Review: Rotor's 13-Speed Hydraulic Drivetrain

Oct 15, 2020
by Daniel Sapp  

We’ve seen Rotor's drivetrain show up in prototype form at various tradeshows in recent years. And finally, after a bit of a wait, I managed to get my hands on the production version to see how it stacks up against established offerings.

The group was built around 12-speed spacing, but the derailleur works with 12 or 13-speed configurations via a limit screw adjustment. However, you'll need to use Rotor's proprietary hub to get those 13 cogs. Rotor sells the drivetrain as a shifter, derailleur, cassette, along with their cranks and a hub. The 13-speed hub is backward compatible with 11 and 12-speed HG cassettes, and both the 12 and 13-speed groups use a standard KMC style 12-speed chain. Got all that?
Rotor 1x13 Hydraulic Details
• 13-speed
• Hydraulic system
• Adjustable lever feel
• 10-52 tooth cassette
• Weight: 435-grams (derailleur / shifter / hose), 331-grams (cassette)
• MSRP: Base group w/ cranks & hubs: $1,800, shifter / derailleur: $999, 13s cassette: $415, 13s rear hub: $344
www.rotorbike.com

A 12-speed hydraulic group with a shifter, derailleur, chain, cranks, chainring, and 12-speed cassette sells for $1,400. The 13-speed group with front and rear hubs sells for $1,800, and the 13-speed group with Rotor's 2INpower cranks sells for $2,600. It's also possible to purchase items individually if, for instance, you don't need new cranks to go along with your fancy 13-speed drivetrain.

Why hydraulic? According to Rotor, they chose this type of closed system for its purported consistency and longevity...as long as it doesn’t spring a leak. Since there's no heat generated in a shift, the bleed interval can be, according to them, virtually indefinite. It also eliminates concerns about contamination, friction, and cable stretch. Additionally, the patent landscape was a little less cluttered and allowed Rotor more creative freedom to explore what they felt was the best way to make a shifter and derailleur.


Smoothly machined thumb lever.
The system is nearly fully closed, keeping out unwanted trail critters and debris.


Shifter

Rotor's hydraulic shifter has a removable second paddle, so riders can have a second position for shifting while riding with a different hand position on the bar. In practice, some riders may find it cumbersome, especially for riders used to the Shimano two-lever system, so there is the option of removing it. My test kit came with the lever removed, but the second paddle is still included in the groupset should you want it.

The shifter is much more basic than a mechanical shifter. It is merely a lever with a pin that pushes an actuator to drive fluid to the derailleur, which handles all shifting and indexing duties. Rotor's team claims that moving the indexing to the derailleur itself cuts down on the bulk and complexity of the lever and its replacement cost should you damage it in a crash. The lever itself works with MatchMaker style mounts and, like many MatchMaker style components, has two mounting holes, one more inboard than the other. Other than that, there's a bleed port on the lever just as there is on a brake for bleeding the system, with the other port being on the derailleur. The paddle for the lever is broad and smoothly machined.

A short push of the lever enables the derailleur to click into a harder gear. A longer push, on the other hand, shifts the derailleur into an easier gear. If you've ever ridden road bikes with a SRAM drivetrain, the action and feel are quite similar to that of the DoubleTap system they utilize. Check out the video below to see the Rotor shifter in action.

It doesn't get much more straightforward than this, lever pushes actuator, which forces fluid through the line.

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Derailleur & Cassette

The derailleur for the system is the same for Rotor's 12 and 13-speed groups. Indexing is managed in the derailleur, which is a closed system to keep things safe from the elements. All of the adjusting for the system also takes place here. There is a button on the outside of the derailleur that allows it to "go to origin," dropping the chain down to the small cog for easy wheel changes. Additionally, there is an upper and lower limit adjustment. With the indexing residing in the derailleur, if a rider breaks a line on the trail, the derailleur can be moved into a desirable gear by hand. It will stay there, hydraulic line or not.

The large knurled adjustment on the derailleur is designed so that the limit can be adjusted by hand. For b-tension, there is a stepped b-limit screw that is intended to correspond to various cassette sizes since the derailleur can also work with a road/gravel shifter and, therefore, a much smaller cassette if desired. The barrel adjuster where the cable feeds in controls the lever feel to give more or less feedback from the indexing, allowing for a more firm or softer click when actuated.

The cassette is machined out of steel and aluminum to keep weight down and provide durability in the smaller cogs. The cassette comes in several tooth options in both 12 and 13-speed, with the 10-52 tooth option delivering the widest range. The 13-speed cassette uses Rotor's 13-speed hub and will not fit on a standard 12-speed HG freehub.

The derailleur is compatible with most other 12-speed cassettes, and it's the same derailleur used in Rotor's road system. This makes the shifter and derailleur pretty darn compatible as a system when it comes down to it.

13 gears on a 10-52 tooth cassette that weighs in at a very light 331 grams

The feel of the lever is adjusted at the derailleur with this barrel adjuster.
The b-limit screw utilizes a stepped retainer with a screw that holds it in place. Rotor claims this allows the derailleur to accommodate a broad range of cassettes.


How does it Compare?

In looking at other high-end drivetrains, Rotor wins the battle for the number of gears, with 13. The gearing profile is also slightly different from both Shimano and SRAM's wide-range systems, which could appeal to some riders. If we break things down into dollars, the Rotor drivetrain, consisting of the shifter, derailleur, and cassette, costs $1,414 when bought a la carte and weighs 766g. Lighter than SRAM's XX1 Eagle, Eagle AXS, and Shimano's XTR groups when you factor in a gear cable's weight. It's the highest price per gram at $1.85 per gram, nearly a dollar more than Shimano's XTR, which is $0.94 per gram. That extra gear is expensive but, at $108.77 per gear, it's still less than the $112.42 that SRAM's electronic AXS group goes for.



Installation

Installing the hydraulic drivetrain was surprisingly straightforward. Despite some initial hesitation, cutting the line and bleeding the system was a simple process, no different than bleeding a hydraulic brake. Set the limits, b-tension, lever feel, and you're on your way. In all, after doing it once, I could set up the system nearly as fast as installing a cable fed derailleur and bleeding a brake if I had to do it again.

While the installation was simple, the included instructions were not very helpful. It took a call to Rotor to understand how to make everything work as it should. The process is simple, but the manual was lacking. The instructional videos on Rotor's website are more geared towards the road system. This was confusing and not confidence-inspiring. While the instructions do carry over to the mountain drivetrain, I needed some reassurance.

The adjustment barrel at the end of the derailleur is used to change the feel of the lever. Twisting it in makes the shifter more firm and indexed while dialing it out creates a much lighter action. While bleeding the system, the dial should remain centered, according to the instructions.

The limit screws were easy to adjust. However, the knurled dial, which is made to be "tool-free," according to Rotor, wasn't always easy to move and it took using a T-30 to adjust it, a tool not very common on most multi-tools.




Performance

The system takes some getting used to, but it became more intuitive over the test period. Only when the barrel adjuster on the derailleur was fully dialed into the firmest setting, where the shifter's click is most prevalent, could I consistently and successfully shift how I wanted. However, I would still occasionally find myself missing a shift here and there. The ergonomics of the lever feel nice, but there's a lot of throw required to push the lever in. The shifter works similar to SRAM's double-tap road bike shifting system, where a small click/short shift drops down a gear, and a larger click/long shift goes back up.

Even with the shifter as firm as it goes, the feeling is sort of vague and takes a very long throw. This led to some rough shifts at times when I didn't push quite far enough. The inability to shift more than one gear at once, coupled with the shifter's long throw, makes for quite the thumb workout. Miss a shift and, at times, the chain would want to jump, usually down a large span of gears, but it would quickly find its way back to where it was supposed to go with another push. The only time this presented an issue was in slower, more technical terrain where that easier gear was crucial in cleaning a line on a climb.

