UPDATED - 2014/15 Shimano 5800 105 - First Look

By: Brandon Apr 2

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I was alerted tonight to some sneak peeks of Shimano's upcoming 105 drivetrain. Of course, the article I was linked to has since been removed, but I thought I'd share what I could still find online...here's to hoping this article stays live!

Before we dive into what I've found, let me briefly cover what I find most important:

1. No Di2 for 105...yet. It'll come at some point, but doesn't appear to be in the cards for now.

2. Mechanical shifting now gets hydraulic disc brakes. No longer required to make the Di2 swap, Shimano's new ST-RS685 shifters will allow an 11-speed mechanical drivetrain with Shimano's incredible hydraulic disc braking.

3. 105 now gets the upgraded front derailleur geometry of 6800 Ultegra and 9000 Dura-Ace. This is huge news as anyone who has used 6800/9000 will agree. Shimano has long been known for their front shifting, but this is next-level stuff at 105 pricing.

4. Shimano's 4-bolt cranks now make their way to 105 along with chainrings that appear to have Ultegra-like construction.

Without further ado, here's a copy-paste from thehubs.co.za forum.

Shimano has released details of its all new 105 groupset. Revamped for 2014/15, the drivetrain is now 11-speed, with all components gaining trickle down technology from the company's existing Ultegra and Dura-Ace groups.

Importantly, the new 105 can also be combined with Shimano's recently announced, second generation hydraulic disc brake for road bikes – in a system that debuts mechanical shifting with hydraulic braking for the company.

FC-5800 chainset

There are several chainset options for the new 105 including the FC-5800, a new four-arm Hollowtech II design similar to that of current Ultegra and Dura-Ace. it's stiffer and lighter than the five-arm design it replaces, and Shimano has reinforced construction around the chainring area to further improve the stiffness to weight ratio.

The chainset uses the same bolt circle diameter for compact and traditional double chainsets, which means one crankarm fits all chainring sizes. Gearing options are as follows: 50-34t, 52-36t or 53-39t, and both black and silver colour options will be available. The crankset can be used with Shimano's SM-BBR60 bottom bracket or, should your frame require it, the SM-BB72-41B press-fit bottom bracket.

Shimano will also continue to produce five-arm Hollowtech II chainsets in all popular gear combinations for the 105 group. Crank length options will be 165mm, 170mm, 172.5mm and 175mm.

ST-5800 dual control shift levers

105 now gains the light yet positive shift action found in Dura-Ace and Ultegra levers; there's also a new compact shape that's borrowed from the the levers of Shimano's more expensive groups. The lever can adjusted to accommodate different hand sizes via a 10mm screw-type reach adjustment. Polymer coated cables are now standard.

FD-5800 front derailleur

The new 5800 front derailleur has a longer link arm and a new spring mechanism when compared with the last generation component. RD-5800 rear derailleur.

Shimano has included a new spring mechanism and cable pitch in the latest 105 rear derailleur, said to provide robust adjustability. Both SS (short) and GS (long) options will be available, with the latter being compatible with a 32t cassette. BR-5800 caliper brakes.

105 has taken a step up to a new symmetrical dual pivot caliper design, with a higher arch allowing clearance for up to a 28c tyre. The result is a claimed 10% increase in power. Direct mount versions will also be available (BR-5810-F/R). CS-5800 cassette.

105's 11-speed cassette is offered in three flavours providing the following ratios: 11-25t, 11-28t and 11-32t. Each choice uses close ratios that Shimano say optimise rhythm and cadence control.

CN-HG600-11 Chain

The new CN-HG600 11-speed chain uses Shimano's low friction surface treatment known as Sil-Tec. It's a PTFE surface coating that reduces friction while boosting durability. The technology first debuted a couple of years back on Shimano's flagship Dura-Ace 9000 chain.

