We predicted mechanical Shimano 105 12-speed in our January Tech of the Month video (opens in new tab) and now it seems it’s a reality: a new bike with the unreleased groupset was listed for a short time on US bike brand KHS’s website before being taken down after Bicycling spotted it. (opens in new tab)
The original 2024 KHS Flite 700 page (opens in new tab) now reads: “This is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?”
The biggest giveaway was the chain - “Shimano CM-M7100 12-speed”. But could that just be a typo? After all, the correct Shimano code for its chains is ‘CN’ not ‘CM’. Couldn’t the same fat or tired fingers have equally easily typed ‘12’ instead of ‘11’?
Well, further confirmation of a 12-speed mechanical groupset could be found in the description of the shifters: “Shimano 105 Hydraulic ST-7120”. The latest Shimano 105 Di2 shifters are ST-7170 while the older 11-speed mechanical shifters are designated ST-R7000-R (rim brakes) or ST-R7020-R (disc brakes).
To seal the deal, the Shimano RS520 crankset listed with the KHS bike is a more affordable variation that’s intended for 12-speed drivetrains.
How did we manage to predict it when the most recent iteration of 105 - the 12-speed Di2 version - was only launched last June (opens in new tab)? Mostly because we just couldn’t believe Shimano would abandon the original raison d'être of 105 as the gateway groupset, an affordable, good quality set of components suitable for sport as well as leisure.
When 105 went electronic it got a big price hike, at £1,730/$1,886.87 costing twice as much as the older 11-speed mechanical version. That’s not a ‘people’s groupset’ any more.
When we reviewed 105 Di2 recently, although we gave it the thumbs-up, we said it was "more expensive than we'd hoped."
There is no way Shimano would leave 10-speed Tiagra as the top mechanical groupset, and it’s been indicated that the older 11-speed mechanical 105 would only continue to be manufactured “for the time being”.
So we postulated that a mechanical version of the 105 12 speed Di2 groupset could be coming too. All that would need to be produced would be shifters and derailleurs, assuming Shimano would keep it as a disc-brake-only groupset. We contacted Shimano for comment but it did not confirm or deny it.
If both 105 mechanical and Di2 go 12 speed, this clears the way for Tiagra to go 11 speed and simply absorb all the tech Shimano has been creating for years. It’s also been a very long time since Tiagra was last updated - over six years - so it’s due a refresh. If we see an 11-speed Tiagra groupset in the next year, following the rules of trickle-down technology, it would be straightforward enough for Shimano to simply rebrand 11-speed 105.
How much will mechanical 12-speed Shimano 105 cost?
The KHS Flite 700 seemingly with mechanical 12-speed 105 that has been removed had a MSRP of $2,599. The Flite 600, the next model down which is Shimano Sora based, costs $2,199. Whereas the top model, the Flite 750, which is equipped with Shimano 105 Di2, is priced at $4,699.
If the final pricing of the 12-speed mechanical 105 bike really is that close to a nine-speed Sora bike, this suggests the new groupset will be very cheap indeed.
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor following an MA in online journalism. In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends most of his time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
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