The derailleur, which houses all of the shifting mechanisms in addition to standard derailleur duty, worked exactly as it should throughout the test period. The amount of tension on the cage felt a bit low at times, especially in rough terrain, as there was more noise and more chain slap than I'm used to with standard S products. That aside, everything held together through many miles on the trail and at the bike park, often in wet conditions. Even with frequent cleanings and hosings, nothing required extra maintenance or a bit of tuning up in a time I would typically replace a gear cable.

The 10-52 tooth spread, which has now been matched by SRAM's new cassettes, provided plenty of range for steep climbs and fast descents. The jumps between gears are smaller than with a 12-speed cassette. It never felt as if I was over or underpowered - it was easy to find a comfortable spot with the gearing.



Pros

+ Lightweight
+ Low maintenance
+ 13-speeds, small gear jumps

Cons

- Shifting is vague
- Proprietary hub required for 13-speed cassette
- Still not quite as smooth as high-end SRAM or Shimano




Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesIt's fantastic to see brands pushing boundaries and bringing new products to market. Rotor's hydraulic drivetrain is an excellent example of precisely that. The overall system works well, but at this price point, it should be outstanding. The shifting is accurate, and the hydraulic mechanism creates a system that requires minimal maintenance. However, it feels vaguer than it should, and it still isn't as smooth as SRAM's XX1 or Shimano's XTR drivetrains. The proprietary hub doesn't add any points either, as its engagement is fairly low compared to many other high-end offerings out there - something someone dropping serious money on a drivetrain is likely also looking for. Daniel Sapp



301 Comments

  • 225 2
 Huh - no more faffing about with indexing and tiny gear cables? yes please... 'Looks at price' on second thoughts i really enjoying fiddling with my rear mech and having dinner every night
  • 20 70
flag DoubleCrownAddict (Oct 15, 2020 at 5:44) (Below Threshold)
 After watching the amount of shifting problems that happened during the Tour de France this year I'll never be interested in electronic shifting. They've had it for years now in pro racing, their mechanics work on the bikes every day, and it's still not reliable. Some of the road teams have quit using disc brakes in the tour, and once we see somebody lose the tour cause of bad electronics maybe they'll get smart and go back to cables.
  • 51 8
 @DoubleCrownAddict: The Roadies can do whatever they want. I'll stick with my AXS.
  • 15 3
 @DoubleCrownAddict: or better yet, fixies. Will we ever learn?
  • 85 2
 What most people don't realized is that this project was actually secretly funded by sram's marketing department because they were tired of axs being the most ridiculous, overpriced derailleur in existence. It is supposed to normalize drivetrains that cost thousands of dollars and make axs look sensible in comparison.
  • 22 2
 @DoubleCrownAddict: I don't follow road biking. However, '...road teams quit using disc brakes in the tour...'? What's the explanation there? Are road mechanics so inept they cannot tune, bleed, set up disk brakes? Disc brakes have been MTB standard for 20+ years. Zero mystery around disc brakes and there setup and maintenance. That one baffles me
  • 34 0
 @Grosey: it’s why I still ride a penny-farthing. Everything since has just been added complication, including the chain on your fixie.
  • 10 0
 @Hayek: Exactly. Check out the width on the penny-farthing hub. Boost has nothing on it...waaay ahead of it's time!
  • 11 1
 I'd MUCH rather mess with that than bleed my shifting. My LEAST favorite thing to do on a bike is fuck with fluids outside of a front fork. Also having the big old loop of cable ready to catch on things is DEFINITELY not something we need again in mtb.
  • 15 1
 @bman33: They did not stop using disc brakes, not sure where that came from. Also, I watched the tour this year and there were not tons of shifitng problems. There was concern over having 100+ wireless shifting systems in range of each other, crossing signals, but I never saw it have an impact beyond the usual mechanical issues (150 riders riding 150 miles a day for a month, they happen). Some riders don't use discs out of preference, and some bikes don't use them, like time trial bikes, for aero reasons (you can tuck the rim brakes into the frame). There are pushes to ban disc brakes for safetey reasons though, as it's a nice, hot, spinning blade when pile-up crashes happen.
  • 20 1
 @DoubleCrownAddict @bman33 @ hydrophobic

Clarifications- teams do not choose to not run disc brake bikes because of tuning issues or any safety concerns, its because it takes ages to take out a thru axle and replace a wheel in the event of a flat, and it can be very costly to lose this time depending on the situation of the race. Perfect examples of this at the Giro today, where teams were abandoning doing wheel changes because it was quicker to just change a whole bike. It was taking mechanics like 30 seconds to change a disc wheel, even with preset electronic torque wrenches to get the thru axle in quickly. Some teams choose against disc bikes (Jumbo visma most notably) just based on this concern.


As an aside can we stop acting like discs are a concern for cutting people in road race crashes? this has been pretty thoroughly debunked, and the road bike racers no longer believe this is a concern. This idea came from a crash a few years ago where a rider claimed to be cut by a disc, but it later turned out to be a chainring. There are ample videos of people trying to cut themselves or pieces of meat with disc rotors at 100+ RPM and not being successful. Road racers have been racing with discs for many years and crashing all the time without issues. The idea of disc rotors being a danger is a non-issue
  • 5 1
 @Hydrophobic: I remember reading about the push to ban due to the 'hot spinning disc' scenario. That said, is laughable honestly. I mean, what about the the concrete, asphalt itself, the endless chainrings with all the teeth on a pile up, etc. UCI has questionable motivation on bike regulations at times. Not quite luddite, but curious for sure.
  • 11 1
 @Gnarcoticsanonymous: Wait, what? Disk brakes require thru axles? Mountain bikes had qr wheels with disk brakes for years. I know nothing about road bikes, is there something about disk brakes that needs a thru axle? Or is it just that frames/forks built with disk brake mounts switched to thru axles around the same time? Fantastic username btw.
  • 1 3
 @bman33: Weight is the primary reason, teams who still have an option between rim or disc bikes tend to choose rim brakes as the bike weights a couple of hundred grams less. Also some don't want to change as they don't see any reason to go to the discs, something like why change it if it ain't broken,
  • 3 1
 @kcy4130: Depending on the dropout slot angle, the braking force from the rotor can leverage the axle out. Hence lawyers and through axles. Same issue if the skewers are not tightened down enough on the forks.
I bet this is more to do with brake drag after a quick wheel change.
  • 3 1
 @bman33: I heard that they find disc brakes to be a unique problem with high speeds + skinny road tires + road surface, it's very different from mtb or cx apparently, it's weird.
  • 16 1
 You guys are worried about faff but where I bike you are likely to rip that 1000 dollar derailleur off on a janky teeter totter or pinched between some gnarled roots that form the entrance to a manky rock root shoot. NO thank you. Easy to replace SLX derailleurs for best min max. Best yet if you accumulate enough broken derailleurs you can make a new one. 3:1 ratio broken to franken derailleur is about right.
  • 6 0
 @Hydrophobic: The good thing is wounds are inmediately cauterized! Smile
  • 3 0
 My xt slx deore combo seems about right
  • 8 0
 What about a gearbox front and 13 speed rear? For a total of 169 gears!
  • 4 0
 @NorCalNomad: "bleed my shifting" holy shit that sounds terrible!
  • 1 0
 @bman33: I am thinking it's all about weight on a road bike?
  • 2 0
 @jandm9002: wonder if anyone ever won a stage of the tour with no chain? That would be sick.
  • 1 0
 @Gnarcoticsanonymous: Yes I was aware of this and that's why I used it as an example.
  • 1 0
 Lol
  • 1 0
 @Gnarcoticsanonymous: there is also the added complication of not being able to use the free service wheels which I believe are all rim brakes and standard qr? Through axles and discs are great on paper and for us laymen but I can see how not being able to change a bad luck flat tire with the neutral service motor bike can cost a rider and team a race. It’s less a Luddite thing and more about practicality. I’m sure I remember just this situation happened on the tour this year?
  • 2 0
 @jandm9002: nope. Weight is limited you cannot go under 6.7kg I think. That is why they have room for electric shifting, power meter and whatever would never make sense on a race bike otherwise. Disc brakes would still make sense to me...
  • 1 0
 @Gnarcoticsanonymous: since several years they change the bike. Sometimes they change the wheel on the first bike, and the racer changes its bike again to get its favorite one. Crazy hey? They are so used to it for thousands km : saddle, micrometers for settings...
Troubled spirits would say it is also to charge the internal battery...
  • 205 1
 For this amount of cash I'd rather have AXS and get rid of cables for good.
  • 21 7
 I'm going to start 10 fake accounts just to upvote this comment more.
  • 14 1
 So true. With AXS you would get the added bonus of pretty much any shop being able to help you out should anything go wrong. My guess is, if something goes haywire and I take this to the LBS they are going to have no idea what to do.
  • 44 4
 For this amount of cash I'd rather have X01 mechanical, with spares, and get rid of batteries all together.
  • 6 3
 Yes. A+ for the idea here, but the future is electronic shifting and actuation.
  • 11 0
 Right? Plus 13 speed is unnecessary to begin with. A lot of people find 11 speed to be perfect. I'm waiting for gear boxes.
  • 6 0
 @mtmc99: eh they’d probably just YouTube it or check out the Rotor website. I worked at a pretty high end shop and that’s what we’d do every time new tech came out.
  • 5 0
 @stumphumper92: right? focus on gearboxes and maybe we can get ride of derailleurs. I look forward to a super simple gearbox hardtail for winter abuse.
  • 9 1
 Yeti: "switch infinity!"
SRAM: "wireless dropper!"
Fox: "live valve!"
Rotor: "hold my Rioja!"
  • 7 0
 For this amount of cash,I'll buy a very nice lightly used bike. With better working drivetrain.
  • 1 0
 @diegosk: fair enough. Most mechanics can probably get it figured out (assuming its roughly similar to things they've done in the past) but I assume something they are doing for the 1000x time will be done quicker and better than something they are learning on the fly.

