FSA WE groupset goes 12 speed, disc only with lighter 12 spd titanium cassette

The new FSA K-Force WE groupset now clicks to 12 speed, and forgoes the rim brake options altogether, something unexpected for the Italian Taiwanese component manufacturer but crucial to rival the big three of the shifting world.

FSA WE 12 road group wireless shifting

FSA WE-12 speed groupset — What’s new?

When FSA launched the K-Force WE 11-spd groupset, the cycling world didn’t know what to think; a company rarely challenged the big three and lived to tell the tale. On the other hand, if anyone has the resources to do it, FSA was a good bet. After thoroughly reviewing and training on the first iteration of the FSA WE 11-spd groupset, I can firmly say this group has promise. Now, that promise comes in 12-speed form.

FSA WE 12 crankset

New K-Force crankset

The new FSA K-Force WE crankset is slightly different from the previous iteration. The design team seems to have dropped the bright red WE logo and opted for a more subdued graphics package. The crankset is more like the modular cranksets that FSA uses for its mountain bike and gravel offerings. With 3K hollow carbon fiber arms and a 30mm (BB386Evo) alloy spindle.

FSA WE 12 crankset

The nice thing about having the modular package is the ability to quickly change chainrings without needing a specific BCD for compact or standard. This method also allows FSA to craft CNC machined chainrings, similar to the gravel offerings they currently have.

The crankset will offer chainrings in 50/34, 54/40-tooth, and sub-compact 46/30-tooth options. With crank arm sizes ranging from 165, 167.5, 170, 172.5, and 175mm, with a 544g claimed weight for 170, 54/40t crankset.

FSA WE 12 drivetrain

Sometimes prototype frames need a little help to make it to the show.

New K-Force 12-speed cassette

The cassette on the previous version of the WE group was a standout, crafted from cast and heat-treated titanium mounted to a matte carbon fiber spider. The finished product is lightweight and eye-catching. It’s no surprise the design stuck around, FSA claims the new cassette to be 13% lighter than its predecessor, which is hard to believe with the extra cog, but we’ll have to wait and see when the groupset arrives.

FSA WE 12 cassette

The K-Force 12-speed cassette will arrive in 11-25, 11-28t, and 11-32t, with a claimed weight of 195g for the 11-32t cassette.

FSA WE 12 shifters

FSA K-Force WE shifters and brake calipers

From what we can see, the shifters and brake calipers didn’t go through much of a revamp, which is a good thing. The ergonomics are excellent, and the shifter buttons are easy to access. There is no mention if they are still offering a smaller compact shifter size option like the WE 11-spd, but we’ll have to wait and see.

The shifters still operate wirelessly from the derailleur system, use CR2032 batteries for power, and have a weight of 405g per pair.

FSA WE 12 front derailleur

FSA K-Force WE Front Derailuer

The central hub for most of the shifting for the WE group was the front derailleur, which seems to have changed slightly. The front derailleur now only controls its shifting, not that of the rear as well like the previous version. FSA claims the new WE front derailleur shifts in 70ms, but the visuals have not changed.

The front derailleur is still the powerhouse, operating from the same central battery as the rear, and used for shifting adjustments and power. The braze-on style front derailleur works with 54/40t, 52/39t, 50/34t, and 46/30t configurations and has a claimed weight of 159g.

FSA WE 12 rear derailleur

FSA K-Force WE Rear Derailuer

The FSA K-Force WE rear derailleur receives an electronics update and an updated sensor that delivers more accurate shifting.

FSA WE 12 drivetrain

Now bypassing the front derailleur for shifting orders; the rear derailleur now receives signals directly from the shifters, rather than everything coming off the front derailleur, like the previous generation.

FSA WE 12 brake rotor

FSA K-Force WE Rotors and chains

The FSA WE rotors seem to have gotten a cosmetic make-over and now offer a center lock version of the previously 6-bolt-only designs. The rotors, from our experience, are on par with the top in the braking world, coming in 160mm (125g) and 140mm (103g).

Missing from the equation is the rim brake options; it seems that FSA feels that disc brakes are the only way to go forward.

