First look: Rotor's new 13-speed groupset

Rotor has gone nuclear, introducing the Rotor 1x13 groupset for both road and mountain biking

Rotor has trumped SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo to become the first brand to release a working one-by 13 groupset on the road .

Citing the success, and subsequent adoption, of the one-by standard in mountain biking Rotor has dropped the double ring setup with its new groupset. The brand is coming out swinging, believing that with its gear ratios, the same standards can and will be adopted for the road, gravel and cyclocross disciplines.

In particular, Rotor believes that road riders will benefit hugely from the optimal shifting of a one by system, removing the clunky downshift on the front that sacrifices both cadence and power.

There will be four cassettes available to use with the groupset, ranging from a 10-36 and including a 10-39, 10-46 and a whopping 10-52. Rotor anticipates the latter few being used on gravel and all-r0ad bikes. With these four options, Rotor argues it can easily supply the necessary range on the cassettes whilst the steps between the high end gears remain get small, improving cadence.

The new groupset will be compatible with a standard KMC 12-speed chain.

The groupset is designed to work with both Rotor's Q-rings, the brands oval chainrings, as well as standard round ones, and is available with a 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, 52 and a 54t ring.

The design

Using its Hy-Step technology, Rotor has opted for hydraulic shifting to move gears, arguing that it's lower maintenance and less friction on the shifts. It also makes the design interchangeable across bikes as there's not differing pull-rations, just the same hydraulic shifting. As you might expect, the groupset comes with disc brakes as standard.

The rear derailleur comes with a built in clutch mechanism, similar to SRAM's models and Shimano's recently released Ultegra RX model and there's a lock for the pulley cage that makes it easier to swap out a wheel. A large aluminium case helps protect the internals and keeps the index bolts safely housed away from any mess. Mountain bikers with existing groupsets might well be relieved to hear there's also a bolt that can limit the derailleur to 12 shifts, making it compatible with existing 12 speed cassettes.

As you might expect, there's also a 13 speed hub that's disc brake developed. It uses standard HG-shaped freehub and the cassette is compatible with Shimano's existing product but t0 accommodate the additional cog on the 13 speed cassette, Rotor has created a proprietary lock ring.

It also has 'boost' spacing; a 142x12 up front and 148x12 on the rear. Again, this is another standard borrowed from mountain biking. The hub has increased capacity for the new 13-speed cassette but is also compatible with Rotor's existing 12-speed cassettes. Rotor has developed its own RVOLVER free hub but its an open standard, meaning other groupset manufacturers can use the design if they wish.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1