Shimano has finally broken cover on its much anticipated Dura-Ace R9200 and Ultegra R8100 groupsets, which will only be offered in semi-wireless variants.
The Dura-Ace R9200 will be available with Shimano’s new integrated power meter crankset set option and Servo Wave brake technology that’s brought over from the mountain bike/gravel line.
Here are some of the highlights that Shimano is touting:
- Rear derailleur shifting is 58% faster than previously, front derailleur is 45% faster
- Servo Wave tech offers finer braking control
- 10% wider brake pad and rotor clearances lead to a quieter system
- Separate bleed port and valve screw makes brake maintenance easier
- Adjusted shifter shape for greater comfort
- Increased button offset gives better control with gloves, wet fingers, etc.
- Larger 54-40T chainset is an option
- Revised ‘sweet spot’ gear jumps in new 11-34T cassette
Shimano says it has improved the motor design in the derailleurs of its Di2 (electronic) system to increase shifting speed while also making the shifter-derailleur connection wireless, claiming a 58% decrease in rear derailleur operating time and a 45% decrease in front derailleur operating time.
Wires and Batteries
While, new Dura-Ace 9200 is semi-wireless, Shimano says that it still uses wires in certain areas for “absolute reliability”, with smaller diameter SD-300 wires connecting the Di2 battery (BT-DN300) to the front derailleur (FD-R9250), as well as the rear (RD-R9250).
“This single internal battery makes for a simple charging solution and ensures a stable and high voltage connection to the derailleurs,” says Shimano.
Additionally, a proprietary chip circuit, which Shimano claims has fast processing and low power consumption, is said to decrease the chance of interference from external devices.
According to Shimano, testing showed the BT-DN300 battery powers the derailleurs for 1,000km (625 miles) between charges (this calculation is based on distance: 45km/day; riding time: 2h/day; front derailleur shifts: 54 times/day; rear derailleur shifts: 370 times/day; does not include BLE/ANT+ communications; at 25° C), while the STI (Shimano Total Integration) shifter buttons are powered by CR1632 coin cells that will last about 1.5-2 years.
Also, The new RD-R9250 rear derailleur now has a hidden charging point (replacing Shimano’s SM-BCR2 charger), while also providing the connection to the STI shifters and to other third-party devices (replacing the EW-WU111 wireless unit), along with replacing the handlebar or in-frame Junction-A (SM-RS910).
The new 2×12-speed wireless hydraulic disc brake shifters (ST-R9270) have an adapted shaped with a raised head portion along with a slight inward curve and an increased area between the shifter and the handlebar.
“This provides riders with better index finger and thumb grip on the hoods and better three-finger grip behind the brake lever, while still giving easy access to the shift lever in the drops,” Shimano claims.
The offset between the Di2 buttons on the lever has also been increased which, according to Shimano, allows for better differentiation between the up-shift and down-shift buttons. This could be a big help with shifting when wearing gloves or when your fingers are cold and wet.
The shifters are wireless which allows for easier installation than previously. Together with internal hose routing, this leaves a clean-looking cockpit area.
Cable ports can be used for the installation of remote shifter buttons: Shimano’s sprint (SW-R801-S) or climbing shifter (SW-R801-T). These work with a clamp band or can sit integrally in a specific port in a handlebar. The new Pro Vibe Evo bar has such a port.
These new more compact satellite shifter options either attach to the drops via a 100mm cable or to the tops via a 260 mm Di2 cable.
The new Dura-Ace 12-speed Hyperglide+ cassette keeps the top 11T gear, but on the 11-30 option the “sweet spot” gears between the 6th, 7th and 8th sprockets have been revised for more consistent gear steps.
Shimano promises that ramped profiles lead to smoother gear changes, even under heavy load, no matter whether you’re moving up or down the cassette.
“The result is that there is no longer any need to back off an acceleration or time an easy pedal stroke with your shifts,” Shimano claims.
Along with the new 11-30T cassette, there’s an 11-34T options:
The cassettes have a new spline fitting pattern which is backwards compatible with Dura-Ace R9100 11-speed freehub bodies
Integrated Power Meter
There are two chainsets available: an integrated power meter version (FC-R9200-P) and the non-power reading version (FC-R9200).
Chainring combos are 50-34T, 52-36T or the new larger 54-40T option that “offers higher transmission efficiency than smaller chainring options and helps pro riders respond to ever-increasing speeds”, according to Shimano. Crank arm lengths span 160 to 177.5mm.
