After getting teased with new Ultegra components on BMC’s new Teammachine bikes last week, Shimano has made it official. Ultegra gets a similar full overhaul like we saw last summer with Dura-Ace. With a new R8000 series designation the next generation of Shimano Ultegra sticks with 11 speeds, but fills out its line with more shifting, braking & gearing options, plus several technology upgrades. Like R9000, Ultegra’s R8000 series now effectively gets four different complete groupset options – mechanical shifting with either rim brakes or hydraulic disc brakes, and Di2 electronic shifting with either rim brakes or hydraulic disc brakes. There’s even a bit of a fifth option by way of an updated set of Ultegra TT dual control levers for Di2 Synchro Shift, rim brake setups. Check in across the break for a full breakdown of the new components, tech & anticipated availability, including a more chainring options, wider cassette gearing, more lever adjust, and much more…

With the new Ultegra R8000 groupset, Shimano has once again trickled down a lot of their top-tier, race-proven Dura-Ace technologies to the hard working Ultegra level that many more consumers can actually afford. As with the previous generation, Shimano still essentially breaks the group up by either mechanical shifting…

…or electronic Di2 shifting. Of course with the several braking options it gets more complicated than that. For the first time now, Ultegra gets its own hydraulic disc brake dual control levers and it’s more than just a case of printing Ultegra on the lever blades. So let’s first run through the five new sets of dual control levers…

 

Shimano says that all of the standard dual control levers have nearly the same ergonomics, but unlike Dura-Ace it is pretty easy to spot the differences when they are lined up next to each other (from left to right: R8000, R8020, R8050, R8070). While the actual fit in your hand may be similar, there is clearly more bulk in the body and tops of the hoods each for the hydraulic & mechanical shift variants of each. If you need more consistent ergonomics, you’ll likely have to stick with R9000 Dura-Ace.

It is no doubt that these levers are for the most part an improvement over the previous 6800 generation of Ultegra though. In reality that R8000 mechanical/rim brake lever looks wholly unchanged from 6800, with a weight of 438g.

R8020

 

Making the move to the R8020 lever, it is a bit of an update over the non series RS685 mechanical/hydraulics with a slightly more rounded top and the same ergonomically shaped brake lever as the rest of the Ultegra kit, with a new weight of 550g.

One improvement under the hood that seems to make its way onto both the R8000 & R8020 lever is the elimination of in-line barrel adjusters to dial in precise shift cable tension. Instead the new mechanical groupsets offer an allen key adjustment to enable simple & accurate derailleur cable tension setup.

R8050 Di2

On the Di2 front, the new rim brake dual controls gets slimmed down a tiny bit as well, down to 295g for the R8050. They also get a revised lever blade shape so you get consistent feel from one group to the next.

Inside there are big updates too. The new Di2 levers have incorporated a more tactile click with each shift like we’ve seen on Dura-Ace so you get a better feel for the shift whether with gloves, cold hands, or over bumpy terrain. The new Di2 levers are also designed to now work with Shimano’s customizable E-Tube setup, which gives these Synchro Shift functionality.

Also like the hidden hood-top buttons that were even there in the previous 9000 Dura-Ace and more publicly talked about in the R9000 update, the new Ultegra Di2 levers include the top buttons as well. They can be programmed as a third remote shift button or more importantly to control functions on compatible computers like a Garmin Edge GPS or to switch on and off accessories like smart lights.

R8070 Di2

Probably the biggest overall improvement in a dual control can be given to the R8070 Di2/hydraulic brake version, now with a claimed weight of 360g. These controls are significantly improved over the non-series RS785s, with an improved & Ultegra-consistent lever shape, plus a much more narrow body, and smaller volume/shorter hood. It was nice to get rid of the large shiny silver front of the 785s, so we’d guess that inside this lever gets the most benefit from what Shimano worked out on Dura-Ace last year.

In fact, the new hydraulic Di2 R8070 levers also include expanded free stroke & reach adjust to better dial in your brake performance, although it doesn’t appear that the same update was made to the hydraulic mechanical R8020 levers.

Like the rim brake version, the new R8070 levers also get the new hidden top buttons under the rubber top of the hood that allow you to control compatible devices.

