FSA K-Force WE Pro/Con Detailed Review

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
Post Reply
mchiang
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:55 pm
Location: Taiwan/Davis

by mchiang

In the past few years I have had experiences with Shimano Ultegra Di2 and Dura Ace Di2, which are absolutely great. Reliable smooth shifting, comfortable levers, easy to press buttons, and solid crabkset. Definitely enjoyed both electronic groupsets. And in regards of Sram Red Etap, it is overall good to me. However, personally I never really found the shifting buttons or the levers comfortable to me. Crisp shifting tho, I like that kind of different feeling a lot for sure.

And now, comes a new electrnoic groupset to the list of groupsets I've used and enjoyed using. There aren't many reviews about this groupset so I thought it'd be great for those who are thinking of buying or not super certain about switching to electronic groupset. I would also compare FSA WE to Di2 and Etap occassionally.

Levers / Comfort
First of all, the levers are very comfortable and very beautiful indeed. There has never been any comfort problem staying on the hoods evlien on rides over 100km. And it is so easy to shift. All you have to do is to give it a light press and the gears shift. Plus the way to change gears is the same as Di2 or any shimano road groupset. To me this feature is awesome because when I am grinding big watts, I don't want to worry about the gears shifting or not. Etap's shifting isn't quite intuitive (you have to press hard on the buttons and you press both sides to shift your FD, single side to shift RD) to me since I have always been using Shimano. But, I bet for Sram fans, groupsets like FSA or Shimano won't suit your feelings at all.
1 FSA Lever.jpg
2 FSA Levers.jpg
Front & Rear Derailleurs / Shifting Performance
Easy to install, and easy to index as long as you follow the manual. Have been using this same groupset for a while with 2000 km (w/ about 6,000 meters of elevation) in, I've not needed to re-adjust the rear derailleur yet. There is nothing to complain. On the app, you can also customize how fast you want your shifting to be. I set it at "fast" because when I sprint, I want the shfiting to be rock solid, otherwise I'd miss the chance to go out at the right moment. On climbs, yes, I have abused the groupset. Shifting 2 gears heavier while punching a hill and eventually getting a new PR on strava brought no shfiting issues to the rear derailleur at all. As I mentioned, I have not needed to re-adjust the shifitng yet.

The problem with the front derailleur tho is that you have to remember to turn it on before jumping on your bike and start riding. For either Di2 or Etap, you don't need to worry about this at all. Even tho this can be a good thing to remind yourself how much battery life you still have because the LED light shines blue when it's good, green when it is still good, and red when you have to charge it. However, Di2 and Etap are both more inuitive in this regard to me.
3 FSA WE FD.jpg
4 FSA WE RD.jpg

Crankset
It is soooooooo beautiful, just freaking amazing, Also very light! I will put the weight specs down there. And as far as I can tell, FSA has definitely learned from their past lessons and improved their cranksets. This crankset is definitely stiff. Hammering 1200-1400 watts felt so freaking good.
6 FSA K-Force Crankset.jpg

Cassette
It is a 11-28 cassette I am using, and it weighs 201 grams, which is 8 grams heavier than Dura Ace 11-28 cassette and quite a few grams heavier than Sram Red 11-30 cassette. So I think the cassette can be lighter even tho it is not heavy at all and looks good.
8 FSA K-Force WE Cassette 11-28.jpg
App
Once you've paired shifters with derailleurs and installed the groupset, you can customize your shifting through the app. Some people like the left/right lever to control the front/rear and some prefer the other way around. This app can just flip the setting right away. Also, it shows how much battery life you still have and you can adjust the shfiting speed as I mentioned above. And the functions are neatly displayed.
App3.jpg
App4.jpg
App1.jpg
App2.jpg
Last thing I want to say, FSA says WE is a wireless groupset. I think they mean by shifting. Because there is no shift cable connected to the levers. There, however, are derailleur cables connected to the battery sitting inside the seatpost. (Cleaner cabling since there is no junction box)

