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Dura Ace 11 speed

Road Bike 22 1262

Dura Ace 11 speed cranksetI don’t have much time for a post today, but this is worth a quick mention. A Japanese website has a few spy shots of what appears to be the new Dura-Ace 11 speed 9000 grouppo. I first spotted these photos by way of Bike Hugger, but you can also find discussion of this at Bike Rumor, Slowtwitch, and many other places on the web.

The design of the unevenly spaced 4 bolt crankset is definitely different, and I suspect people will either love it or hate it. Personally I like the look of it, though it is another nonstandard chainring bolt pattern. Hopefully this new crank will use a common bolt circle diameter for compact and standard chainrings, which would make sense to me as I like to run both. An eleven speed cassette is something that I didn’t really want to see, but we all knew it was coming from Shimano soon. Enough from me though, let me know what you think of this group. Whether you like, dislike, or don’t care… share your thoughts in the comments.

Dura Ace 11 speed cassette

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  1. Matt April 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm -  Reply

    I support 11-speed drivetrains… it means 9-speed will be even cheaper 😀

  2. Mike April 25, 2012 at 4:07 pm -  Reply

    The downsides here are pretty obvious, and not really worth ranting about. Personally, I don’t really give a crap about how many gears I have within the overall range that I want. I’m more interested in whether the thickness and hardness of the cogs is such that the chain and cassette will wear together nicely. DA 9 was very good that way, and lots of people are happy with how cheaper 8 speed stuff wears together.

    The next interesting product from Shimano is going to be their Apex competitor group. Wake me up when that comes out, because right now I don’t see any real reason to buy any other group unless you’re Cat 3 or higher or don’t live near any hills.

    • art April 27, 2012 at 7:13 am -  Reply

      Wear together? I’m only on my second Campy 9 chain in 20k miles, and the cogs hardly seem to be wearing at all.

    • Danilo April 29, 2012 at 4:40 am -  Reply

      2013 Ultegra will handle up to a 30-tooth cog, and 105, Tiagra and Sora will have medium cage rear deraileurs compatible with cogs up to 32-tooth, just like SRAM Apex…

      • Mike May 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm -  Reply

        I guess I haven’t been keeping up, that’s very interesting. Only Sora will have a triple, then, I’m assuming?

  3. Mike April 25, 2012 at 4:40 pm -  Reply

    It seems to me that Shimano and Campy have borrowed a page from Gillette and Shick’s marketing book. Just like I don’t need 5 razors, I don’t need 11 speeds. And I hate the markup associated. I wish they’d put more energy into refining their existing groups instead of marketing stunts like this one.

    With that said, I agree with Mike above. SRAM apex is a refreshing direction for groups to go I now have SRAM parts on 2 of my 3 bikes and love them.

  4. Andy April 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm -  Reply

    Oh yay, a proprietary crank… I’m sure it must offer at least a 0.001% increase in efficiency which is totally worth $2000 or however much they want for it.

    Check this out though: In 1999, Shimano submitted a patent for a 14-speed cog system. They are falling behind on their own designs!

    • art April 26, 2012 at 10:51 am -  Reply

      That’s actually a smart way to make a super thin chain. I’m surprised they haven’t used it yet.

      • Androo April 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm -  Reply

        It is a pretty neat patent, you’re right. Though it necessitates that wonky 5-tooth jockey wheel for the derailleur.

        But then again, when you’re talking about 14-speed cassettes and chainrings you aren’t really giving any thought to compatibility, so whatever, I suppose.

  5. art April 26, 2012 at 11:03 am -  Reply

    Having never purchased an aftermarket chainring, I’m much more offended by the aesthetics of the crank than the bolt circle. Looks aside, the spider layout makes a lot of sense structurally, since it’s stiffest at the top at the highest load part of the pedal stroke.

    • Nick F April 27, 2012 at 12:59 am -  Reply

      You say that, but what about the stress when you’re loading the non-drive pedal?

