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Mid-level groupset benefits from trickledown technology with lighter shifting action and more powerful braking

Shimano has launched a brand new version of its 105 groupset – the most popular road groupset worldwide – that features an 11-speed drivetrain and, says Shimano, improved braking power.

The new 5800 series 105 features technology that has trickled down from Shimano’s high-level Dura-Ace and Ultegra groups.

“The main thing about 105 is that it’s now 11-speed,” said Shimano’s UK brand manager Mark Greshon at the UK launch. “With it being 11-speed it brings many of the functions and features that you get with both Ultegra and Dura-Ace to a much wider range of riders.”

So, 105 follows in the footsteps of Dura-Ace and Ultegra (and groupsets from Campagnolo and SRAM) in going 11-speed. Shimano has redesigned the derailleurs and shift levers and included polymer coated cables to replicate the light shifting of its higher level groupsets – and, judging by the demo components available at the launch, it really is noticeably lighter than previously but still with a very definite click engagement.

Shimano says, “The shift levers have a compact grip which provides more comfort and control during a ride. The lever can be customised for different hand sizes with a 10mm screw-type reach adjust.

“The front derailleur has a longer link arm combined with a new spring mechanism. Also, the rear derailleur has a new spring mechanism and cable pitch, which provides robust adjustability.”

That’s the official line. The four-arm crank has trickled down from Dura-Ace too, with the uneven spacing between those arms that some people like and some people can’t stomach. Visuals aside, Shimano says that this gives the best transfer of power and balance between lightweight and stiffness.

This design also means there’s just one bolt circle diameter (BCD) for compact and traditional double chainsets. In other words, one crankarm fits all chainring sizes.

The standard chainset combos will be 53/39T, 52/36T and 50/34T. If you want to swap from 53/39T to 50/34T, for example, you can do that using the same crankarm – you can just change the chainrings rather than the whole chainset.

There will also be a non-series regular five-arm chainset.

The 11-speed cassette is available with 12-25 tooth and 11-28-tooth sprockets, as before, but there’s also a new wide-ranging 11-32-tooth option.

A short cage derailleur will handle sprockets up to 28T, but if you want to go to 32-tooth you’ll need the long cage derailleur.

Shimano treat the chain with a Sil-Tec surface-plating technology that they say makes it run smoother and wear longer in all conditions.

Shimano also say that they have improved the braking power by 10% over that of the previous 5700 series 105 groupset… and we love a statistic around these parts!

Shimano attribute most of that increased power to the new symmetrical dual-pivot brake caliper. Those calipers have a higher arch so they are compatible with tyres up to 28c – and there’s a general trend towards increased tyre size on the road these days.

The brakes are also available in a direct mount version (BR-5810), direct mount being an increasingly popular choice on road bikes as well as time trial bikes.

The 5800 Series 105 groupset will be available in black and silver from June. We don’t have prices on any of the components yet.

Shimano have an 11-speed flat-bar shifter that you can use with the new 105 components if you like, or with Ultegra or Dura-Ace for that matter.

Shimano has also introduced road hydraulic disc brakes that you can use with an 11-speed mechanical groupset like new 105. Check out our other story for all the details on that.

If you were hoping that Shimano would roll their Di2 technology down from Dura-Ace and Ultegra to 105, sorry, but that's not happening – not for the time being, at least. Electronic shifting will doubtless filter further down the road groupset hierarchy at some stage, but not yet.

Shimano say that 5800 Series 105 will be available from June.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

86 comments

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tom_w [204 posts] 2 years ago
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Any idea when it will be in the shops, and any idea on the weight difference with Ultegra?

Oh, and are those smaller Ultegra sized hoods?

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john.berry [22 posts] 2 years ago
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Why?  7

The best geared bike I ever had was 7 speed, my 10 speed stuff has no great advantage, wears quicker, is more expensive to maintain and needs finer setting up, 11 speed I assume will just wear out even quicker for no real advantage, other than showing off!

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jasonbrim [31 posts] 2 years ago
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Nice to see some of these changes coming to 105 so quickly. I have DA and Ultegra on my main road bikes, but maybe now a new winter bike might be kitted with 105...

