One year ago I was writing about 105 going electronic with more affordable Di2, but maybe more importantly now you can get the latest in Shimano road bike gearing with a new 105 mechanical groupset upgrade to 12-speed!
What more do you need to know than that Shimano has not forsaken mechanical shifting! New 105 mechanical 12-speed is almost as light as 105 Di2, it’s lots cheaper, and battery-free.
Shimano 105 R7100 mechanical 12-speed road bike groupset
First, there were quiet rumblings that Shimano may ditch mechanical shifting for any of their performance suite of road bike groups. That is to 105, Ultegra & Dura-Ace – the three that tend to get the top level of gearing. Then, 105 finally getting its own Di2 12sp upgrade with NO mechanical option last summer certainly didn’t silence those fears. I mean, who doesn’t love wireless electronic shifting, right? (Hint: anyone on a budget, or who doesn’t like having to charge their bike to ride!)
But more rumors started to float around that a new 105 mechanical group was on the way. A recent slip-up in entry-level carbon Bianchi road bikes all but assured us that the new group was about to drop.
And now it’s finally here. Luddites, rejoice!
So what do you need to know?
New Shimano 105 mechanical offers all the same 12-speed gear ratios – and trusted brakes – of 105 Di2. So, you don’t have to remember to charge your derailleur OR replace the batteries in your shifters. (Oops, I just had an Ultegra Di2 shifter battery die mid-ride, losing rear shifts, then realized it’s not so easy to replace the less common CR1632 battery.) And it costs a lot less.
How much cash will you save?
In essence, a complete Shimano 105 mechanical group will set you back $1223 according to our accounting.
You save more than 1/3 the cost of 105 Di2. It’s less than half as expensive as Ultegra Di2. On the whole, you could buy 3 1/2 105 mechanical groupsets for the cost of 1 Dura-Ace Di2 setup.
Interestingly, while 105 mechanical is the most affordable 12-speed Shimano group, SRAM’s latest Apex 12sp offering seems to have it beat on both weight AND cost whether you go for mechanical XPLR (2872g at $987) or wireless electronic AXS XPLR (2890g at $1195) options, according to claims (assuming those figures from SRAM include rotors & a BB).
You get all-new but familiar-looking 12-speed mechanical front & rear derailleurs, and subtly updated new 12-speed 105 mechanical shifters with the same trusted brake hydraulics inside.
FD-R7100 2x Front Derailleur
- Brazed-on or Band-clamp
- Fast, precise front shifting for 50-52-tooth big rings
- Weight: from 96g
- MSRP: $44.99 / €49.99
RD-R7100 12-speed Rear Derailleur
- Super low profile Shadow RD shape, with single tension construction
- Direct mount attachment
- Single GS medium-length cage for 11-34T or 11-36T cassettes
- Weight: 249g
- MSRP: $64.99
ST-R7120 12-speed Mechanical Shift / Hydraulic Disc Brake Set (levers & calipers)
- 12sp Dual control levers
- New blade shape gives a shorter lever access curve
- Refined ergonomics and shaping create a new lever position
- Weight: 612g/pair (levers only)
- MSRP: $354.99 / €319.99
In summary… what it doesn’t have is an internal battery, electronic wiring, or replaceable batteries in the shifters.
What’s the same?
The beauty of the new Shimano 105 mechanical 12-speed group is in reality… a lot of this isn’t totally new.
The R7100 mechanical groupset includes the same compact crankset, bottom brackets, 12-speed 105 chain & 11-34T cassettes we saw introduced last summer with 105 Di2. It also shares the same flat mount disc brake calipers with 10% extra pad retraction, same brake hoses & rotors, too.
Shimano 105 mechanical 12-speed – Pricing, Options & Availability
In general, much like we usually see with any new Shimano groupset – pricing varies, options are aplenty, and availability depends. Shimano’s PR didn’t actually include a valid groupset price, and was missing some bits. But, by our calculation, buying a complete new 105 mechanical groupset will cost you $1223 piecemeal.
Your options are essentially the same as 105 Di2 2×12. Pick from 50-34 or 52-36 chainsets, 160/165/170/172.5/175mm long crank arms, and 11-34 or 11-36T cassettes.
As to availability, we’re only really looking at new derailleurs and shifters, so the outlook is good. But in any case, you’re most likely to get ahold of a new Shimano 105 mechanical 12-speed group as OEM if you buy a new bike. There will be many available starting today. For example, this £2199 Ribble Endurance SL Disc carbon road bike, one of five bikes available today from the UK brand.