Then again most people who buy this probably are doing all their own work so its a moot point.
  • 2 1
 @TheR: : not my future. I'll stiock up on mechanical XT for the rest of my life if necessary
  • 1 0
 @lenniDK: If things get so wacko that I can't get mechanical derailleurs I have enough parts that with a little 3D printing I can make new cages, hangers, and pullies.
  • 1 0
 I spent like $400 on an Archer D1x. Is the ability to use any derailer with any cassette and forget about cable stretch enough to ignore having to charge batteries and remember to power on my shifting before I start to pedal? I say yes, but then again I'm the tool who bought the thing, what else am I going to say?

I do like the cleaner handlebar setup, and the electric bits are tucked up and safe from harm. So I've got that going for me. :-)
  • 1 0
 @lenniDK: I understand your preference, but the reality will be that in less than 10 yearS, electronic shifting will be the default on high end bikes. It will be cheaper and work really well. It will be way more mainstream before everyone’s gearbox pipe dream.
  • 1 0
 @JakeEPooh: Do you like it?
  • 1 1
 Why buy wireless bullshit if you could just keep your bike electronic free?
  • 1 0
 @Thirty3: Yeah, man, I really do. I'm a sucker for fringe tech though. I mean, I wanted a Trust Shout fork for a while, and I'm probably going to buy a Structure as soon as they make one with 29" wheels.
  • 2 0
 @BenTheSwabian: Because life needs more complexity, expense, and batteries!
  • 1 0
 @diegosk: Rohloff with 148 and thru-axles, please! Oh, and shed a few grams.
  • 123 1
 13 speed drivetrain? I don't beleed it
  • 75 0
 I hear that Shimano considered it, but then piston the idea.
  • 11 1
 Bleedin idiots
  • 50 0
 SRAM prototype leaking out soon
  • 13 3
 Hydraulic!? Well oil beef hooked!
  • 15 0
 I wonder hose gonna buy this
  • 4 18
flag bwcyyc (Oct 15, 2020 at 7:36) (Below Threshold)
 Campagnolo just came out with 13 speed for gravel bikes (Ekar). It looks great and reviews are solid.
  • 7 0
 I'm gonna lever with ya. Oil never buy this.
  • 1 0
 @bigtim: NICE ONE
  • 1 2
 @bigtim: they didnt just consider it, they made a pneumatic system like 20 years ago. didnt end up going anywhere with it. figuratively. literally.
  • 3 0
 @atwyrrk: Shimano airlines, I remember it well, it was used on the DH circuit for a few years. Turned out they couldn't handle the pressure from consumers wanting it.....
  • 1 0
 @bigtim: it was only feasible for a DH run due to the limited amount of pressurized air that could be carried. That and a host of other limitations. I appreciate the experimentation though.
  • 111 2
 This will be outdated in two years. I'm going to throw this out there, and I know it sounds crazy but hear me out. 14 speed. It's like 13, but more.
  • 103 0
 Some day we'll probably need a second chainring up front to keep up with having more speeds.
  • 11 0
 @jaame If you're not happy with the first 13 sprockets, we're gonna send you the extra sprocket free. You see? That's it. That's our motto. That's where we're comin' from. That's from "A" to "B"
  • 12 1
 I think 8 to 10 speeds with wide range would do the trick for me.
  • 12 0
 @abzillah: Sooooooo.... 9?
  • 7 0
 @abzillah: I think M5100 groupset will do the job perfectly: old and dear shimano hub, 11sp, 11-51 range with great regular spacing Wink ...I'm thinking about DOWNgrading soon too.
  • 4 0
 @jaame Can it at least have bluetooth?
  • 4 1
 If 13 requires a proprietary hub they may as well have gone 14. Maybe they're saving it for next year so they can sell it as an 'upgrade'.
  • 1 0
 Nooo waaay!
  • 1 1
 @Neechy: yea cool idea, but if this worked I'm sure somebody would already do this...
  • 2 0
 @abzillah: Warp speed! Make it so...
  • 1 0
 Moar
  • 1 0
 @tremeer023: iPhone business model anyone?
  • 17 0
 @tremeer023: wait for the 10-61 15sp cassette, that requires a proprietary 32" wheel because the derailleur touch the ground
  • 3 0
 Just cram them in there!
  • 4 0
 @PhillipJ: "Here's the report from Engineering. Someone put it in the bathroom: I want to wipe my ass with it."
  • 2 0
 6 minute abs.
  • 1 0
 @Neechy: OMG are you saying I could add a chainring and have 26 sPEedS!!?!? Oh wait, my 1991 Diamondback came with 24 - what the hell happened?
  • 67 0
 "Rotor's team claims that moving the indexing to the derailleur itself cuts down on the bulk and complexity of the lever and its replacement cost should you damage it in a crash."

Move it to the more frequently damaged derailleur instead. Makes sense
  • 20 0
 And that barrel adjustment is hanging off the back asking to get snapped off.
  • 12 0
 Seriously, this is complete BS from Rotor, there is no way that a shifter lever is more likely to get damaged than the mech.
  • 5 14
flag RonSauce (Oct 15, 2020 at 3:59) (Below Threshold)
 @tonit91: Ive never broken a mech, ive broken plenty of stuff in the cockpit. Ive broken a hanger, never a mech.
  • 21 0
 @RonSauce: PB poll please. I've had at least 6 mechs on the same shifter and I'll bet anything that's more likely to be the trend.
  • 3 2
 @BenPea: I'm tall, most of the time its knees during a crash. I dont ride with anyone who has actually broken a derailleur, but a few guys with damaged shifters. I ripped my derailleur clean off twice, new hanger and back in business, I didn't even change the cable or anything. My much looks like it survived a few knife fights but shifts like a champion.

