Monday, December 29, 2008

FSA's 11-speed road group coming into focus?

When SRAM was making the debut of the Force group a couple years ago, there was nearly equal level talk about Full Speed Ahead bringing its own complete road groupset to market. Of course, SRAM went gangbusters, and FSA, well, the line "it's coming" has been getting long in the tooth.

Then I came across this, at

By the looks of these patent drawings, something is in the pipeline for an 11-speed road shifter. I have contacted FSA and while they don't deny that they're working on something, they are quite mum about any details whether regarding function, dates of release, and what the group is to consist of.

Regarding the shifters, Roues Artisanales makes an interesting note: while conventional shifters sees the cable wind mechanism in the shifter in a perpendicular fashion (since the levers push and pull in that direction, the cable spool on this FSA shifter lay in front-to-back parallel with the cable run. How the shift lever winds the cable in that orientation (since the inboard shifters typically push inward will be interesting to see, as will shift cable placement, which may port directly out the back of the shifter as it does with the brake cable, eliminating the need for under bar shift cable routing, thus making for an even cleaner, potentially easier-operating cable run, with less cable and housing needed.

The rear derailleur, instead of pivoting up and down the cassette via a standard parallelogram, has mechanical pivot on either end of the spanning bar that would normally be a parallelogram.

There is also word that there will be a bar end shifter that will go with this group, and that it may very well depart from standard function—but no further details were provide.

I guess we'll have to wait and see, but I am sure Interbike next year will be an interesting one—if the drama lasts that long. The media—well, at least me—will be harassing FSA at Sea Otter at the very latest.

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