- Black is the new black. Shimano has a new hub body for its new prototype. It's likely that internals remain the same. Photo: Graham Watson
- Shimano's new deep section wheel has a more bulbous, wide look to it. Photo: Graham Watson
- Taken the day after he won stage six of the 2012 Paris-Nice, Luis Leon Sanchez was still aboard the new Shimano prototypes. Photo: Graham Watson.
- Several of the Rabobank riders were aboard the new wheel, which lacks model markings. Photo: Graham Watson
- The new Shimano prototype has hidden spoke nipples and what appears to be a wider, approximately 50mm deep rim. Photo: Graham Watson
When Rabobank’s Luis León Sanchez crossed the finish line in stage 6 of Paris-Nice ahead of Jens Voigt, something didn’t look quite right. The smile on his face was appropriate, his jersey was fully zipped and his bike was immaculately clean. It was the black hub on his Shimano-equipped Giant that stood out.
Either Sanchez was aboard a wheel from a competing sponsor or he was on something new from Shimano. It turns out it was the latter. Shimano appears to be joining the wider rim trend with a new 50-ish millimeter deep section carbon wheel.
A new, black hub, likely with the usual excellent Shimano internals, is laced to what looks like a more bulbous rim. Shimano, at least on the prototype Sanchez rode, decided to hide the spoke nipples inside the rim.
There is no word yet on weight, cost or availability, but if we hear anything more, we’ll be sure to pass it along. For now, know that it’s good enough to help Sanchez beat Jens Voigt, and that’s a pretty strong result.