It doesn’t take a particularly gifted mathemitician to work out that as it’s three years since the release of the last version of Dura-Ace, and Shimano works on three year product cycles, then there should be a new version of Shimano Dura-Ace in the offing at some point this year.
However, what that groupset is going to look like is anyone’s guess. We’ve heard a few rumours flying around, such as that it will feature a silent freehub or a built in power meter, but Shimano’s big names were staying tight-lipped when we paid them a visit last month.
One thing we know it won’t be is wireless. When we put the question of wireless shifting to Takao Harada of Shimano’s components division, Harada said that although Shimano had tested wireless shifting, it did not think that the demand was there either from the pros or the public.
After literally years of speculation, SRAM Red eTap was finally released last September to a huge amount of hype and excitement. And after putting the wireless groupset through its paces, we were glad that it was able to live up to the level of expectation.
Unfortunately for SRAM, whatever it decides to launch next, it’s unlikely to generate quite the same level of attention, but we’ll be looking on with interest to see where the America company decides to go in 2016 and beyond.
SRAM has always been a big advocate of disc brakes, so it wouldn’t be a massive surprise to see a new version of SRAM Red eTap that is designed to work with hydraulic disc brakes. Or maybe we could see an updated release of SRAM Red, perhaps even with a first foray into 12-speed gears.
Like Shimano, Campagnolo is keeping its cards very close to its chest as to where it will be going next with its groupset line-up. However, also like Shimano, it’s not that hard to guess what Campag could have up its sleeve. The Italian company seems to have been reluctant to embrace disc brakes, but has had its hand forced by the UCI’s new regulations, so we would expect to see a new Campagnolo Super Record groupset that will work with hydraulic disc brakes.
Whether or not this will be designed to work with both mechanical and electronic shifting, we’ll have to wait and see. Campagnolo released the latest version of EPS (its electronic shifting system) last September, which featured wireless smartphone connectivity alongside a number of other developments, but without any mention of disc brakes.
The first of two new entrants into the groupset market, Rotor has gone in a different direction to SRAM and Shimano with the development of its Uno groupset. Instead of using electronic shifting, Rotor Uno is a hydraulic system which has been design to be compatible with both rim brakes and disc brakes.
The groupset is currently being tested in WorldTour races, with a handful of Dimension Data riders putting it through its paces at the top level of the sport. Most are just using the shifting, but we also spotted Matt Brameier using the hydraulic rim brakes at the Tour of Qatar.
FSA is the other new name in the groupset market, although there still hasn’t been any official release for the Italian company’s new groupset. Etixx-Quickstep had a prototype version of the system at last year’s Tour de France, and although the team didn’t ride it in France, we’ve heard that various riders have been testing it on training bikes.
However details on the groupset are thin on the ground. We know it’s electronic, 11-speed, and possibly wireless, with the cables leaving the hoods only appearing to connect to the brakes. There also appear to be two buttons on each shifter, making the shifting system more similar to Shimano Di2 than SRAM eTap.