Rotor Uno hydraulic groupset for road set to launch

Spanish company readying to join increasingly crowded drivetrain market

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The project was six years in development and is being done in partnership with respected brake maker Magura.

The project was six years in development and is being done in partnership with respected brake maker Magura (click to enlarge).

All the sudden the road groupset arena is getting very crowded. The space heretofore dominated by Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo is about to add another player. Spain’s Rotor Bike Components has announced that it will be showing a hydraulic actuated shifting system at the upcoming Eurobike tradeshow in Germany.

Dubbed Rotor Uno, it’s being billed as the first complete road groupset with hydraulic actuation shifting and braking. The Uno project was six years in development and is a partnership with respected brake maker Magura.

“Our initial idea was to improve upon existing shifting systems; we knew that our system was a small step forward with its increased precision compared with other cable-actuated systems but we still suffered the same disadvantages of those systems, like friction, devolving inconsistent force over time, and other inconveniences,” explained Rotor co-founder Pablo Carrasco, whose company is best known for its oval-shaped chainrings and who also introduced a new power meter product earlier this year. “We knew disc brakes for road were about to become a reality and we challenged ourselves to further the concept and apply hydraulics to actuate shifting as well.”

Rotor says the Uno system, including the pictured rear derailleur, will be intended for the consumer who values fine craftsmanship, which sounds a lot like a warning about a high price point.

Rotor says the Uno system, including the pictured rear derailleur, will be intended for the consumer who values fine craftsmanship, which sounds a lot like a warning about a high price point (click to enlarge).

Design goals included smooth activation, low maintenance, multiple shifting positions, rim and disc hydraulic brake options, internal hose routing, and low weight.

“Hydraulic systems are already something we use everyday in car brakes, construction equipment, and airplanes,” said Carlos Cartón lead engineer on the Rotor Uno project. “So we felt it made sense to apply this proven technology to bicycle transmission, where the advantages are really clear.”

Hand built and assembled in Europe, Rotor Uno will be intended for the consumer who values fine craftsmanship, Rotor wrote in a press release. (We can only assume this means it wont be cheap.)

Rotor also took a lightly veiled shot at the electronic shifting systems, boasting that its new “entirely human-powered groupset is uncomplicated by unnecessary batteries and chargers. The elegance of Rotor Uno’s completely closed hydraulic system defines an atypical low maintenance and user-friendly ease.”

Rotor claims that the hydraulic shifting system will yield ultra smooth shifting actuation with no cable drag, which could greatly improve front derailleur shifting.

Rotor claims that the hydraulic shifting system will yield ultra smooth shifting actuation with no cable drag, which could greatly improve front derailleur shifting (click to enlarge).

It’s not entirely clear when Rotor Uno will be available to consumers, but the company said the global product launch will happen sometime in spring 2016. That said, the upcoming year is clearly going to be a busy one for new road groupsets, as we already saw a prototype electronic system from FSA at the Tour de France last month, and it’s widely expected that SRAM will finally unveil its long-in-development wireless electronic shifting set-up during the upcoming tradeshow season.

For more information on Rotor Uno please visit rotor.com.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.


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Comments:

  • TheBestLookingRoadBikingDork says:

    I like innovation and this looks interesting. I sure hope they followed Magura enough to use mineral type oil, not DOT5.1 fluid for the hydro part.

  • BWB says:

    I too tend to vote for simplicity – heck, I spec’d my most-recent road bike with DA downtube shifters, of all things – but I’m rooting for these guys, if for no other reason than to shake things up in regard to the usual suspects in the powertrain category. Maybe ROTOR will pick up where Zeus left off decades ago?

    Oh, one more thing: ROBR got the URL for the company’s site wrong. Here ’tis:

    http://www.rotorbikeusa.com/

    You’re welcome. 🙂

  • Tracy Lane says:

    My LBS doesn’t like electronic shifting because they can’t service it. If a electronic component isn’t working, it has to be shipped out and replaced. At least hydraulics should most like be able to be repaired in house.

  • Pedro says:

    Sealed system, self adjusting, self lubricating. Looks good to an old bike commuter like me.

  • KCENDER says:

    Not so fast. This has all been said about past ‘improvements’. I’ll give it a look.

  • ImRight says:

    Two fringe companies combine to deliver a product that is more complex than problem solving. fail.

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