Italian component firm Tiso today debuted its most ambitious offering yet: a wireless 12-speed electronic road group designed and built in-house. We've yet to lay our hands on it and are still awaiting further details but it's an awfully intriguing development.
Tiso's brake/shift levers are laid out similar to Shimano's Di2 models with a pair of buttons situated around the bottom third of what looks to be an aluminum brake lever blade. Instead of two discrete buttons, though, Tiso is using a rocker-type switch.
From there, signals are sent via either "radio" signal (we assume some sort of coded 2.4gHz protocol) or Bluetooth to the derailleurs, both of which are connected – with wires – to a large down tube-mounted box housing the receiver, system 'brain', and a battery. Tiso says the derailleurs will be powered by conventional AAA batteries. On the plus side, this will make for easy replacements but that also likely explains the control box's bigger form factor since the company isn't using Li-ion batteries with higher power densities. Speaking of which, Tiso also says the production control box will be smaller than what's currently pictured.
Tiso's teaser video also shows the use of a remote control, the purpose of which can only be speculated. However, its existence also suggests that it may be possible to mount satellite shifters at different locations on the bar, similar to what Shimano has done with Di2.
Tiso's group currently consists of the shifter/brake levers, the front and rear derailleurs, the wired control/battery box, and its own proprietary 12-speed, 11-29T cassette with titanium cogs that reportedly weighs just 150g. It's unclear at this point what sort of cog spacing Tiso has used or what type of freehub body spline pattern it requires. However, Tiso does specifically mention that the system can be set to work with current Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo 10- and 11-speed drivetrains, too.
We're currently waiting for official weights on the rest of the group but given the wireless format and the additional hardware it requires (multiple batteries and multiple transmitters), we don't anticipate Tiso's group will be lighter than the latest versions from Shimano or Campagnolo. However, the company does put a high priority on light weight so we won't rule that out just yet.
Tiso says its electronic group will, however, cost less than electronic systems from Shimano and Campagnolo and it also promises easier installation since there are fewer wires to run. Tiso - and exclusive US distributor Albabici - will begin taking pre-orders in January with final delivery scheduled for the following spring.