      • art April 27, 2012 at 7:11 am -  Reply

        Uh, think about that for a second. Maximum force is being applied when either one of the crank arms is horizontal. Regardless of which pedal is being loaded, the chainring is being loaded out of plane by the chain at this point (to a degree depending on the gear), which makes it flex sideways. With this arrangement, when either crank arm is forward, the top of the chainring (where the chain is applying that out of plane reaction load) is right between two stiff spider arms. There’s less support when the cranks are vertical, because there doesn’t need to be.

        For a far less rational spider design, see Dura Ace AX.

        • James Thomas April 27, 2012 at 8:01 am -  Reply

          That over-sized pedal spindle on Dura Ace AX is the best example I can remember of a pointless standard change from Shimano. Luckily, it didn’t last long.

          • art April 27, 2012 at 8:21 am -  Reply

            The spindle change wasn’t pointless. It was used to move the bearings from the pedal body to the base of the spindle. The platform of the pedal was then able to sit below the spindle center instead of below it. The idea was that having the foot contact the pedal above the rotational axis (like on every other pedal) is unstable, and that moving the axis up into the middle of the foot improved efficiency. It made some logical sense, though I don’t think I’ve ever seen any strong data to support or refute the assertion.

            The design was ultimately doomed because didn’t roll out far enough in advance of the first successful clipless pedals to be widely adopted. Of course now, clipless pedal manufacturers now market their products on how low of a stack height over the spindle they have.

            • James Thomas April 27, 2012 at 8:32 am - 

              OK…maybe pointless was an unfair word to use, but everyone assumed at the time that the larger diameter spindle was not going to be adopted as a new standard. As with any new design from Shimano, there was thought behind it, but bike shops didn’t want to explain the reason for it to their customers, and adapters to use standard pedal spindles appeared almost immediately.

              I certainly don’t believe that standard dimensions for component compatibility should be set in stone, but there needs to be a compelling reason for a change that makes existing components obsolete. In the case of AX, those reasons (if they were valid) were not communicated well to retailers or end users.

            • art April 27, 2012 at 9:01 am - 

              I absolutely agree. If you’re going to blow off an existing standard, you need to go the whole Apple and convince your end user that owning your product is so life definingly important that compatibility is irrelevant. A new spindle diameter needs to be perceived as so perfect that there will never be a reason to use another kind of pedal with the crank.

        • Nick F April 29, 2012 at 3:38 pm -  Reply

          I agree there, I’m talking about the left-right asymmetry visible in the shot above. Maybe it appears more pronounced that it really is because of the camera angle though.

  6. Dennis Johnson April 27, 2012 at 1:29 am -  Reply

    Sin is prettier

  7. Adam April 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm -  Reply

    I just pray that they don’t start bringing 11 speeds into mountain biking. Mud already makes 10 speed enough of a pain.

  8. Maarten April 28, 2012 at 10:35 am -  Reply

    Did Shimano reduce the manufacturing tolerances yet again to ensure that the shifter will actually find the gear the rider wants? Or have they finally come to their senses and make sure that shifting a gear requires the same cable-pull regardless of the gear you’re in? At least there is a non-electric version….

  9. WV Cycling April 29, 2012 at 9:23 am -  Reply

    Oh, the freehub bodies are going to require ?4 or 5mm? more width. Many freehub bodies that need that spacer before the cassette is put on will be fine, but others will not be compatible. 🙁

  10. GIldas May 13, 2012 at 7:45 am -  Reply

    11 speed makes sense from a industrial point of view, simply because parts last less long.
    11 speed makes no sense from a client point of view, simply because parts last less long.

    For me, the high point of Dura-ace evolution was the last 8 speed. It’s been mostly downhill form a user/client point of view since. It’s been more and more marketing and less and less stuff you can depend on for 10 000km… Servive intervals in Belgium in winter on DA 10s is about 2000km. Campy 11s is about 1000. That’s 4 or 5 rides, then you need a new chain/cassette. I call that crap.

    This leaves the door open for another manufacturer to offer a group-set with a “guaranteed 5000km service interval” with 9s or 10s. Are you listening FSA?

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