We look forward to testing the new Shimano range that was launched to the press last week, headed by a complete revision to their entry level Tiagra 4500 groupset. This brings it closer to the spec of the 105 series but with a 9 speed operation an Hollowtech 2 crankset, available in triple and double, that is far lighter than its predeccesor. The STI levers have a graduated gear indicator at the front of the hood.
There are now two non-series compact cranksets - one named FC-4500-S for 9 speed operation and FC-R600 that optimizes performance using the narrower 10 speed chain, and a CS-5600 11-25t cassette in the 105 series that is intended for use with compact cranksets.
There is a new group of non-series flat-handlebar road components that are compatible with SLR road callipers including individual brake levers (BL-R770 and BL-R550) and a two ST-R221 and STR-225) E-Z Fire shift combined brake/shift levers. Though Avid have produced a cable operated, fork mounted disc brake callipers for some time now-Shimano has entered the fray with the BR-R505 that is of compact dimensions and there are accompanying hubs based on a 135mm over locknut dimension that is suited to touring bikes.
The new Alfine groupset that Shimano describe as intended for 'sporty and fashionable cycling' features a refined 8-speed system that is based on the Nexus internal hub gear that enables shifts to be made with virtually no interruption to pedalling.
There are new wheels including a new hub dynamo commuting wheel weighing 1305g and called the WH-3N71-road that sports a 3 watt, 6 volt generator. WH-7801 deep section 16/20 bladed spoke, deep section carbon wheel weighing 1525g per pair that will appeal to time triallists.http://www.shimano.com