Shimano says that the integrated power meter offers 300+ hours of ride time between charges and 1.5% accuracy. It transmits via Bluetooth and ANT+.
As mentioned, Shimano is bringing over the Servo Wave technology found in its mountain bike and gravel braking systems to the Dura-Ace brakes.
Riders have a shorter free stroke and are able to get a more immediate connection between brake pads and rotors, allowing for more feathering or modulation of the brakes, resulting in more speed carry-through and more confidence in technical situations,” Shimano claims. Brake noise has also been reduced, thanks to 10% wider brake pad and rotor clearances, as well as a switch to its RT-MT900 rotors.
The result is a quieter system, achieved through less heat deformation of the rotor and less temporary interference between the pad and the rotor,” claims Shimano.
Also, brake maintenance is promised to be easier with it now being possible to bleed the brake without removing the calliper from the frame thanks to a separate bleed port and valve screw.
A new funnel and bleed spacer also help improve the bleeding process, according to Shimano.
Like the new top-level Dura-Ace 9200, Ultegra R8100 features semi-wireless shifting, meaning that the two derailleurs are wired to an internal battery but the shifters communicate wirelessly with the rest of the system. Also, Shimano says it’s redesigned the shifters, derailleurs, cassettes, chainsets, brake callipers, and wheels. The Di2 EW-SD300 wiring and batteries are new too.
Here are the notable features of Shimano Ultegra R8100:
- Second-tier groupset moves from 11-speed to 12-speed
- It’s available with Di2 (electronic shifting) only
- The shifters communicate wirelessly with the rest of the system
- Shimano claims faster derailleurs than previously
- Includes a power meter option for the first time
- Features full-carbon tubeless disc brake wheels
- Available for both disc brakes and rim brakes
Like its Dura-Ace Di2 9200 counterpart, the new Ultegra features shifting that’s semi-wireless, with the front and rear derailleurs being connected by wires to an internal battery, while the shifters have their own batteries and communicate wirelessly with the rest of the system.
Shimano says, “Ultegra R8100 shares the same revised Di2 platform as Dura-Ace R9200 to improve shifting speed whilst making the shifter-derailleur connection wireless, and still ensuring absolute reliability.”
“The same new Di2 platform which improves the motor design in the derailleurs decreases the processing speed (the moving time between motor and gear mechanisms) and the transmission performance to enable Shimano’s fastest-ever shifting.”
Want some figures on that? Shimano says that the new rear derailleur is 58% quicker than the previous generation Dura-Ace while the front derailleur is 45% faster.
The new SD-300 wires that connect the Di2 battery (BT-DN300) to the front (FD-R8150) and rear derailleurs (RD-R8150) are of a smaller diameter than previously.
“One internal battery makes for a simple charging solution and ensures a stable and high voltage connection to the derailleurs,” says Shimano.
That battery is said to last 625 mile (1,000km) between charges, although the exact distance will obviously vary depending on use (if you want the details, Shimano’s calculation is based on riding 45km (28 miles) and two hours per day, with 54 front derailleur shifts and 370 rear derailleur shifts per ride; the temperature is 25°C , while the shifter buttons are powered by coin-style CR1632 batteries. Shimano claims they’ll last 1.5 to two years with typical use.
“A high security, fast processing and low power consumption proprietary chip circuit significantly decrease the chance of interference from external devices,” says Shimano.
The rear derailleur provides the new battery charging point as well as the wireless connection to Shimano’s STI shifters and other third-party devices (replacing the EW-WU111 wireless unit on previous-generation Di2), while it’s also the control point for changing Di2 operations and Synchronized Shifting (see below) modes, replacing the previous handlebar or in-frame Junction-A (SM-RS910) button. Moreover, the derailleurs function in the same way as their Dura-Ace siblings, albeit with a different construction that makes them weigh a tad heavier at a combined difference of 67g.
Shimano says, “New Ultegra 2×12-speed wireless hydraulic disc brake shifters (ST-R8170) now come with a raised head portion with a slight inward curve and increased area between the shifter and the handlebar to bring improved comfort and control.
“This provides riders with better index finger and thumb grip on the hoods and better three-finger grip behind the brake lever, whilst still giving easy access to the shift lever in the drops. Offset between Di2 buttons on the lever has also been improved, allowing for better differentiation between the up-shift and down-shift button, especially with gloves or wet fingers.”