R8060 Di2 TT

 

For time trial setups, Ultegra’s Dual control levers get a more sleek solution. It does that by dropping one of the shift buttons altogether, meaning Shimano intends TT riders to take advantage of their Synchro Shift functionality to be able to move through the full gear range on the aero extensions, or program the pair of levers to only operate the rear derailleur requiring you to come back to the base bar to execute a front shift directly. There are still plenty of non-series Di2 remote buttons for those looking for more options in the aero extensions.

All of the Di2 shifter buttons can also be set up to operate multi-shift via the E-Tube app.

R8000 mechanical derailleurs

Paired with the five new dual control lever options are of course four new derailleurs. The most obvious shift is the move to the low-profile Shadow design brought over from the mountain bike, first to Dura-Ace and more to Ultegra as well. The updated design tucks the rear derailleur more underneath and inline with the cassettes and out of harm’s way in the event of a crash. Both mechanical & Di2 rear derailleurs are also offered in two different cage lengths to work with either 11-25 to 11-30 cassettes (short cage – SS) or 11-28 to 11-34 cassettes (long cage – GS.)

Curiously, the mechanical front derailleur doesn’t get the revised & rotating Dura-Ace design layout, but still has been reshaped with a shorter arm to better clear the latest crop of wide road tires.

R8050 Di2 derailleurs

Both new rear derailleurs get a striking angular design aesthetic, very similar to the new Dura-Ace, minus the carbon cage. An added benefit of the Shadow layout rear derailleurs is of course the ability to mount then to direct mount derailleur hangers buy removing that upper link. As we saw with the new BMC Teammachines (at the top of the article), the more integrated derailleur hanger design can be made both lighter and offer more precise shifting, while also neatly integrating with QR or thru-axle setups.

Like the mechanical front derailleur, the new Di2 version also gets updated cage shaping to better work with the wider possible range of Ultegra chainring combinations. Both Di2 derailleurs can be set to work together with the various degrees of Synchronized Shifting modes, or run traditionally on their own.

R8000 cranks

The new asymmetric crankset again takes design cues from Dura-Ace. Technically it isn’t a big change from 6800, but the new Hollowtech II 4-arm layout does claim a bump in stiffness, while also shedding 2g from 6800, down to 674g for a compact.

More importantly, when compared to Dura-Ace you get more chain ring size options (which are compatible with R9000) so you can opt for standard 53/39, mid-compact 52/36, compact 50/34, or cyclocross 46/36, all with Shimano’s Hollowglide rigid hollow big rings.

R8000 & HG800 cassettes

11 speed cassettes for the new group are for the most part unchanged in  six standard offerings: 11-25, 11-28, 11-30, 11-32, 12-25 & 14-28. But a new wider range 11-34 HG800 cassette is also being made available for those looking for proper gravel-ing gearing. The 11-34 is actually designed to fit on the narrower freehub body of a mountain bike hub, so it is able to do double duty with an included spacer for 11-speed road hubs as well.

Finishing out the drivetrain, Ultegra doesn’t get a new chain, instead sticking with the carry over HG701.

R8000 brakes

Like shifting there are a lot of braking options in the new Ultegra groupset. On the rim braking front, there is not only the standard dual-pivot design (360g per pair) that incorporates the same internal stabilizer from Dura-Ace between the arms to reduce flex and produce improved braking efficiency…

 

But  there is also Ultegra’s own direct-mount dual-pivot calipers. Both versions have ample clearance for 28mm tires and slightly more compact designs, although the under bottom bracket version appears unchanged.

On the disc brake side, the new Ultegra hydraulic brakes look very close to Dura-Ace, although unsurprisingly in a slightly more bulky caliper. Stopping power is said to carry over, and the new R8070 hydraulic calipers appear to be only available as direct mount, with finned Ice-Tech backed brake pads.

The rotors are the same we saw last Friday and share the same completely closed layout for efficient heat transfer to passing air as the latest Dura-Ace, only in clean anodized aluminum (silver). A pair of the disc brake calipers add 280g to the appropriate dual control levers, plus another 212g per 160mm rotor.

R8000 SPD-SLs

Ultegra also gets a new carbon set of  SPD-SL pedals that look a lot like their Dura-Ace counterpart, offering a more pro-fit and even a 4mm extended axle option. They drop pedal stack down 0.7mm over the 6800 offer and shave down 12g to a claimed 248g.

