Is this a new Shimano Di2 hydraulic lever? UPDATED

Hong Kong blog blows cover on something but is it really Dura-Ace?

by nick_rearden   January 16, 2012  

Shimano-Dura-Ace-hydraulic-spy-pic

A picture has appeared on the website flwrider showing what appears to be a Dura-Ace lever in a new design that appears to combine both electronic shifting buttons and a hydraulic brake pipe emerging from it.

As we posted back in October, Shimano are rumoured to be developing both an 11-speed Dura-Ace Di2 system and some version of disc brakes to go with it.

We say 'some version' because although part of the flying speculation agrees that hydraulic actuation would be an advantage over the convoluted routing of traditional Bowden cable through a modern carbon-fibre frame, others have poo-pooed the idea as an unnecessary step. To be fair, they're probably the people repelled by the very idea of disc brakes on a road bike, anyway. But they're going to have to get used to the idea because as our mystery Insider says in his recent post, they're coming whether we like it or not.

This spy shot seems to raise more questions than it answers. It surely does say 'Dura-Ace' on the lever itself but that may be because the maker has utilised an existing part from Shimano. The American site Bikerumor that specialises in this kind of stuff even appears to have uncovered a connection back to the British F1 company developing the Factor 001 we posted about back in 2009. The lever at the top here does look suspiciously like the one shown in factor 001 pictures on their site.

 

Update from The Insider

Our own Insider was on in a flash confirming that this is NOT the Dura-Ace Di2 lever or at least not the one we're expecting. As he points out viz a viz the Factor 001, "Giveaways are 1. it looks identical, two Factor 001 use Di2 and 3 it (the body) is carbon – Shimano's would be injection moulded and most probably rapid prototyped at this stage.

Or, in other words, what we're looking at is the existing Dura-Ace Di2 lever with its attendant shift switches to go with the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 gear mechanisms, all mounted in Formula's own carbon-fibre body with hydraulics built in. Neat.


The latest version of the Factor 001 road bike from bf1systems in Norfolk has disc brakes.

Factor 001 control levers: a combination of Shimano's Di2 electric shift system and their own hydraulic braking body.  

 

36 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

Can someone explain to me what exactly was wrong with mechanical 10 speed? or 7, 8 and 9 speed for that matter?

Life behind bars.

Graham Howell's picture

posted by Graham Howell [55 posts]
16th January 2012 - 13:45

like this
Like (5)

oh for heaven's sake. to save the comments section getting clogged up by these sorts of postings EVERY SINGLE TIME you do an article about Di2 / hydraulic brakes / colour television / these new-fangled pneumatic tyres etc etc, why not just have a little tick box where people can register their reactionary disapproval without the rest of us having to read it...?

jezzzer's picture

posted by jezzzer [339 posts]
16th January 2012 - 13:55

like this
Like (6)

Reply to Graham Howell:

Easy-peasy - Shimano can't rip you off if it produces backward-compatible compnents.

If your lever or changer is worn out or damaged or if you want to rebuild your bike, there's no money in selling you last year's model, let alone five-years-ago's model.

My fave bike frame (light, fast, responsive, comfortable) is old. Seriously old, 1991. It can't take a cluster wider than nine-speed, and even then I can't use the smallest cog because the chain fouls the chainstays.

No, Mr Shimano (or Mr Campagnolo), I'm not going to abandon a bike that goes round corners as if it's on rails on Alpine descents and keeps me comfortable on a 200km Audax just so that you can market stuff at me.

posted by JohnS [198 posts]
16th January 2012 - 14:02

like this
Like (6)

Well I can kinda go along with the idea that more speeds equals less jump between ratios, hence more fluid pedalling. That said, I also think that mechanical Dura-Ace (or even Ultegra) is way more capable than my abilities to exploit it, so opting for Di2 would appear to just put maintenance a little further out of my reach. Ditto disc brakes.

On the other hand, I haven't tried them, so maybe I would be an instant convert!

