The future is electric. After months of speculating over spy shots this summer of a certain prototype drivetrain, we were finally able to personally check out the new prototype electric group from FSA after it was first unveiled at the Tour. Well, technically it was shown at an FSA press conference, but we won’t be surprised if and when the group is unveiled that it falls under the Metron umbrella.
Even though we were able to photograph the group, FSA/Metron remained extremely tight lipped on the subject. Until we get more details, push the button to speculate away…
While the parts are clearly labeled with huge prototype stickers the drivetrain was looking quite polished meaning we may see it sooner rather than later. The shifters currently use a fixed pivot brake lever with a rocker type shift switch. Press on the upper part of the rocker to shift one way, and the other half to do the reverse. As is, the right lever controlled the rear and the left controlled the front shifter. Judging by the shape and the size of the brake lever we won’t be surprised if we see these incorporate hydraulic brakes in the future.
Derailleurs front and rear had their own wires and no apparent battery packs, though the shifters still didn’t appear to have wires of their own It’s possible they are routed under the bar tape and into the bar, though that would require the wires to go through the walls of the handlebar into the stem, and then into the frame through the steerer tube. It’s possible, but it’s also extremely possible that the shifters are wireless while the derailleurs are not. Theoretically, this would allow for the use of coin cell batteries in the shifters which would last a while, and a more traditional battery pack for the two power hungry derailleurs that could be recharged without removing anything from the bike.
FSA already has their own battery holding seat posts, so if it’s not wireless, our money is on a stick shaped battery in the bottom of that post. Each derailleur appeared to have two tiny limit screws, while the front included three push buttons. One of them looked to be the power switch, and the other two are labeled Set and Check which probably means we’ll see a special set mode and a system diagnostic mode. Otherwise, the derailleurs used standard attachment methods and familiar layouts.
This particular prototype was set up with an 11 speed cassette from Shimano and an 11 speed FSA chain routed through what appears to be a carbon derailleur cage. Does this mean the final production will be 11 speed? Or is this just to throw us off while they develop 12 speed chains and cassettes? Time will tell.