Weight
Levers: 309 grams/pair (claimed to be 308)
Front Derailleur: 162 grams (same as claimed)
Rear Derailleur: 216 grams (same as claimed)
52/36 X 172.5mm Crankset: 570 grams. (50/34 is claimed to be 534 grams. FYI, last generation K-Force 50/34 Crankset wighs 567 grams)
11-28 Cassette: 201 grams (claimed to be 257) :) :) :)

Pros / Cons
Pro:
1. Light/beautiful/comfortable
2. Reliable/solid shifitng
3. Intuitive shfiitng methods (but probably not for those who are used to Sram)
4. Simple installation
5. Good customizability w/ app

Con:
1. Cassette can be lighter
2. Requires user to manually turn on the groupset
Last edited by mchiang on Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

mchiang
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:55 pm
Location: Taiwan/Davis

by mchiang

Please see the review viewtopic.php?f=3&t=155834&p=1466673&hi ... e#p1466673
I messed up the attachment order lol.
Last edited by mchiang on Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

by Weenie


mchiang
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:55 pm
Location: Taiwan/Davis

by mchiang

Sorry guys, I messed this post up. Please go check viewtopic.php?f=3&t=155834&p=1466673&hi ... e#p1466673
Last edited by mchiang on Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
wheelsONfire
Posts: 2961
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:15 am
Location: NorthEU

by wheelsONfire

Great to see this is a good groupset!
Would be interesting to try. I also like the crankset (great shifting), but the chainring (Big) cost alot of money :-(
Bikes:

Ax Lightness Vial EVO Race (2018.12.21)
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=156137
Paduano Racing Fidia (kind of shelved)
Open *UP* (2016.04.14)


Ex bike; Vial EVO D

pedale
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:06 pm

by pedale

Great to see an honest review of this groupset. Can you tell us more about battery? Life? alerting when low? have you integrated to your head unit?

Would you come back to di2?

mchiang
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:55 pm
Location: Taiwan/Davis

by mchiang

pedale wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:20 pm
Great to see an honest review of this groupset. Can you tell us more about battery? Life? alerting when low? have you integrated to your head unit?

Would you come back to di2?
Yeah for sure. The battery life can be in high capacity even after riding 2000 km. You probably really have to recharge it far more than that. I have only recharged it once when it's just started shining green light when turned on (Im a paranoid in this regard. I can't withstand one-full battery even for my phone, which I always recharge whenit's lower than 70% lolol). So i think in term of battery, you can leave it as is before you've ridden maybe around 5000k? That is just my guess.

And I would go back to Di2 if there isn't a juntion box anymore. It kinda kills the appearance of the bike haha. I know there is integrated junction box, but that is one extra installation process. Right now, I think I'd stick to FSA for a while.

tabl10s
Posts: 515
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:40 am

by tabl10s

mchiang wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:56 pm
In the past few years I have had experiences with Shimano Ultegra Di2 and Dura Ace Di2, which are absolutely great. Reliable smooth shifting, comfortable levers, easy to press buttons, and solid crabkset. Definitely enjoyed both electronic groupsets. And in regards of Sram Red Etap, it is overall good to me. However, personally I never really found the shifting buttons or the levers comfortable to me. Crisp shifting tho, I like that kind of different feeling a lot for sure.

And now, comes a new electrnoic groupset to the list of groupsets I've used and enjoyed using. There aren't many reviews about this groupset so I thought it'd be great for those who are thinking of buying or not super certain about switching to electronic groupset. I would also compare FSA WE to Di2 and Etap occassionally.

Levers / Comfort
First of all, the levers are very comfortable and very beautiful indeed. There has never been any comfort problem staying on the hoods evlien on rides over 100km. And it is so easy to shift. All you have to do is to give it a light press and the gears shift. Plus the way to change gears is the same as Di2 or any shimano road groupset. To me this feature is awesome because when I am grinding big watts, I don't want to worry about the gears shifting or not. Etap's shifting isn't quite intuitive (you have to press hard on the buttons and you press both sides to shift your FD, single side to shift RD) to me since I have always been using Shimano. But, I bet for Sram fans, groupsets like FSA or Shimano won't suit your feelings at all.
1 FSA Lever.jpg
2 FSA Levers.jpg

