Shimano’s Sora group is the latest to receive the inevitable trickle-down of technology and styling from Shimano’s higher-end drivetrain options.
The new Sora R3000 group looks nearly identical to the other Shimano groupsets, including the integrated shifters and brakes that route the housing under the handlebars to the distinctive four-bolt crankset with a sleek black and gray matte finish.
The 9-speed group also offers mechanical disc brakes with the Shimano flat-mount design and thru-axles derived from mountain bike designs.
Sora can be set up in different configurations, on either drop bar bikes or those with flat bars. Both double and triple cranksets can match to an 11-34 cassette for a massive gear range.
Sora will be available on complete bikes and sold separately this summer. Pricing is not yet available.
Derived from the words Metropolitan and Real, Metrea is a new groupset from Shimano based on the concept pieces shown a few years ago. It’s designed to be sleek and sophisticated for sporty, urban riding that bridges the gap between road and trekking. It includes many of Shimano’s recent designs, including the flat-mount disc brakes, 11-speed gearing and a wide-range cassette.
Two handlebar configurations are possible, one with traditional flat bars and another with “bullhorn” bars and special integrated brake/shift levers.
The cranksets are available in either single or double chainring versions, with a sleek, integrated chain guard to keep your pants leg clean.
The brakes are hydraulic only, and mate to a disc-specific wheelset with subtle graphics and bladed spokes.
Metrea will go on sale this summer and will likely appear on complete bikes this fall. Pricing is not yet available.
Shimano also announced the introduction of a quick link for its 11-speed chains, something that has been popular for SRAM and other chain brands for a while now.
The 11-speed mountain bike drivetrains now have a super-wide gear option with the introduction of the 11-46 cassette. There are also new cranksets with lower gearing, including a 2×11 34/24 option and a 3×10 40/30/22 option.
Finally, there are two new hydraulic brake options, sitting below Acera, that will bring hydraulic braking to new bikes at an even lower pricepoint.
The inevitable march of technology continues, and today SRAM made official one of the worst-kept secrets in the industry, the new wireless drivetrain known as Red eTap. The new shifters and derailleurs work in conjunction with existing SRAM Red cranksets, chains and cassettes. As bicycle frames become more and more complex, the absence of wires or cables allows them to take on even more aggressive forms. Modern wireless technology, battery technology and tiny servo motors all converge in the new system.
To shift to a harder gear, tap the right hand button. To shift to an easier gear, tap the left hand button. To shift the front chainring back and forth, click both buttons at the same time. Up to four extra remote shifters, SRAM calls them Blips, can be positioned anywhere on the handlebars for sprinting or climbing positions. The shift levers themselves have carbon fiber blades and offer reach adjustments for a perfect fit.
Small, removable battery packs on each of the derailleurs are interchangeable and can last a claimed 1,000 kilometers between recharges, which take 45 minutes. The wireless transmissions are encrypted to make it almost impossible for outside interference to influence the system. It uses a proprietary communications protocol and has been tested by the professional peloton for years. Firmware updates can be made with the included USB memory stick.
The SRAM Red eTap group will go on sale in spring 2016 and it won’t be cheap: $2,758 for the full aftermarket setup. It will also be included on several 2016 model bikes from the major brands.
This type of technology is still far beyond the reach of average cyclists, but it’s interesting to how the bicycle continues to evolve with technology, and it might someday be more common than mechanical shifting.Tweet Print