Hydraulic disc compatibility

The big news is that Shimano has now expanded hydraulic disc technology to work with a mechanical drivetrain rather than the Di2-only previous components. This has been achieved by the company introducing the ST-RS685, a new dual-control lever that houses 11-speed shifting internals alongside the guts of Shimano's hydraulic brake. The 11-speed shifter can be paired with the drivetrain of Shimano’s Dura-Ace and Ultegra mechanical groups as well as this latest version of 105.

Both the ST-RS685 shifter and the new BR-RS785 hydraulic disc brake will remain a non-series component, meaning they won't belong to a particular product group such as Ultegra or Dura-Ace.

Flat handlebar shifter Shimano has decided to offer another non-series component that builds on the versatility of the 105 group: a pair of 11-speed flat bar shifters. These should provide a decent option for manufacturers or individuals looking for premium shifting on flat bar hybrids without having to resort to often overbuilt mountain bike components. Once again these parts will work with Shimano’s Dura-Ace and Ultegra mechanical.

photos courtesy of Shimano and thehubs.co.za forum


Embro Edition Butter B1

By: Brandon Mar 4

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Tools are very important to us here at Embro HQ. Sure, they help us build some absolutely beautiful bikes, but tools also give us the power to maintain them as well. Some of our tools are very basic: a bent spoke to help fishing out internal wires or some kitchen shears to leave a perfectly cut end to our bar tap.

Not every tool we covet is simple. The Wheel Fanatyk Digital Tensiometer, the P&K Lie wheel truing stand, or our Chris King hub tools come to mind. Tools that had extreme care and thought put into them to create a perfectly functioning piece. In our eyes, when a tool reaches these levels of design and functionality, it becomes more than just a tool, it's now conversation piece, even art.

The guys over at Butter have taken what used to be a very basic and boring tool from the bottom of your toolbox and created a piece of art, crafted in Boulder, CO, to their exacting specifications. The B1 is not brand new, it's been available from Butter for some time, but they've stepped up their laser etching game for Embro and kicked out these limited-edition versions for us.

The B1 is a simple tool, it clamps into your drive-side dropout when your rear wheel is removed to keep your chain off of your frame. Be it for travel or repair, the B1 functions perfectly and looks beautiful.

A pre-order will be coming soon enough for these. If you have interest, contact us here and we'll put you on the contact list do you can be at the head of the line when these come available.

photos and words by Brandon Elliott


Search and State S1-J Jacket: Out of the Box

By: Brandon Feb 18

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I’m no stranger to the level of quality that Search and State provides. I’ve been riding in their S1-S riding shorts and S1-A riding jersey nearly a year now. The level of quality, fit, and features rivals all of the top labels. When you pair that with the fact that every piece is made in New York City you tick off all the pertinent boxes.

It was hard to contain my excitement when Embro HQ received the new S1-J riding jacket ($245 USD). Out of the box you can see the attention to details: Two-way waterproof zipper, large rear pocket, overlock seams. To us, pride and presentation can also heavily impress us, and Search and State did not disappoint. The weight is light, yet not flimsy, and it easily packs away into a jersey pocket. But perhaps the most interesting part of this jacket is the fabric. Search and State describes the C-Change fabric as "a bionic climate membrane that independently reacts to changing temperatures, closing when exposed to cold and opening in response to warmth."

That's a big claim, but what does it mean for you? They have that covered as well: "The S1-J traps heat when you need it, vents moisture as it's produced and will be the most versatile piece of technical apparel you own."

We were also happy to find a pair of S1-AW Arm Warmers ($48 USD) in the box. Though not as thick as some others, the material is exceptionally soft and, we're guessing, provide an excellent base layer.

Suffice to say I can’t wait to wear it on a few rides to see how well this space-age softshell performs. Big claims have been made, we fully intend to find out how well they've done. Over the course of the spring we'll be checking in periodically as the jacket and arm warmers make their way through the Embro staff and we share our thoughts on the pieces as well as comment on how they stack up against the claims from Search and State. Initial impressions are very positive.

photos by Joshua Alexandre Haines, words by Joshua Alexandre Haines and Brandon Elliott


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