After having shown up as a concept groupset for the last two years at Eurobike, Shimano is finally hitting the streets with its clean and futuristic looking Metrea component group. Building on the two-tone aesthetic of its top-level Dura-Ace and XTR groups, Metrea aims to set itself apart from the more workingman Alfine and Nexus groups. Besides just looking to solve the needs of city biking, Metrea steps it up to cater towards a more sporty type of urban rider. Get a closer look at who that is after the jump…
Shimano has seen a trend of urban cyclists building more customized bikes for quickly getting around the city. Having grown out of the faux-messenger and urban track bike trends, the new high-performance city bike has developed a focus on curating a specific look that reflects the personality of each urban cyclist. Metrea’s goal is to be that refined group that can fill this type rider’s desire for a well-built, well-designed component group that can both express a sense of style and at the same time form a backbone that can complement the individualism of custom urban bikes.
Metrea exists in the space between proper road riding and the comfort city bike, offering a balance of speed, performance, and simplicity. In a bit of marketing speak its name is derived from metropolitan and real, trying to signify a blend of city functionality and authenticity in its quest for speed.
The group itself is actually tailored for a unique riding style, and the ergonomics of it controls get adjusted to accommodate a slightly more upright position than road riders for quick handling, but a bit of a more comfort-oriented posture overall. From a functional perspective the group focuses on quick acceleration, quick shifting, and quick braking to survive riding in the busy traffic associated with true city riding.
The new U5000 series Metrea component breakdown is geared towards two build options: either a flat bar or bullhorn-style handlebar setup. So there are both MTB-style rapidfire shifters and more unique looking bar end integrated Dual Control levers. While there are plenty of flat bars on the market, Shimano has a new squared off bullhorn-like H-bar in the works for this summer with straight extensions via their PRO cockpit line (in 40 & 42cm widths).
To sort braking, both flat bar and bar end systems will use hydraulic levers pushing two-piston, flat-mount calipers, and a new Centerlock style 140mm set of Ice Tech rotors.
The Metrea drivetrain was specifically developed to resist corroding, so likely avoids any lower quality steel parts. Both 46-32T double and single 42T ring Hollowtec cranksets will be offered, with integrated chain guards for both to keep your pants away from their standard chain drive. They also both appear to use the new 4-bolt 110mm BCD, although no more crank tech details were provided. For the double, a special front derailleur was developed to handle just this 46-32 combo.
Either option combines with a single cage length version of an 11 speed, wide range rear derailleur, designed to work with a 105-level cassette.
Lastly, as we had thought back at Eurobike, Metrea does get its own disc-specific 700c wheelset with the matching look. The wheels use alloy clincher rims with quick release hubs. The get built up with 24 bladed straight pull spokes both front and rear, and use hidden nipples in the medium profile rim.
Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but availability in set for April 2016 in Europe from either your local bike shops or regular Shimano retailers.