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New non series components for flat bar bikes & high end all-rounders + Ultegra goes grey

Shimano have announced that their Tiagra groupset is to go 10 speed for 2012. That was the big news from Shimano's new product presentation held a couple of weeks back… well, the news we're allowed to tell you about right now.

They also announced new cyclo cross components, the roll out of the Di2 Satellite shifter for sprinters, and a new colour for the Ultegra groupset - Glossy Grey. Feast your eyes on our gallery of shots with more to come in the morning when we fish that pesky Shimano memory stick with even more product shots on it out from where we left it in the office.

Ten speed comes to Tiagra seven years after it was first launched by Shimano. The new Tiagra 4600 gruppo brings Shimano's mid-range workhorse in to line mechanically with the company's higher end offerings. Tiagra 10 speed is officially compatible with all of Shimano's other 10-speed mechanical groupsets, giving manufacturers another mix and match option even if Shimano also continue to maintain that their groupsets work best when used complete. 

Shimano say that the aim of their latest version of Tiagra is to give enthusiast riders – whether they be racers, tourers or sportive/fitness riders – a durable easy to use, easy to maintain, and easy to adjust groupset that brings the advantages of 10 speed gearing further down the price points. It will, we are promised, be "competitively priced". SRAM have pitched their Apex groupset somewhere between Shimano's Tiagra and 105, at least on OEM pricing; in fact, aftermarket it is usually priced higher than 105 and we're guessing that for the lucrative original equipment market SRAM are cutting their margins considerably. 4600 is Shimano's response. 

Tiagra 4600 weight comparison with Tiagra 4500 9spd difference in brackets

rear derailleur RD-4600-SS:                 256 (-1)
rear derailleur RD-4600-GS:                 266 (-8)
front derailleur double FD-4600-B:          105 (-10)
front derailleur double FD-4600-F:           89 (-12)
front derailleur triple FD-4603-B:          132 (-8)
front derailleur triple FD-4603-F:          114 (-13)
crankset FC-4600 double:                    943 (-47)
crankset FC-4650 compact:                   903 (-66)
crankset FC-4603 triple:                   1105 (-24)
Rapidfire Plus shifter SL-4600-R right:     137 (0)
Rapidfire Plus shifter SL-4600-L left:      137 (0)
Dual Control Lever ST-4600-L left:          251 (+7)
Dual Control Lever ST-4600-R right:         258 (+6)
Dual Control Lever Triple ST-4603-L left:   250 (+7)
cassette sprockets CS-4600 11-25T:          261 (0)
cassette sprockets CS-4600 12-28T:          310 (0)
cassette sprockets CS-4600 12-30T:          329
chain CN-4601 114 links:                    277
brake lever BL-4600 front and rear:         375 (0)
brakee caliper BR-4600 set:                 375 (0)
freehub FH-4600:                            357 (0)
front hub HB-4600:                          155 (0)


10-speed Tiagra 4600 comes with the choice of three different drivetrains: a 50-39-30 triple with a 12-30 cassette for touring; or a 50-34 compact and 12-28 rear cassette for performance/sportive riding; or a 52-39 front chainset matched up to a 12-25 rear cassette for racing. Shimano were at great pains to point out the advantages of the Tiagra triple over another un-named manufacturer's compact double and 12-32 combo. Who could they mean? Oh yes, SRAM and their new Apex group.

What's interesting here is that Shimano are marketing the Tiagra triple option as a touring set up whereas SRAM are selling the Apex 12-32 compact double as the ultimate get you up the hill sportive set up – you could argue that Apex is a standard 9-speed with the granny ring moved to the back and the advantage of a narrower Q factor as a result. Either way it is pitched firmly at the sportive/performance cyclist side of things where, according to Shimano's positioning of its new groupset it is actually up against the Tiagra 10-speed compact double 12-28.

Either way the comparison between the triple and the 12-32 double is an interesting one and if you don't like jumps in your gearing and you do want as wide a gear range as possible it's got to be worth considering whether you are a tourist or a sportive rider. After all triples seem to be good enough for those old French blokes that usually ride past British roadies a hairpin or two below the summit on alpine climbs.

