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Shimano 105 R7100 Di2 groupset breaks cover

Despite Shimano's repeated denials that 105 would go electric, newly released documents confirm electronic shifting is coming to the super-popular mid-range groupset

Newly published documents reveal that Shimano is releasing a Di2 (electronic shifting) version of its mid-range 105 groupset.

Rumours have been circulating about the possibility of Shimano 105 Di2 for ages, and we’ve now seen user manuals for both the dual control shifters and the rear derailleur.

How come? The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is, among many other things, responsible for licensing wireless communication – such as between different parts of a wireless or semi-wireless shifting system – in the US.

Last December, Shimano supplied the FCC with schematics, diagrams, photographs and user manuals relating to a rear derailleur and a dual control lever. The FCC approved these components.

Shimano asked for short-term confidentiality of 180 days from the date of authorisation (which was 16 December 2021) for its photos and user manuals, so we couldn’t be sure if they related to 105 or to a mountain bike or urban bike groupset.

Those 180 days are now up so the pictures and much of the information (other than some commercially sensitive content which is permanently confidential) are publicly available.

2022 Shimano 105 Di2 rear derailleur - 1

The user manuals confirm that Shimano is introducing new Di2 components for the road.

2022 Shimano 105 Di2  - 1 (1)

105 isn’t mentioned anywhere in the application but one photo shows the inside of the rear derailleur marked '105'. It has the product code RD-R7150 – RD for 'rear derailleur', of course, and R7150 denoting the series (thanks to BetterShifting_Terry in the comments, below, for noticing that detail).

2022 Shimano 105 Di2  - 1 (2)

A photo also shows the inside of the dual control lever marked (faintly) ST-R7170.

There is currently a big gap in technology and price between Shimano Ultegra R8100 – which is exclusively Di2 – and Shimano 105 R7000 – which is exclusively mechanical.

What will Shimano’s next groupset be? Here’s our best predictions for 2022 

Back in February, we said, “Perhaps the most obvious update for 105 would be for it to go electronic, and with that make the jump up to 12-speed – essentially bringing over the updates Shimano just made to the Dura-Ace and Ultegra groupsets, but a little bit heavier just as the mechanical 105 groupset has been for so long compared to the higher tiers.” 

We couldn’t tell you for certain whether the next-generation 105 will be 12-speed but it’s certainly electronic. Like Dura-Ace and Ultegra Di2, it’s 2.4 GHz digital wireless. Each shifter takes two CR1632 coin cells, unlike on the higher level groupsets where just one cell per shifter is used.

It looks like the 105 shifters miss out on the top button that’s found on Dura-Ace and Ultegra Di2. Aside from that, everything looks very similar.

We've not been able to unearth any patents relating specifically to Shimano 105 Di2 but that's not entirely surprising. If it relies on trickle-down technology, as looks likely, that will all be covered by Shimano's existing patents covering Dura-Ace and Ultegra.

Although Shimano has repeatedly said in the past that it has no plans to make 105 electronic, times change. The Japanese component giant has long boasted that 105 is the most popular groupset in the world, and with ever more people wanting to go down the electronic route it makes sense to offer that now.

Does all this mean 105 abandoning mechanical shifting altogether? We couldn’t tell you for sure but our feeling is that this would be a step too far at this stage and that, as in previous years with Dura-Ace and Ultegra, Shimano will offer 105 in both Di2 and mechanical shift options, otherwise there would inevitably be a big price hike on a helluva lot of mid-range bikes.

When will Shimano 105 Di2 be available and how much will it cost? As is often the case with unreleased products, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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49 comments

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Zebra replied to John Stevenson | 2 years ago
0 likes

What if the jamming signal was in a rival team car, close enough to make a difference, and only switched on at a crucial part of the climb - where there is some variation in gradient - with their own rider riding mechanical... Too obvious?

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John Stevenson replied to Zebra | 2 years ago
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Zebra wrote:

Too obvious?

Just a tad. I think all the TdF teams are now on electronic shifting of one sort or another, and team mechanics are going to set them up wireless because it's just that much easier than wires. So suspicion would instantly fall on Team Retro if their mechanical-equipped rider was the only one unaffected by a mysterious shifting malady at a crucial point of a climb.

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Griff500 replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
1 like

I've just gone wireless, in my case SRAM Red. I have to agree that wireless is over hyped, and nobody talks about the disadvantages. It's not only charging that becomes more complex, once you go wireless, each component needs it's own firmware, so when the manufacturer rolls out an update, that's 4 sets of firmware (2 x shifters + RD + FD) that need to be individually updated. It's all too complicated just to move a chain from one cog to the next.

