At Eurobike 2015 a corner of the Shimano stand was devoted to a concept groupset aimed at the "urban sports rider". Called Metrea it was targeted, it seemed, at hipsters. Shimano has today revealed that the Metrea groupset will go into production and will be available from April.
If the press release is anything to go by Shimano has great hopes for the groupset. "The new Urban Sports category could well be the most exciting development in cycling since the dawn of mountain biking," starts the release. (Shimano's press releases are not normally as gushing as this – see below for the normal style.)
"Long before the mountain biking market exploded there were the rebels who butchered their bikes in the quest of higher adventures," continues the release. "They modified and experimented to match their passions and came up with unique and wonderful creations. For many years the same process has been happening in urban cycling."
"Urban riders have been self-modifying and experimenting with their own urban riding creations. Now a new era is on the horizon and a new type of cyclist needs to be served with refined craftsmanship from a dedicated urban cycling groupset. Welcome to METREA."
The press release introduces the groupset in uppercase but let's put a stop to that right now. Metrea is for the "instigators and the non-conformists, the early-adopters and the inspiring pioneers. To anyone who’s dreamt of building their own high-speed city bike, only to feel compromised by what’s been available."
The name is said to derive from "metropolitan" and "real".
The groupset is designed for "comfortable daily commuting" and is said to be for a new 60° to 45° degree riding angle which "allows for responsive nimble handling and a comfortable posture."
Despite the press release's hyperbole the Metrea groupset makes a lot of sense as it's designed for urban riding and isn't just ported over from road cycling or mountain biking. Of course, Shimano has been here before. In 2006 Shimano introduced "Coasting" in the US – this was a groupset, and a marketing approach, aimed at getting lots of new people cycling. A great deal of money was spent on the Coasting platform but, four years later, it slipped into obscurity.
The rest of the release for Metrea contains the technical gubbins ...
Riders can choose a flat bar for greater urban versatility and compatibility with a wide range of bike frames. Two-way SL-U5000 flat bar Rapidfire Plus shift levers with instant release and Vivid index shifting allow for rapid gear changes with consistent pedaling. The shift levers are operated by OPTISLICK-coated cables offering a smooth and light shifting performance.
Alternatively, H-type handlebars are a new concept in cycling, designed to position the rider’s forearms in a natural position, mimicking the position of hands on the brake hoods of drop handlebars. H-type bars will be available through PRO from Summer 2016.
Riders mixing METREA components with slim H-type handlebars give themselves quick handling and better maneuverability for urban riding. The clean and sophisticated style is ergonomically designed to follow the natural movement of the arms. Complementary ST-U5060 Dual Control Levers for the ends of the H-type bar lend riders an efficient riding position to go through narrow spaces, whilst putting gear and brake levers within easy reach.
Hydraulic disc brake system
Hydraulic brake levers (BL-U5000 / ST-U5060) deliver appropriately regulated power and performance to cope with multiple urban hazards. Flat-mount calipers (BR-U5000) provide a clean appearance with stable, silent and smooth braking performance, and Ice Tech rotors (SM-RT500-SS) allow for maximum heat dissipation.
A sleek and anti-corroding two-piece crankset provides reliable drivetrain performance and its tooth profile allows for smooth and consistent pedaling. Drivetrain options provide customizability to suit different city landscapes. The 46-32T double ring set up (FC-U5000-2) provides a closer gear ratio, better suited to varying terrain. Alternatively for simplicity and all-out speed, a single chain ring 42T (FC-U5000-1) set up provides optimal urban gearing. An integrated chain guard provides protection for loose fitting casual riding trousers.
The front derailleur (FD-U5000-F) is designed to work with the 46-32T chain rings and has a low chain drop with a low-trim position. The rear derailleur (RD-U5000) introduces wide-range 11-speed gearing with efficient shifting steps on the CS-5800 cassette allowing the rider to maintain pace in the hectic city.
Finally, METREA’s disc-brake specific wheelset (WH-U5000) brings everything together to allow for quick and stylish cruising through the city streets.