What is surprising is the rumor that Shimano is adding a cog to the rear end and bringing an 11-speed group to market for 2013. Bikeradar’s sources are saying it won’t be shown to OEM buyers until the middle of next year. Word is they’ll offer 11-speed for both mechanical Dura-Ace and Di2 at the top levels, introducing it much the same way as Campagnolo did on their premium groups first. It’ll trickle down from there, no doubt. Most likely, the cog spacing and chain will get squeezed to fit the additional gear on existing freehubs.
Other updates coming for Dura-Ace Di2 are a bit more obvious. It’ll get the revised (ie. improved) wiring layout as the Ultregra Di2, which in theory means you’ll be able to swap parts and you’ll be seeing Ultegra/Dura-Ace Di2 blends on OEM bikes to compete at various price levels. It will also most likely be moving the brains of the operation to the module on the upper section of the front derailleur, just like on Ultegra Di2.
ROAD DISC BRAKES
Mechanical disc brakes require nothing special from the levers, and we’ve seen plenty of rando and touring bikes with mix-and-match braking systems.
But by moving some of the electronics out of the brake levers for Di2, Shimano could be freeing up space for hydraulic master cylinders. This might be a bit forward looking, but let’s be honest, it’s going to come at some point in the next few years. Rumor is the first iteration will be mechanical only, which means the calipers should work with existing levers and you can upgrade just the brakes if you’re buying a disc-ready road or cyclocross frame. For those with a recently upgraded drivetrain, this is good news.
Now for SRAM. Their top of the line Red group is about due for a refresh, right? After all, there have only been color updates (Tour Yellow, Black) over the past two years. There’s rumor buzzing ’round that SRAM is working on something big and will have some impressive road bike disc brakes to show early next year, mechanical and otherwise. We’ve heard this from several reliable inside sources, but that’s about all we’re able to say. Use your imagination. We don’t have any real word on this, but it’d be surprising if they didn’t borrow XX’s chiseled cassette design and drop even more weight from the Red cassette.
Forward thinking companies like Volagi and Tomac are already showing road and ‘cross bikes designed with hydraulic disc brakes in mind, and next summer’s bike launches are likely to usher in a new reason to buy a bicycle.
NOW, BACK TO SHIMANO
Other rumors about Shimano’s next generation 2013 Dura-Ace are that it will finally upgrade from their 24mm crank arm spindle. We had a solid discussion with several of Shimano’s folks about this recently that went something like this (not verbatim):
Bikerumor: What about BB30 and now BB386EVO, don’t they make the crankset stiffer overall?
Shimano: Are you experiencing flex in our cranks?
Bikerumor: No. But those standards let the frame manufacturers make frames stiffer and lighter.
Shimano: True. Well, you know, we’re always working on new things and paying attention to the market.
See where this is headed? Word is they’ll have a BB386EVO crankset, which we’re pretty excited about because we think it’s an excellent and highly flexible standard. This should help escalate the weight wars by giving Shimano a significantly lighter crankset option. It should also keep things mostly backward compatible with their PF86 setup up by simply requiring new BB bearings rather than changes to frame design.
Lastly, a rumored Race Day Di2 battery is coming, too, that has half the power and 25% of the weight.
For now, of course, the official word from either company is, well, there is no official word. So, technically, this is all speculation…