Obviously we all ride different, and presumably crash different. I'd be interested in a poll.
  • 2 1
 I've broken a couple shifters however were talking a long time ago. When bartops were all the rage I snapped one and in the early days of under bar shifting I smashed my knee on the underside of the bars and took a shifter out. This convinced me to go to gripshift back in like 1994, which I then rode until about 2017 when I switched to XT 11sp. Now my fat bike and commuter still use formerly retired 9 and 10 speed gripshift systems. But I still haven't damaged a shifter since like 1994. I've wrecked a bunch of rear deraillures in that time though.
  • 2 1
 @RonSauce: in the last three months I've replaced close to five broken derailleurs to every one broken shifter and that's being generous with my estimates.
  • 4 0
 @lifeofloon: As a former mechanic I would agree that's about the failure rate for mountain bikes. With road bikes it's probably more commonly the shifter.

13 speeds and indexing on the derailleur, what's not to hate?
  • 2 0
 @RonSauce: Broken Mech coming right up now you've said that
  • 1 0
 Roadies do take out shifters, but they hammer some deraillures toI
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: I’m the same, I’ve definitely broken several hangers, but my xx1 11sp I bought 5yr ago is still good, looks like I threw it in the dryer with rocks and shit though.

Have probably only broken one shifter in 10yrs tho
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: Yeah, with matchmaker that shifter is tucked well under the brake lever. I have bent the shit out of a dropper lever with my knee, so I get how you could break a plastic shifter that way...
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: yep, max out the shifter that sits 4 feet off the deck nice and safe in my hands vs the dangly exposed genitals of the bike that frequently get smashed
  • 1 1
 Two shifters for me, no derailleurs, many many hangers.
  • 2 0
 I think more realistically the indexing NEEDS to be at the derailleur because, as anyone who has ever ridden a Reverb in the cold will tell you, temperature variations cause significant fluid swelling/shrinkage, which would totally mess up the shifting if the indexing was at the shifter. On that note @danielsapp was this system ever tested in the cold?
  • 1 0
 @Socket: confused. Is the derailleur heated? Cold fluid in the line constricts and becomes more viscous, seals harden, and the same trigger push at the shifter would not have the same effect with the same force and speed. The whole system is exposed and much like brakes and, if you are unfortunate enough to have a reverb, dropper post as well. In my mind it doesn't matter where the indexing is the fact that you have used hydraulics for this task means it be susceptible to failure in the cold.
  • 1 0
 @monsieurgage: derailleur isn't heated but if the indexing is at the derailleur, fluid expansion/contraction (within reasonable limits) would mean you just push the paddle further or less far to get it to shift. If the indexing is at the shifter, expansion/contraction of the fluid would mean that the derailleur is moving relative to the indexing at the shifter, which is the same as adjusting the barrel adjuster. But yeah given that Reverbs stop working entirely in the cold (if bled at room temperature) I share your concern.
  • 1 0
 Shimano tried indexing in the deraillure years ago, so did Huret. It was too fiddley and was influenced by any movement in the hanger. I think Suntour were the first to index in the shifter, plus they developed the parallelogram deraillure that made proper indexing possible.
  • 1 0
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: look, I think we all agree it's a ridiculous idea, as well as costing more than I'm about to get for my car. And for what? Not as good as high end Shimano and Sram is the verdict. Plus what the other guy said about bike genitals.
  • 3 0
 @RonSauce: so you ride somewhere with relatively few rocks to catch your mech on, but still go OTB a lot?
  • 1 0
 @SPKeen: no, I've only gone OTB a handful of times, it happens when you go fast. I just don't use a frail mech. If you read, you would see ive ripped mechs off, ive just never had it not work afterwards.
  • 1 1
 @RonSauce: you’ve only gone OTB a handful of times but you’ve broken plenty of stuff in the cockpit?
  • 2 0
 @SPKeen: can break shifters brake levers and dropper lever pretty easily low siding
  • 1 0
 @nvranka: ouch low slides into rocks and things that get so far beyond the leading wheel and fork that they break cockpit parts likely break bones and other body parts too.
  • 1 0
 @SPKeen: huh? It’s not a low slide, it’s a low side. And there are a million ways you could catch a lever or knee something on your cockpit, doesn’t need to be treacherous terrain
  • 1 0
 @nvranka: I’ve hurt my knee plenty of times banging something into the cockpit, never broke anything but my knee. I don’t follow you either. Must be late enough to call it a night.
  • 3 0
 @SPKeen: you’re a lost cause lmao.
  • 1 0
 @tonit91: Well, for 2 years I have damaged 1 shifter (because handlebar collision with frame) and 0 mechs Wink
  • 2 0
 Why do you need people to keep explaining to you how shifters break? They break. I guess ill formally apologize to the whole pinkbike community for not breaking derailleurs. Im sorry everybody, ill try to avoid rocks less.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: just a funny point I thought, didn’t mean any offense to anyone but if you make a comment about never breaking a derailleur on a mtb forum you might expect a few questions.
  • 51 0
 Guess the shifting isn't very fluid.
  • 45 0
 5 gear maximum range

1- an easy gear but not piss easy so you know you have a fall back for the really hard stuff
2- the fall back
3- the playing around gear pretending you’re a bmxer
4- a gear for cranking
5- a gear for cranking real hard

*1 and 2 would obviously be switched places on the actually cassette
  • 7 0
 I want that more than anything
  • 3 0
 Like I said above, M5100 groupset will do the job: old shimano hub, 11sp, 11-51 range with the right regular spacing ...I think it's the best downgrade we can pretend, and it also costs almost nothing!
  • 6 0
 I think 8 would be great. And it rhymes!

I have a 10-51 Slx with XT shifter and most of the time up shift two gears with it. It’s a bit much with a 2 gear gap but a gear and a half would be an ideal gap for my non-racing, non-stravaing, non-caring, 29+ steel hardtailing self.
  • 1 0
 apply for a patent immediately!
  • 1 1
 @Andykmn: I perfectly understand you! But in the wide range scenario I think M5100 is the only sensed choice... Maybe M4100, but you have the stupid thing of the bad spacing:
11-42 cassette = 11-13-15-18-21-24-28-32-37-42
11-46 cassette = 11-13-15-18-21-24-28-32-37-46
So.. here you're obliged to use the 42 and the range remains small Frown
  • 2 0
 @Molesdigmyjumps, Perfect. I'm actually considering going back to gears (from SS) now that there are more DH 7 speed close ratio options on the market:
Smaller more subtle cassette, short cage mech that isn't going to flap around or get snagged, shorter chain, overall lighter weight and if you (really) need to pedal up steep hills, just stand the f**k up and pedal slowly.
  • 11 0
 I'm still on 32 x 10-42. If I can't climb the hill it means that I have exaggerated with chocolate and that I should lose some weight. Not that I need one more granny gear
  • 1 0
 @pakleni: I had the same setup as you, then I slapped on a 28t chainring and can climb up anything. It's like eagle, but wayyyyy cheaper!
  • 2 0
 @Andykmn: I've actually found a cassette for you: 10speed and good spacing: www.probikeshop.it/cassetta-10v-msc-bikes-2-spider-nero/148701.html same price as shimano M4100 Wink
  • 1 0
 Yeah, it’s a b*tch even to get 11-speed to shift good. On the other hand, I haven’t adjusted my 9-speed in years, and it shifts perfectly every time.
  • 1 0
 I'm on the Advent 8-speed, which is 12-42, and will buy the Acolyte 8-speed cassette as soon as it is available at 12-46. On my local trails 42 has been ok and if I had 46 I would likely lose traction and end up walking anyway but there are some trails in a 3.5 hour radius that the 46 would be welcome.

That said, when down shifting I usually down shift two at a time. So the 5 speed seems appropriate. But I would say I up shift 1 at a time to keep a low cadence. So that is a ding against 5 speed. The other thing is you need the right 5 speeds for a given trail. With 9 or 10 speeds, you should be able to find that sweet spot on any given trail. With 5 you are going to be compromised on most trails.

Personally, I really like the spacing on the Box 9-speed cassettes over the Microshift (they have the 37 to 46 jump) but the Microshift are like half the price or less. I don't need close 11-13-15 on trails. I basically never use those. It could probably go 12-16 and give me more middle range and more easy gears to choose from.
  • 1 0
 @pakleni: 10-42 w. 34 oval and no chocolate works
  • 2 0
 Does this system come with a modular front ring for when my legs slowly get tired and I need to make all 5 of these gears easier? If only there was some sort of system that let me shift between front rings...

