Updated with prices: Shimano unveil Ultegra 6800 11spd groupset

One more cog at the back, redesigned levers, better shifting and braking, lighter weight... all the good stuff

by Dave Atkinson   May 1, 2013  

Shimano have launched a brand new Ultegra groupset, 6800. The new gear contains masses of trickle-down from Dura Ace 9000. Grabbing the headlines will be addition of an extra cog to give 11 speeds at the rear, but the improvements to the shifting and braking performance are more worthy of note. We also now have pricing for the groupset which prices a standard full setup (chainset, STI shifters, front and rear mechs, brake callipers, chain and cassette) at about £925; that's a bit cheaper than Ultegra 6700 which has an SRP of £1,000 and can be found online for about £600.

"Ultegra normally takes the latest technology from Dura Ace and provides it at a much more competitive price", Shimano's Mark Greshon told us. "It's for real world riders who want good performance." Certainly Ultegra has been a staple groupset for privateer racers and keen sportivistes for many years, offering much of the functionality of the top-end transmission components. Dura Ace jumped ahead last year with the release of the 9000 groupset, but Ultegra is back snapping at its heels now.

"Ultegra uses technology that's been proven in WorldTour races, proven at the highest level", said Mark. However, Shimano are aware that not everyone riding Ultegra has racing ambitions. All day comfort is important, and there's a large percentage of Ultegra riders who spend most of their time riding on the hoods. Shimano have been thinking about comfort, and braking and shifting performance predominantly from that riding position when designing the new Ultegra STI levers (£299.99 a pair). The lever stroke is shorter than before, and lighter too, meaning less shifting effort, and like Dura Ace 9000 the new drivetrain evens out the force required across the cassette, meaning that shifting in the low gears is as easy as it is at the bottom of the cassette; vivid indexing, Shimano call that.

Hood shape is borrowed from Dura Ace mechanical, which in turn took its cues from the Di2 lever. It's a lot slimmer than before which Shimano say gives better grip and comfort; certainly Mat was  a fan when he tested Dura Ace. "I've got large hands and I find the reduced size to be an advantage", he said. "People with smaller hands are likely to notice it even more". The brake lever is carbon, as it was on the mechanical version of the last Ultegra groupset. The Di2 version was alloy.

The front derailleur (£37.99 braze-on, £42.99 band-on) has seen a significant change in design. It now features a support bolt, like Di2, that comes into contact with the frame to stiffen things up. The pull arm is much longer, like Dura Ace, to reduce shift effort.

The rear mech comes in short-cage (£74.99) and mid-cage (£79.99) incarnations; you'll need the longer mech if you plan to run 32 teeth at the rear, which is the largest cog it's designed to handle. Again, it takes technology from Dura Ace 9000 down to the next level, with the more linear spring rate for more equal shifting across the block. Both mechs are designed to work best with Shimano's new polymer-coated gear cables.

 

 

For braking there's the new symmetrical dual pivot design calliper (£59.99), ported from Dura Ace 9000. Instead of using the brake mount as one of the pivots the calliper has two independent pivots equally spaced on either side of the brake. Polymer-coated cables reduce friction and increase the amount of power for a given force at the lever. The upshot of these improvements is that Shimano claim a 10% increase in braking power over Ultegra 6700.

There's a direct mount version of the brake available (£64.99) that does away with the central mounting bolt and instead bolts directly to the frame at either side, which is better for stiffness; quite a few frame manufacturers are already adopting the standard.

Mat called out the performance of the new Dura Ace callipers as a highlight of the new 9000-series kit. "The amount of bite on offer is one of the best features of the entire groupset, and it's incredibly easy to apply – you require very little effort through your fingers", he said. "And the more powerful the braking, the longer you can safely leave it". Hopefully the Ultegra 6800 callipers will be just as capable.

Rider Tuned is how Shimano describe the available gearing options. "The groupset has been designed to be as efficient as possible, so that all your energy goes into moving the bike forwards", Mark told us. We're pretty sure that's always been their policy though.

Bascially you can have anything from a full-on race setup with a standard chainset and a straight-through cassette, to a compact and a wide-ratio block at the back. 53/39 and 50/34 chainsets are available of course, but there's also a middle-ground 52/36 option which was introduced on Dura Ace last year and is sure to appeal to anyone that wants to look like they're sporting a standard setup but could do with some help on the hills. Pretty much everyone, then. There's a 46/36 cyclocross-friendly option too. There's no triple chainset at the moment, but one is in development.

