Unreleased Shimano GRX 12-speed groupset spotted at Unbound Gravel

The potentially new groupset was spotted on Taylor Lideen's bike before this Saturday's racing

Unbound Gravel
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ahead of the highly anticipated Unbound Gravel races this weekend, glimpses of the many decked-out gravel machines riders will be using to tackle the grueling open gravel roads of the Midwest are starting to trickle out.

The races themselves, the 100, 200, and 350 XL, take place on Saturday in the Tallgrass Prairie and Flint Hills around Emporia, Kansas.

As the largest gravel event of the year, Unbound also makes for the perfect proving ground for new gravel equipment, so we have been keeping our eyes peeled for new tech around the race.

One intriguing thing that has been spotted so far is a potentially new Shimano gravel groupset.

The Japanese component company's popular GRX gravel specific groupset has been around for a few years now, available in 10 and 11 speed versions only, to date.

However, cycling journalist Ben Delaney, who wrote our gravel groupsets buyer's guide and is racing this weekend, managed to grab these pictures of the new 12 speed GRX components, which were seen spotted aboard Shimano-sponsored Taylor Lideen's bike. The American is riding the XL on Saturday, and is apparently doing so with some exciting new tech.

This epic course been won in the past by riders such a Rebecca "the Queen of Pain" Rusch and ultra-endurance star Lael Wilcox and sees riders suffering for 23 or more hours, so maybe he needs the extra cog at the back.

The rider from Phoenix seems to be using a 12 speed XTR mountain bike cassette, in conjunction with a GRX branded cassette and shifters. This would suggest Shimano are either in final development stages for the new groupset, or even ready to launch.

While the likes of SRAM have used 12 speed shifting since 2019, Shimano, has been late to the party adding the latest and greatest sprocket, with 12-speed Di2 only becoming available on the road last year.

According to Delaney, "[Lideen] had a mechanical 12spd GRX rear derailleur, shifters, brake calipers and crankset with a 10-45t XTR cassette.

"I asked Shimano reps for information, but they would not comment at all, and eventually shooed me away from filming the bike." You can see more on Delaney's YouTube channel The RIde.

This is the first time Shimano 12-speed mechanical shifting has been spotted on a gravel bike.

We will be keeping our eyes peeled for more unreleased tech here at Unbound Gravel, so stay tuned!  

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Joe Baker
Tech Writer

Joe is Cycling Weekly's tech writer. He's always had a love for bikes, since first riding a two wheeled steed before the age of four. Years down the line, Joe began racing at 16, and enjoyed great experiences internationally, racing in Italy, Spain and Belgium to name a few locations. Always interested in tech, Joe even piloted his Frankenstein hill climb bike to a Junior National Title in 2018.  After taking a step back from elite level racing in April 2022, Joe joined our team as a freelancer, before becoming Tech Writer in May 2023.