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3099 posts]
16th January 2012 - 14:11

like this
Like (6)

Graham Howell wrote:
Can someone explain to me what exactly was wrong with mechanical 10 speed? or 7, 8 and 9 speed for that matter?

Nothing wrong with it, exactly. But going from 7 up to 10 speed gives a far wider range of gears, with smaller jumps in between - meaning you're more likely to have the gear you want for a given stretch of road. so it's an improvement - one that some people don't want or need, but others do.

Moving to electronic shifting is the same idea - improves the shift reliability and accuracy, and thus gives improved performance. Not saying it's necessary, but it's still an improvement.

I don't really understand why people are so against progress. You can still get 8 speed shimano components for your 8 speed set up, and so long as there is a demand they'll still be available. No-one is forcing anyone to buy the new stuff - if you don't want it, don't buy it. No need to get all luddite about the technical advances - just choose not to buy it, and stick with what you have. Simple really...

As for this particular piece, if you could get a covering for the top section, it could make a great extra hand hold for a flat-armed aero position (see Vroomen's comments on his blog about the best aero position being on the hoods).

posted by step-hent [674 posts]
16th January 2012 - 14:17

like this
Like (4)

othello wrote:
That hit every branch of the ugly tree on the way down. Sick

And landed in the pile of dog sh*t at the bottom Devil

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
16th January 2012 - 14:17

like this
Like (5)

Can just imagine if the Victorians had had the internet...

You want to put brakes on my velocipede? And a chain? Whatever next? What was wrong with the penny farthing? Wink You want to have 4 wheels, a seat and an engine, what's wrong with a horse and carriage?

It's called progression, get used to it. 10 years ago, everyone was asking what was the point in full suspension/disc brakes on MTBs, now it's very difficult to find anything other than the most basic MTB that doesn't come with discs.

No-one is *forcing* you to buy anything. I certainly won't be buying it, not for a good few years yet. But I'm interested in the technology, the applications for it.

Imagine if you tried inventing a bike now and said to an engineer: "yes, the braking mechanism works by slowly wearing away the wheel rim, one of the most important structural parts of the bicycle, what do you reckon?" In 10 years time, you'll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.

posted by crazy-legs [508 posts]
16th January 2012 - 14:26

like this
Like (8)

didn't mavic get into trouble with the UCI over the shape of their levers? those are looking similar to what was banned. Wouldn't be hard to design those levers for aero advantage.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1073 posts]
16th January 2012 - 14:31

like this
Like (7)

That's a brute. I still have a set of Magura HS66 Road lever hydraulic brakes. Levers are same size as an old drop lever pre STI/Ergo. They never caught on, work well, stop on one finger, but the blocks mash alloy road rims Cool

posted by brodibike [12 posts]
16th January 2012 - 14:41

like this
Like (6)

Ok ok maybe I was a little bit quick to judge but from my perspective (student trying to make 1st cat) its tough to keep up with all the advantages big budget teams get when I can barely afford to keep up my 105 equiped race bike (a second hand 2006 spesh tarmac comp).

Im all for technological advancements but there needs to be alot more focus on the middle ground. It took 2 years for the new shape shimano to make it down from Dura Ace to 105, by that time D-Ace had gone electric with a huge mark up in price. Whens Di2 gonna make it into the 105 end of the range?

Life behind bars.

Graham Howell's picture

posted by Graham Howell [55 posts]
16th January 2012 - 15:15

like this
Like (5)

Animal wrote:
Ugly. Expensive. Non maintainable. Over complicated. Why? Just why?

What about people who just want a decent, lightweight road bike which we can maintain ourselves, change or adjust derailleurs and brakes?


They should probably buy one. They haven't disappeared.
Animal wrote:

We don't all want to spend 5000 fekking quid on tricksy toys to impress our fat friends!

Then don't.

Quote:

The equipment companies are just ripping everybody off. "up"grading things year after year after year.

