FSA has launched an update to its K-Force WE groupset, moving to a 12-speed setup to match rival electronic groupsets from the big three manufacturers.
The K-Force WE 12S groupset drops rim brakes, but sticks to a semi-wireless setup, with a central battery powering the front and rear derailleurs, but the shifters being fully wireless. A similar setup is used on Shimano’s new 12-speed electronic groupsets, including 105 Di2.
This is the groupset’s first major revamp since its introduction in 2016
The K-Force WE 12S groupset is claimed to weigh 2,390g and set to cost €4,280 when it becomes available towards the end of 2022. UK and US prices were unavailable at time of writing.
Upgrade to 12-speed and disc-brake only
The new 12-speed cassette is claimed to be 13 per cent lighter than the old 11-speed cassette, despite the addition of the extra sprocket. An 11-32t cassette is claimed to weigh 195g. 11-25t and 11-28t options will also be available.
The cassette is made from cast, heat-treated titanium cogs that are mounted to a carbon spider.
The chainset features 3K carbon fibre arms married to an alloy spindle. It will come in a standard compact 50/34-tooth configuration, plus 54/40-tooth and sub-compact 46/30-tooth variants – representing a move away from the currently standard 50/34, 52/36, 53/39 options.
The direct-mount CNC-machined chainrings appear to take heavy inspiration from Cannondale’s HollowGram SpideRing chainrings, using a one-piece construction that is claimed to offer improved stiffness and reduce weight compared to traditional setups.
FSA has also taken the decision to drop rim brakes, opting for a hydraulic disc-brake only approach.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, because the majority of road bikes are now designed around road disc brakes.
FSA’s disc brake rotors are available in 160 and 140mm variants, and feature both 6-bolt and Centerlock compatibility.
The shifters have also seen a redesign, opting for a partially shrouded look reminiscent of the latest 12-speed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9200, Ultegra Di2 R8100 and 105 Di2 R7100 shifters.
The lever blade is made of a carbon composite material and features visibly narrower shifter buttons. FSA says the hood has been profiled to optimise ergonomics.
Under the skin, the design appears to have remained similar to the previous generation.
A central battery powers the front and rear derailleurs, with wireless shifters powered by replaceable CR2032 coin cell batteries.
FSA claims the front derailleur can action a shift in 70ms, while it says the rear derailleur benefits from updated electronics and a new sensor that provides more accurate speed and alignment data.
Although the rear derailleur is still powered by the same central battery as the front derailleur, it now receives signals directly from the shifters (rather than via the front derailleur as with the previous generation).
Externally, the K-Force WE 12S groupset has seen minor aesthetic tweaks, now featuring a black and carbon colour mix (no more red WE symbol) with more subliminal branding.
FSA K-Force WE 12S component specifications and weights
K-Force Team Edition BB386Evo crankset
- Crank sizes: 165, 167.5, 170, 172.5, 175mm
- Chainrings: 54/40t, 50/34t, 46/30t
- Material: Carbon fibre arms, alloy chainrings and 30mm spindle
- Bottom bracket compatibility: BB386Evo
- Claimed weight: 544g (54/40t)
K-Force WE 12S shifters
- Material: Carbon fibre levers
- Power source: Replaceable CR3032 coin batteries
- Claimed weight: 405g (pair)
K-Force WE 12S front derailleur
- Fitment: Braze-on
- Compatibility: 54/40t, 52/39t, 50/34t, 46/30t
- Claimed weight: 159g
K-Force WE battery
- Rechargeable: Yes
- Capacity: 1,100mAh
- Claimed weight: TBC
K-Force WE rotor
- Material: Forged aluminium carrier, stainless steel rotor
- Compatibility: 6-bolt or Centerlock
- Sizes: 160mm, 140mm
- Claimed weight: 125g (160mm), 103g (140mm)
K-Force WE 12S cassette
- Material: Cast and heat-treated nickel-plated sprockets (5x titanium sprockets), carbon spider
- Design: One-piece construction, anodised black titanium sprockets
- Sprockets: 11-25t, 11-28t, 11-32t
- Claimed weight: 195g (11-32t)
K-Force WE 12S chain
- Size: 5.6mm width
- Claimed weight: 250g (116 links)