Front & Rear Derailleurs / Shifting Performance
Easy to install, and easy to index as long as you follow the manual. Have been using this same groupset for a while with 2000 km (w/ about 6,000 meters of elevation) in, I've not needed to re-adjust the rear derailleur yet. There is nothing to complain. On the app, you can also customize how fast you want your shifting to be. I set it at "fast" because when I sprint, I want the shfiting to be rock solid, otherwise I'd miss the chance to go out at the right moment. On climbs, yes, I have abused the groupset. Shifting 2 gears heavier while punching a hill and eventually getting a new PR on strava brought no shfiting issues to the rear derailleur at all. As I mentioned, I have not needed to re-adjust the shifitng yet.

The problem with the front derailleur tho is that you have to remember to turn it on before jumping on your bike and start riding. For either Di2 or Etap, you don't need to worry about this at all. Even tho this can be a good thing to remind yourself how much battery life you still have because the LED light shines blue when it's good, green when it is still good, and red when you have to charge it. However, Di2 and Etap are both more inuitive in this regard to me.

3 FSA WE FD.jpg
4 FSA WE RD.jpg

Crankset
It is soooooooo beautiful, just freaking amazing, Also very light! I will put the weight specs down there. And as far as I can tell, FSA has definitely learned from their past lessons and improved their cranksets. This crankset is definitely stiff. Hammering 1200-1400 watts felt so freaking good.

6 FSA K-Force Crankset.jpg

Cassette
It is a 11-28 cassette I am using, and it weighs 201 grams, which is 8 grams heavier than Dura Ace 11-28 cassette and quite a few grams heavier than Sram Red 11-30 cassette. So I think the cassette can be lighter even tho it is not heavy at all and looks good.
8 FSA K-Force WE Cassette 11-28.jpg

App
Once you've paired shifters with derailleurs and installed the groupset, you can customize your shifting through the app. Some people like the left/right lever to control the front/rear and some prefer the other way around. This app can just flip the setting right away. Also, it shows how much battery life you still have and you can adjust the shfiting speed as I mentioned above. And the functions are neatly displayed.
App3.jpg
App4.jpg
App1.jpg
App2.jpg

Last thing I want to say, FSA says WE is a wireless groupset. I think they mean by shifting. Because there is no shift cable connected to the levers. There, however, are derailleur cables connected to the battery sitting inside the seatpost. (Cleaner cabling since there is no junction box)

Weight
Levers: 309 grams/pair (claimed to be 308)
Front Derailleur: 162 grams (same as claimed)
Rear Derailleur: 216 grams (same as claimed)
52/36 X 172.5mm Crankset: 570 grams. (50/34 is claimed to be 534 grams. FYI, last generation K-Force 50/34 Crankset wighs 567 grams)
11-28 Cassette: 201 grams (claimed to be 257) :) :) :)

Pros / Cons
Pro:
1. Light/beautiful/comfortable
2. Reliable/solid shifitng
3. Intuitive shfiitng methods (but probably not for those who are used to Sram)
4. Simple installation
5. Good customizability w/ app

Con:
1. Cassette can be lighter
2. Requires user to manually turn on the groupset
You didn't mention the calipers. I've had a pair for over two years and while heavier than my favorite(Cane Creek's), I like the power and form factor.

For one reason or another, the LBS talked me out of ordering the group.
2016 Orbea Orca OMR: 15.0lbs/6.804kg...😐 | 2016 Rca: 11.07lbs/5.048kg...😭 | 2015 Pinarello F8: 13.04lbs/5.915kg...😩 | 2018 S-Works SL6: 12.04/5.625kg... 😥

mchiang
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:55 pm
Location: Taiwan/Davis

by mchiang

Did the LBS person actually have experience with the groupset tho? Also, I didn't mention the calipers because the brakes Im using are specifically for the frame haha

tabl10s
Posts: 515
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:40 am

by tabl10s

It may have been because of delays with the system and the debut of eTap(they are dealers for FSA).
2016 Orbea Orca OMR: 15.0lbs/6.804kg...😐 | 2016 Rca: 11.07lbs/5.048kg...😭 | 2015 Pinarello F8: 13.04lbs/5.915kg...😩 | 2018 S-Works SL6: 12.04/5.625kg... 😥

mchiang
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:55 pm
Location: Taiwan/Davis

by mchiang

yeah...FSA's groupset was delaying quit much. but perhaps it won't be long before we see the new FSA 12 spd groupset since they've succeeded in manufacturing 11spd groupset now.

