Eurobike 2018 News

Rotor present a 1×13 drivetrain – 13 gears with a 520% range!

That was quick! Not too long ago the two shifting giants introduced their latest 1×12 drivetrain and now Spanish underdog Rotor has just dropped a bombshell with a new 1×13 drivetrain with a 520% gear-range. But that’s not all! The shifters rely on hydraulics rather than on a classic cable system.

Rotor’s new 1×13 offers a gear range of up to 520% over 13 gears and a hydraulically shifting system. Prices have not yet been disclosed.

Rotor is familiar with electronic circuit components. The Spanish brand became popular with its oval chainrings and has been offering a hydraulic groupset for some time – you might have heard of the UNO racing groupset. Using all of the knowledge they acquired while developing the UNO model the Spaniards have now created a brand new 13 speed drivetrain.
This wasn’t just designed to be used with road and gravel bikes but also mountain bikes — a number of different cassettes and shifters make this possible. All of the drivetrain-versions share same rear-derailleur.

Rotor 1×13 M1TB cassettes

Yes that’s right: Rotor’s new cassette has 13 sprockets

Rotor offers two cassette options for mountain bikes. A finely graded 10-46 version and a 10-52 model with an incredible 520% gear range. The cassette consists of two parts with seven steel sprockets in the higher gears and six aluminium sprockets in the lower range. Despite the incremented gear ratio the cassette is up to 30 g lighter than any high-end cassette from SRAM or Shimano — Rotor claims.

There will be a 10-46 …
as well as a 10-52 version
The cassette consists of two blocks and only attaches to the lower part of the freewheel – an effective way to save weight.

The rear derailleur on Rotor’s 1×13 group set

Just by looking at Rotor’s new rear-derailleur you can tell that it’s different from everything else you’ve ever seen on a mountain bike. The hydraulic unit sits in the large box behind the parallelogram. Unlike other drivetrains the indexing of the individual gear steps happens in the actual derailleur. A pin in the rear-derailleur allows you to manually lock it into any gear in case you’re stuck with a mechanical defect in the hydraulic system.

The rear derailleur of the Rotor 1×13 looks a little sci-fi and the hydraulic system bears a huge amount of know-how.
And of course Rotor’s new rear derailleur comes with a clutch. If you experience a mechanical problem with the hydraulic system you can lock the rear-derailleur into any gear and secure it with the pin.

Rotor’s 1×13 shifter

The shifter might be the most understated part of the entire Rotor 1×13 groupset. Since Rotor got rid of the lever ratchet the system is super-minimalistic and allows you to shift either a single gear or a number of gears in one go.

The shifter is super-minimalistic and compatible with matchmakers.
The eyelet for the hydraulic hose on the bottom of the shifter.

Special hubs for Rotor’s 1×13 drivetrain

This is probably the biggest drawback of Rotor’s new 1×13 drivetrain: the cassette only works with Rotor’s own hubs. The reason? There is not enough space on a standard Shimano HG freewheel body, so to accommodate the 13th sprocket the freehub body is moved further inwards. Logically this causes the spoke angle to steepen slightly – it’s still uncertain how this will affect the stiffness and stability of the rear wheel.

The entire freehub shifts to the left to make room for the cassette. Currently Rotor’s 1×13 drivetrain is only compatible with their own hubs.

Prices and availability for Rotor’s 1×13 drivetrain

Rotor’s new drivetrain should be available from mid 2019 and will be in the same price range as its SRAM and Shimano equivalents.

It’s still unsure whether Rotor’s 1×13 drivetrain will set a new benchmark in shifting technology. We are looking forward to a first test!

Our take on Rotor’s new 1×13 drivetrain

Straight away Rotor’s new 1×13 groupset looks like a real revolution. More gears, more range, less weight and all of it accompanied by a smooth hydraulic shifting system. The concept reflects Rotor’s superb know-how. However we still have to wait a little while before we can put the drivetrain through its paces in a practical test — how good is the damping and the clutch in the rear derailleur? How reliable is the hydraulic system? Perhaps Rotor’s 1×13 system is yet another solution to a problem that never existed. As far as we’re concerned we never thought that the gear steps on SRAM’s Eagle and Shimano’s XTR were too big or that the gear-range was too small. However we’re sure that Rotor will find many riders who will fall in love with their new drivetrain and forgive the fact that it’s not yet compatible with conventional hubs.

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