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 (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 (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.