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2013 Shimano: 11-speed, road disc brakes and more

Shimano’s 2013 product line is beginning to trickle out

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Shimano’s 2013 product line is beginning to trickle out, including updates to Ultegra Di2, new disc brakes, wide range drivetrains and some new affordable 11-speed compatible wheels. Read on for details.

Ultegra Di2 gets satellite shifter
The much more wallet friendly Ultegra Di2 group will get the same top-mounted satellite shifters as Dura-Ace Di2. The shifters allow easy front and rear shifting from the tops.

No word yet on UDi2 TT shifters or sprint shifters, though we believe they are in the works. At the very least, the next generation of Dura-Ace Di2 is expected to use the wiring system now used by Ultegra, making the two systems compatible, and we can’t imagine Shimano sending Dura-Ace Di2 out the door without all the accessory shifters it currently has.

Road and cyclocross disc brakes
No hydraulics yet, but Shimano will be debuting two “performance oriented” mechanical disc systems for road and ‘cross. The new systems, dubbed BR-CX75 and BR-R515 for cyclocross and road respectively, will offer a 20% lower profile and 30% performance increase over Shimano’s previous mechanical discs.

A new road-centric compact V-Brake, likely intended for integration into aero frames, will be available as well. Availability on all the new brakes is set for this summer.

Wide range road drivetrains
In an effort to catch up to SRAM’s wide-range WiFLi drivetrains, which are available on Rival and the new Red group, Shimano will be adding wide-range options for its Ultegra, 105 and Tiagra groupsets. Each group will have the option of a short and mid-cage derailleur that can accommodate up to a 30 tooth cassette.

Most current Shimano road derailleurs officially max out at 27 or 28 teeth, but we have been able to run up to a 32-tooth cassette on certain frames (much of the clearance depends on the dropout and hangar design). The new derailleurs, then, should work easily with cogs up to 32 and possibly even 34 teeth.

New affordable wheels
Shimano will bring two new RS series wheelsets to market this spring. The wheels use offset rims with extra wide flanges for improved stiffness. More interestingly, though, is the fact that both sets will be 10- and 11-speed compatible. Take from that what you will.

The WH-RS61 will be Shimano’s most affordable Road Tubeless wheels to date and should help open up the technology to consumers at a much lower price point. The WH-RS21 are intended as “affordable aftermarket 11-speed compatible upgrade or replacement wheel option(s).” They’re not exactly being sneaky about the whole 11-speed thing, eh? More on that later.

No more thumb lever for Sora
Sora is finally dropping its Campagnolo-esque thumb lever and gaining a shift indicator. Flatbar Sora shifters will be available as well, and you can get any of it in 2×9 or 3×9 setups. Plus, the new Sora rear derailleur will be able to handle up to a 32-tooth cog.

Flat handlebar and cyclocross Sora options include a dedicated compact crank set available with a 50-34T and 46-34T chainring combination as well as a triple 50-39-30T.

New Alfine Di2 Internal Electronic Shifting
Not exactly what we expected, to be honest, although Shimano does already do Nexus Di2 commuter gear.

The new system will use Shimano’s new E-tube wiring and electronics, same as the current Ultegra Di2, and should offer a super clean and precise option for… well, we’re not really sure who it’s aimed at, to be honest. Hardcore commuters, perhaps?

Regardless, it looks like neat stuff. It will be available in 8 or 11 speed configurations, and will have a digital handlebar mounted display showcasing battery power levels and current gear selection. Shifter options include a flatbar ready setup and a dual control lever for traditional drop bars, which is a first for a Shimano internally geared hub system.

Cooler still, the new Alfine Di2 hubs can be powered with internal or external batteries, thanks to a new SM-BTR2 internal seat post battery that is compatible with the E-Tube Di2 electronics. That means that, in theory, Shimano will now be making a seatpost battery for Ultegra Di2 and the next generation of Dura-Ace Di2.

The new system is also disc brake compatible, working well with both Shimano’s new mechanical discs and regular rim brakes. The flatbar shifter can be used with various brake levers, including those for Alfine hydraulic discs. The Alfine Di2 system will be available fall of 2012.

An American in France

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