Hydraulics are used across the aerospace and automotive industries because they are safe, reliable and incredibly powerful, so it makes sense to utilize this in a groupset for instantaneous and accurate shifting which can be relied on mile-after-mile.
With uno, rotor is aiming to take the best of mechanical and electronic shifting systems to create something completely different yet practical. borrowing from the electronic side, uno has been designed to have very direct, precise shifting, smooth activation and smart cabling that’s resistant to bends and friction. rotor’s engineers were also keen to ensure a more tactile, mechanical touch to the shifting and maintain a low weight while also adding disc and hydraulic rim brake options – things they’ve achieved with uno.
Uno’s development and manufacturing has been completely in-house, so it has been easy for the company’s engineers to make subtle changes to the product during the production process. this has been key for rotor, who furnished pro squads team dimension data and cervelo-bigla with uno groupsets in november 2015. with typical insensitivity to the tech on their bikes – and those who’ve created it – the team riders pushed uno hard and their feedback has meant more tweaks to the groupset over the course of 2016 than the entire year previously.
The result is ultra-smooth and precise shifting partnered with incredible braking modulation and stopping power across both rim and disc brake options, each of which now has a specific lever rather than a work-for-both, cross-compatible, compromise.
the levers for rim and disc brakes look identical, with chunky, highly grippy rubber hoods requested by pro riders. the shifting system itself uses a single paddle lever positioned behind the brake lever. for the rear derailleur, one short click takes you down a cog while a longer throw takes you up one to four cogs depending on the adjustment of a screw on the derailleurs underside. all the indexing takes place within the rear derailleurs ‘clockwork’ mechanism, actuated by the reinforced 3mm hydraulic line, which is the same diameter as a di2 cable, making uno compatible with existing frames. the lines are filled with a glycol solution which offers faster, more precise shifting than mineral oil and has no temperature issues – unless you ride below -15°c or above 88°c! the rear derailleur also has a return to origin function; a nob on the top that bypasses the ratchet to drop the chain to the smallest cog for quick wheel changes. then a tap of the button and the indexing is back, regardless of which cog the rider left the bike in via the lever. the front derailleur uses the same lever action, although there is a double-trim function allowing you to adjust the position of the front derailleur’s cage to make use of more gears without chain rub.
On the braking side, rotor is touting the superior modulation of its hydraulic rim and disc brakes, giving road riders more control and less arm fatigue while riding to increase confidence while descending. both types use magura royal blood natural mineral oil which isn’t hydrostatic, ensuring water won’t contaminate the system. once it’s set up, there shouldn’t be any need to ever touch it again. for the calipers themselves, rotor has selected magura’s lightest mt8 system, which is both flat- and post-mount compatible and has been specifically designed for heat dissipation. no maintenance is needed, just replacement of the pads once they’re worn. 160mm rotors give ample stopping power regardless of bike or rider weight.
As part of the ultra-light goal, rotor has also developed a completely new cassette, which uses two steel domes for the first nine gears while the two biggest cogs are aluminium. initially available in 11-28t, its sub-150g weight will make it a big-selling upgrade item in its own right.
Uno’s lightness was critical for rotor, with engineers employing judicious use of carbon in key places such as the rear derailleur cage, levers and lever band on clamp to lower overall weight. the published weights at launch totalled 1,604g.