Also, in view that Ultegra ST-R8170 shifters are powered by CR1632 batteries and operate wirelessly simplifies installation and means that there’s no need for shift cable ports in the frame or handlebar. With SRAM’s eTap already wireless, it’ll be interesting to see if Campagnolo now feels more pressure to ditch the wires on its EPS components.
“ST-R8170 shifters are compatible with new minimized remote shifter buttons,” says Shimano. “Sprint (SW-R801-S) or climbing shifters (SW-R801-T) can be used with a clamp band or can sit integrally in the handlebars with a specific port, such as the new PRO Vibe Evo bar. These new more compact satellite shifter options either attach to the drops via a 100mm cable (SW-RS801-S) or to the tops via a 260 mm Di2 cable (SW-RS801-T).”
Additionally, Shimano’s updated E-Tube app is compatible with Ultegra R8100-series components and provides customization options, wherein owners can change to Synchronized Shift (a function that automatically selects the most efficient gear on the front derailleur in synchronization with rear derailleur gear shifting) or Semi-Synchro shifting (which automatically moves one, two or three gears at the rear to accompany a front shift), and alter the Multi-Shift settings (which control the number of gears you shift at a time), shifting speed and STI shift button mapping.
Third-party cycle computers can also be set up to display Di2 information.
Regarding weight, the differences in construction mean the Ultegra ST-R8170 shifters tip the scales slight more than the Dura-Ace ST-R9270 shifters, specifically 391g vs. 350g.
The new Ultegra R8100 groupset features two new 12-speed Hyperglide+(link is external) cassettes: 11-30T and 11-34T ratios.
Shimano says, “The 11-30 cassette in particular has been optimised with a revision in the ‘sweet spot’ gears between the sixth, seventh and sprockets to keep the Shimano hallmark of smooth and consistent gear steps.
The sprocket sizes are:
The sprocket sizes on the 11-34 cassette are:
This is quite different from the previous version, which now has a series of single-tooth steps across the smaller sprockets.
Shimano says that “clever ramped profiles” on the cassette result in smoother gear changes in both directions, even under heavy load.
“The result is that there is no longer any need to back off an acceleration or time an easy pedal stroke with your shifts,” says Shimano. “Riders can now put the hammer down and shift even faster, with smoother cadence and better speed transition.”
Like Dura-Ace, Ultegra 12-speed cassettes come with a new spline fitting pattern, which is also backwards compatible with Shimano 11-speed freehub bodies. In other words, new Ultegra R8100 cassettes can be used on Shimano 11-speed wheels.
As for the cranksets, they’re now available with the option of a power meter, which feature Shimano’s proprietary strain gauges on both crank arms provide dual-sided data. Ultegra power meters use Bluetooth and ANT+ technology to transmit data, meaning that they’re compatible with pretty much every head unit out there. Shimano says that the FC-R8100-P power meter’s rechargeable Li-ion battery offers 300+ hours of ride time.
Both power meter and non-power meter cranksets come in 50-34T and 52-36T gear combinations, while Shimano has eliminated the traditional 53-39T option on the basis that many pros and competitive racers now prefer to use gears larger than the conventional 53T, so it offers a 54-40T crankset at the Dura-Ace level.
Shimano claims an Ultegra power meter crankset weighs 769g, which is just 21g heavier than the Dura-Ace equivalent., while the R8100 groupset uses the same 12-speed chain as Shimano’s XT M8100 mountain bike series.
By the way, Shimano has deleted the 46-36T Ultegra crankset.
Shimano says that its Ultegra brakes offer more fine-tuned control than previously thanks to the borrowing of Servowave technology from its mountain bike and gravel groupsets.
According to Shimano, “when you pull a Servowave brake lever, initial pad travel is fast, so little lever movement is needed to bring the pads into contact with the rotor. The power multiplication factor then increases rapidly at the pad-to-rim contact so more of the lever stroke is used to apply greater braking power with improved control.”
Shimano has switched Ultegra to its RT-MT800 rotors (initially designed for mountain biking) and says that clearance between the pads and rotors has been increased by 10% to reduce the chance of contact when you’re not braking.
“The result is a quieter system, achieved through less heat deformation of the rotor and less temporary interference between the pad and the rotor,” says Shimano.
In terms of maintenance, you can now bleed the brake without removing the calliper from the frame thanks to a separate bleed port and valve screw.
Shimano claims a weight of 282g for a pair of Ultegra brake calipers compared with 229g for Dura-Ace.
Lastly, rim brakes remain an option in the Ultegra R8100 range.