That extra cog at the back means that pretty much all of the rest of the drivetrain and controls have to change too. Tiagra 4600 uses one of Shimano's new 10-spd directional chains (the logo on the cageplates should be facing out) except for the triple which presumably sticks with the old chain.

There are two new rear derailleurs a short cage version which will take a max 34T and a longer cage option that goes up to a 38T for the triple.

The STI levers are all new units too, although we'd suspect the internals are going to very similar to the last externally cabled versions of 105 - smoother easier shifts are promised.. There are double and triple speciific levers and as with previous incarnations of the Tiagra groupset these feature gear indicator windows on the top of the hoods. Those hoods have been re-modelled too and are now closer in shape to their higher end siblings.

For ease of maintenance and adjustment the new levers opt for externally routed cables rather than taking the under the bar tape route now favoured for the higher end groupsets. Shimano say this gives an easier cable run, again facilitates ease of maintenance and ajustment – all the shifters feature a barrel adjuster where the cable exits the lever. Were we cynical types – we'd also suspect that taking the external route also leaves room for an upgrade to hidden cabling in a couple of years, probably around the time that Sora finally goes 10 speed – luckily we're not .

Tiagra 4600 also gets new brakes too, which are also compatible with their higher end sibling in the 105, Ultegra and Dura Ace ranges. These brakes featuring an easier wheel release and toe-in adjustment. 

There are two new Tiagra hubs with a choice of either 32 or 36 holes.

The Tiagra drivetrain is a staple of flat bar road bikes and with that in mind Shimano have also introduced some Tiagra flat bar levers and brakes, which makes sense. In the same vein there is also a new non-series of flat bar levers pitched at Ultegra level and compatible with all Shimano's higher end groupsets.

Availablilty? Shimano say that the double version of Tiagra 4600 should hit the market in June with the triple close on its heels in July.

Ultegra

The big news on Ultegra, for the moment at least, is a new SPD-SL carbon pedal - it's got the same body as the Dura Ace carbon pedal but with an Ultegra level axle – for that read "heavier" mind you, at a claimed weight of 265g for the pair we're talking relative heft. The current Ultegra 6700 pedals (which will still be available) weigh a claimed 314g. The other Ultegra news is a new colour, glossy grey for the chainset, and front and rear mech. Why? Because. On the subject of aesthetic changes old faves the RS80 wheels get a makeover too. The WH-RS80A-C24 will be available in May and the new look Ultegra in June.

New cyclocross CX70 & CX50 components

Cyclocross gets some love in the shape of two new component series, CX70 pitched at the higher end at roughly the same level as the Ultegra/Dura Ace road groups, and CX50 at a Tiagra/105 level. 

CX70 comprises a Hollowtech II 46-36 chainset, cantilever brakes with cartridge brake shoes which will accept road pads too and with have toe-in adjustment as well. 

CX50 has a two piece chainset with the same 46-36 gearing, and it's own cantilever brakes. It's available in black and silver - the standard colours for Shimano's MTB groupsets. Both new 'cross component sets will get their own compatible front mechs and there will also be an optional canti-specific cable adjuster, (SM-CB70). 

CX70 components should be available from August 2011 and CX50 from October.

Other interesting stuff

As well as revisions to their name groupsets Shimano also rolled out some new non-series parts and some extras to existing gruppos. Kicking off with the non-series stuff there will be a new higher end long drop caliper brake that will be compatible with road groupsets from 105 through to Dura Ace – we're guessing in response to the growth in higher end do it all type bikes with a performance edge to which riders want to fit full mudguards. 

Tandeming gets some love too (and no, we aren't going to use that as an excuse wheel on our ropey tandem stat) with two new chainsets - we'll post some more details on them asap. 

Finally, and it's not often Dura Ace Di2 gets left until last, Shimano were showing off their new Di2 satellite shifter - the sprinter's button, we're thinking of it as the cycling equivalent of the turbo boost (erm, but in a good way). Shimano clearly feel that there is room for this sort of technology at the competitive level at least, last year they unveiled their Di2 bar end satellite shifter.