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koko56 [330 posts] 2 years ago
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YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THIS AND MECHANICAL HYDRAULIC LEVERS?!?!?!??!  36 36 36 36 36

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harman_mogul [226 posts] 2 years ago
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This is the one the competitors fear!

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userfriendly [562 posts] 2 years ago
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Oh dear.  2 Now I'll need to get hold of some 5700 shifters rather quickly, or I will be stuck with my Tiagra shifters until I can upgrade the whole drivetrain.

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bollandinho [64 posts] 2 years ago
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105 with hydraulic discs sounds very, very exciting for winter bikes and CX. I can't wait to try it out.

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bollandinho [64 posts] 2 years ago
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5700 bits should still be floating around for a fair old while, not least because new bikes with 5800 fitted won't really be out until late in the year. Ultegra 6800 has been out for almost a year, but there's still plenty of 6700 bits to be had. Indeed, it means that the prices have dropped.

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cyclingDMlondon [488 posts] 2 years ago
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john.berry wrote:

Why?  7

The best geared bike I ever had was 7 speed, my 10 speed stuff has no great advantage, wears quicker, is more expensive to maintain and needs finer setting up, 11 speed I assume will just wear out even quicker for no real advantage, other than showing off!

I'd tend to agree. My commuter has 27 gears, and I reckon that no more than 6-8 of them ever get used.

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harman_mogul [226 posts] 2 years ago
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No triple chainset proposed?

At launch, it was suggested Ultegra would have one later. But looks like that's not going to happen now. 52/36 and an 11–32 appears to be the solution.

Perhaps the non-series chainset will include a triple? It's a good idea anyway, for customers who want 11-speed but don't want the new groupset's appearance.

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harman_mogul [226 posts] 2 years ago
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cyclingDMlondon wrote:
john.berry wrote:

Why?  7

The best geared bike I ever had was 7 speed, my 10 speed stuff has no great advantage, wears quicker, is more expensive to maintain and needs finer setting up, 11 speed I assume will just wear out even quicker for no real advantage, other than showing off!

I'd tend to agree. My commuter has 27 gears, and I reckon that no more than 6-8 of them ever get used.

Well I agree 200%. My single-speed has no more than one gear, and none of them ever gets used.

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Tom Easley [1 post] 2 years ago
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Now I can afford to buy another cassestte for my race wheels!

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Joeinpoole [439 posts] 2 years ago
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john.berry wrote:

Why?  7

The best geared bike I ever had was 7 speed, my 10 speed stuff has no great advantage, wears quicker, is more expensive to maintain and needs finer setting up, 11 speed I assume will just wear out even quicker for no real advantage, other than showing off!

I agree. I'd consider an 11-speed 105 to be a retrograde step for all the reasons you state. Pointless, expensive and more hassle.

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harman_mogul [226 posts] 2 years ago
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Joeinpoole wrote:
john.berry wrote:

Why?  7

The best geared bike I ever had was 7 speed, my 10 speed stuff has no great advantage, wears quicker, is more expensive to maintain and needs finer setting up, 11 speed I assume will just wear out even quicker for no real advantage, other than showing off!

I agree. I'd consider an 11-speed 105 to be a retrograde step for all the reasons you state. Pointless, expensive and more hassle.

Lay off man, we wants to spend our moneys!

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s_lim [177 posts] 2 years ago
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Wonder how it fairs in weight? Ultegra 6700 was heavier than most of the 3rd tier groups from competitors (Apex, Centaur), don't know how much lighter 6800 is, and if 5800 will compete at all.

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Yennings [237 posts] 2 years ago
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I knew this would happen the second I bought a bike with old-style 105...  20

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 2 years ago
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having been using 11spd ultegra over the winter, i'm interested to know why an 11spd groupset is 'more hassle' - it's been no more hassle than a 10spd or a 9spd groupset, that I have on other bikes. no harder to set up, no harder to maintain.

As for 'expensive', 11spd Ultegra was cheaper than 10spd Ultegra. I wouldn't be surprised if the same was true here. As of now, we don't know, so the point is kind of moot.

Pointless? If you like. I don't think innovation is pointless, because I see groupsets getting better and better for less and less money. I kind of like that. Your mileage may vary.

Triple chainset: we've had no indication that there will be one, in terms of range a compact and wide-range cassette is the same, i know some people prefer a triple for the closer ratios. We'll ask.