My old Raleigh road bike with a 2x5 drivetrain is pretty much what you're describing, lol
  • 2 0
 you have described a 7 speed DH cassette with two large dinner plates on it
  • 2 1
 Personally, I love having 12 and see no reason to ever go back to less gears unless I am so broke that I am riding a Walmart bike. I would happily run more gears, and my next cassette will be the 10-52 XO1.

I eat a lot of chocolate. But at 65Kg and a high w/Kg, it isn't because I am weak. I just climb and descend big mountains.
  • 1 0
 Make it 10 and I'm in.
  • 23 0
 First though as I saw this was why guiding the cable, I mean the hose, the same way as you would on a traditional shifter where it is prone to get smashed / ripped ? Why not guiding it more directly to the derailleur to make the whole system more compact ?
  • 3 0
 Now that you mention it, that is super weird. They could run the hose directly from the top into the derailer, no need for any kind of loop.
  • 7 0
 They thought outside the box, but only a little bit.
  • 3 0
 Totally agree and that was what I also thought first. Why the hell would they route the hose that way on a clean-sheet design?? I hate that big loop routing even for a cable, but that routing is mostly gone on any reasonably modern derailleur. I haven't broken many derailleurs, but I've definitely snagged that big loop many times and ripped off a cable or three.
  • 1 0
 Actually looks like the hose is connected via a banjo bolt. I probably does not need to be sticking straight back, hard to tell how far it can rotate though. Still, they could have gone with a more elegant solution given the price and flexibility they could have had with the design.
  • 19 2
 Why is there a need for Hydro gears? Cable works fine, same for droppers. The only need to for Hydro is brakes, as you want the force you are applying to carry through to the brakes, you don't need to apply force to a shifter or dropper, it just adds complexity
  • 9 13
flag n734535 (Oct 15, 2020 at 2:30) (Below Threshold)
 There isn't a need, you don't need a mountain bike at all, you can just walk up and down the trails. This is just different, it has different pros and cons. Options are good. In this case the price to performance ratio appears to be absolutely terrible, but in general changing cables on a bike with internal routing is a moderate faff and in theory with hydraulic shifting you wouldn't ever have to do that.
  • 30 0
 @n734535: Yeah, finally hydraulics can save me the 4 minutes I spend every 2 years swapping a cable. Faff avoided, now to figure out what to do with all this free time... looks like I just wasted it on this comment.
  • 4 1
 Hydro brakes are more about smoothness than power. The camming action in a mechanical disc brake provides a huge mechanical advantage, potentially the same or more than a hydraulic brake. The downside is the friction of the cable, not the power.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: Hydraulic lines have much less flex than even compressionless cable housing and are therefore more capable of delivering a precise amount of available power. Also, the square edge seals in hydraulic calipers allow the piston to advance to take up pad wear in brake systems with a fluid reservoir (pretty much all of them these days). This provides consistent power and modulation throughout the lifespan of the pads without the need to readjust.

Living somewhere where it gets proper cold, mechanical brakes (with sealed housing) provide better winter performance as they are not subject to seals hardening in the cold. My commuter and fat bike stop with TRP's Spyre and Spike respectively, but all of the rest of my bikes are hydro for braking (with the exception of a couple older roadies).
  • 2 0
 @mechaNICK: Yeah, that's what I said. Hydro is good for smoothness/precision/consistency of actuation, but not necessarily more power.
  • 1 0
 The hydraulic dropper might have once made sense for frames with absolutely terrible cable routing. You don’t get additional cable friction from bends.
  • 18 1
 "Cons- Shifting is vague"

Let me stop you right there. If I pay $1400 for a for a shifter there is no way in hell that it should feel "vague." I'm all for innovation, but this is another classic example of the MTB industry spoon feeding us something we don't want. On a road bike, where I'm less likely to shave my derailleur off the bike and grenade, sure! Hydraulic shift all you want. Don't make things complicated just for the sake of being different. Simple solutions are elegant and I'll always appreciate them.
  • 7 5
 "this is another classic example of the MTB industry spoon feeding us something we don't want."

Yes, along with BB30, Super Boost 157, and 28.99 spindles. A big F#CK YOU to all the over- innovators.
  • 4 1
 @karoliusz: mtb wolrd seems to be a great place for selling totally half assed engineering with a premium price
  • 4 1
 Ah, yes, Rotor Componentes Tecnológicos SL, the Umbrella Corp of the Bike Industry, also know as Evil Empire, headed by Darth -someone-, surpassed by evilness only by Amazon.com and Darth Bezos...guys, really?
  • 2 0
 @Milko3D: Changing standards every year or two with no measurable improvement in performance, making perfectly functional designs obsolete is, in fact, pretty lame. Let me ask you this: Do you want this? Do you want a shift mechanism that you need to bleed, that costs well over $1000, that does NOT deliver clean crisp shifts? Do you prefer it over your cable (or electronically, if you're fancy) actuated shifter? The bike industry has really latched onto this idea of creating obsolescence by changing standards, not producing better technology, and that's a problem for the consumer. Shouldn't have to explain this.
  • 2 0
 They made this complicated to avoid stepping on patents. At the current price and performance level ("vague"), they will only sell a few of these. We don't need to tell Rotor this is a bad idea in the comments section of PB. The market will tell them loud and clear. If it's a just-past-prototype first effort and leads to a better version in 2 years that's 1/3 the price and shifts better than anything else, it's probably worth Rotor taking their lumps now.
  • 3 0
 @zachyc: Yes, fair enough, but I don't think that's the same really.

If this was SRAM or Shimano, introducing hydro shifters and phasing everything else out, then okay.
Rotor is a small player in comparison, like you said, not many people will get on board, but it's out there.

I don't know why even mention the price, this isn't for a conventional everyday rider, if course it won't compete on price or performance...yet.
How expensive were early carbon bikes, heck, how expensive (and shitty) were early hydraulic brakes, or suspension of any kind.
Better technology doesn't just magically appear, it's a product of iterations over years...I don't have to explain this Razz

Maybe, version 2, 3 will be cheaper and better performing? Smile
  • 1 0
 @Milko3D: To be fair, I'm not really into the big brands doing this either, but it does seems to be easier for them to get away with it. I definitely understand the iterative process of innovation, my issue is with the economics of it all. First you identify what a market needs, which is the step that a lot of the innovating companies seem to skip. I want great tech for my bike, just like everybody else, and if it's a good idea, I'll even buy some if the first generations to support the company. But this isn't that, and my issue is that there does not seem be a "shit idea" filter at any of these product meetings, so here I am. Bitching about something that doesn't matter. On the internet.
  • 1 0
 @zachyc: I see your point, and it’s a good one.

Here’s a thought experiment-
Imagine you were a relatively small components brand, how would you approach the issue?

You want to enter the drivetrain market, it isn’t your key component but you want to diversify. Being a smaller brand r&d time and resources are limited.

I’ll tell you how I would after.
This is no argument, I’m just curious about how you think.
  • 1 0
 @Milko3D: As someone mentioned above, the patents on shifting components and tech are pretty extensive, so it's a really hard aspect of the market to innovate in to begin with.

I think to start to make components or pieces that improve existing tech would be an excellent starting point. Get your brand out there and make it known that you are producing quality parts. The Wolf Tooth conversion kit for the reverb comes to mind. In terms of the drive train market, perhaps that proverbial foot in the door could look something like a self setting b limit screw. Why? Because maybe you have a bike with adjustable travel bike and you want to make sure that the b limit is properly set for all geo configurations. Ridiculous, I know but I'm trying to come up with an industry revolutionizing idea on the fly here.

But I think you get my point. Rather than jumping in with both feet, test the waters, make some small parts that make existing parts better, and go from there. Obviously this is all easier said than done, but I'd like to think that's a logical progression.

