inside this aluminum box, however, to provide better protection from dirt and debris.
All of the aluminum bits are machined in-house at Rotor’s headquarters in Madrid, Spain.
Much like what SRAM does on its Eagle 1×12 rear derailleurs, the Rotor 1×13 rear derailleur has a straight parallelogram design that only moves the lower pivot knuckle inward and outward, instead of using the motion to simultaneously follow the profile of the cassette. To keep the chain tracking the sprockets in each gear, the upper pulley is highly offset from the cage pivot.
Rotor’s new 1×13 drivetrain is obviously designed with 13 distinct gear ratios in mind, but requires a unique rear hub to fit all of those sprockets. Riders who don’t want to keep their existing Shimano/SRAM 11-speed rear hubs can instead user Rotor’s 12-speed cassette, which will be offered in 11-36T, 11-39T, and 11-46T sizes. And sorry, SRAM, you no longer hold the title of largest cassette sprocket. The biggest 13-speed option from Rotor goes up to 52T.
The Rotor 1×13 cassette is a marvel of modern machining capabilities. The steel sub-assembly is bolted to the aluminum inner half, but it’s the splines in between the two that actually shoulder the load while pedaling.
Four different options for Rotor’s new 13-speed cassette should suffice for most users. Smaller sizes provide smaller jumps than what current 1×11 systems can provide on the road or trail.
A small ridge machined into the backside of the largest sprocket on Rotor’s new 1×13 drivetrain should help keep the chain from falling in between the cassette and spokes in the event of an overshift.
Rotor’s 1×13 Rvolver rear hub uses the same overall width as current disc-brake hubs, but a slightly longer freehub body to make room for the 13th sprocket. It’s very much a question how willing riders will be to make such a commitment for the claimed benefits, though.
Rotor’s hydraulic transmission is a closed system, meaning changes in temperature can affect the overall fluid volume, and thus, the overall tune of the drivetrain. This inline volume adjuster is meant to provide easy fingertip access if a quick tweak is required.
WTB has revamped its entire collection of rims. There’s a huge range of internal widths available to suit everything from all-road to Plus-sized mountain bikes, and they all use a new center channel design that requires just a narrow plastic rim strip to make the rims airtight. Gone are the days of migrating or torn tape, at least according to WTB.
WTB has carried through the “Light” and “Tough” descriptors from its tire range over to rims. The Light rims use standard single-cavity profiles, while the Tough ones are three-cavity designs with two reinforcing ribs running throughout the inside of the rim for increased stiffness and impact durability.
Pinion has slowly been making inroads in the market, and its latest gearbox drivetrains are smaller and lighter than ever.
That said, there’s still an awful lot of steel in a Pinion gearbox, which means a lot of unavoidable weight, and also a lot of gear interfaces, which mean a lot of additional friction relative to a conventional drivetrain.
Hayes wasn’t the first to bring mountain bike disc brakes to market, but it was the first company to earn widespread use at both the OEM and aftermarket levels. Hayes has since fallen well off the pace since those early days, but hopes a return to glory is in store with its new Dominion A4 model. The four-piston forged aluminum caliper is said to be the stiffest one Hayes has ever produced, thanks in part to a pad retention pin that actually forms part of the structure when installed.
The Hayes Dominion A4 lever sports adjustable reach and a clever linkage that quickly brings the pads to the rotor when the lever is pulled, but then increases the leverage ratio for more power at the caliper with less finger effort.
The Hayes Dominion A4 caliper also features not the usual one, but two bleed ports at the caliper to help ensure all the air is evacuated from the system. Oftentimes, it’s at the sharp corners and crevices inside the caliper body where small air bubbles can lurk. To ease caliper adjustment and setup, Hayes’ ingeniously simple Crosshair feature uses set screws to precisely locate the caliper body against the mounting bolts.
According to Hayes, the new Modal Resonance Cancelation (MRC) rotors utilize a special shape that helps minimize howling and vibration.
Edco previewed a new range of lightweight carbon clinchers at this year’s Eurobike show called the Chronosports series, all of which will be built with carbon rims, aero carbon spokes, and aluminum hubs. The first one to be developed is the shallow-profile Julier, whose ultra-low weight, 17mm-wide (internal width) tubeless-compatible rims, and rim-brake format will obviously be aimed at climbing specialists.
The textured sidewalls track promises confident braking. Note how the carbon spokes have metal ends bonded to them so as to work with standard nipples.
The profile of the aero carbon fiber spokes is quite interesting, with each one bearing small raised ridges down the entire length.
DT Swiss has lacked thru-axle endcaps for Campagnolo freehub bodies in recent years. We’re not sure exactly when they were added, but it’s about time.
Think belt drives are only used by townies and mountain bikes? Think again. Team Schindelhauer-Gates is using belt-driven fixies in the wild Red Hook Criterium series. Oh, but what are those anodized aluminum bits attached to the drivetrain?
A laser mounted up on the seatpost projects a line downward…
…which helps you get a perfectly straight chainline (beltline?).
Magura is celebrating its 125th anniversary with these truly gorgeous four-piston hydraulic mountain bike disc brakes.
The matching Magura MT1893 brake levers can’t be polished since they’re made of molded fiber-reinforced composite, but there’s still a shiny silver applique to dress things up. The HC3 lever blades offer a unique leverage ratio adjustment for yet another way to fine-tune the feel.
Ever the tease, FSA displayed its elusive WE wireless electronic yet again at this year’s Eurobike show, this time on a disc-equipped TT bike.
The base bar levers shown here are meant for use with cable actuated brake calipers, not hydraulics.
A close-up look at the rocker-type shifter buttons on the base bar levers.
Up top, the shifter units at the ends of aero extensions are fitted with two buttons each.
The British CNC machining masters at Hope Technology are well known for their wide array of anodized colors. If you really want the personal touch, you can mix and match the caliper body and piston cap colors however you see fit.
The United Kingdom isn’t exactly known for being consistently dry and dusty, so it’s no wonder that Hope has gained a reputation for durable weathersealing. These RS4 hubs are similar to Hope’s legendary mountain bike offerings, but with less friction in the ratchet mechanism for quieter and smoother running. Hope offers these in six colors for rim-brake and disc-brake applications, and for use with either straight-pull or standard J-bend spokes.
Industry Nine’s six-pawl rear hubs are unabashedly loud, but the 60-tooth ratchet ring and two-phase pawl arrangement offer an ultra-quick three-degree engagement speed that’s prized by trail riders.
Portuguese drivetrain component manufacturer Miranda is slowly becoming better known. Keep an eye out for these guys.
Chainring design is a landmine in terms of patent protection, but Miranda seems to have gotten around any existing intellectual property issues with its 3D Chain Flow tooth profile for single-ring drivetrains.