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The drivetrain market is not easy to break into with the groupset juggernauts technology and innovation resources swinging at each other, one product release cycle after another. Even for a company that’s been in the cycling component business for 21 years, it’s still an uphill battle. However, after six years of prototyping, testing and tweaking, Rotor, the longtime lightweight crank manufacturer, has blossomed from the bottom bracket spindle arena and into the gruppo market.
Some hydraulic enthusiasts may remember the Acros A-GE MT hydraulic mountain bike shifter and derailleur system; the first of it’s kind to hit the trail market approximately five years ago. Even though it promised a sure shifting option in the worst muddy, wet and freezing conditions found on the trail, it never gained popularity in the mountain bike community. Rotor UNO’s hydraulic actuated, closed system, is the first road market appearance of the technology.
Inquiring minds naturally want to know why hydraulic? Wolfgang Turainsky, Technical Customer Services and Support Manager for Rotor Bike Components, explains that UNO offers smooth, precise, lightweight mechanical feel shifting. The shifting system uses a 30% Glycol solution which remains stable between negative 15 and 88 degrees Celsius. Complete system weight comes in at 1,604 grams – 99 grams lighter than the new SRAM eTap according to Rotor. The benefits are obvious: there are no batteries to charge or cables to stretch. After one or two cable flushes to dial in the shifting after initial installation, the closed system is nearly maintenance free according to Wolfgang.
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Designed and manufactured in Madrid, Spain the UNO shifter uses a single lever for shifts very similar to SRAM DoubleTap. With its red and black color scheme the lever could even be mistaken for a SRAM unit. However, the UNO shift lever can be set to upshift from one to four gears with in a single a throw, through a small twist of a tiny limit screw in the rear derailleur.
A discrete, grey disengagement lever on the rear acts as a ‘go to origin’ switch for simple wheel swaps from the 11t cog. Since the indexing is within the rear derailleur itself, incase of a cut hydraulic cable on the road, it can be manually pushed or pulled into the desired gear to get you home safely.
2,000 units are set to be delivered on July 1st only in Europe. Coupled with either disc or rim Magura hydraulic brakes (braking system completely standalone) the UNO grouppo, without a crankset, will retail for $2,500.
Look for our ride impressions in an upcoming issue of peloton magazine soon.
Words: Jeffrey Stern