What would your approach be?
  • 20 0
 price per gear lol
  • 18 1
 1400 $ for a derailleur that looks like a Shimano tourney.. Niceee
  • 14 2
 You thought having a hydraulically actuated dropper post was shitty enough?
No?
Here we present you a hydraulic drivetrain!

Already looking forward to:" Sry I can't ride today, my derailleur is sagging, I need to bleed it first"
"Sry I can't ride, I shifted so fast, I got shifting-fade"
  • 5 4
 I can bet at least one of your buddies on every ride has a grinding chain or a low gear that can't be reached or a falling chain or has to shift twice up for one gear change or won't shift down on occasion. It's not like cable derailleurs are perfect and worry free, if anything they take constant maintenance to operate properly.
  • 3 0
 @Milko3D: maybe you have other issues besides the cables. I pretty much never have to mess with my shift cables. Maybe a quick adjustment once or twice after a new cable or housing, which is not often. The only times I have issues are if something on the derailleur gets bent or comes loose which would still be a problem with hydro. I would much rather deal with replacing a cable than having another hydraulic system to bleed.
  • 1 0
 @shami: You may be right, and since I had the same issue with my previous two bikes the problem might as well be me, not denying it. Even so, I'm not alone in my misery, and hydro (once reliably shifting) might be a solution to some of it.

Check this out youtu.be/WvKxdd6mnVA?t=205
from the last round of team videos.
If it wasn't a fragile and fiddly component they wouldn't have to replace it every time. So it certainly ain't perfect.
  • 1 0
 @Milko3D: No doubt the shifter/ derailleur is a finicky system, that's why people on here have been pining for gearbox systems for years, but switching from a cable to hydro isn't necessarily going to make the derailleur any less fragile and fiddly, it's only trading one inconvenience for another. I'm all for innovation and improvement but there's a reason only one company has a hydraulically activated seat post, which has very few aftermarket sales, and other companies offer a conversion to make it cable activated. Hydraulics work really well until they don't and then they can be a huge pain in the ass. For every rider out there having shifting issues there's at least one or more having inconsistent brake performance or bleed issued with their reverb. I would rather mess with a shift cable issue on the trail than another hydraulic system.
  • 3 0
 @shami: "it's only trading one inconvenience for another." spot on I suppose, to each their own, we shall speak again when this is either dead or further improved Smile
  • 14 1
 Who buys something like this?
  • 18 19
 Santa cruz and yeti owners.
  • 8 0
 Someone with a lot of money and lack of common sense.
  • 15 3
 Maybe all of us in 10 years!
  • 2 10
flag Milko3D (Oct 15, 2020 at 4:07) (Below Threshold)
 I for one hate cables and derailleurs! I hope hydro succeeds and becomes reliable, boring and standard. For now I'd leave it to the early adopters though. It's so frustrating that it takes 2-3 rough rides for my cable shifting to be out of tune after it has been setup by a pro at a workshop, if I do it myself it takes 1 or 2. Then unless I start over and spend an hour setting it up it never feels right with small fix attempts.
  • 2 0
 people who have money to set on fire
  • 4 1
 @Milko3D: You hate cables but want hydro so you have to bleed that as well?
The only real replacement for cables is IMO, AXS.
  • 2 1
 @Milko3D: you on sram. Sounds like every sram iv ever had.
  • 3 1
 @tonit91: Sure, once a season if that, also, bleeding might be a bit messier, but you do it and it's good to go for another year. AXS is cool, but batteries aren't, yet.

@markg1150: Indeed I am.
  • 2 0
 @Milko3D: If "rough rides" are messing up your shifting, I think you need a new derailleur hanger (which maybe means a new frame if the whole hanger system is really bad). Roughness isn't going to do anything to a cable, but if the mech's mount (the hanger) is moving around, that would effect things.
  • 2 2
 @just6979: Sure it does, the whole system relies on the exact cable tension. Take two fingers and bend the cable and your shifting will change!
In contrast, you can tie your brake cable into a knot and as long as the fluid can go through you will stop.

Of course vibrations and any bit of miss-alignment are part of if, and you have a point, if a new hanger doesn't do it reliably for me it could as well be the frame. I'll check the eyelet and the rest next time it goes out of tune Smile
  • 1 0
 @Milko3D: I think your shifting might have an underlying problem that’s not being addressed by the tune up. It should last far longer than 2-3 rides. Is there a kink in the cable? Have you tried replacing and re-placing the cables?

Good luck. I’ve been in a similar situation and it was incredibly frustrating. So frustrating that I ended up getting a Di2 to solve once and for all. Butter smooth now every time. The only problem is I now have cable(less) envy towards AXS.
  • 2 0
 @Milko3D: Shifter cables are designed specifically not to change length when bent, that's the whole point. See www.sheldonbrown.com/cables.html for more about compressionless housing. If moderate bending effected it, you would get ghost shifts whenever you turn the handlebars a lot. Sure, if you crank on it and bend the housing severely, the effective length can change and effect a shift. But in normal, even rough, operation a bike should not be bending and unbending the cable that much. Pretty shitty design if it does.

In contrast, as you said, that skinny hydraulic hose on this thing could go thtough some pretty tight bending and unbending and not care, and would actually make for a slick super stealth routing, perhaps through the bars and stem.
  • 2 1
 @just6979: Yes, length is harder to change, however you can easily stop it from moving when bent. I got your point though.

Anyway, we'll see where this goes, could be nowhere or it could become the new normal in a handful of years and versions, just like many other things we take for granted.

@Jmorgue: Haha, I'll try Shimano next and see how it goes. Cheers!

Peace out Smile
  • 1 0
 @Jmorgue: @just6979

Guys, I've replaced the whole drivetrain.
Shifting is as expected - like clockwork...until I bang the mech out of shape again Smile

Cheers!
  • 12 1
 I’d rather eat Trumps ass than have to bleed my shifter every time I clap my derailleur
  • 5 0
 Why in the hell did they design the hydraulic line to loop like a cable? The whole point of the loop exiting the frame to the derailleur is because you cannot have tight bends without introducing friction with a cable.

That is entirely unnecessary with a hydraulic line, and they missed an opportunity to tuck it neatly away, so you don’t worry about ripping it out. Foolish decision, considering that is a weak link.
  • 1 0
 The shown example is just built with no knowledge. The fitting can be turned in any degree, so the hise goes inline what ever angle is desired ;0) (..who cares anyway ey)
Cheers
  • 1 0
 You still need some slack to accommodate suspension movement, hydraulic, electric, or cable, you can still tear the line off the derailleur.
  • 1 0
 @nurseben: True, but it‘s easy to check the amount of needed length and adjust therefor. At least on my Enduro it was easy. But again, it‘s still the system which isn‘t worth it ;o)
  • 5 0
 Hydraulics are great when you want to convert a small force (finger) into a large force (brake). Not so worthwhile when you need similar forces and similar actuation distances (shifters and mechs).
  • 3 0
 I testet it ‚real life‘ on a 170mm travel endurobike. Either in fast or slow/technical terrain, the derailleur will shift to the smallest sproket/biggest gear every now and then, without any taping the shifter paddle. Very annoying. Chainslap also is a big issue. The B- tension system is a joke, not functionnal on a mtb. In my opinion the system isn‘t usesble for ‚real‘ mt-biking. Sure it‘s leakproof and never needed a rebleed. Maybe it will its way in the gravelbike market. Props for trying to do something different.
  • 6 0
 No thanks. I am perfectly happy with my simple but good 10-speed advent x drivetrain, paired with an 11-51 casstette.
  • 5 0
 It is interesting to see other companies solution to the same problem. Admittedly, this "solution" is not going to get me off my Microshift Advent drivetrain.
  • 3 0
 Amazing but, unfortunatelly they're 7 or 10 years late, if it was invented and produced when cabling shifters was the only option on market, would be a greate success. Today's wireless or eletronically shifted derailleurs tend to get more and more cheap with better acceptance compared with this hydraulical one. Honest opinion...
  • 4 0
 It's the same as with AXS (and any other expensive derailleur):
Why would you wanna attach a 500$ piece of tech to the place where it gets banged the most?
Maybe for roadies...
  • 3 0
 Honestly after trying the new shimano 12 speed, I've decided that there's no reason for companies to continue to develop 13 speed drivetrains or wider range drivetrains unless they can match the ability to shift under load like shimano 12 speed.
  • 3 0
 I love these sort of advances: More expensive, not as good as less expensive choices, no real advantage other than being different.

