FSA electronic groupset tested in the Tour de France
Spotted last year later in Le Tour, the FSA electronic shifting group has been further refined and made another late-in-the-game appearance at this year’s Tour de France, too. This time, though, it’s looking nearly production ready.
The brake levers are wide and have a pronounced bend to bring the braking area out where your fingers tend to be when actually riding. The hoods are sized such that we suspect they could house hydraulic braking bits if need be, but the Cofidis and Direct Energie team bikes shown here were all running rim brake calipers.
Unless they’re playing the same games SRAM did, then it’s a wired system, putting the motor on top of the front derailleur. Just barely visible on the top of the motor case are what could be indicator lights or adjustment buttons.
Secondly shifting is done using two buttons placed behind the brake levers on either side, and presumably you press one of the buttons on the right hand side to change up at the back, and the other to change down, and the same with the left shifter buttons and the front derailleur. This means that the levers look quite a bit bulkier than those from other manufacturers.
Both of the derailleurs also look much larger than those from FSA’s competitors (although the FSA groupset is still in the prototype stage so these may be slimmed down later), and there is no sign of batteries on the derailleurs, so we would expect a battery to be positioned in the seat tube.
With such a deep sponsorship of pro teams, it’s almost certainly a thorn in their side that some teams can’t run their cranksets due to complete group sponsorship deals with SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo. The other reason is OEM sales, which at the end of the day is what drives most product development decisions for the big companies. A complete drivetrain system would let them provide 100% FSA parts on a bike, and those are some of the same reasons Rotor developed their hydraulic group.