Shimano Reveals Details on 2013 Road Components
New gear includes Di2 for city bikes and disc brakes for road and cyclocross
ByAndrew J. Bernstein
Shimano has begun to unveil new road and urban products for 2013. Highlights include electronic shifting for urban bikes, and disc brake calipers for road and cyclocross bikes. The company is also set to roll out a wider range of drivetrain gearing options, additional lower-priced road wheels, and new components for recreational riders.
Alfine Di2 Internal Electronic Shifting
No longer the sole province of race bikes, Di2 electronic shifting will come to Shimano’s Alfine line of internally geared hubs—most commonly found on urban-style bikes designed for durable performance.
The new hubs will be available in either 8- or 11-speed configurations, and with shifters for either flat or drop handlebars. Both shifter styles use a new information display that shows riders how much juice is left in the battery, and which gear they’re using. Shimano says that the longer throw of mechanical STI shifters couldn’t mate with internal hubs—a problem fixed by electronic levers.
There are also multiple battery options. Manufacturers equipping bikes with Alfine Di2 can opt for an external battery (the same used on Shimano’s other Di2 groups), or a new, internal battery that mounts inside a bike’s seatpost. The internal battery is instead charged through a new junction at the front of the bike. The new parts will be available this fall.
For 2013, Shimano will introduce two new road wheelsets. Both wheels are compatible with 10- and 11-speed drivetrains, in anticipation of Shimano’s switch to 11-speed next year. Both also use offset rims with extra-wide flanges to increase stiffness. The 105-level WH-RS61 will become the company’s most affordable road tubeless wheelset. And the sub-105 level WH-RS21 is intended to give Shimano customers an affordable option (price not yet announced) when upgrading to 11-speed.
Shimano’s BR-CX75 caliper is designed for the rigours of cyclocross. (Shimano)
Discs for Road and Cyclocross
Shimano is the latest component manufacturer to show that it’s thinking about the future of stopping road and cyclocross bikes. This summer, it will release two new mechanical disc calipers. Both new calipers have a lower-profile shape, and boost performance over previous mountain bike mechanical calipers, the company says.
The BR-CX75 is optimized for muddy conditions often seen on ‘cross courses. The brakes will work with any Shimano Super SLR shift and brake levers (105 5700, Ultegra 6700, and Dura-Ace 7900). And the calipers will be compatible with Shimano’s RT81 mountain bike disc rotor.
The BR-R515 is offered as a Tiagra-level component that works with Shimano’s RT64 rotor, but is designed specifically for road use.
Shimano Goes Low
New Ultegra 6700, 105, and Tiagra rear derailleurs will accommodate lower gears, similar to road drivetrain systems available from SRAM. The Ultegra and 105 models can shift to rear cogs with up to 30 teeth, including new 12-30t Ultegra- and 105-level cassettes. A mid-length-cage 105 derailleur works with 32t cogs. Tiagra also moves to 10-speed, and has two new rear derailleur options: short- and mid-cage, which work with 30t and 32t cassettes, respectively.
Budget-priced Sora, commonly used on comfort and fitness-style bikes, gets updated levers. STI shifters for drop bars will receive a new gear indicator. The thumb shifter is also replaced by a paddle behind the brake lever, similar to Shimano’s other STI levers. New flat-bar shifters will work with 2×9 and 3×9 drivetrains. Rear derailleurs are now compatible with 32t rear cogs. And new crank options include 50/34 and 46/34 doubles, as well as a 50/39/30 triple.