The button is a simpler affair to look at, basically it's two buttons (up and down) mounted inboard just below the lever hoods on the left and right so the sprinter can wham through the gears without changing their hand position while in the heat of a sprint. In fact the button can be mounted anywhere on the bars and could just as easily be adapted for a climber so that its in that sweet spot on that preferred sweet spot on the bars used when attacking on a climb or possibly when working the gears and trying to stay in the zone on the steeper ramps of a climb. One day all of us will have, for optimum commuting/touring/sportive/audax/just messing about on your bike power. One day soon hopefully.

 

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.

36 comments

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Marky Mark [12 posts] 5 years ago
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I assume ultegra does go electronic then? Isn't that the edge of the battery and the wires you can see in the photo of the ultegra crank on the bike...

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John_the_Monkey [437 posts] 5 years ago
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Bloody ridiculous.

Take your second least expensive groupset and give it more expensive, less long lasting chains and cassettes eh?

Pah.

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G-bitch [322 posts] 5 years ago
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I've found 10 speed far more durable than I was expecting - after 3000km over winter, chain checker still isn't showing any significant signs of wear. That's nice high cadence winter base type miles I should add.

"After all triples seem to be good enough for those old French blokes that usually ride past British roadies a hairpin or two below the summit on alpine climbs." So true! I'm with Shimano on this one - the spread of gears of a compact plus wide range cassette would drive me nuts.

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mr-andrew [300 posts] 5 years ago
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I've sat staring at that pic and I reckon you may be onto something there.

Marky Mark wrote:

I assume ultegra does go electronic then? Isn't that the edge of the battery and the wires you can see in the photo of the ultegra crank on the bike...

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Marky Mark [12 posts] 5 years ago
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Definitely looks like cabling for electronic shifting to me, you can see the cable most notably through the crank just behind the bottom bracket with it then running along the bottom of the chainstay.

mr-andrew wrote:

I've sat staring at that pic and I reckon you may be onto something there.

Marky Mark wrote:

I assume ultegra does go electronic then? Isn't that the edge of the battery and the wires you can see in the photo of the ultegra crank on the bike...

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Fringe [1047 posts] 5 years ago
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never like those 'gear indicator' windows on the brifters.

maybe when they get to the tiagra electronic gruppo it will have a voice telling you are in "50x19" or somesuch..

what is a 'tiagra' anyway?

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John_the_Monkey [437 posts] 5 years ago
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G-bitch wrote:

I've found 10 speed far more durable than I was expecting - after 3000km over winter, chain checker still isn't showing any significant signs of wear. That's nice high cadence winter base type miles I should add.

Interesting - my 9 spd is outlasting colleague's 10spd at the moment. My favoured KMC chain is also £12 in 9spd and £18 in 10spd.

With you on triples - have them on both "quick" and commuting bikes. Q factor & weight don't make much difference at the sort of level I ride at...

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G-bitch [322 posts] 5 years ago
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John, whilst impressed that it lasted well - I've still just 'downgraded' the audax bike to 8 speed for greater longevity and lower maintenance costs.

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Simon E [2722 posts] 5 years ago
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Quote:

Shimano say that the aim of their latest version of Tiagra is to give enthusiast riders ... a durable easy to use, easy to maintain, and easy to adjust groupset that brings the advantages of 10 speed gearing further down the price points.

I can't imagine what significant advantages one extra cog brings. Why don't Shimano produce a 9-speed cassette with 28T largest ring? That's the only thing I might prefer over my current 12-25 setup.

At CRC 105 cassettes are £44 v £24 for Tiagra, chains £30 v £14. It's not a lot in the whole scheme of things but it's still £15 or £20 I would rather spend on cake - and £20 buys a lot of cake!

Also this may mean that unless they continue to produce the 4500 STIs there will only be Sora available in 9-speed, with that clunky thumbshifter.
 2

There are plenty of bikes being sold with cheaper 8-speed transmission. Tiagra is already further up the price range than a couple of years ago due to the cost of the hardware so surely a 10-speed version will cost even more.