I love Shimano XT 12sp, works well, durable, cheap.

If I want to be different I'll get a tattoo.
  • 10 0
 If you want be different, don't get a tattoo.
  • 1 0
 @woofer2609: true, sad but true.

As an old guy, pre tat gen, I fortunately never got a tattoo, though I have plenty of scars
  • 5 0
 I thought my 4-piston XTR brakes were expensive but then I did a price per piston comparison against the 2-piston brakes and I came out way ahead.
  • 1 0
 ^ this guy gets it.
  • 3 0
 Price per gram is not a super useful metric, since it will go up with high price (bad), but also with low weight (good). Thus, it doesn't really give you a good sense of value unless you're trying to buy the heaviest drivetrain for the lowest amount of money. It would be better to do, say, price per weight reduction versus a benchmark.
  • 5 0
 Great to see some innovation. But surely a push to change 3-4 gears at once and a release makes more sense?
  • 1 0
 Indeed. I can't think I'll ever get used to (or enjoy) Sram's "double-push" style of road shifting. It might work well when setup properly but it's awful to try to trouble-shoot or fine tune. Not sure if Rotor's setup is any better, but the whole "push a little then push some more" is unappealing to me.
  • 2 0
 Using the idea of SRAM's double tap set up to sell it isn't a great start! It's awful! Although not nearly as bad as the total and utter B0110X that is SRAM's electric road set up, where to change on the front derailleur, you have to hold both brake levers in at exactly the same time! Amazing!
  • 6 0
 .... but how does it compare to Shimano Airlines?!
  • 7 1
 Who the fuck would buy this shit
  • 1 0
 Someone should make a El Risitas meme for this.
  • 2 0
 "they chose this type of closed system for its purported consistency and longevity... [...] It also eliminates concerns about contamination"

"which is a closed system to keep things safe from the elements"

I think there is some confusion on what a "closed" system means. All our modern hydraulic brakes are closed off to the elements, but they use an "open" system to allow the reservoir to add fluid into the system as the pads wear and the system capacity increases. Early brakes used a "closed" system with no reservoir where pad wear was handled by manually adding fluid to the system. But even a "closed" system still has (imperfect) seals that can allow water and other contaminants in. This system likely has fewer and smaller sealed surface area, which reduces the potential for contamination, but the fact that it is "closed" alone does not make it more resilient to contamination.
  • 2 0
 So we've got the most gears, very close jumps, and a super-long-throw lever that can only shift one at a time. That's really the beginning and end of the discussion. I'll never get on with cable hate. Pair good cables and nosed ferrules with a full-length housing and the maintenance is essentially nothing. No seals, no bleeds, no batteries or computers, and if something does go awry, super easy to troubleshoot.
  • 2 0
 Why didn’t you throw a SRAM cassette and Shimano cassette on the back to see how they work (since they’re supposed to)?? The whole kit is hella spendy, but if you could just run a shifter/derailleur combo, that would change the equation for a lot of riders.
  • 2 0
 This kind of thing fascinates me: at what point did they realize this thing was going to cost $2k? Were they too stoked on the success of their development to realize no one is going to pay that? We've seen huge corporations put extremely high end (and high price) products out there but with the capital to wait for costs to come down and build a reputation (Im talking about the Playstation 3 and Tesla Roadster here). But isnt this going to bankrupt this company?
  • 2 0
 >> Rotor wins the battle for the number of gears, with 13.

Ah yes, brings back memories of Gillete vs. Shick from the golden age...

How many marketing exec @ SRAM, Shimano and now Rotor are thinking this:
www.theonion.com/f*ck-everything-were-doing-five-blades-1819584036
  • 5 1
 I didn't quite get how shifting up and down works. Could you show it one more time?
  • 4 1
 It sounds like it doesn't
  • 1 0
 A small tap will "release" the derailleur to change to a smaller cog. A stronger tap will force the the other direction to change to a lighter gear.
  • 2 1
 Innovation always to be welcomed, but the derailleur as we know it is pretty perfect, if there is going to be a change then surely its moving shifting internally, especially in ebikes. I just think that typically install this, first ride whack it on rocks or in a crash.
  • 3 1
 When will everyone stop buggering about with dérailleurs and do some real designing to get that kilo of unsprung weight off the back wheel. They've been bleeding this old design to death. Back wheels matter
  • 5 0
 I'd rather see gearboxes become the new standard.
  • 1 0
 26/28t up front with 10 speed 11-42 Deore out back, FTW. Less than $10 per gear. I don't give 2 sh!ts about anti squat. I'll buy a lockout rear suspension.
9 speeds is enough but no clutch.
The way forward is less teeth on the front, and less on the back.
The industry forgets that these are mountain bikes used by some people for climbing mountains, not trying to go faster on pavement.
  • 1 0
 Same, I got Sram X1 11 speed with a 26t chainring and it's basically eagle but much cheaper. You really don't need anything more than a 28t chainring with a 10t for most places, unless you live in the mountains.
  • 1 0
 I feel like this is adding complexity without a sufficient benefit to the rider. If I'm spending this kind of money on a drivetrain I want SRAM AXS for less cables and less maintenance. The thirteenth gear isn't a selling point at all to me. One of my bikes is 11 speed and the other is 12. If I was building up a frame from scratch tomorrow, I'd go 11 speed. Lastly, 11 is just a more pleasing number than 12 or 13.
  • 2 1
 "The system takes some getting used to, but it became more intuitive over the test period. Only when the barrel adjuster on the derailleur was fully dialed into the firmest setting, where the shifter's click is most prevalent, could I consistently and successfully shift how I wanted. However, I would still occasionally find myself missing a shift here and there."

In other words: Its only almost useable when made to feel like existing less expensive systems.

FAIL.

All you needed to say right there other than what's the point?

At the unbelievably stupid premium of 1400.00, 1800.00 and 2600.00 this should be better hands down, no if ands or buts. being completely different all of the tech info should have been ready before releasing it. Why am I not surprised by this from an over priced boutique niche company? Surely it must have Ceramic Speed pullies right?

Stupid is as stupid does for anyone buying into this ridiculous over priced shit.
[Reply]
  • 1 0
 I've ridden quite a few shifting systems that index at the derailleur. A common theme is vague shifting. A "soft" click and you might not quite get it into gear, etc. Some rely on a ball and detent, which simply does not index with enough positivity.
It really needs to be a pawl and ratchet, and it really needs to have some sort of spring to have the derailleur lean towards one side of the ratchet. (I don't know the mechanism of this one). This was the failing with the Acros system.
  • 1 0
 Given that using Hydraulics is a way to free yourself from the constraints of cable routing... Why on earth does the Hydraulic Hose enter the Derailluer from the back - leaving you a big, ugly (catchable on trees) loop of hose dangling off the back of your chainstay?

That makes no sense at all. Surely the hose should enter at an acute angle straight into the Derailleur body, tucked away from danger.

If you going to radically change the design of something, the point is to start with a clean sheet and free yourself of the constraints/weaknesses of the existing products.
  • 1 0
 I'm trying to imagine scenarios in which I would be willing to buy $1k derailleur. So far I have three: I won Powerball, I'money laundering for the cartel, and time travelers have prevented Shozaburo Shimano's parents from ever meeting.
  • 4 1
 ....please make nice 1 x 9 speed group ( 50-11 ) with larger sprocket ranges, it will be enough.
  • 1 0
 Box Components has something like that but availability is an a bit of an issue outside of the US.

