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The future is hydraulic

Jordan Gibbons
19 Aug 2015

Patent documents show plans from Rotor and Campagnolo for hydraulics. Updated with photos of the new Rotor Uno hydraulic groupset.

The microprocessor is dead. Long live the master cylinder! Rumours emerged [these are no longer rumours – Rotor has confirmed the groupset – update below] recently of a hydraulic groupset from Rotor and after a bit of digging, we found the patent documents, plus a few other interesting items from Campagnolo.

The Rotor hydraulic groupset is rather fascinating, as it differs quite dramatically from the prototype we saw from Acros a few years ago. The Acros system used two hydraulic lines and the indexing was done in the shifters, like conventional mechanical groupsets. In the Rotor patent files, you can see there is only one hydraulic line and the indexing takes place at the derailleur, which means you can use multiple shifters on one derailleur (such as on TT bikes).

The Rotor shifter bears a striking resemblance to a SRAM unit (Rotor actually mention it in the application) and operates in a similar fashion. The derailleurs as you can see house all the gubbins to sort the indexing.

UPDATE

Rotor has officially annouced its hydraulic groupset as the Uno. Rotor has partnered with Magura on the brakes and the UNO will be available with hydraulic rim and disc brake options. Little else is known about the groupset at the moment, although we've got some time booked with Rotor at Eurobike next week so we'll bring you an update then. In the meantime, here are a few photos of the finished units.

The Campagnolo items are allusions to the much rumoured hydraulic disc brake options. With the testing period in full swing, we think Campagnolo is going to have to show its hand fairly soon. The first patent drawing is for the integration of a hydraulic master cylinder in an EPS shifter.

There is nothing of the actual brake unit itself although we’ve heard rumours that it’s being produced by Brembo (it patented a bicycle disc brake about 10 years ago).

Campagnolo also filed a patent for a handlebar with hydraulic controls built into it. The idea being that the much larger space available in the handlebar means you can install much larger master cyclinders which offers more braking power than would be available from the tiny hydraulic systems fitted inside shifters.

Best start stocking up on your DOT fluid.

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