Shimano has announced a new version of its second tier Ultegra groupset with features that have trickled down from top-level Dura-Ace and a slight reduction in weight (as long as you include wheels in the calculation).
Here are the key features:
• Hydraulic disc brakes included within the Ultegra groupset for the first time (although previously there were ‘Ultegra-level’ hydraulic disc brakes).
• Lower profile Shadow rear derailleurs.
• Synchro Shift, which moves the front and rear derailleurs of a Di2 system with the push of just one button – which was recently added to existing Di2 groupsets.
• The lightest Ultegra R8000 set-up is 4,071g (Di2, rim brakes, including wheels), a saving of 84.5g over Ultegra 6800. If you take wheels out of the equation, there’s hardly any weight difference between the two (in fact, a mechanical shift and rim brake set up, minus the wheels, has actually gone up in weight very slightly).
We’ll run through the individual components in turn. We’ve not used Ultegra R8000 yet so we can’t tell you how it performs.
All weights quoted here are Shimano’s own and, as ever, the prices are RRPs.
Weight 674g (50-34T)
Shimano has updated the asymmetric crank arms to be meatier-looking than before, bringing them more into line with the Dura-Ace 9100 design.
The outer chainring features Shimano’s Hollowglide technology – it’s beefed up towards the outer edge, and (not surprisingly) that section is hollow, the idea being to improve strength for more precise front shifting while keeping the weight down. Speaking of weight, the chainset is a little lighter than before… and we really are talking about a little! 2g, to be precise, according to Shimano’s own figures.
Chainset options are a standard 53-39T (53-tooth outer chainring, 39-tooth inner chainring), mid-compact 52-36T and compact 50-34T, along with a cyclocross-specific 46-36T.
£74.99 (£84.99 for 11-34T)
Weight 232g (11-25-tooth)
The 11-speed cassette is available in 11-25T, 11-28T, 11-30T, 11-32T, 12-25T and 14-28T versions. You can also use an existing wide-range 11-34T (CS-HG800) cassette with a hub body designed to fit both road bikes (with spacer) and mountain bikes.
Shimano has reduced the stack height (distance from the centre of the axle to the top of the platform) of the carbon SPD-SL pedals, but by just 0.7mm, and brought the weight down by 12g. There are versions available with a standard axle and with a 4mm longer axle for a little more crank clearance.
£319.99 (mechanical/rim brake)
£459.99 (mechanical/disc brake)
£649.99 (mechanical/disc brakes, including R8070 flat mount callipers, hoses and gear cables)
£299.99 (Di2/rim brake)
£459.98 (Di2/disc brake)
£649.99 (Di2/disc brakes, including R8070 flat mount callipers, hoses, without cables)
Weight 438g (R8000 mechanical), 550g (R8020 mechanical/disc brake), 295g (R8050 Di2), 360g (R8070 Di2/disc brake).
Shimano says that all of the new Ultegra shifters are nearly identical to one another in terms of their shape and ergonomics.
The new Di2 levers – which now have a clickier click for more feedback when you’re wearing gloves – can operate with Shimano’s recently released full or semi Synchro Shift function (with the BT-BN110 battery). This allows you to pre-select the next chainset/ cassette combination the chain will move to when you press the button to upshift or downshift, even if that means moving both derailleurs.
The Di2 levers include hidden top-of-the-hoods buttons which can be programmed to shift gear or to control additional devices like compatible computers or lights.
You can customise all Di2 shift lever/button functions in Shimano’s E-Tube app for phones, tablets and PCs. You could, for example, set both left shifters to move up through the drivetrain and both right shifters to move down through the drivetrain.
All shift levers or buttons can operate multi-shift, moving you through multiple gears when you hold them in. The speed and the extent of multi-shift is customisable though the E-Tube app. You can also use the app to access the latest firmware and to run error checks.
Shimano says that the R8070 Di2/hydraulic levers have greater reach and free-stroke adjustment than the previous non-series R785 levers.
The mechanical shifting levers are available as hydraulic (ST-R8020) or rim brake designs (ST-R8000) and they use polymer coated cables for a light actions. The design does away with the in-line barrel cable tension adjuster and instead uses hex key adjustment for cable tension setting.
