We all knew that Shimano was bringing 12 speed to the road, and it’s finally here… What comes as a surprise to me, is that they updated both the Ultegra (R8100) and Dura-Ace (R9200) groupsets at the same time.
- Wireless receiver is now in the rear derailleur. One one hand, this means you don’t need a separate D-Fly to integrate with the bike computer, but on the other, it means that Shimano packed a ton of functionality into the component most likely to get damaged in a crash, or when your bike falls over…
- Setup isn’t completely wireless, battery is in the frame somewhere with wires to the derailleurs, and the shifters are wireless (communicating with the rear derailleur). Wireless is inferior to wired, so this is a convenience feature for builders, that potentially impacts buyers for as long as they have the bike. Personally, I think this is short-sighted, even though I understand why Shimano did it (bike builders are their real customer, time building bikes costs $, so reducing assembly time is $ in the builders pocket). Will have to see if Shimano’s system is more reliable than SRAM’s in the long run.
- Crank arms are more symmetrical than before, so it’s possible that power meter wonky could be fixed.
- Brakes have changed some (10% more pad clearance and “Servo Wave”), and the video confirms something that I’ve noticed anecdotally. MTB rotors are less prone to heat deformation (I was just having a conversion with the 182lb climber around this a couple days ago as a potential reason the pro teams were running them).
- NO MECHANICAL OPTION for either Ultegra or Dura-Ace. This is probably a function of demand (or the lack of) and how good mechanical 105 is.
- No more short cage derailleurs. Both Ultegra and Dura-Ace only have medium cage options.
- Shimano is offering a power meter in both trims.
- RIP 53/39