If Shimano’s product cycles are following their usual pattern, then we should be due a new Dura-Ace groupset at some point this year. As usual Shimano is keeping very tight-lipped on what could be updated, but a patent application by the Japanese giant might give a glimpse of what we can expect.
The patent shows a freehub design which could see Shimano’s top-of-the-range groupset operate in complete silence, and eliminate much of the resistance in the rear wheel when you’re not pedalling, letting you go faster than ever downhill.
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The patent drawings, which have been published on Bike Rumor, show a system with a redesigned interface between the hub and the freehub mechanism, with the ratchet rings between the two being spring-loaded, meaning that they retract away from each other when you’re not pedalling.
However, when you are pedalling the ratchet rings are pushed back together, with the grooves on the two rings reengaging.
All that is very, well but it’s important to note that not all patents make it into a finished product, so it could be the case that we never see this clever device on the market. And this could well happen in this instance, as the patent drawings show a design with only 10-sprockets.
So we’ll just have to wait and see what Shimano has in store for us, with a product announcement expected some time in the next few months.