How are you being ripped off here exactly?

I think my 105 equipped Scott has many more years and miles left in it, and I don't see parts disappearing from the shelves anytime soon. If Shimano and the rest were suddenly in a position to break my stuff and force me to buy Di2 then maybe I'd agree, but that's not reality is it?

I don't understand why you're getting so wound up with what's happening at the cutting edge- you'd think it was a personal insult. Unless you're riding something with solid tyres and rod brakes I don't see how you can be so against development.

posted by Chuck [368 posts]
16th January 2012 - 16:32

like this
Like (5)

As anyone whose crashed and repaired bikes know, it's the top of the STi shifter that often takes the brunt/ hit in a crash which results in a broken lever body and a big bill - so you're probably looking at £300/ lever for a big off. The addage "only race what you can afford to crash" wouldn't be more apt.

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [360 posts]
16th January 2012 - 17:55

like this
Like (6)

i like them

Smile

Cycled up Alpe d'Huez at least once each month since July 2008

http://www.morethan21bends.com
http://www.prompt.cc

gbzpto's picture

posted by gbzpto [78 posts]
16th January 2012 - 18:35

like this
Like (5)

Our spy found the original picture the detail at the top came from...

Screen shot 2012-01-16 at 18.01.40.png

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
16th January 2012 - 19:05

like this
Like (4)

Animal wrote:
Ugly. Expensive. Non maintainable. Over complicated. Why? Just why?

What about people who just want a decent, lightweight road bike which we can maintain ourselves, change or adjust derailleurs and brakes?

We don't all want to spend 5000 fekking quid on tricksy toys to impress our fat friends!

The equipment companies are just ripping everybody off. "up"grading things year after year after year.

Ugly = yes!
expensive = yes (but so is Dura ace..doesnt mean its junk)
over complicated...id say no, intact, probably more simple than producing a cable lever.
why = because everything progresses!

no, we all don't want to spend 5000 quid on toys, but some of us do, the people who can afford it, why not buy it? i have di2, I'm not fat, and i bought it for me...because i like it!

as for equipment companies ripping people off???? are you on glue? you are not obliged to buy it, no one is forcing you! of coarse they are going to upgrade what they have! how else are they going to make money?? and for your info...di2 dura ace has been around for 4 or more years now, the life cycle of most group sets are much longer than a year..do your research before your pointless rants Smile

PS: im loaded...so don't give a toss how much it costs...if i like it, i'll buy it...fact.

posted by quango2008 [36 posts]
16th January 2012 - 19:18

like this
Like (4)

Animal wrote:
Ugly. Expensive. Non maintainable. Over complicated. Why? Just why?

What about people who just want a decent, lightweight road bike which we can maintain ourselves, change or adjust derailleurs and brakes?

We don't all want to spend 5000 fekking quid on tricksy toys to impress our fat friends!

The equipment companies are just ripping everybody off. "up"grading things year after year after year.

Well put Animal. Bicycle brakes work perfectly well using a cable and housing. It's cheap, suitable for purpose, and easy to repair and maintain.

Companies use the magic word "upgrade" in the same way that The Spanish Inquisition used the magic word "God".

What this effectively means is that because they've brought out something new, we're all supposed to whoop like halfwit Americans and proclaim it as "awesome". All that's happening is that we're expected to buy again something that we've already got. Angry

michophull's picture

posted by michophull [97 posts]
16th January 2012 - 19:27

like this
Like (7)

interesting how they've put the front brake on the drive
side .... would have thought non-drive al la mtb's and
weight distribution would have made more sense ... still
it is a proto-type so who knows ...

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [698 posts]
16th January 2012 - 19:38

like this
Like (5)

All these rants are pathetic...

