FSA K-force WE groupset

£2,500 (full groupset), wind­wave.co.uk

Cyclist - - New Gear -

ot since the days of Span­ish brand Zeus has one com­pany sought to make so much of your bike (Zeus lit­er­ally made ev­ery­thing be­fore it was sub­sumed by Or­bea in 1989). For, in ad­ding a groupset to its port­fo­lio, FSA can now sell you pretty much ev­ery­thing ex­cept a frame.

‘We’ve been work­ing on the groupset for five years – it’s the miss­ing piece of the puz­zle,’ says FSA’S Edoardo Gi­rardi. ‘K-force WE is a hy­brid wire­less sys­tem that takes ad­van­tages from our com­peti­tors, and has a host of ex­clu­sive fea­tures com­pared to other brands.’

What that means is the K-force WE is a part-wired, part-wire­less elec­tron­i­cally shift­ing groupset. The rear mech is wired to the front mech and both are pow­ered by an in­ter­nal bat­tery, with the ‘brains’ and charg­ing port in the front mech body. Those mechs are con­trolled by a pair of levers wire­lessly con­nected us­ing the ANT+ pro­to­col (Sram, by con­trast, uses Blue­tooth for its etap).

The idea is that the groupset has a longer run time than Sram etap (which uses two smaller bat­ter­ies in­te­grated into the mechs) but is easier to set up and looks cleaner than Cam­pag­nolo or Shi­mano’s fully wired sys­tems.

FSA says the K-force WE lasts up to 6,000km be­tween charges, com­pared to 2,000km for Shi­mano and 1,000km for etap. Weights are com­pa­ra­ble, with etap around 1,955g, Dura-ace Di2 2,050g, Su­per Record EPS 2,070g and K-force WE a claimed 2,090g.

Other ‘ex­clu­sive’ fea­tures are dif­fer­ent levers for dif­fer­ent-sized hands, car­bon com­pos­ite con­struc­tion, and an app that al­lows users to link to the sys­tem via Blue­tooth to mon­i­tor bat­tery life and con­trol things such as shift speed and but­ton assig­na­tions.

It’s all very clever stuff, but only time will tell if there’s ac­tu­ally room in the mar­ket for an­other groupset.

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