The world of drivetrains has been dominated by Shimano, SRAM, and, to a lesser extent, Campagnolo, but Rotor hopes to elbow its way into the market with its new hydraulic Uno group. With FSA’s impending electronic group, the drivetrain scene is suddenly starting to get crowded.
Slated for release in spring of 2016, the Uno group has been in development for six years and features hydraulic-activated braking and shifting. Rotor teamed up with Magura to design the system, drawing on Magura’s long history of hydraulically activated components. The development goals, according to Rotor, are smooth and consistent shifting, light weight, and low maintenance.
Both rim-brake and disc-brake options will be available for this road-specific group. The shifters offer a unique hood design and multiple shift positions, according to Rotor. It’s unclear as to how a rider will shift in either direction; there is a paddle mounted behind the brake lever, so that will almost certainly shift in one direction, while the brake lever itself may shift in the other, not unlike a Shimano cable or Di2 shifting setup.
While low friction is certainly a major benefit to hydraulic shifting, the big question will be whether it’s worth investing in a hydraulic system when electronic shifting works so well already. That will ultimately depend on the price of the set and the amount of maintenance required to keep the shifters working consistently. To take on the drivetrain giants, Rotor’s offering will have to be nearly perfect.