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othello [374 posts] 2 years ago
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Still HATE that chainset mind...  31

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Sniffer [282 posts] 2 years ago
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Very interesting. Riding Ultegra 6700 at the moment. If I buy a new bike I would want a groupset as good or better than the current one I am riding. Ignoring the 11 speed element, is there much to choose between Ultegra 6700 and 105 5800?

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RobD [292 posts] 2 years ago
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Very pleased about this, and especially with the hydro/mech shifters announced too, I'm not sure the weight of the groupsets really adds up to that big a difference, especially if you can get some lighter wheels by saving on 105 over ultegra etc, probably makes a more noticeable difference.
Glad they still do the shiny silver colourscheme rather than going down the grey ultegra route, it may look a bit modern compared to say the silver Athena chainset, but I like it, hopefully the prices come in at a reasonable level (plus the cost of 5700 shifters dropping as a result would be good to upgrade the tiagra ones too)

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yenrod [106 posts] 2 years ago
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I run 9sp. I use about, say, 3-4 gears...when riding/training...

10/11sp. blocks have reduced the choice of sprocket combo's of consumers of Shimano...

Do Manu.s not offer 42 rings on their chainsets...I dont live in Wales or Scotland.

Whatever happened to 170mm cranks ??? - instead of; compact cranks - another money making idea.

Compact cranks are a con - well and truly - ok you spin but they wear out faster - KMC recently done research that backs this up.

STi units smaller - thats a retrograde step if ever their was one.

Shimano chains are well known for being BAD/Failing.

They also used to index GREAT but now they are machined to such tolerances that when they wear after NOT LONG its 'replace time'..

Lastly; when are Shimano to do electric shifting on 105 = thats when its'll be MEGA-HEADLINE time !

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harman_mogul [226 posts] 2 years ago
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Dave Atkinson wrote:

Triple chainset: we've had no indication that there will be one, in terms of range a compact and wide-range cassette is the same, i know some people prefer a triple for the closer ratios. We'll ask.

Please do. 5700 still has the triple option and, as you say, Dave, it's handy if you prefer close ratios such as a 12–23 with the useful 18T middle. Some just find the 16T gap between rings too much; others want the 39T ring come what may.

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ajmarshal1 [411 posts] 2 years ago
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Sniffer wrote:

Ignoring the 11 speed element, is there much to choose between Ultegra 6700 and 105 5800?

I doubt it. I have run 6700 and 5700 side by side and other than weight mine performed identically. I've said it before but I defy anyone to tell the difference in a blind test. I'd be amazed if 5800 was a leap forward over 5700. But I'm happy to be amazed.

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Joeinpoole [439 posts] 2 years ago
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Dave Atkinson wrote:

having been using 11spd ultegra over the winter, i'm interested to know why an 11spd groupset is 'more hassle' - it's been no more hassle than a 10spd or a 9spd groupset, that I have on other bikes. no harder to set up, no harder to maintain.

As for 'expensive', 11spd Ultegra was cheaper than 10spd Ultegra. I wouldn't be surprised if the same was true here. As of now, we don't know, so the point is kind of moot.

Pointless? If you like. I don't think innovation is pointless, because I see groupsets getting better and better for less and less money. I kind of like that. Your mileage may vary.

I don't really consider adding an extra cog to be "innovation". Would a 12-speed cassette be even better? Would a 15 or 20-speed cassette send you into raptures? 'More' is not always 'better'. In this case it just adds weight and fragility for no real gain, at least from my point of view.

Personally, having come back into cycling after a few decades out, I'm astonished to find that I now have to replace my chain every 1500 miles or so (and have been recommended to replace the cassette at the same time too!). That's on a supposedly rugged 'cyclo-cross' bike. Honestly, in the 70's, running a 5-speed cassette with a double chain-ring I would barely even inspect the chain before 5000 miles were up. Cassettes were good for 10K at least.

Having been delighted to buy an amazing "27-speed" bike a few years ago I'd now happily trade some of those gears for more robustness, less maintenance (and less weight too).

