Warminsterwobble – But it’s now no longer with out exact reason – together with SRAM, key launches from the emblem are the largest information in biking tech, shaping tendencies withinside the enterprise as a whole. 2021 noticed the discharge of new avenue groupsets from Shimano – Dura-Ace R9200 and Ultegra R8100 – with each being sizeable updates that offer a few perception into Shimano’s ordinary method for the following couple of years.
Product updates are regularly cyclical and, with that during mind, I’ve pooled collectively the our team’s expertise of Shimano tools beyond and present, to determine at the 5 key merchandise I need to peer from the emblem in 2022.
Shimano 105 Di2
Shimano’s modern a hundred and five groupset seems the part – and plays superbly – however will it get an digital improve in 2022? Shimano’s replace to the Dura-Ace and Ultegra street groupsets become the most important tech information of 2021.
Among different refinements, this noticed each pass to 12-velocity and, for the primary time, each have been provided completely as an digital Di2 groupset at release. Previously, each the mechanical and digital variations of Shimano’s street motormotorcycle groupsets could generally be launched concurrently – however, except there’s some thing of a U-turn, mechanical groupsets are lifeless as some distance because the brand’s pinnacle street drivetrains are concerned.
SRAM has made comparable movements in current years, reputedly ditching its mechanical groupsets with the aid of using stealth, whilst updating its digital RED eTap AXS groupset in 2019. SRAM then introduced the less expensive Force groupset to the eTap AXS own circle of relatives rapidly after, with the third-tier Rival eTap AXS following in 2021.
SRAM moved first to deliver digital transferring right all the way down to a third-tier street groupset, with the release of Rival eTap AXS.
The subsequent groupset because of be up to date in Shimano’s variety is a hundred and five, and I assume there’s a sturdy opportunity it’ll move Di2. While any digital model of a hundred and five could were withinside the works lengthy earlier than Rival eTap AXS become launched to the public, Shimano will now no longer desire to be visible to be lagging at the back of its largest rival.
While there is, of course, not anything incorrect with mechanical transferring, SRAM has helped reshape the wondering on digital transferring. Where it become as soon as the reserve of pinnacle-spec dream bikes, with the release of Rival eTap AXS, it’s miles now an increasing number of visible as a ordinary spec alternative on mid-variety bikes, albeit withinside the context of rate rises throughout the marketplace.
Offering an digital groupset that appeals to consumers withinside the center of the marketplace may be key if Shimano needs to stay at the pointy end. One factor is for sure: we assume the following Shimano a hundred and five groupset to observe Dura-Ace R9200 and Ultegra R8100 to 12-velocity transferring.
If a hundred and five Di2 is withinside the works, I assume it’ll additionally pass to 12-velocity, undertake the semi-wi-fi setup visible on Ultegra and Dura-Ace, and get a mild aesthetic replace. Would mechanical a hundred and five additionally get an replace on the identical time? Or will Shimano amplify its dedication to digital groupsets and ditch mechanical at a hundred and five level?
I’ll be spending the following couple of months snuffling withinside the undergrowth of the patent workplace seeking out tech muffins that provide any trace of what Shimano is as much as here. Stay tuned for more.
New XTR and XT Di2 groupsets
Shimano changed into arguably beforehand of the curve with the release of XTR Di2 in 2014. What’s subsequent for the brand’s digital groupset line-up? With hindsight, one may want to argue that Shimano changed into without a doubt too early to the sport with digital groupsets for mountain bikes, with the release of XTR Di2 in 2014.
Getting mountain bikers onto digital groupsets once they weren’t even completely mounted on the street changed into usually going to be a difficult task. Shimano XTR M9050 Di2 and XT M8050 Di2 were, in maximum respects, superb groupsets, however neither changed into enthusiastically embraced.
However, matters have modified loads considering that the appearance of XTR M9050. Electronic groupsets are actually extensively used on the street and SRAM has normalised the usage of digital groupsets off-avenue with its wi-fi Eagle eTap AXS own circle of relatives.
SRAM additionally performed a chunk of a blinder through realising the broader opportunities for integration that the AXS own circle of relatives offers. SRAM’s wi-fi additives have helped it scouse borrow a march on Shimano in terms of digital mountain motormotorcycle groupsets. The brand’s Reverb AXS wi-fi dropper put up and Flight Attendant suspension manage device each combine into the Eagle own circle of relatives, and that is the large draw of digital groupsets off-avenue for plenty riders.
