'Tis the season for bike shows! Those lucky buggers across the pond get first peaks at new gear from Eurobike and EICMA. No, it's not the carbon-this and carbon-that, that's got me excited. Carbon was SO 1995. It's hydraulic shifting. Red 5, a start-up company from Germany has done a swell job of constructing a fully functional and well developed shifting system for mountain bikes. It's not our first forray into hydraulic shifting (see The Machinist's mod and Shimano's patent) but it's the closest to a working or finished product we've seen yet. From cyclingnews.com, it is reported that shifting is 'nearly frictionless, light, and performs with perfect accuracy'. The whole setup including F/R shifters, F/R derailleurs, with lines and fluid weigh 495 grams. Compare that to my XO setup of 538 grams. Hold your horses - don't sell your new XTR just yet. This hydraulic shifting system costs a cool 1500 EU (that's $2000 USD). Only 5 sets are currently in existence and they've already been spoken for. And then there's that pesky US patent Shimano has over hydraulic shifting. Looks like most of us will be stuck with shifting by good 'ol cable for a while yet.