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New four-arm cranks, mechanical disc brakes and 11-34t cassette for the latest Sora 9-speed groupset

Shimano’s strategy to trickle down technology first seen at the top-end to its more affordable groupsets continues, with the announcement today of its new Sora R3000 , which features a refreshed appearance, 11-34t cassette, mechanical disc brakes with flat mount calipers and new thru-axle wheels.

Shimano launched its new Tiagra groupset last year, which we were hugely impressed with. Sora sits one step below Tiagra and is a 9-speed groupset aimed at, in Shimano’s words, “sports and fitness cyclists” but is also “a perfect groupset for winter or urban commuting bikes”.

- Review: Shimano Sora 3500 groupset

What’s new then?

The main difference is a visual one. Shimano has treated Sora to the same four-arm chainset design that first appeared on Dura-Ace a few years ago, and was introduced to Tiagra last year. There’s also a new two-tone black and grey gloss finish for the chainset, shifters, levers, brakes and rear derailleurs. 

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The other big change is to the shifters. Like Tiagra, the cables are now routed under the bar tape, providing a much cleaner appearance, and gives the groupset a more upmarket look. Bikes with Sora fitted should look really good, we can’t wait to see the first examples of it in the coming months.

- Shimano Tiagra 4700 first ride review

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Sora is intended to fulfil several different roles, from road bikes to flat bar commuters. For this reason, the chainset is available in four-arm double 50-34t and triple 50-39-30t configurations and, for flat bar bikes, a five-arm chainset in 50-34t or 50-39-30t version, the latter with an integrated chain guard.

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There is also new 11-34t cassette with a long cage rear derailleur and a long arm front derailleur.

“Spinning up hills suddenly got easier with two extra teeth over the previous SORA, while the small 11T sprocket makes sure you have enough high-end range to put the power down,” says Shimano of the new cassette.

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Discs and thru-axles for the masses

Disc brake technology is getting more affordable, with Shimano releasing the new Sora level mechanical disc brakes with a flat mount caliper.

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Flat Mount is the method of attaching the caliper to the frame/fork and it’s a cleaner and lighter system than the other current standard, post mount.

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The new brakes can be used with a choice of steel of stainless steel rotors. 

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Shimano has updated the RX31 wheelset with new AX720 hubs with E-Thru technology, based around 12mm thru-axles. E-Thru is an existing technology with Shimano, it first debuted it on its mountain bike line of components last summer.

- Your complete guide to Shimano 2016 road bike groupsets

There are no prices or availability information at the moment.

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.