The chainset (£229.99, £224.99 for 46/36) has the new four-arm design from Dura Ace, which is designed to maintain stiffness but reduce weight by moving the arms to cope with the different forces at different parts of the pedal stroke. It'll spin on a redesigned bottom bracket (£39.99) that shaves 14g off the old Ultegra one.

The cassette (£69.99, £74.99 for 11-32T) is available in 11-23, 11-25, 12-25, 11-28 and 11-32 configurations. The additional sprocket means that the cassette is straight through for a bit longer, so generally that's the addition of an 18T cog over ten speed. The new wider cassette means a new Ultegra wheel too, the WH-6800. This wheelset features a tubeless-ready rim, wide-flange hubset and tool-free hub adjustment system, as well as the wider 11-speed freehub, designed to take the extra torque possible from a 32T rear cog. A tubular version of the wheel will also be available and they're all hand-built in Shimano's own factory.

The chain (£36.99) is redesigned for 11-speeds; it's symmetrical so you don't have to worry about which way round you fit it, which is good as we always got that wrong. It also features a PTFE coating, called Sil-Tec, for increased durability.

The Ultegra pedals (£149.99) are unchanged, save for a cosmetic update.

We saw the groupset a few months back, and also got to have a quick play on the prototype shifters and mechs. It quite literally was a spin round the car park, so not enough to get a proper feel for the groupset, although first impressions were positive. We'll be getting in a production version just as soon as we can.

The published weights for the groupset are as follows:

Shifters ST-6800 (set): 425 Gram
Rear derailleur RD-6800 (SS):195 Gram
Rear derailleur RD-6800 (GS): 207 Gram
Front derailleur FD-6800 (brazed type): 89 Gram
Front derailleur FD-6800 (band type, size Loser: 104 Gram
Chainset FC-6800 (53-39T with BB): 765 Gram
Cassette CS-6800 (11-23T): 212 Gram
Chain CN-6800 (114L): 253 Gram
Bottom Bracket SM-BB72: 63 Gram

33 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

hope to see some of that rubbish old out of date 6700 series in the bargain bin soon.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [806 posts]
30th April 2013 - 17:47

20 Likes

joemmo wrote:
hope to see some of that rubbish old out of date 6700 series in the bargain bin soon.

Hell yeah Smile

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [460 posts]
30th April 2013 - 18:18

17 Likes

This looks lovely, esp the lever ergonomics. But what is this new obsession with cassettes with 11 tooth cogs? A 50x11 is a massive gear (bigger than 53x12, which if memory serves was std issue for the pros for many years). To push a 53x11 gear requires thighs like Chris Hoy or Alpine style inclines - neither of which I have. So, for most riders, most of the time, this is effectively a 10spd group, unless you only ride the 12-25 option. That's not really progress in my book - I'll be sticking with 10 SPD thanks where I at least have some cassettes to choose from. Thinking (Sits back and waits for howls of rage / indignation from muscular road.cc riders Devil)

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [214 posts]
30th April 2013 - 19:14

14 Likes

No hydraulic disc brakes = No rush to upgrade
Like others, might as well snap up some 6700 bargains.
10 cogs do me fine

posted by jamtartman [33 posts]
30th April 2013 - 19:15

11 Likes

OH MY GOODNESS!

Looks a bit odd though - like a smoother prototype, will prolly get used to it. Maybe. Still would not mind Big Grin

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 [320 posts]
30th April 2013 - 19:15

16 Likes

11 tooth is for those compacts amongst us. in which case it makes a lot of sense. and i for one would love that missing 18 so bring on the 11 cogs. put this is on my wish list already. now i just need someone to pay for my wish list.

posted by roly [43 posts]
30th April 2013 - 19:44

11 Likes

pastaman wrote:
what is this new obsession with cassettes with 11 tooth cogs?

If you aint spinning out in 53/11 you aint trying hard enough.


Suffering from Low Cadence.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1268 posts]
30th April 2013 - 19:59

15 Likes

Christ that chainset is even uglier than the last one which was foul.

posted by mattsccm [250 posts]
30th April 2013 - 19:59

14 Likes

Awaiting two large payouts following collisions. One with a bus other with a police car. Hopefully one should arrive in September and this is where a huge chunk will disappear.

posted by crash144019 [47 posts]
30th April 2013 - 20:10

10 Likes

mattsccm wrote:
Christ that chainset is even uglier than the last one which was foul.