Those who are getting wound up of "being forced to upgrade" make me wound up because it's just pure stupidity. (yes, I see what I did there)

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ValentinKokorin

London2Paris24: 450km, 24 hours, 5th-6th July 2014

I will miss TdF in Yorskhire!!! Please donate! Big Grin

koko56's picture

posted by koko56 [319 posts]
16th January 2012 - 19:48

like this
Like (4)

That is one seriously sexy bike, apart from the disc brakes. Not for me. Di2 is ace tho, tried it a couple of weeks back. Not too sure bout 11speed tho, it's all I can do to keep a 10 speed indexed properly.

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [483 posts]
16th January 2012 - 20:06

like this
Like (3)

I can't wait for road bikes with disk brakes. Coming from a mountain biking background with immense stopping power from a single finger to cable actuated caliper brakes took some getting used to.

Cables dont inspire confidence, either. Riding down a fast hill the thought i always there that I can't pull up quickly should the need arise, or that the cable might snap, or that it might pull through the eyelet. At least with hydraulics these things can't happen.

It is a shame to see some fairly ludicrous statements on here too. Ah well.

posted by broomwagonblog [16 posts]
16th January 2012 - 20:32

like this
Like (3)

Cooks wrote:
That is one seriously sexy bike, apart from the disc brakes. Not for me. Di2 is ace tho, tried it a couple of weeks back. Not too sure bout 11speed tho, it's all I can do to keep a 10 speed indexed properly.

I thought one of the big pluses of Di2 was that it was self adjusting?

posted by Arthur Scrimshaw [46 posts]
16th January 2012 - 20:47

like this
Like (5)

I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but are you really being pressganged into buying it?

So far as I'm aware, there's no black van coming round to remove your current bike against your will, and last time I checked (just now) you could get a 7-speed cassette from from more than 30 stores online.

Things move forward. Sometimes (indexed gears, freehubs) it's a success. Sometimes (dual control MTB levers) it's not. Stuff that sucks generally doesn't catch on. If people don't want it, they don't buy it.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7320 posts]
16th January 2012 - 21:04

like this
Like (1)

evolution is brilliant, i dont have money to burn and i do look after my stuff. @graham the trickle down is a great thing for instance im running a combo of 5700 105 and 6700 ultegra. this can be had on £1000 bikes if you look around. i appreciate thats alot of money but relatively your getting essentially duraace from 2009/2010 for peanuts. and in terms of electric shifting / disc brakes bring it on.

there will always be a place for cable/rimbrakes etc and i personally am happy with cable/rimbrake set up. not to say if i look to replace my bike in 2-3 years if discs and by then im sure 105 electric are in place i would happily try it.

cyclists are a funny bunch,especially roadies for not liking change. i personally used to be a mountainbiker and remember the kick off about disc brakes. but now you cant buy a mtb without them and i guarantee no one would go back to v's.

just sit back wait a year or two all the options will be on the table.

posted by russyparkin [579 posts]
16th January 2012 - 22:16

like this
Like (14)

on the plus side this website is like bikeradar for grown ups. bar a few 'burn the witch' posts most people seem to make productive and informative posts here

posted by russyparkin [579 posts]
16th January 2012 - 22:19

like this
Like (5)

michophull wrote:
Animal wrote:
Ugly. Expensive. Non maintainable. Over complicated. Why? Just why?

What about people who just want a decent, lightweight road bike which we can maintain ourselves, change or adjust derailleurs and brakes?

We don't all want to spend 5000 fekking quid on tricksy toys to impress our fat friends!

The equipment companies are just ripping everybody off. "up"grading things year after year after year.

[Well put Animal. Bicycle brakes work perfectly well using a cable and housing. It's cheap, suitable for purpose, and easy to repair and maintain.

Companies use the magic word "upgrade" in the same way that The Spanish Inquisition used the magic word "God".