I really don't want a directional chain, FFS!

Quote:

For ease of maintenance and adjustment the new levers opt for externally routed cables rather than taking the under the bar tape route now favoured for the higher end groupsets. Shimano say this gives an easier cable run, again facilitates ease of maintenance and ajustment

So are Shimano admitting that routing cables under the tape is inferior? So why do it?

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Fringe [1047 posts] 5 years ago
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G-bitch wrote:

John, whilst impressed that it lasted well - I've still just 'downgraded' the audax bike to 8 speed for greater longevity and lower maintenance costs.

you'll be telling us that it has downtube shifters next.  4

(talking of which i have a 7 speed set going begging if anyone wants 'em..)

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roadracedave [72 posts] 5 years ago
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That definately looks like an electronic cable, albeit not very well routed, on the picture of the Ultegra front brake  39

What with "well, the news we're allowed to tell you about right now." from the opening paragraph, I'd say it was fairly likely that Ultegra Di2 was on the way  4

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John_the_Monkey [437 posts] 5 years ago
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IMO the Canti brakes would be better with longer, "XT" type V brake pads. Interested to see their new cable adjuster though, and whether it's any better than an inline adjuster in the cable run.

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Simon E [2722 posts] 5 years ago
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Q-factor is not that big a deal. People would gain more by setting up their cleats correctly (presuming they ride clipped in).

Weight difference isn't terribly significant, the triple is about 250g (8oz) heavier than the compact. When not in a real hurry or on lumpy terrain I spend a lot of time on the 39T middle ring so I'd be very reluctant to give that up.

Another thought: if the rear mech is capable of handling 34T cassette (as per Deore 9-speed) you could run 50/36 or 46/36 and have a good range of low gears without losing out at the top end thanks to 11T at the other extreme. So why do they still sell chainsets with the larger jump in ratios of 50/34? Perhaps there's a good reason but I haven't heard it yet.

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John_the_Monkey [437 posts] 5 years ago
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Simon E wrote:

Another thought: if the rear mech is capable of handling 34T cassette (as per Deore 9-speed) you could run 50/36 or 46/36 and have a good range of low gears without losing out at the top end thanks to 11T at the other extreme. So why do they still sell chainsets with the larger jump in ratios of 50/34? Perhaps there's a good reason but I haven't heard it yet.

Lots of touring folk run the Deore (or a Shimano MTB) rear mech instead for that very reason, although they're generally running triples up front too. Compacts just don't sit well with me, feels like I'm kidding myself  1

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G-bitch [322 posts] 5 years ago
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Fringe wrote:
G-bitch wrote:

John, whilst impressed that it lasted well - I've still just 'downgraded' the audax bike to 8 speed for greater longevity and lower maintenance costs.

you'll be telling us that it has downtube shifters next.  4

(talking of which i have a 7 speed set going begging if anyone wants 'em..)

Campag 10 speed shifters - all about the mix'n'match to your preference!

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koko56 [330 posts] 5 years ago
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What is Tiagra?

Huh  7

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demoff [327 posts] 5 years ago
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Is this all Shimano's idea or has there been some input or requests from the big manufacturers? Tiagra has steadily been being specced on more bikes in the £800ish range.

Can't help thinking that having Tiagra at 10 speed will allow manufacturers even more scope to fit it as OEM helping with the profits.

I have a bike with full Tiagra and find it a good and reliable workhorse object that I am being pushed to go to 10 speed. Anyone any idea how long they will continue to produce 4400 and 4500 spares?

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 5 years ago
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Get all you compact chainset haterz!

I like my 50 / 34. (Though I think 46 / 34 would be perfect.) It is Campagnolo, so has great ankle clearance. Shimano triple? Shudder.

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Marky Mark [12 posts] 5 years ago
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Seeing as road.cc have now re-cropped the image so you can't see the cable or battery I'd say it's a certain that what they're not allowed to say is there will be Ultegra Di2 in 2011  1

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 5 years ago
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we've done what?

