Rotor Confirms Full Details of 1×13 Drivetrain

by | September 2, 2019

Roughly a year after we first saw it at Eurobike, Rotor has confirmed a release date and pricing for its 13 speed, hydraulic drivetrain. We’ve had a good chance to take a look at all the features but now we finally have some concrete details about when and how you’ll be able to get an extra cog on the rear of your bike.

For those who have been under a rock, Rotor first revealed a rough prototype in July last year and the concept has stayed largely the same ever since but we’ve seen more and more refined versions at the Taipei Bike Show and Sea Otter. For all the details we know up to this point, here’s Mike Levy’s video from Sea Otter:

Most people are probably going to be focussed on the substantial cassette that’s resting at the back of this drivetrain and Rotor will be offering four different configurations – 10-36/10-39/10-46/10-52 but we imagine most mountain bikers will only be interested in the final of those. So that’s a maximum of a 520% range, which is actually only 10% more than you get on the Shimano XTR 12 speed despite the extra cog.

This isn’t about a hugely wide gear range though but instead giving you another step within the current range you have and meaning the gears are spread more evenly over that range. If you do want the 13 speed cassette you’ll have to run it with Rotor’s own hub for now, as no other conventional hub is able to fit its huge range, however this does mean the cassette uses 12 speed spacing and you can use a standard 12 speed chain.

Perhaps more exciting than the “mine’s bigger than yours” cassette though is the hydraulic actuation of the derailleur. Rotor have already released a hydraulic groupset with their Uno system but that was hardly a runaway success when it comes to sales. Instead, Rotor have treated it as a learning experience and have apparently improved it on the 1×13 groupset. So what are the advantages of a hydraulic system? Well, Rotor are claiming it’s more precise than a mechanical system and that the actuation should be easier than dragging a cable. On top of this, it’s a closed system so you won’t be pulling mud and grit through it every time you shift gear. That being said, it’s probably not quite as precise, accurate or maintenance-free as a wireless system…

There are some other neat features here including a Go to Origin button that sends the derailleur to the smallest cog for easier wheel removal and adjustable stops to determine how many gears you can change with each push of the thumb paddle.

If you’ve been following the development of the product then you’ll know all about the new tech above so let’s get into the nitty-gritty instead. Rotor will be offering the Spanish built drivetrain at three levels – Ready, Mountain Superlight and Mountain Performance.

1×13 Ready

Ready is the lowest spec here and doesn’t even include the 13 speed cassette. The thinking here is that riders may want hydraulic performance without having to swap out too many parts to make it work with the 13-speed cassette. This groupset uses an 11-52 cassette that will work with your current hub and comes with a shifter, a derailleur and a Kapic crankset. The set weighs 1,531 grams and will cost €1,399 / £1,299 / $1,399. You may think it’s a bit silly investing in this groupset and not getting the extra cog but we’ve all lived without 13 speed just fine for as long as we’ve been mountain biking and this way you get supposedly smoother and more reliable shifting for a cost that is comparable to SRAM’s wireless system or Shimano’s 12 speed offering.

Includes: Shifter + derailleur + 12s cassette + chain +KAPIC crankset (including ring)
Weight: 1,531g
Cost: €1,399/£1,299/$1,399

1×13 Mountain Super Light

The main difference between the two kits that come with the 13 speed cassette is the cranks they are accompanied with. The Super Light comes with Rotor’s first foray into carbon in the Kapic crank. The fact that its name is a portmanteau of Cape Epic should point you where this crankset is aimed, squarely at the XC and endurance crowd. As such, this crankset is about 250 grams lighter than the top of the range Performance kit. Other than that, you get the 13 speed cassette, the hub to fit it on, the derailleur and the shifter.

Includes: Shifter + derailleur + 13s cassette + chain + 13s hubs + KAPIC Carbon crankset (including ring)
Weight: 1,816g
Cost: €1,799/£1,699/$1,799

1×13 Mountain Performance

The most expensive version of the crankset is the Performance version that swaps out the Kapic crank for Rotor’s 2IN Power crank. This is an aluminum crankset but it includes a built-in power meter. It does come with a weight penalty of 250 grams and is a big step up in price from the Super Light version.

Includes: Shifter + derailleur + 13s cassette + chain + 13s hubs + 2IN power MTB crankset (including ring)
Weight: 2,082g
Cost: €2,549/£2,399/$2,599

The 1×13 groupset will be available in October.

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