Ultegra wheels

Rounding out the new Ultegra, there are a pair of new wheelsets as well. The tubeless carbon WH-RS700 stick with an aluminum braking surface (625g front/943g rear), while the new tubeless WH-RS770 disc brake wheels get full carbon rims carbon laminated alloy rims and 12mm thru-axles (735g front/904g rear.)

Inside of the new wheels are also new hubs in both RS700/770 versions, that shave about 60g per wheelset over 6800 with new machined flanges & straight pull spokes. The disc brake version will also be available separately with standard round flanges (& aero spoke friendly lacing), centerlock rotor interfaces, and 12mm cup & cone thru-axles (125g front/302g rear).

With its lightest setup being Di2 paired with rim brakes, the new Ultegra R8000 claims a complete weight with wheels of 4071g, for an 85g saving over Ultegra 6800. Compared to the new top-level, lightest Dura-Ace groupset+wheelset combo (3566g), the new Ultegra only gives up ~500g to R9100.

(For more accurate comparison to other groupsets, that R8000 rim brake Di2 group should weigh 2,255g if we subtract the RS700 wheels & pedals.)

As to when we can actually buy it all, the new Ultegra R8000 mechanical shift & rim brake components will start to arrive at distributors by the end of this month (June 2017), while the Di2 and disc brake components will begin to make their way to consumers in August 2017.

Bike.Shimano.com

54 COMMENTS

  1. I was hoping for a lot of things from Shimano with the new Ultegra but I guess it’s unrealistic to not simply expect them to just make a cheaper version of Dura Ace…

  2. Still a heavy group. Sram Force mechanical levers weigh 307 grams, for comparison. Double tap just has a big advantage with number of parts and complexity.

    • SRAM also has the Force1 option. I won’t be going back to a double for CX, so it’s looking like SRAM for me for the foreseeable future.

  3. Suddenly Shimano makes old 10 speed MTB disc wheels relevant for CX again! (11 speed 11-34 on a 10 speed freehub body).

    • Chris that you, I agree was about to build a wheel cause of 11 speed now can use the one that got built last year!

    • I completely missed that point until now!! I had been trying to justify the $$ for a 27.5 Road+ wheelset for my commuter because I needed it to work with an 11spd cassette!….now with this new cassette I should be good to use my old MTB wheels! 😀

  4. Love the 11-34!

    But does doing away with in line cable adjusters, and with the them the ability to adjust shifting on the bike, make sense? It seems like most people will run both (or at some point wish that they had), meaning that the Allen adjustment just adds unnecessary weight, complexity, and cost. It just strikes me as odd- have I missed something?

    • In line adjusters have been add friction, are tricky to use while riding and regularly loosen-up putting my shifting out-of-whack. I’m glad they are eliminating them.

      But I wonder if they have ever thought of having barrel-adjustors that were affixed firmly to either the derailleur (easy to get at when doing on the workstand drivetrain adjustments!) or the shifter (within reach while riding!), and that were indexed so they actually held their position without loosening up. That would be revolutionary!

    • Adjusting tension on a toggle style front derailleur doesn’t behave the same way as a more traditional design. Putting a cable adjuster on this wouldn’t really let you adjust the front derailleur on the fly like you think it would. After using the R9100 version for a while now and setting up a few for others I can tell you that fortunately once you set it up right, you won’t need to mess with it again.

      • Yea that’s the thing about the shadow design. Set it up once, perfect shifting until you replace the cable. I don’t know why, thats just how it works

  5. Looks solid, but they missed the chance to offer a road derailleur with a clutch. Most people i race against in CX are using 1x these days, myself included. Guess 1x CX isn’t really in their vision.

    • To be fair, adjusting the Shimano road rear derailleurs to the higher tension setting (a 5-10 minute job with minimal fuss) works really well for chain retention. They probably missed an opportunity because everybody ‘wants’ a clutch, but I don’t know of many (any) people using the higher tension setting, a narrow wide ring, and the correct chain length who are experiencing drops.

      • Hi Patrick – what chain length are you using for the Ultegra 1x setup w/o a clutch? Or maybe the better question is….how are you determining that length? Thanks!