FSA WE 12 chain

There is not much information on the new FSA WE 12-spd chain other than its 5.6mm width and claimed weight: 250g for 116 links. From our review experience with the previous version of the FSA, WE 11-spd chain, it’s reminiscent of a KMC and employs the KMC quick link.

FSA WE 12 electronics and battery

FSA WE battery and wires

We can see that battery, wires, and charging ports for the new FSA WE 12-spd are the same, with a 1,100mAh capacity and propriety FSA WE charger.

Price and availability

The K-Force WE 12S groupset weighs in at 2,390g and costs €4,280, with a target release to the public at the end of 2022.

fullspeedahead.com

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19 Comments
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Jason D West
Jason D West
28 days ago

I didn’t realize FSA was an Italian company.

Jordan Bishko
Jordan Bishko
28 days ago
Reply to  Jason D West

They are not (Italian) they are Taiwanese.

Nate
Nate
28 days ago
Reply to  Jason D West

Seattle based, but bought by the Italians years ago.

bike nerd
bike nerd
28 days ago
Reply to  Nate

Nope, it’s a Taiwanese brand. Tien Hsin Industries.

Ves
Ves
20 days ago
Reply to  Nate

Only development group is located near Bergamo. TH Industries, main office in TW, is the biggest OEM supplier of bike parts in the world.

Nate
Nate
28 days ago

Im sorry, but its too little too late. No one is gonna buy this, it’s outdated, irrelevant, and offers no advantage to the market. It looks terrible and will be impossible to source parts when they discontinue it.

TypeVertigo
28 days ago
Reply to  Nate

Outdated and irrelevant how?

I seem to remember FSA WE gen1 creating the template Shimano used for its semi-wireless 12-speed Di2 groupsets.

Only real downside I see with WE12 is stingy low range on its cassettes (everything Shimano 12-speed goes to 34T), but that’s partially offset by the 46/30T crank option.

ritxis
ritxis
26 days ago
Reply to  TypeVertigo

there were first Di2 prototypes with wireless communication from levers to gears… the battery was attached to the front derailleur

Name
Name
28 days ago

Proprietary charger, lol.

Brian
Brian
28 days ago

Hi Jordan, perhaps some more research is in order (Italian Company????)
FSA are the house brand for Tien Hsin Industries Co Ltd Taiwan. Perhaps a trip to their factory in Taichung will inform your writing?

Nuno Pinto
Nuno Pinto
27 days ago

i wouldn’t mind using one of this setups in a gravel 1×12 if only it accept bigger cassetes. I wonder if the system can work without the front derailleur. The previous one could not. Don’t forget, that the “new” Shimano DI2 copied the concept from FSA 3 years ago.

TypeVertigo
27 days ago
Reply to  Nuno Pinto

Seems like this is more 1x-friendly on paper, since each shifter talks to only one derailleur this time around. All that’s left to complete the 1x conversion would be a larger cassette and a suitable rear mech to match.

ritxis
ritxis
26 days ago
Reply to  Nuno Pinto

which Shimano has stolen what??? you have never seen prototypes of the first Di2, have you?

Greg
Greg
27 days ago

I agree with you, Nate…why? Why this over DA di2 or EPS or AXS?? It’s a little lighter (claimed) than di2 & SR EPS but..

And cut that chain so it fits correctly!!!

TypeVertigo
27 days ago
Reply to  Greg

Because more competition is good. More options for us.

It’s not as if WE gen1 was all that terrible. It was actually rather well reviewed…and Shimano basically stole FSA’s semi-wireless concept for 12-speed Di2. Why people conveniently ignore this historical truth, I have no idea.

Whether or not FSA puts a more serious attempt into marketing K-Force WE12 and stoking customer adoption still remains to be seen.

ritxis
ritxis
26 days ago
Reply to  TypeVertigo

you have never seen prototypes of the first Di2, have you?

Ves
Ves
20 days ago
Reply to  ritxis

Can you share some links, year when was that?

Martin
Martin
9 days ago

Another promising groupset that I will never, ever see anywhere but on web pages.