Is it now time for Shimano to reinvigorate its line-up of digital MTB additives? Shimano’s mechanical XTR M9100 groupset changed into launched in mid-2018, which additionally places it in line for an replace if we’re following Shimano’s usual four-12 months product cycle. If it’s far because of be updated, we wouldn’t be amazed if a Di2 model changed into launched along a mechanical groupset.
Shimano spares are probably to stay in brief deliver in 2022 – however we are able to hope! I say this with sincerely no goal of throwing coloration at Shimano – now no longer even the largest producer of biking additives ought to have expected the large boom that biking as an entire has skilled over the past years.
Nor ought to Shimano have expected the labour and uncooked fabric shortages which have affected all industries. And I might wager the emblem wasn’t watching for to be hit with the aid of using fires, floods and now – of all things – toll road robbery! As a result, a few Shimano components have turn out to be nearly not possible to get preserve of.
All of this has conspired to make the beyond couple of years particularly irritating for motormotorcycle brands, stores and consumers, however I’m certain it’s similarly irritating for Shimano – what emblem might ever want negative availability and not possible-to-forecast call for upon itself?
Of course, Shimano is some distance from by myself here, and I genuinely want accurate fortune – and abundant chains, cassettes and brake pads – upon all manufacturers, each huge and small, for the yr ahead.
Shimano broke new floor with the release of GRX as a gravel-precise groupset. Cast your thoughts lower back to May 2019, while Shimano launched its then-logo-spanking-new Shimano GRX gravel groupset family.
Offering a 1x option, 3 spec ranges and a number wheelsets, GRX – the world’s first gravel-precise groupset – become groundbreaking for Shimano and the enterprise as a whole.
It’s now extensively specced on among the pleasant gravel motorcycles accessible and is constantly praised through all here.
However, given that then, it’s been all quiet from Shimano at the gravel front. That’s now no longer definitely surprising – commonly speaking, Shimano groupsets are up to date on a 3-to-five-yr cycle. SRAM has endured to push the envelope with the release of XPLR.
While that could make an replace to GRX a touch bit premature, it wouldn’t come as a massive marvel if the logo introduced ahead a release of an up to date GRX groupset to live in advance of the curve, specifically following remaining yr’s arrival of SRAM XPLR, comprising of gravel-precise gearing and a gravel-tuned suspension fork.
Realistically, there’s little that I’d appearance to extrade with GRX – it is, superb after all – however I anticipate the following technology will comply with Dura-Ace and Ultegra in going 12-pace and getting a cultured replace.
Assuming a theoretical 12-pace GRX groupset used the identical cassette spacing because the logo’s mountain motormotorcycle groupsets, going 12-pace may also open up the opportunity of so-called ‘mullet builds’ on Shimano groupsets, wherein a road/gravel crankset is paired with a wide-ranging MTB cassette.
Exactly what number of purchasers and motormotorcycle manufacturers will spec this on their machines is debatable, however one issue is for sure – gravel driving goes to stay one in every of cycling’s freshest tickets and Shimano will need to maintain to capitalise on that.
I recognise I’m now no longer on my own in mourning top-stop mechanical drivetrain components. Given the general trajectory of the street groupset market, this one feels a chunk extra of a pipe dream, however hey – why now no longer suppose big?
Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 arguably represented the top of mechanical avenue motormotorcycle transferring with a silky lever experience and reliability that stays quite tons unchallenged.
So accurate is the overall performance of R9100 that, in a evaluation among SRAM Force eTap AXS and Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8050, our former senior author Matthew Loveridge determined he might purchase neither, and might choose mechanical Dura-Ace instead.
Since Dura-Ace R9200 released as an electronic-best groupset, there had been no rumours, gossip or rumour to signify that a brand new mechanical Dura-Ace groupset is withinside the works, and that seems like a ignored possibility.
While few might flip down the possibility to very own Dura-Ace R9200 Di2, there are a few holdouts, and we’d love to peer the choice of a mechanical groupset to be had on the top-stop of the sport.
Are mechanical groupset lovers set to come to be the brand new rim-brake luddites? Will cable bores be excluded from the 12-velocity community? Time will tell, however we won’t maintain our breath.