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New Shimano Dura-Ace will be 12-speed and wireless, patents suggest

New Shimano Dura-Ace 12 wireless
(Image credit: Shimano)

Rumours of the next edition of Shimano Dura-Ace have been growing steadily throughout 2020, the fourth season in the lifecycle of Dura-Ace 9100. However, despite these rumours, Shimano has remained entirely tight-lipped on the new groupset, which is expected to follow the naming structure of its forebears and be called R9200, or perhaps R9250, such is the name given to the Di2 groupset.  

Each Grand Tour since the restart of the curtailed season has sparked suggestions and rumours that pros will be testing the new groupset, but the closest we got was a new, unbranded wheelset ridden by Shimano-sponsored Groupama FDJ and Team Sunweb. 

Today, those rumours will be given a lease of life like never before, as evidence is uncovered to suggest that the new Dura-Ace groupset will be 12-speed and wireless in operation. 

Patents uncovered by Alan Cote, writing for CyclingTips, showcase a range of features that evidence the claims, such as the inclusion of coin cell batteries and wireless transmitters in shifters, wireless receivers in derailleurs and a 12-speed cassette configuration. 

Wireless shifters

New Shimano Dura-Ace 12 wireless

(Image credit: Shimano)

The patent uncovered relating to the shifters showcases a number of things that evidence the claims, however, multiple variations are included, so the final form is currently unconfirmed. Both of the diagrams above suggest the inclusion of a coin cell battery, located either within the brake lever/shift paddle, or within the main body of the hood. 

There is also the mention of a power generating unit, which essentially means the shifters could potentially self-charge, negating the requirement for batteries. The patent suggests that this technology would use the motion of the shifting paddles to generate power thanks to the inclusion of a piezo-electric component. 

The patents also include mentions of both cable and hydraulic variants, which given the non-existence of cable-actuated disc brakes at Dura-Ace level, suggests that rim brakes will remain part of the Shimano Dura-Ace lineup. Rim brake purists rejoice. 

Wireless derailleurs

New Shimano Dura-Ace 12 wireless

(Image credit: Shimano)

 The patent relating to both the front and rear derailleurs showcase the inclusion of a wireless receiver attached to both, as well as onboard batteries for each, similar to how SRAM's eTap groupset is built. However, as has been widely rumoured, alternate variations also patent the inclusion of an altogether separate battery which would connect the front and rear shifters. 

12-speed 

New Shimano Dura-Ace 12 wireless

(Image credit: Shimano)

The patent relating to the claim of 12-speed includes an image of a cassette, handily, the sprockets have been counted for you, and there are 12 of them in total. As for sprocket size, Shimano looks to be following the lead set by SRAM in utilising a 10-tooth sprocket as the smallest option, with the largest at a particularly off-road-friendly 48 teeth. 

Of the three big groupset manufacturers (Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo), Shimano is the only company yet to make the switch to anything greater than 11-teeth for its on-road groupsets. 12-speed exists in the brand's off-road contingent, so it seems a very likely bet that new Dura-Ace will gain another gear.

Campagnolo's most recent launch, the Ekar gravel groupset, turned things straight up to 13-speed, but on the road, the Italian brand's Super Record EPS is still a 12-speed wired affair. SRAM is the furthest forward in the technology stakes, already on its second iteration of wireless shifting technology. 

Shimano celebrates its 100th birthday on March 23rd, 2021, for which a countdown page already exists on the Shimano website. It's widely expected that, as part of the celebrations, the latest iteration Dura-Ace will be unveiled to the public.  

 

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