What this effectively means is that because they've brought out something new, we're all supposed to whoop like halfwit Americans and proclaim it as "awesome". All that's happening is that we're expected to buy again something that we've already got. Angry

JEEEEZ! you do understand, if every company didn't bother releasing new products...you wouldn't have what you have now! unless you have the very first group set ever made!

your not expected to buy anything...keep what you have if you are happy with it..on the other hand, newbies to the hobby/sport have more choice.

anybody that thinks disc brakes on road bikes is a bad idea clearly have never raced or been down any big descents on carbon tubs! YES, it will change the look of road bikes for good, YES, it might look gross at first, but mark my words, it will be the norm in a few years time, maybe sooner...the cost will come down and everyone will be using them..they are safer, less maintenance, and did I say..SAFER! coming from someone who has broken his jaw from a front blowout on a descent which totalled a 5k bike and cost me a lot in dentist fee's..i think its a fantastic idea, although an ugly one..

so lets put this in simple terms as some people are just eejits!

YES, its new
NO, you don't have to go buy it..if you don't want to.

without innovation, companies would not exist, then you will not be able to buy anything for your bike as they wouldn't exist!

posted by quango2008 [36 posts]
16th January 2012 - 23:21

like this
Like (4)

michophull wrote:
What this effectively means is that because they've brought out something new, we're all supposed to whoop like halfwit Americans and proclaim it as "awesome". All that's happening is that we're expected to buy again something that we've already got. Angry

Really? Well, let's ask my American wife, shall we? No, she's perfectly happy to let the Tour de France racers ride 15-pound bikes with electric gears and hydraulic brakes while she cycles to work on her 15-year-old, loop frame 45lb bike with a Brooks sprung saddle. She says she can't see what all the fuss is about. She says she still loves you, though.

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
16th January 2012 - 23:42

like this
Like (6)

funny how everyone seems to have a frontier of luddism that they set themselves, anything behind is fine and dandy, anything beyond is... well, read some of the reactions.

Personally, electric shifting is just beyond my frontier, I accept it probably works for the pros but I don't want it and I don't expect cable shifting to disappear from quality bike components soon. Road discs I am all for and would like to see the cable to hydro converters refined because I reckon that's where the majority of the market will be. Road brake/shift levers are expensive and vulnerable enough as they are and it makes sense to separate the parts to reduce the risk of destroying a load of expensive bits in one off.

Main problem seems to be where to put the master cylinders, perhaps built into a stem as a modular unit or inside the tail end of the drops?

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [796 posts]
17th January 2012 - 14:35

like this
Like (3)

ABS next? Bring it on!

cheers m'dears

2011 Rose Pro-SL 3000 Road
2006 Lemond Alpe d'Huez Broken
1997 Marin Sausaulito Urban bimbling/shopper
1980 Orbea project

daviddb's picture

posted by daviddb [120 posts]
18th January 2012 - 0:20

like this
Like (2)

I have an open mind on disc brakes but by God those wheels are pug ugly. If that's the price to pay for modulated braking, I'll stick to what I've got ta.

Question for anyone who's ridden a road bike with discs: How easy is it to lock up the wheel on a greasy descent? With thick winter gloves on, I'd imagine it could be quite tricky to control the break lever.

The good thing about Road.CC is that there's just as likely to be an article on handbuilt steel frames with beautiful lugs, quill stems, and Brooks saddles as Di2 or the new P5. Bikes are nice to look at and good to talk about.

Rather than ABS I think some sort of break energy recovery systems (F1 KERS) for the commuter market seems to be on the horizon...

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [551 posts]
18th January 2012 - 10:49

like this
Like (4)

joemmo wrote:
funny how everyone seems to have a frontier of luddism that they set themselves, anything behind is fine and dandy, anything beyond is... well, read some of the reactions.

Very true. Reminds me of a pub bore I met in the Lakes- he'd bought all his kit in the 80s or something and stopped the clock there- took every opportunity to point out how crap all our newer stuff was, marketing guff etc. etc. If he'd bought his stuff in the 70's no doubt he'd have done the same.

posted by Chuck [368 posts]
18th January 2012 - 11:13

like this
Like (3)