      • I know people doing this without chain drops but my 1X XTR di2 setup is far quieter on bumpy CX courses. I actually get comments from other racers on how quiet it is.

        • Good info, Bogey. Have to consider that for CX this year with my Ultegra / R785 setup. Just worried about gearing for training, since my CX bike also doubles as my road/training bike.

  6. I had really hoped for 46/30 chainrings but I guess an 11-34 cassette is the best we can expect until Shimano gets some competition that will wake them up.

    • Rumor is a “gravel” non-series group to come out adjacent next-gen 105, which will include a clutch-type RD and a subcompact crank.

  7. I want to see a real mixed terrain group from Shimano. Cantis and discs, a 1x/2x (/3x?) drivetrain with midsize doubles, roomy cassette choices, and a clutch derailleur option. Do CX, touring, and whatever other nonsense seems to fit. Basically UlteXT or xtrAce.
    However it happens it’ll probably end up with a different chainring system than their road or mountain parts.

  8. Why does the bottom end of the RD cage extend so far from the pulley? Both this and the DA version have this long tail coming off the end of the RD which really throws me off for some reason. I wonder what the point of that is???

  9. I really hope they continue to offer the ST-R785 or I have to create a nice personal stock of those. When I read here and anywhere else that the new Dura-Ace version – which still has not made it into the shops btw. – and now also the new Ultegra version are smaller and shorter my hands cry “foul”. The ST-R785 are the best fitting brifters Shimano and anyone else ever made for my glove size 10 hands.

    • Yep. My 9000 shifters have always been a bit of an irritation with how small they are, especially compared to how great the 7900 shifters felt. Smaller means nope to me. Just reaffirms my pending eTap purchase.

    • 105 is more of an OEM group than anything else. Do a little googling and you’ll quickly find that the price difference is only about $200. Betweeen 105 and Ultegra

    • The only Post-Mount options you have are the older BR-R785 and BR-RS785 brake calipers. Shimano has repackaged the RS785 unit as a “cyclocross” brake caliper.

      If you’re willing to skip over to the MTB side of things…Shimano MTB calipers actually seem to work well with the hydraulic STI brake levers. A few framebuilders and gravel racers have had success with the setup, even with older XTR M987 calipers. No more cable pull incompatibilities here.

  10. Rumor has it also that Shimano is going to clean up gray market sales of this product. Also places in the UK and europe will not be able to send this product to the usa/canada. Shimano also plans to have strong MAP pricing on this product. So the price online and in store should be the same. I say if this is true good for Shimano for supporting the local economy.

  11. Say what….huh. 212g for a 160mm rotor? Glad I don’t need all that heat management with my weight. Can run 140mm regular rotors and save over half a pound, crazy.

    • ^ That looks like the weight for a pair of rotors to me. 11-34 will be useful, but I wonder when this stuff will actually be available; none of the 9100 disc stuff appears to exist yet.

  12. As a first generation road disc owner (RS685 – caliper model not handy), I wonder if the updated calipers have increased pad retraction. When out of the saddle or on long descents, rub is felt and heard, no matter how perfectly aligned the pad/caliper.

    • Shimano calipers already have more retraction than other brands. If you’re bike doesn’t have through axles that’s probably why you’re getting​ rubbing.

  13. Cable entry angle for the RD is weird. It’s too vertical to have a long loop like the older derailleurs but isn’t angled forward enough to have straight entry like the mountain derailleurs. I think they should have picked forward. That tight loop on the bike in the photos bothers me.

    • The R9100 rdr comes with a short section of special housing that is highly flexible and works extremely well. I’m sure this will come with the same or similar.

  14. > the new Hollowtech II 4-arm layout does claim a bump in stiffness, while also shedding 2g from 6800, down to 674g for a compact.

    HOLY HELL! SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

  15. Everything above is moot as NO ONE CAN GET SHIMANO! For the last 2 years 6-8 month delays are unfortunately more common than not. Come on Shimano. I’d spec your product if available. I’d rather buy it from you vs WIGGLE.

    • I’m glad someone else said it. Shimano has been a terrible supplier of their own goods. The majority of R9100/9150 is still not available; good luck buying R8000 before the next version comes out.

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