Rotor have taken another jump forward in the ongoing gear wars and put another cog in the machine, with the launch of their 13 speed 1x hydraulic groupset, that they have simply dubbed 'The Only One'. There are numerous cassette sizes to cover off road, mtb, gravel and CX, and Rotor even claim their 13 speed system can match or even better gearing ranges on some current 2x11 systems.
Rotor has been developing their hydraulic drivetrain for years, and the Uno road groupset with a front derailleur was only recently made available. The advent of a 13 speed cassette is another step forward, and could be the thing that really brings 1x for road to the forefront; The 3T Strada, road.cc's 2017-18 Bike of the Year, uses a 1x11 setup currently and according to 3T founder Gerrard Vroomen, the reason the bike was developed was because the advent of 12 and 13 speed cassettes was anticipated to close up gaps in the high gears.
So what gaps does a 1x13 close? Well as a 2x11 has fourteen possible combinations, some of those gears cross over; this means a 13 speed covers off all but one of those options, as detailed in the graph above. The total range of 1x13 has a 390% range with a 50t chainring with a 10-39 cassette, as opposed to 346% with a 53/39 and 11-28 setup; meaning no disadvantage at the top end, with closer gaps and more range at the rear. Rotor say the groupset can be combined with a huge number of chainring sizes (38 right up to 54) and the cassette offerings are 10-36, 10-39, 10-46 and a massive 1--52 for mountain bikers.
Rotor say the other main benefits are avoiding chain loss or chain suck by removing the need to faff with a front mech, and also the rear derailleur has a clutch-style mechanism to minimise dropped chains. The casing of the mech is made from aluminium and reinforced polymer and it can be adjusted to work with a 12-speed cassette by simply turning a bolt, if you wanna go all retro and that...
Rotor say the benefits of hydraulic are that there is virtually no maintenance when you've set it up - you simply install it, bleed and go. there are no cables and no batteries, and hydraulics is both "proven and reliable".
We don't know prices or availability dates yet but we'll have more to follow on 13 speed, including some video from Eurobike which is currently taking place in Germany, so check back for updates soon...
Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.