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Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 5 years ago
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@demoff @Simon E word on how long they will be producing 9 speed Tiagra seems to be… not very long. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if they'd stopped already.

I also asked Shimano Europe about longevity differences between 9 and 10 speed, not surprisingly they think their 10 speed groups last just as long. It does have to be said that even though it is 10 speed the new Tiagra 4600 kit will be heavier than say 105 so in that regard you might expect it to wear more slowly too - there's more of it to wear.

Why are Shimano moving all their groups over to 10 speed and going for under bar cable routing on the higher end groups? Simple answer is that's what consumers want and by consumers I mean both people buying new bikes - because they are the biggest buyers of new groupsets, and also manufacturers - the people who actually buy the groups of off Shimano. Bike buyers want to buy something they think is technologically cutting edge, bike sellers need a story to sell - 10 speed is that story. It will be on Sora eventually too I'll bet. I don't doubt either that in five years or so we'll be talking about Tiagra Di2.

Likewise under bar cable routing is Shimano keeping up with SRAM and Campagnolo who both already had it and thus looked modern and minimalist which is just what bike buyers wanted. Shimano held out for quite a long time because even before the advent of SRAM on the road scene they used to get regularly beaten up for the old-fashioned look of all that cabling out front. Mark my words cable routing on Tiagra will go the same way too.

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Fish_n_Chips [484 posts] 5 years ago
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I use tiagra on my winter bike and 9spd has been great and cheap!

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ChrisW [7 posts] 5 years ago
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I'd love to hear more details on the new tandem chainsets. I assume they are finally launching some with external bearing BBs. About time they gave FSA a run for their money in that category.

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Chuffy [201 posts] 5 years ago
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Fringe wrote:

never like those 'gear indicator' windows on the brifters.

I might be in the minority but I rather like them. Saves all that desperate 'have I got a lower gear?' fumbling when going uphill, pursued by an old Frenchman.

Quote:

what is a 'tiagra' anyway?

It's a tablet for tigers with erectile dysfunction, but I could be wrong.

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 5 years ago
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tony_farrelly wrote:

Likewise under bar cable routing is Shimano keeping up with SRAM and Campagnolo who both already had it and thus looked modern and minimalist which is just what bike buyers wanted. Shimano held out for quite a long time because even before the advent of SRAM on the road scene they used to get regularly beaten up for the old-fashioned look of all that cabling out front. Mark my words cable routing on Tiagra will go the same way too.

That cabling is also a pain if you want to use a bar bag.

Some of the pros miss it because by holding on to the cables they could have an extra, kind of half TT, hand position.

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John_the_Monkey [437 posts] 5 years ago
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tony_farrelly wrote:

I don't doubt either that in five years or so we'll be talking about Tiagra Di2.

Grr.

Electric shifting is my personal luddite frontier. Don't want it, won't buy it.

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Chuffy [201 posts] 5 years ago
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John_the_Monkey wrote:

Electric shifting is my personal luddite frontier. Don't want it, won't buy it.

Glad to hear that I'm not the only Friend of Ned. Di2 is a solution without a problem.*

* - see also GPS and mobile phones.

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Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 5 years ago
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Chuffy wrote:
John_the_Monkey wrote:

Electric shifting is my personal luddite frontier. Don't want it, won't buy it.

Glad to hear that I'm not the only Friend of Ned. Di2 is a solution without a problem..

It's a bloody good solution though  1

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joemmo [1164 posts] 5 years ago
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Simon E][quote wrote:

Why don't Shimano produce a 9-speed cassette with 28T largest ring? That's the only thing I might prefer over my current 12-25 setup.

Hi Simon - they do but its marketed for MTBs.
http://cycle.shimano-eu.com/publish/content/global_cycle/en/nl/index/pro...

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John_the_Monkey [437 posts] 5 years ago
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tony_farrelly wrote:

It's a bloody good solution though  1

Heh  1

I'm going to end up on Barcons/Donwtube shifters if shimano don't stop this nonsense, you know.

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