Tech of the Month January: Potential updates from Shimano and SRAM, new bikes for 2023 and the Colnago V4RS

We discuss possible updates to SRAM and Shimano groupsets as well as the road bikes most likely to be see a redesign in 2023...

Image shows Cannondale and Shimano 105
(Image credit: Future)

A new year typically means the release of plenty of new tech, as well as a few updated bikes. We speculate on the potential release of groupsets from Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo as well as the bikes most likely to see a redesign in 2023.

As for our Bike of the Month, January's choice was a no brainer, as Colnago unveiled its new race bike, the V4RS. Developed from the prototype ridden by Tadej Pogačar and his UAE Emirates teammates in 2022, it's the bike that Pog, UAE and Colnago are hoping will wrest back control of the yellow jersey from Jumbo-Visma come July.

Competition

This month we’ll be giving away some Tacx NEO Motion Plates. If you’ve not used these before then they make the feel of indoor training rides more so much more realistic. They add in multi-directional movement and ensure a more natural position on the bike. 

The plates are compatible with the NEO, NEO 2 and NEO 2T and magnetically snap into place underneath your turbo trainer. In addition to the plates, there's a front wheel support included that is compatible with tyres up to 28mm wide. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a set of these then, then head to the link in the description.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply click this link or fill in the form below. We’ll get in contact with the lucky winner by the end of this month. If you don’t end up being the lucky one – don’t worry, we’ll be running it again next month.

Will Shimano release a 12-speed 105 mechanical groupset?

Image shows Shimano 105 12 speed

(Image credit: Future)

The move from 11-speed to 12-speed, and from mechanical to electronic shifting has potentially left a few holes in Shimano's groupset line-up.  

Could these shifting sands lead to the release of a 12-speed mechanical 105 groupset, offering the option of 12 sprockets at a more affordable price point? We certainly hope so.

The release of 105 Di2 was well-received but it could no longer carry the 'everyman groupset' tag, given that it doubled in price from the existing 11-speed version. 

A 12-speed cable-operated 105 would likely reclaim that status while allowing users to enjoy the significant benefit that the extra sprocket brings. As Shimano's first 12-speed mechanical groupset it would also bring the tech to those who aren't convinced they need to make the jump to electronic shifting.

If released, will it see the mechanical theme through and offer rim brake users the chance to benefit from 12 speeds? Or will it be hydraulic hoses and disc brakes only? And what would it mean for Tiagra, which currently exists as a 10-speed groupset only? Could it gain a sprocket and essentially become a rebadged 105, filling the gap left by the soon-to-be-phased-out 11-speed Ultegra and 105 groupsets? 

Only time will tell.

SRAM Apex goes electronic?

sram apex rear derailleur

(Image credit: Future)

While we're guessing that Shimano may release Shimano 105 in a 12-speed mechanical version, the odds of SRAM adding its entry-level Apex groupset to the wireless AXS family are far shorter.

With documents filed, it seems that SRAM Apex AXS is on the way at some point in 2023, and if so would continue the US's brand's commitment to wireless technology. 

But what will it look like and how will impact bikes at the lower price points?

It's fair to assume that much of the tech will be trickle downed from the more expensive groupsets. When Rival AXS was introduced it worked just as well as both the Force and Red versions. What differed was the materials used and subsequently the weight of the derailleurs, crankset, shifters and more. It's likely that Apex will follow suit, with cheaper materials and little extra weight the result of lower price point.

But just how low that is will be interesting. Will Apex AXS allow brands to offer bikes at a similar price point to those spec'd with Shimano's mechanical offerings and thus truly bring wireless electronic shifting to the masses? 

And not wanting to leave out Campagnolo, we consider whether the Italian brand will bring its 13 sprockets to the road and whether it takes the plunge and goes wireless or semi-wireless with its electronic shifting.

Updated bikes for 2023

Image shows Cannondale SystemSix

(Image credit: Future)

Road bike fans often start a new year by guessing which of their favourite machines will receive an upgrade during the calendar year. We're no different and have come up with a few bikes we think will cut a new profile in 2023.

First up is Cannondale's SystemSix. The US brand's aero bike hasn't been updated in four years, which in bike industry terms, makes it over due. Given that it was a pretty advanced machine on its release in 2018, the changes might be subtle. The change of the UCI 3:1 rule would mean the aero tubes could get a little deeper in places, while the current tire clearance of 28mm could be increased to 32mm to take into account the move to wider tubeless tires.

Another possibility is that Cannondale do a 'Specialized' and merge the aero SystemSix with the SuperSix, as the California brand did with the Venge and the Tarmac to create the SL7, to create a more aero do-it-all bike aimed at professional and amateur racers alike.

The Ridley Noah is another bike that we're used to seeing in the pro peloton that's long due an upgrade. Like the SystemSix it was last tweaked in 2018 but perhaps looks more dated. We'd expect to see deeper tubes in keeping with the recently updated Trek Madone and Cervelo S5.

Canyon's Aeroad is another bike we think will see an upgrade in 2023, especially with the recent emergence of photographs showing Mathieu van der Poel training on what appears to a be a prototype frameset that shares many similarities to the Aeroad he used throughout the 2022 WorldTour season.

If this is indeed a new Aeroad expect it to be a stiffer and lighter, a little more aero and with clearance for 32mm tires.

Bike of the Month

Colnago V4RS

(Image credit: Colnago)

The release of the Colnago V4RS wasn't exactly a best-kept secret given that Tadej Pogačar and his UAE team had been riding various prototypes throughout the 2022 campaign - and the his preferred choice will now replace the V3RS as the Italian brand's WorldTour race bike.

Replacing a bike that won Pog the Tour de France is no easy task. Colnago chose to bring in the Torgny Fjeldskaar, the Norwegian industrial designer who previously worked for BMC and Cannondale.

The result are a few subtle but not insignificant differences, perhaps most notably in the redesigned headtube that cuts a sculpted shape, changed to accommodate a larger top bearing and a round steerer. 

While the new frameset is actually a few grams heavier than the outgoing V3RS, Colnago said its managed to save 27 watts when set up in its full race mode. There's also room for 32mm tires too. 

It will be fascinating to see the bike in action this year as Pogačar aims to reclaim his TdF crown.

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Freelance writer

Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for over twenty years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He fell in love with cycling at an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a passionate follower of bike racing to this day as well an avid road and gravel rider.