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Shimano eyes urban cycling market with new 1x11 groupset with hydraulic disc brakes

You wait ages for a new groupset, and along come loads at the same time (SRAM wireless, FSA, Magura), and Shimano's Metrea 1x11 groupset, launched at Eurobike, which is aimed at what the Japanese company calls the “forthcoming renaissance in urban cycling.”

Urban cycling is already pretty popular. Has been for many years. There’s no doubt there are more people getting into cycling as a form of transportation, for riding to and from work. The vast majority of urban bikes are designed around either road or mountain bike groupsets. Shimano is obviously keen to change this, and has designed a groupset specifically to meet the requirements of urban cyclists.

Shimano Metrea is intended to offer simple functionality with an understated appearance. It’s sleek and stylish. It’s a good looking groupset. It’s clear, from the way Shimano presented the new groupset, that it wants to appeal to the style conscious cycling consumers who value aesthetics when considering a new urban bike.

There aren’t a lot of details available at the moment. The bike pictured has a 1x11 drivetrain with a chain guard. We’re told there might be a double chainring option, but we reckon the single ring setup is perfect for most urban cyclists. With the wide-range cassette most hills shouldn’t pose too many difficulties.

Without doubt the most interesting part of the new bike are the shifters and brake levers. Fitted to a bullhorn handlebar are time trial style brake levers and shifter pods. It appears that there is one shifter paddle on each side (right paddle to shift up, left paddle to shift down) with fixed brake levers, but we couldn’t get close enough to verify this.

As well as the hydraulic disc brakes on show here, we’re told there will be an mechanical version too. We were also told that the groupset is likely to appear on bikes costing about a grand, so it's not your entry-level urban bike market, more your high-end urban market, is such a thing exists. We'll hopefully get some more details out of Shimano, including pricing and availability, soon.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

16 comments

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Jamminatrix [165 posts] 2 years ago
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Is it a new chain and cassette too, or just using the 105 chain/cassette?

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bikebot [2119 posts] 2 years ago
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Jamminatrix wrote:

Is it a new chain and cassette too, or just using the 105 chain/cassette?

For a 1x11, it would be nice to see a wider range than the 11-32 max of the 105. Shimano do an 11-40 MTB cassette.

And I like this a lot.

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HalfWheeler [640 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks 'orrible.

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Jonny_Trousers [278 posts] 2 years ago
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I think it looks rather nice, and I do think 1x11 is a great idea for urban riding, but I'd want regular drop bar style shifters/brakes

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morseykayak [67 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks slick (including the pedals).

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giskard [65 posts] 2 years ago
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Wonder if this will mean that bike mfrs will bring out a range of up-market urban bikes? I think the group set looks very nice.

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GREGJONES [296 posts] 2 years ago
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If I had to buy an 'urban bike' I'd want a nexus, what's not to like about them?

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mikroos [257 posts] 2 years ago
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I do I like the looks of this groupset. But I don't get the point or the target market at all. Why not use Nexus or a cheaper 1x10 groupo of any kind? And who the hell needs Di2 in an urban bike?

Anyway - we'll see, the market will decide.

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adam900710 [67 posts] 2 years ago
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mikroos wrote:

I do I like the looks of this groupset. But I don't get the point or the target market at all. Why not use Nexus or a cheaper 1x10 groupo of any kind? And who the hell needs Di2 in an urban bike?

Anyway - we'll see, the market will decide.

Completely same opinion, 1x11 with TT bar is too good for urban bike.

I'd like to consider it as a experiment from Shimano.
Hydro TT brake lever, 1x11, and maybe DI2, although the derailleur seems to be cable driven, but I can't image how to use cable to do left down right up.
-I also hope the crank could be BB386EVO-

Urban bike may be just an execuse for Shimano to try new things.

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Al__S [1246 posts] 2 years ago
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think that's cable and just from the right lever. Looks like the brake lever can rotate- with the whole of the end of the hood.

In at a cheaper price point than a IGH?

As for Di2, Shimano do a Di2 Alfine, if you're struggling to find things to spend money on.

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Bigpikle [94 posts] 2 years ago
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would like that with Alfine and a belt drive.....  16

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pwake [423 posts] 2 years ago
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Very much a concept, there's not even any cable inner on that rear mech and a bit of wire to hold it in position!
Those brifters with a 1x11 would make a whole lot of sense on a TT bike though. Right shift up, left shift down looks to be the way it's going for electronic systems; it makes a lot of sense.

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s_smith [24 posts] 2 years ago
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GREGJONES wrote:

If I had to buy an 'urban bike' I'd want a nexus, what's not to like about them?

Greg, as someone who has gone through 2 nexus hubs I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I'd prefer this a rear dérailleur set-up like the one above. Nexus hubs are eye wateringly expensive and when they go wrong you need to have your rear wheel dismantled to get it replaced (they're a sealed unit and finding anyone brave enough to crack one open and attempt a repair is near impossible). Hub gears are a lovely idea but they are expensive to buy, very heavy and difficult to repair when something goes wrong. I have a 9 speed Deore dérailleur with 44T crankset fitted to my bike now and it is by far the superior option when compaired to the Nexus hubs I've had in the past.

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rix [175 posts] 2 years ago
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This is beautiful! I would build a bike with this groupset. Looks like it is lighter and more reliable than Nexus. In my experience hydraulic disc brakes is a must for fast city riding. Bullhorns... nice style  16

What's not to like!

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bikebot [2119 posts] 2 years ago
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adam900710 wrote:

Hydro TT brake lever, 1x11, and maybe DI2, although the derailleur seems to be cable driven, but I can't image how to use cable to do left down right up.

My guess. One active lever on the left containing the mechanism, right lever is a slave connected to it by a short cable running through the handlebars. Tap the right lever to change up individual gears, tap or push left lever to change down one or more gears.

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bikebot [2119 posts] 2 years ago
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s_smith wrote:
GREGJONES wrote:

If I had to buy an 'urban bike' I'd want a nexus, what's not to like about them?

Greg, as someone who has gone through 2 nexus hubs I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I'd prefer this a rear dérailleur set-up like the one above. Nexus hubs are eye wateringly expensive and when they go wrong you need to have your rear wheel dismantled to get it replaced (they're a sealed unit and finding anyone brave enough to crack one open and attempt a repair is near impossible). Hub gears are a lovely idea but they are expensive to buy, very heavy and difficult to repair when something goes wrong. I have a 9 speed Deore dérailleur with 44T crankset fitted to my bike now and it is by far the superior option when compaired to the Nexus hubs I've had in the past.

What I hope Shimano will introduce sometime, is a proper Di2 hub gear. The current implementation is very silly, it's still a fully mechanical device with a powered external cable actuator bolted on.

If they started with a clean sheet, and designed it only for electronic shifting, it would be mechanically simpler. No single actuator, place multiple solenoids inside to directly move individual parts of the mechanism. The complexity that translates all those gears into a single linear pull on one cable would be handled electronically rather than mechanically. And build in a dynamo so it powers itself!

If done right, you could have a device that's smaller, lighter, more reliable and cheaper to make. Though they'd probably charge more for it.