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RobinC [8 posts] 2 years ago
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I think something has to give when cramming more gears into the same space. Partly achieved by making the wheel dish worse for 11 speed hubs.
If the durability of 10 & 11 speed chainrings & sprockets has been maintained by extra hardening and other innovations, could this be then applied to make 9 speed more durable?
Not going to happen I guess...

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finbar [127 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

Whatever happened to 170mm cranks ??? - instead of; compact cranks - another money making idea.

Ehhh...?

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 2 years ago
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> 10/11sp. blocks have reduced the choice of sprocket combo's of consumers of Shimano...

really? currently you can get 11-23, 11-25, 12-25, 11-28 and 11-32 in ultegra. 105 will probably be the same. i guess if you *must* have a 26T or 27T big sprocket you're out of luck, but they seem to be covering the bases okay to me

> Do Manu.s not offer 42 rings on their chainsets...I dont live in Wales or Scotland.

Generally no, and haven't since the late 1990s, at least not as standard. Pros left the 42t behind a long time ago

> Whatever happened to 170mm cranks ??? - instead of; compact cranks - another money making idea.

you can have 170mm cranks in the new four-arm spider if you want

> Compact cranks are a con - well and truly - ok you spin but they wear out faster - KMC recently done research that backs this up.

no-one's forcing you to buy a compact, least of all shimano with the four-arm design that allows you to swap rings without changing the spider

> STi units smaller - thats a retrograde step if ever their was one.

i don't agree - i find the new shape much better, and i have hands like shovels. and they're certainly better for people with smaller hands.

> Shimano chains are well known for being BAD/Failing.

have to say, i tend to buy other brands when i'm replacing. I don't like the snap pin joining method either, i find split links much better

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 2 years ago
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Joeinpoole wrote:

I don't really consider adding an extra cog to be "innovation". Would a 12-speed cassette be even better? Would a 15 or 20-speed cassette send you into raptures? 'More' is not always 'better'. In this case it just adds weight and fragility for no real gain, at least from my point of view.

Personally, having come back into cycling after a few decades out, I'm astonished to find that I now have to replace my chain every 1500 miles or so (and have been recommended to replace the cassette at the same time too!). That's on a supposedly rugged 'cyclo-cross' bike. Honestly, in the 70's, running a 5-speed cassette with a double chain-ring I would barely even inspect the chain before 5000 miles were up. Cassettes were good for 10K at least.

Having been delighted to buy an amazing "27-speed" bike a few years ago I'd now happily trade some of those gears for more robustness, less maintenance (and less weight too).

certainly i think there's a bit of the 'more is better' mentality about it, the same way there is with resolution in digital cameras. there's a limit to what's useful.

but to hark back to the 'golden' days of five speed cassettes? would you trade the precision and ease of use of a modern groupset for the longevity of a five-speed setup? because I sure wouldn't. you can still get five-speed stuff easily, and it's cheap as chips. I'm guessing you're not running it on any of your bikes though, even though you could. I've got a five speed, down-tube-shifter bike in the shed. It's fun to ride, and it looks nice. but every day? when i can use STIs? not on your life.

When i say innovation, i'm not really talking about the number of cogs. i've written at length about Ultegra at the launch (http://road.cc/content/news/82237-updated-prices-shimano-unveil-ultegra-...) and in the review (http://road.cc/content/review/114669-shimano-ultegra-6800-groupset) and i'll reiterate what i said there: the eleventh cog is pretty incidental in the great scheme of things but the improvements in shifting and braking are immediately noticeable and very welcome. and they're coming to 105 too, so that's a good thing in my book. plus now you can have hydraulic discs. happy days.

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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Does 11sp require a different freehub to a 9 or 10?

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 2 years ago
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Dave Atkinson wrote:

but to hark back to the 'golden' days of five speed cassettes? would you trade the precision and ease of use of a modern groupset for the longevity of a five-speed setup? because I sure wouldn't. you can still get five-speed stuff easily, and it's cheap as chips.

When I started riding my bikes had 5 or 6 speed freewheels; I still remember the first time I had a bike with a cassette and freehub, thinking wow this is the future!

But I never saw a 5 speed cassette  3

Pedantry over - last time i bought a 6 speed road freewheel (to get a higher gear on a small wheeled bike) it certainly wasn't easy - it was a lucky ebay find, in fact. But wider spaced freewheels are indeed cheap as chips.

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