pedale
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:06 pm

by pedale

mchiang wrote: And I would go back to Di2 if there isn't a juntion box anymore. It kinda kills the appearance of the bike haha. I know there is integrated junction box, but that is one extra installation process. Right now, I think I'd stick to FSA for a while.
You know that junction boxes are now found on handlebars, seatpost, downtbue and even under bottle cages? :)

About the lbs convincing to not use exotic critical product might just be saving his ass and being sure to provide a good service. Supply chain of campagnolo is dreadful in Northern Europe where I live and lbs selling wiliers says openly that they don’t recommend campi for this reason and to pick it at your own risk

mchiang
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:55 pm
Location: Taiwan/Davis

by mchiang

pedale wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:23 am
mchiang wrote: And I would go back to Di2 if there isn't a juntion box anymore. It kinda kills the appearance of the bike haha. I know there is integrated junction box, but that is one extra installation process. Right now, I think I'd stick to FSA for a while.
You know that junction boxes are now found on handlebars, seatpost, downtbue and even under bottle cages? :)

About the lbs convincing to not use exotic critical product might just be saving his ass and being sure to provide a good service. Supply chain of campagnolo is dreadful in Northern Europe where I live and lbs selling wiliers says openly that they don’t recommend campi for this reason and to pick it at your own risk
haha didn't think of that. It is a valid point. Sounds like FSA might need stronger supply chain.
For the junction box, yes, I do realize that. But that junction box takes just that extra time to install plus it seems to be the weight that Shimano definitely has the tech to save

User avatar
wheelsONfire
Posts: 2961
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:15 am
Location: NorthEU

by wheelsONfire

Ok, so this "lag" or a bit slow response, has that been bettered or is it still like that?
It seems, of the 11-speed groupsets, Shimano and Campa are faster than Sram and possibly FSA.
Bikes:

Ax Lightness Vial EVO Race (2018.12.21)
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=156137
Paduano Racing Fidia (kind of shelved)
Open *UP* (2016.04.14)


Ex bike; Vial EVO D

mchiang
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:55 pm
Location: Taiwan/Davis

by mchiang

wheelsONfire wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:50 am
Ok, so this "lag" or a bit slow response, has that been bettered or is it still like that?
It seems, of the 11-speed groupsets, Shimano and Campa are faster than Sram and possibly FSA.
For FSA it's been improved and you can make it go really fast on the app. Etap doesnt have this option as far as i know

by Weenie


User avatar
wheelsONfire
Posts: 2961
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:15 am
Location: NorthEU

by wheelsONfire

mchiang wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:29 pm
wheelsONfire wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:50 am
Ok, so this "lag" or a bit slow response, has that been bettered or is it still like that?
It seems, of the 11-speed groupsets, Shimano and Campa are faster than Sram and possibly FSA.
For FSA it's been improved and you can make it go really fast on the app. Etap doesnt have this option as far as i know
The only complaints i've seen talking WE, was actually the speed and kind of lag.
But if that is fixed, it seems like an interesting alternative.
Question is how long FSA keep spare parts etc. They seem to update quite fast and have myriads of small stuff.

I think the key to Etap, is actually letting the FD shift completely before we start to pedal.
I used my Di2 bike today and now it noticed that Di2 isn't as picky on this.
It's a bit like a sequence with Etap. The chain need to step up (1/4 - 1/2) on (ex) big ring before you pedal.
Even then it's better to apply a smooth pedalling untill the chain has fully moved.
I think it's worse if you are a stomper demanding full blast and being more direct.
I have no experience with EPS or WE.

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post