+ 1

posted by FMOAB [230 posts]
30th April 2013 - 21:45

12 Likes

If it didn't actually say 'Ultegra', you'd think it was Dura Ace. For me that's what has always made this groupset so good. You almost don't need Dura Ace if you've got Ultegra.

Chiggety check yourself before you wreck yourself

posted by therealsmallboy [85 posts]
30th April 2013 - 21:48

10 Likes

Bad luck, all the cheap 6700 bits went last year when they brought out the Di2 ultegra.

I guess when 6800 Di2 comes out we might be able to pick up a cheap 10 speed electronic groupset!

posted by drmatthewhardy [307 posts]
30th April 2013 - 23:48

10 Likes

Agggghhhhh! Greeted this story with glee when I first saw it, as I am about to build a best bike and was going to use 6700 but haven't bought it yet!

The only part of my build I've bought so far are the frame and the wheels. But that's my problem - I kinda borrowed the wheels from my new build for my current bike ehile i save up for parts and have been using them quite a bit, so they can't be returned. I am now the proud owner of a 10 speed wh-6700 wheelset for a build in which I want to use the new 11 speed Ultegra Sad

I'm either gonna have to add a few hundred quic to my budget or resign myself to sticking with 6700 - unless any bright sparks out there have a better idea?!!

Crying

StuayEd's picture

posted by StuayEd [63 posts]
1st May 2013 - 1:30

14 Likes

It has 11 gears, it looks great, I want one! Drooling

rix's picture

posted by rix [25 posts]
1st May 2013 - 6:45

14 Likes

StuayEd wrote:
Agggghhhhh! Greeted this story with glee when I first saw it, as I am about to build a best bike and was going to use 6700 but haven't bought it yet!

I'm either gonna have to add a few hundred quic to my budget or resign myself to sticking with 6700 - unless any bright sparks out there have a better idea?!!

Crying


You might be able to get a new 11 spd free hub body and swap it. That's if they deliberately haven't made it so it's not backwards-compatible. Worth a try...

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [214 posts]
1st May 2013 - 7:25

16 Likes

StuayEd wrote:
Agggghhhhh! Greeted this story with glee when I first saw it, as I am about to build a best bike and was going to use 6700 but haven't bought it yet!

The only part of my build I've bought so far are the frame and the wheels. But that's my problem - I kinda borrowed the wheels from my new build for my current bike ehile i save up for parts and have been using them quite a bit, so they can't be returned. I am now the proud owner of a 10 speed wh-6700 wheelset for a build in which I want to use the new 11 speed Ultegra Sad

I'm either gonna have to add a few hundred quic to my budget or resign myself to sticking with 6700 - unless any bright sparks out there have a better idea?!!

Crying

you won't be able to buy this gear for a good while yet, i'll wager. it'll be specced on bikes for 2014 ranges but it'll likely be september before it's widely available after market, i'd guess

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7354 posts]
1st May 2013 - 7:46

12 Likes

jhamlin38 wrote:

I don't understand the problem. If you ride enough, you'll always miss that one gear that would be perfect for your regular route to enhance the experience a slight bit more.

Maybe I don't ride 'enough' but I have bikes with 9 speed and 10 speeds and can't tell the difference!

Except, perhaps, that often my 10 speed chain side plates crack where they are rivetted before they wera out by 'stretching'.

Hpefully 11 speed chains will be more robust, or at least not less. I suppose the main benefit will be for people running standard chainsets who want an extra low gear. Who knows, maybe it will make compact chiansets redundant?

posted by Chris James [186 posts]
1st May 2013 - 10:29

15 Likes

the main benefit will be that shifting and braking performance are improved. Dura Ace 9000 was a really noticeable improvement over 7900. the biggest for a while. and the same is likely to be true here.

shimano have made it 11 speeds because, well, that's the way it goes. more is betterer. but that's not the big draw for me.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7354 posts]
1st May 2013 - 14:29

10 Likes

Not convinced by the dark charcoal colourway. Will there be a silver option like the 105 group or will we be stuck with just the one?

mr-andrew's picture

posted by mr-andrew [296 posts]
1st May 2013 - 14:51

12 Likes

pastaman wrote:
StuayEd wrote:
Agggghhhhh! Greeted this story with glee when I first saw it, as I am about to build a best bike and was going to use 6700 but haven't bought it yet!

