Shimano 1x for the road, now it's official

Commuter-specific groupset with unique H-bar handlebar concept

Shimano teased us with it last year at the Eurobike trade show but now it's official – Shimano Metrea, a dedicated groupset for urban cyclists, will be available from April 2016.

Shimano has been bold enough to state that this could be ‘the most exciting development in cycling since the dawn of mountain biking’, no really. What they were talking about was Metrea, a new 11-speed groupset designed specifically for the urban cyclist (pricing to follow once we have it).

Related: Shimano's Sora R3000 groupset brings mechanical discs

The name? It's a hybrid of metropolitan and real; two words that Shimano claims are key concepts behind what it calls the urban sports category. What exactly is urban sport? Well, put in a more down-to-earth way it means daily commuting. Shimano does have a point – after all, any hybrid or commuter bikes right now tend to use drivetrains that have been developed for road, mountain biking or touring.

What should you care about?

Probably the biggest news is that Shimano is now behind 1x transmissions on the road for the first time. A wide-range rear cassette, namely the CS5800 block from Shimano’s existing 105 group can be paired with either a single (42t) or double (46-32t) Metrea chainset – ratios Shimano has optimised around urban riding. People are usually split when it comes to the aesthetics of a crankset, and this one will probably divide optionion more than most. An anti-corrosion finish and integrated chainguard (gotta keep those trousers clean) are also neat touches.

Shimano metrea components: shimano metrea components
Shimano metrea components: shimano metrea components

An integrated chainguard means no oily chain on your inner leg

Then there’s Shimano’s new H-bar handlebar concept, which – similar to bullhorn designs of old – has been designed to position a rider’s forearms in a natural position. In this position a rider’s hands mimic those of someone on the brake hoods of a conventional drop handlebar setup.

METREA groupset with h-type bars on urban sports frame: metrea groupset with h-type bars on urban sports frame
METREA groupset with h-type bars on urban sports frame: metrea groupset with h-type bars on urban sports frame

The H-bar concept: 11-speed mechanical shifting with hydraulic braking in a unique, aero position

Shimano has also developed a dual control shifter to be used with this setup. The ST-U5060, almost looks like a mechanical version of Shimano’s ST-9071 Di2 shifter from the world of time trialling and yet presumably houses the hydraulic gubbins necessary to control the groups braking systems. Alternatively, Metrea is available with flat handlebar versions of its shifters and brake levers.

Shimano metrea components: shimano metrea components
Shimano metrea components: shimano metrea components

The ST-U5060 looks weird now but could we be looking at the future of dual-control components?

That leads us nicely onto the braking of this groupset which Shimano puts solely down to discs, and hydraulic ones at that. The BR-5000 is a twin-piston brake that makes use of Shimano’s latest flat-mount standard. It's paired to a new IceTech disc rotor, the RT500-SS.

Shimano metrea components: shimano metrea components
Shimano metrea components: shimano metrea components

Unique braking hardware makes for a futuristic look

Finally there’s the WH-U5000, Metrea’s disc-brake specific wheelset, which features a clincher rim and rotates on quick-release axles.

Shimano metrea components: shimano metrea components
Shimano metrea components: shimano metrea components

We look forward to getting out mitts on Metrea and seeing for ourselves whether it's worth the fuss. As ever, we'll keep you posted…

Oli Woodman

Section Editor, UK
With more than 10 years of experience riding mountain bikes, Oli knows the good from the bad when it comes to gear. He's a total bike nerd and loves few things more than fettling with spangly riding bits. Also, he seems to have a talent for crashing hard but emerging unscathed.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Loamy singletrack
  • Current Bikes: Marin Pine Mountain, Pinnacle Dolomite
  • Dream Bike: Honda RN01
  • Beer of Choice: Corona
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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