Google "Box Two Prime 9" if you want to try your luck but it's not a budget drive train even though it's 9 speed.
  • 1 0
 I wonder if reality will click in at any point while you bolt a thousand dollar part to a piece of your bike that's expressly designed to break because that area hits rocks so often
  • 3 3
 There's one advantage I can find with this type of tecnology: no busted cables. Every derailleur I have put on bikes that have a more agressive use ends up cutting the cable after a few months. The problem is with the sharp edges of the derailleur's cable attachment. I did manage to extend the cable life with Shimano's 9-spd derailleurs by filing the attachment, but no such luck with 11-spd Shimano or SRAM.
  • 3 0
 90s cyclists be like: "that cassette has sharkfins all over it, I need a new one."
  • 3 0
 "You need a new chainring, it looks like the chain wore the teeth to alternating sizes"
  • 2 0
 Hey Pinkbike crew, how about a good review of low-budget Shimano groupsets? the 11sp M5100 (old hub) and M6100 12ps with micro(fu****g)-spline...
  • 1 0
 Go to nsmb for that.
  • 1 0
 @Afterschoolsports: tnx, but there i've only found the M6100 (12sp) groupset review... I guess it will work the same? That's because of it: I can't found a dedicated performance-review of this very-low budget M5100, and it's strange because it would be the real only best choice for those who have a rear wheel with un-changeable "old style" shimano hub... I guess I'll would do it personally when my NX eagle chease to work...
  • 1 0
 @MarcoM85BG: Is 5100 new like 6100? Or is it older? Either way, I doubt there is anything wrong with it. I would prefer 11 speed anyway. I don't need a 50t gear very often.
  • 3 3
 I hate that whenever I have to loosen the derailleur-cable, I basically have to but a new on in. That's because however I bend the cable after installing and however long or short I leave it, it ALWAYS get´s torn of.
Also the clamping on the SRAM GX-derailleur as well as how the cable turns around the wheel is an engineering-crime and a serviceing nightmare. *fullstop

Therefore a very interesting concept imo.
I'm only concerned about the barrel adjuster being the most exploited part on the bike, especially beeing on the rearend.
  • 1 0
 Can't wait until next year when the 14 speed drivetrains come out! At 14 speeds, we'll be EXACTLY where we were when I started mountain biking.... 2x & bash up front, 7x in the back. 14 speed!
  • 2 0
 what does the derailleur weight? its unsprung mass
I don't care if the trigger is heavy, so moving the weight to the derailleur is not good...
  • 1 0
 When the reviewer installs the hydraulic hose with the biggest loop he can, you know it's a botched review already.
How can you even judge a product if you can't even install it properly?
  • 1 0
 Dear bike component companies, the answers to modern mountainbiking's problems aren't solved by inventing new bullshit standards or putting one more gear on the cassette. Please understand this already.
  • 6 2
 No thanks
  • 4 1
 13 speeds, at last! We had 12 speeds for years now.
  • 1 0
 love it, finally something other than sram or shimano. after some little changes when its been on the market for some time it could be great. now the ingrid review plrease.
  • 3 0
 If shimano STS had sex with robocop, this would be its spawn!
  • 3 0
 In the words of Charlie Brooker, ‘Go away’.
  • 2 2
 Shifter requirement - Not remove thumb to move into higher gear - Requirement FAIL! Thanks for the info though, looks like it has a critical short coming that makes it not fit for purpose.
  • 2 0
 It's nice to have options, at least for those with that kind of money or priorities!
  • 3 1
 Can we please just come up with a good gearbox (or other alternative), and be done with derailleur’s?
  • 1 0
 Yes please
  • 1 2
 I'll take "things nobody is asking for." For $50 thanks Dick.

In all seriousness, I am old enough to remember when there were other attempts at hydraulic rear derailleurs in the 90s. There is only a very small niche market for them. Maybe fat bike riders? Realistically, wireless shifting is far superior for most riders and it just needs an arms race between sramano for it to become commonplace and accessible.
  • 3 0
 first you bleed your bank account and then your drive train
  • 1 0
 Neat idea, but I absolutely hated the SRAM shifter actuation on a road bike. No berking way I'd want it on a mtn bike, no matter how well it shifts.
  • 1 0
 Wow that is pricey Eek mind as well just buy Sram’s Eagle AXS for that price and never have to worry about cables again!!!!!
  • 1 0
 Exactly my thoughts! Clean!
  • 1 0
 I don't even like my 12 sp Eagle, prefer my Box 11 on the old bike, cheap, reliable, easy to maintain, when you shift you know it, no vagueness.
  • 2 0
 They should have just called it a 14 speed cassette (with the 13th cog omitted for those who are superstitious.)
  • 2 2
 Why can't Pinkbike call bullshit on this or any other bullshit released into the market when it happens? Ad revenue from the likes of Rotor certainly can't be worth your integrity assuming you ever had any.
  • 1 1
 i don't understand why we need more than 10 speeds. I'd be fine with 11. but 13? who actually wants that much granularity in gear spacing? I don't get it. am I the weird one?
  • 2 0
 Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.
  • 2 0
 I think it's its a neat idea. Refine it, make it simpler, reduce the price and use normal hubs then why not?
  • 2 0
 What if you have short thumbs?
  • 2 0
 Those gear steps don't make much sense
  • 1 0
 if I had the cash....i deffo would. A bit like everything in my life really now i come to muse over it.
  • 3 1
 I think the comparison table says it all, I’ll stick with Shimano.
  • 2 1
 It's stupid simply for the fact that they gave the hose a big ass loop, just like derailleurs from the '90s
  • 4 2
 Phisssh .... Shimano already has a 21 speed.
  • 2 0
 Nobody makes me bleed my own derailleur
  • 3 1
 I might add, looks cheap and pretty ugly.
  • 2 0
 Airlines called, they want their price model back...
  • 2 0
 A second April fools day for 2020?
  • 1 0
 Have we really reached a point in time where I can no longer afford to replace my worn cassette?

Yes. I believe we have.
  • 1 0
 when everybody is looking for electronic systems Rotor launch an oil system....ok
  • 1 0
 Can every review have a dollar per gram part. Or dollar per whatever part. Dollar per mm of travel.
  • 1 0
 Rotor needs to take hydraulic shifting tech to pinion... that would be worth an article!
  • 3 1
 This is called "Polishing a turd"
  • 2 1
 I hope they paid Daniel a little extra for having to ride this crap long enough to review it. Sounds miserable.
  • 2 0
 Bleed your derailleur and reverb at the same time? Cool.
  • 1 0
 How is 'lightweight' a plus when it has more unsprung weight than anything else on the list?
  • 2 0
 Unlucky for some.
  • 1 0
 I dunno about 13 gears though Big Grin
  • 1 0
 How they made 12 speed 10-52 HG cassette?
  • 1 0
 it's lovely they've done it but why?
  • 1 0
 Does Rotor also think folks are still buying reverb dropper posts?
  • 1 0
 Yeah nobody has ever had to bleed a reverb.
  • 1 0
 And the story keeps on SHIFTING!!!
  • 1 0
 What problem is Rotor attempting to solve with this new solution?
  • 1 0
 Yeah True! lol
  • 1 0
 just one little JRA and back to selling the car
  • 2 1
 More expensive than a pinion gearbox!
  • 1 0
 So... Shimano for the win I guess...
  • 1 0
 Put this hydraulic shifter on a Pinnion gear box and now we're talking.
  • 1 0
 ** get working on it Box
  • 3 3
 Jesus, when will the bullsh1t end
  • 3 2
 Fail. Why even sell it?
  • 1 0
 Nah ????????
  • 1 1
 Boring. Waiting for power steering.
  • 1 0
 lol fuck off rotor.
  • 1 1
 Just go straight to the SRAM XO1 AXS. Thanks!
  • 1 1
 Hi! Droll? Ick.
  • 2 3
 Electric or bust, no need for hydraulics in the drivetrain
  • 2 0
 Now replace "electric" with "mechanical" and you're getting somewhere.
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