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Gear

K-Force WE Wireless(-ish) Groupset

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FSA has long been known for producing strong, reliable and light OEM parts for road and mountain. Not wanting to to be left behind in the component wars, FSA has frequently shown derailleurs and shifters at bike shows, only to mothball the components. Now, it appears FSA has finally jumped into the deep end with its part-wireless K-Force We Wireless Ant+ group and the PowerBox Road Cranks, both of which are expected to launch later in Summer 2017.

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At the heart of the K-Force We system is the battery. It sits inside the seat tube and connects via internally routed thin wires to the front and rear derailleurs. The wiring for the rear routes through the chain stay. The company claims the battery will run for 4000-6000km, which is significantly longer than SRAM’s eTap wireless system.

FSA chose to go with Garmin’s ANT+ standard for wireless communication between shifters and derailleurs, with a private key and what they call a customized communication protocol. FSA’s website also states the same protocol is used to connect to your computer, meaning you’ll need an ANT+ dongle, but they also claim compatibility with a smartphone, which implies some Bluetooth capability.

The well conceived shifters standout in the assembly. Instead of trying to build adjustability into the shifters like SRAM and Shimano, FSA has made small and large size shifters, there should be an option to fit most riders. They connect to both derailleurs wirelessly and run on the same easily found coin battery that powers most connected cycling devices. Losing power can nearly become a thing of the past by simply carrying an extra in the saddle bag or making a quick mid-ride stop to a nearby pharmacy. What truly impresses with these shifters, though, is how easily we adapted to the shifting logic. The learning curve is nominal, pressing the bottom half of the shifter eased the gearing and pressing the upper half increased it. The whole system is designed with ease of use in mind and FSA reports mechanics find it easy to install and maintain. Like Shimano Di2, and unlike SRAM eTap, shifter functionality and shifting speed are programmable by the companion smartphone app.

FSA most readily compares its new system with Shimano’s Di2. We will be similarly priced and FSA expects it will weigh slightly more. However, FSA feels the vastly improved battery charge will be the key differentiator. Expect a full FSA We group to retail for $2673. Time will tell if FSA does indeed hit its delivery and if riders will embrace it, or if We becomes another group relegated to the FSA history books.

From pro teams down to recreational riders, power has become the name of the game to making measurable training improvements. FSA has partnered with Germany’s Power2Max to join that game with the PowerBox cranks. The company will offer both carbon and alloy versions of the PowerBox cranks. The carbon 110BCD version weighs 733g and is offered in lengths 165-175mm. The alloy PowerBox (pictured) weighs 921g and is available in lengths 170-175mm. Each will initially ship with drive-side power, but FSA anticipates offering a dual-sided option. The carbon version will sell for $1189.99, while the alloy version is priced at $648.99. Both options put power within easy reach for many riders.

For more info on all these products head to fullspeedahead.com