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by Dave Rome
April 7, 2020
The annual Sea Otter Classic trade show unfortunately isn’t happening as usual this month, so to fill the gaping tech news void left in its wake, we went ahead and put together our own virtual event, which we’ve playfully dubbed … Pond Beaver 2020! We’ve gathered up a mountain of tech information and images of new gear to come this season, and we’ll be rolling it out to you in a satisfying steady stream over the next few weeks.
Spain may be on lockdown, but that hasn’t hampered Spanish component manufacturer Rotor’s efforts in releasing a slew of new products. In some cases, new products like the InPower spider-based power meter were revealed at Eurobike and are finally available for purchase, while Rotor’s entry into e-bike cranks or development of a TT-friendly 13-speed shifter are all-new.
Rotor’s power meter offerings previously included the 2INpower and INPower, measuring dual leg and left leg power output respectively, and both were axle-based. Now there’s a third option, the INSpider, a well-priced crank spider-based power meter designed to fit with any of Rotor’s current modular crank arms.
This new power meter includes many of the features found in Rotor’s other models, including ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity, IPX7 weatherproofing, and a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery. That battery is claimed to last for over 200 hours of ride time between charges, while the accelerometer-based unit, now equipped with an internal thermometer, requires no ongoing calibration or the use of external magnets.
The modular nature of this power meter means it can be moved between all types of bikes (assuming each bike uses Rotor cranks).
Rotor’s own power meters offer some unique features for those using the company’s oval chainrings. Here Rotor’s advanced training mode receives 200 data points a second to provide a detailed graphic stroke analysis and offer advice on how best to setup the non-round rings (or simply to work on pedalling technique).
The modular nature of this power meter means it can be used on everything from a time trial bike through to a downhill bike, all simply by swapping it between the respective Rotor cranksets. Rotor claims the installation process is extremely fast (requiring little more than a 10 mm hex key to access).
The spider uses Rotor’s 110×4 asymmetric bolt pattern, and so can be used with the company’s wide range of 1x and 2x rings, in round, oval, aero (closed style) and regular (lighter) formats. Mountain bikers wishing to use this power meter should note that a 34T ring is the smallest size that will fit.
The INspider weighs a claimed 149 g and is available now for US$650 / €650.
Rotor has added yet another option to its adaptable 1×13 hydraulic groupset, this time catering to time trial and Ironman athletes who could benefit from the aerodynamic gains of losing the front derailleur.
The hydraulic-actuated 13-speed rear derailleur, four sizes of the proprietary cassette (which currently requires Rotor own hub) and use of a KMC 12-speed chain remain unchanged from Rotor’s other 13-speed groups, however, what’s new is the extension-based shifter intended for use on time trial and triathlon bikes.
One ring equals one shifter.
The shifting actuation is done from a single extension-based lever. “A single trigger shifts cogs up and down” explained Rotor’s press release. “A short tap lowers a cog, a long tap raises a cog, without needing to move the hands from the aerobar to reach out for one trigger or another.”
A claimed benefit of the design is there’s an uninterrupted hose running from the shifter to the rear derailleur, something that in theory should greatly ease the build process.
Rotor intends for its 1×13 group to be matched with its Aldhu modular crank, allowing the option of both 1x Aero chainrings or oval Q Rings, and easily matched with the INSpider power meter. These cranks are available in lengths from 150-175 mm.
As e-bike sales continue to boom, more and more brands are entering the space with high-end component offerings. Rotor is the latest to join in, offering its modular crank technology in a fitment suitable for a number of popular high-end e-bikes.
Many of the most popular e-bike motors make use of the old ISIS (International Splined Interface Standard) spline standard for crank fitment. However, while most e-bike motor producers seem happy with the ISIS design, they certainly haven’t agreed on the same width of the interface or general crank clearance; and so like so many things in the cycling industry, things that should be simple are far from it.
The modular nature of Rotor’s cranks means these e-bike models can be setup in a wide variety of 1x or 2x rings.
FSA’s extensive and overwhelming e-bike crank lineup proves this point quite nicely, and at least for now, Rotor is taking a simpler approach by focusing its efforts on the popular Fazua system – an integrated system that’s most popular on high-end e-road machines and used by the likes of Trek, Focus, Pinarello, Look, Wilier and Ridley.
Rotor will offer alloy (eVegast) and carbon versions of these crank arms. The eVegast are made from a 6000-series alloy and are effectively an e-friendly version of Rotor’s new Vegast modular crankset, effectively a more budget-friendly version of the company’s flagship Aldhu crankset. These eVegast cranks are due out in May.
There’s no set release date for the carbon version.
Perhaps more interesting are the soon-to-be-released E-Road Carbon cranks (name TBC). These are Rotor’s first carbon road crank, and could be a sign of things to come in the motorless space. At a claimed 285 g a pair, these crank arms shave a claimed 129 g from the eVegast alloy cranks.