March 1, 2011
Nope, no disc brakes (that we know of yet…) but Shimano has been listening to the growing numbers of cyclocross racers and come out with a specific set of Ultegra-level component: the CX70 group (does anyone else think it sounds like a new Volvo?). There’s also a CX50 level with a slightly lower level of finish, which is 105 level.
The biggest differences between ‘normal’ road stuff and CX stuff are the brakes, which are cantilever rather than caliper, and the cranks, which usually have smaller gears with a smaller jump between the chainrings.
Shimano has come out with CX70 versions of both, along with ring-specific front derailleurs. Everything else (rear derailleur and shifters and cassette, you can pick from the existing Ultegra range.
Looking smart and shiny, and forged rather than machined, the CX50 and CX70 brakes feel very solid on the bike, with little or no judder that we could feel on our secret go on them last month.
The chainsets feature a smaller, closer-geared 46/36T combination for better off-road capability (especially when paired with an 11-27 cassette)
And there are some front mechs too…
When will all this hit the shops? Well, we don’t have a date yet, but expect it to be in time for ‘cross season. As for hydraulic STI disc brakes and levers? We’ll have to wait until 2013 for them then… We hope so, anyway. Shimano is saying nothing at all on the matter…