Spotted: Prototype FSA electronic shifting groupset

Semi-wireless drivetrain being ridden by several teams at Tour de France

Brakes Parts Tour de France
The shift levers are clearly marked as prototypes.

The shift levers are clearly marked as prototypes (click to enlarge).

Rumors of a full road drivetrain from FSA have been swirling for years, but now it appears the Italian/Taiwanese component maker is finally close to transforming talk into reality. On the second rest day of the Tour de France a semi-wireless electronic shifting system was spotted on the Specialized Tarmac of Etixx-Quick Step rider Michal Kwiatkowski.

Details are still scarce, but the prototype system looks to have a wireless interface between shift levers and the derailleurs. But there does appear to be a wire connecting the two derailleurs. This could indicate the two derailleurs are powered by one source and are able to communicate with each other. Or it could be a farce to throw off the media (and the competition). A similar ploy was used by SRAM when its yet-to-be-released wireless group first came to light at the Tour of California a few years back.

There's a wire between the front and rear derailleur, which may or may not serve an actual purpose.

There’s a wire between the front and rear derailleur, which may or may not serve an actual purpose (click to enlarge).

It also appears that there are two shift buttons on each lever (which are loudly marked as “prototypes”), with one button moving the chain to an easier gear, while the other clicks over to a harder gear. This would be a nearly identical set-up to the current best-in-class Shimano electronic wired system.

The rough edges on the parts indicate that this group is still in the development phase rather than early production like the SRAM wireless group that we profiled here (and being ridden by the Ag2R squad at the Tour). The new FSA group was also spotted on bikes of riders from Bora-Argon18, Cofidis, Tinkoff-Saxo, Cofidis. Here’s a closer look at the FSA group courtesy of our friends at the Global Cycling Network.

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:

  • jeff says:

    electronics – repair time… complex = money cash in.
    I love it! I’m an electronics guy, bring on the complexity!

    shake my money maker

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