Di2 ancillary shifters
Weight 10g (sprint shifter), 10g (climbing shifter), 95g (TT shifter), 138g (TT shifter with brake lever)
If you’re a time triallist/triathlete using a Di2 system, a pair of dual control Ultegra ST-R8060 levers plugs into the ends of bar extensions to offer braking and shifting control. There’s just one button on each unit rather than the two found on the previous ST-6871 design, the idea being to make them smaller, shorter and more aerodynamic. There’s also a small (4g) weight saving.
Riders will use full Synchro Shift mode here, the button on one lever moving up through the entire drivetrain, and the button on the other lever moving down through the entire drivetrain.
If that doesn’t appeal to you, you can still get two buttons per unit on the non-series SW-R671 time trial shifters.
£49.99 (mechanical, braze on)
£52.99 (mechanical, band on)
Weight 92g (mechanical, braze-on), 106g (mechanical, band-on), 132g (Di2)
Shimano says that the front derailleur has been redesigned, along with the chainset, so it can accommodate wider tyres as well as a wider gear pitch without sacrificing shifting performance.
The mechanical front derailleurs are actually a little heavier than previously (2-3g) while the Di2 front derailleur is 6.5g lighter than before.
£84.99 (mechanical, short cage)
£89.99 (mechanical, medium cage)
£244.99 (Di2, short cage)
£249.99 (Di2, medium cage)
Weight 200g (mechanical, short cage), 242g (Di2, short cage), 249g (Di2, medium cage)
Both the mechanical and Di2 rear derailleurs take on the low-profile Shadow design from Dura-Ace to sit fully under the cassette, the idea being to provide greater protection from damage.
The rear derailleurs come in a short cage designs to cover 11-25T to 11-30T and longer cage designs to cover 11-28T to 11-34T.
[We don’t have a weight for the mechanical, medium cage rear derailleur]
£139.98 (dual-pivot, pair)
£159.98 (direct mount, pair)
£129.98 (flat mount disc brake callipers, pair)
£99.98 (Ice Tech Freeza rotors (140mm or 160mm, pair)
Weight 360g (rim brake callipers, pair), 280g (rear brake callipers, pair), 212g (140mm rotors, pair)
The Ultegra groupset now includes hydraulic disc brakes for the first time (previous disc brakes were Ultegra-level rather than a constituent part of the groupset).
The rotors feature enclosed disc fins, the large surface area designed to improve heat dissipation.
If you want rim brakes, they’re available in dual-pivot and direct-mount versions. Both are compatible with tyres up to 28mm wide. The dual-pivot design features a stabiliser between the arms to reduce deformation and improve braking efficiency.
£749.98 (rim brake, pair)
£799.98 (disc brake, pair)
Weight 1,568g (625g f, 943g r, rim brake), 1,639g (735g f, 904g r, disc brake)
Shimano is offering two new wheelsets, the carbon-laminate WH-RS700 rim brake wheels (above) and the WH-RS770 disc brake wheels (below) with road e-thru axles. Both are tubeless.
A pair of new hubs have a weight saving of almost 60g compared to Ultegra 6800 hubs, while the rims use a lighter carbon lay-up. The rim brake wheelset is 80g lighter than its predecessor.
Example groupset weight
This is how an Ultegra R8000 groupset with mechanical shifting and rim brakes weighs up.
Brakes (dual-pivot) 360g
Rear derailleur (short cage) 200g
Front derailleur (braze on) 92g
Chainset (50-34T) 674g
Bottom bracket 63g
Chain (114 links) 257g
The lightest configuration is Di2 shifting with rim brakes. That comes out as this:
Brakes (dual-pivot) 360g
Rear derailleur (short cage) 242g
Front derailleur (braze on) 132g
Chainset (50-34T) 674g
Bottom bracket 63g
Chain (114 links) 257g
Shimano's official lightest complete Ultegra groupset weight is 4,071g, but let's not get too stressed about a gram or two either way (it's probably just because the individual component weights quoted have been rounded to the nearest gram)!
New Shimano Ultegra mechanical components will be available in the UK from July while it’s September for Di2.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight 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.