This article was first published on Cyclingnews.
The much awaited FSA groupset has made its debut at the Tour de France, with Cofidis rider Cyril Lemoine and Direct Energie sprinter Bryan Coquard using the electronic components during Wednesday’s 17th stage from Berne to Finhaut-Emosson.
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Cyclingnews captured this gallery of photographs at the start of the stage and spoke to Bora-Argon 18 mechanic Risto Usin. He has built up a team bike with the new FSA groupset which will be used by Shane Archbold during Thursday’s mountain time trial stage.
Usin revealed that the so-far-unnamed FSA groupset is partially wireless, with the front and rear gears connected to a single battery hidden in the frame. This differentiates the FSA groupset from SRAM's eTap, which is fully wireless and has detachable batteries on both the front and rear gear.
The gear changers are positioned on the inside of the brake lever, with two-way rocker switches that handle up and downshifts (right lever for the rear derailleur, left lever for the front). It seems FSA will offer the levers in two different sizes.
"We started using a new groupset a few days ago. The guys had their first ride with it and it was working well. Tomorrow Shane Archbold will start with it in the time trial," Usin told Cyclingnews.
“The battery is connected with cables to the rear and front derailleur. The brake levers and shifting with the levers is wireless. You don’t have, like with the Shimano, all the junctions, so everything is basically integrated. They have two different types of levers; smaller levers for the smaller guys so that they are closer to the handlebar than the normal levers,” Usin explained.
FSA has been a long-standing component maker but will now go head-to-head with the likes of Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM thanks to its new groupset. A prototype FSA groupset was first revealed on the second rest day of the 2015 Tour de France and fitted to Michal Kwiatkowski's spare bike when he was riding for the Etixx-QuickStep team. Another similar prototype was fitted to an Astana team bike, but neither were used in the race.
Cyclingnews understands that the Tour de France will act as a test for the groupset before an official presentation later in the summer.