I'm either gonna have to add a few hundred quic to my budget or resign myself to sticking with 6700 - unless any bright sparks out there have a better idea?!!

Crying


You might be able to get a new 11 spd free hub body and swap it. That's if they deliberately haven't made it so it's not backwards-compatible. Worth a try...

Hmm, hadn't considered that as an option - I thought it would involved a complete new hub! Still learning my way with the home mechanic stuff and loving all the learning! Just watched a youtube video of someone swapping out a free hub body and it doesn't look like too much hassle at all - so possibly just a question of comparability!

Thanks very much for the suggestion - I'll be very grateful if it works out!

StuayEd's picture

posted by StuayEd [63 posts]
1st May 2013 - 19:08

11 Likes

Dave Atkinson wrote:
StuayEd wrote:
Agggghhhhh! Greeted this story with glee when I first saw it, as I am about to build a best bike and was going to use 6700 but haven't bought it yet!

The only part of my build I've bought so far are the frame and the wheels. But that's my problem - I kinda borrowed the wheels from my new build for my current bike ehile i save up for parts and have been using them quite a bit, so they can't be returned. I am now the proud owner of a 10 speed wh-6700 wheelset for a build in which I want to use the new 11 speed Ultegra Sad

I'm either gonna have to add a few hundred quic to my budget or resign myself to sticking with 6700 - unless any bright sparks out there have a better idea?!!

Crying

you won't be able to buy this gear for a good while yet, i'll wager. it'll be specced on bikes for 2014 ranges but it'll likely be september before it's widely available after market, i'd guess

That won't be a problem for me as I'm still paying the credit card bill of for the frame and then I'll be saving up for the finishing kit and components as I go, so it's not going to be ready until next season anyway! Until then I'll be riding on the trusty aluminium steed I started on a couple of years ago, that most would probably consider a Winter training bike!

StuayEd's picture

posted by StuayEd [63 posts]
1st May 2013 - 19:11

9 Likes

Me? Oh I'm just going to hang on for the twelve-speed that's just round the corner. You mark my words.....

toodlepip!

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]
1st May 2013 - 20:20

15 Likes

LOL @ that chainset!!!

posted by iamelectron [108 posts]
1st May 2013 - 20:57

12 Likes

mr-andrew wrote:
Not convinced by the dark charcoal colourway. Will there be a silver option like the 105 group or will we be stuck with just the one?

nope, it's just the one colour

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7354 posts]
1st May 2013 - 21:59

14 Likes

drmatthewhardy wrote:
Bad luck, all the cheap 6700 bits went last year when they brought out the Di2 ultegra.

if that was the case, how come 6700 ultegra is still widely available?

Anyway the comment was partly tongue in cheek, you don't get significant drops in price until stocks are running low and retailers really want to clear them. Even the previous +1 generations of components command a decent price - as they should, there's nowt wrong with them.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [806 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 12:06

11 Likes

That chainset is pretty, but I guess you have to be a little bit of an engineer to appreciate it. Form follows function.

Nerd

posted by Valentino [16 posts]
28th May 2013 - 8:40

12 Likes

So does anyone know for sure whether shimano are releasing a Di2 version of this group? Not seen any pictures at all. If they do I may wait to get a new bike until 2014 models if not it'll be Dura Ace 9000 mechanical.

posted by Funnyboy [3 posts]
16th June 2013 - 9:51

9 Likes

Does anyone know whether it's possible to swap between compact and standards rings on the same spider, a la the new Dura Ace groupo?

benjam's picture

posted by benjam [16 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 13:21

12 Likes

Funnyboy wrote:
So does anyone know for sure whether shimano are releasing a Di2 version of this group? Not seen any pictures at all. If they do I may wait to get a new bike until 2014 models if not it'll be Dura Ace 9000 mechanical.

yes: http://road.cc/content/news/86557-ultegra-6870-di2-and-road-discs-unveiled

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7354 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 13:32

11 Likes

benjam wrote:
Does anyone know whether it's possible to swap between compact and standards rings on the same spider, a la the new Dura Ace groupo?

yes, it's the same design

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7354 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 13:33

15 Likes