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IanMSpencer replied to Griff500 | 2 years ago
1 like

I think the Shimano is a practical compromise given the flexibility of the extra buttons - but that really is for a specialist market - though I suspect the bike builders appreciate removing one of the more complicated cable routings.

I have an older model Di2 so haven't got some of the connectivity and programming. What I appreciate is the reliability of changing especially on the front ring - it will dig you out of holes actively dropping down to the little ring when you've left it late on a hill and the chain wouldn't move on a spring changer due to chain tension defeating spring strength.

The Shimano stuff is more compact - I was surprised how bulky the SRAM system still is, and the only problem with the Shimano system is that charging is so rare even with my fairly high mileage at around 200 miles a week and enthusiastic gear use, I only charge it every couple of months... which reminds me. One of the complaints about the original SRAM systems, which no doubt may have improved and my mate who rides a recent Red system doesn't complain, was the sluggish change which was due to compromising the change to extend battery life.

I haven't updated the firmware for years, my battery (which also houses the processor I believe) doesn't support many options of newer systems, so it works, has been faultless over 5 years, so why bother?

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Griff500 replied to IanMSpencer | 2 years ago
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IanMSpencer wrote:

One of the complaints about the original SRAM systems, which no doubt may have improved and my mate who rides a recent Red system doesn't complain, was the sluggish change which was due to compromising the change to extend battery life.

There is a split screen test on youtube between the current (now 4 years old) SRAM Red, and the new 12 speed Dura Ace, which shows shift speed across 12 cogs in each direction, and shifting through 3 gears etc. The shift time across 12 cogs or in groups was inseparable, yet reviewers are still trotting out the same old lines about SRAM being sluggish. (The only noticeable difference in the test series was on the FD, with a rapid big-small-big change where the SRAM system seemed to pause until "small" was fully established before revering direction, whereas Dura Ace started the second change immediately. Not something I am too concerned about.) 

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Rendel Harris replied to Griff500 | 2 years ago
4 likes

That's an interesting perspective, thanks. I agree (although I do love my basic Di2), we do have a bad habit of taking the most beautifully simple and efficient machine humanity has ever devised and finding as many ways as possible of over complicating it.

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Dover replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
1 like

Rendel Harris wrote:

Maybe just me but I'd far sooner have what I have at the moment, wired Ultegra Di2, than this wireless business. The convenience of having it all run off one rechargable battery instead of having to worry about individual (and not very eco-friendly) coin batteries in both shifters as well seems far preferable to me. Is there any point to wireless beyond a weight saving on wires that could be achieved by having a haircut (asumming for theoretical purposes I had any hair left to cut)?

hey Rendel , the new wireless system can be run wired and all run off one battery. It isn't exclusively wireless. 

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Rendel Harris replied to Dover | 2 years ago
0 likes

Dover wrote:

hey Rendel , the new wireless system can be run wired and all run off one battery. It isn't exclusively wireless. 

OK, but then why would one pay for the extra tech of wireless if one wanted to run it wired, or the extra tech of wired if one wanted wireless? Seems a good reason to offer two different systems?

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Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
2 likes

Leftfield option here - maybe Shimano will give it a new name other than 105?

Maybe they'll bring the 600 name back?  Or RSX.

Its worth noting that GRX DI2 is effectively filling the 11 speed DI2 niche on its own right now...

(Just another groupset that wont transmit DI2 data to my Karoo 2 grrr)

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Another Martin H replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
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Santé.

My question would be whether, if 105 is released in a 12 speed Di2, mechanical would follow or it stays split. Would that mean 11 and 12 speed chainrings/cranksets for one group, like GRX has mixed 10 and 11 speed?

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Secret_squirrel replied to Another Martin H | 2 years ago
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It's a good question. An easy win would be filing off the Ultegra name on the old 11 speed di2 kit and gluing on a 105 badge.   Probably not enough to stave off the threat of 12 speed Rival AXS though. 

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IanMSpencer replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
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It is an interesting one, they have the tooling so keeping the old changers in production has advantages, on the other hand the button changers sharing tech with Ultegra also has advantages.

They could combine wireless changers with the old Ultegra 11 speed as that part of the system by putting a wireless receiver and charging port somewhere.

I'd prefer 105 staying 11 speed. I don't trust the lifespan of these ever-reducing components, I got far more mileage out of 10 speed and the extra cog gave me no appreciable benefit.

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terry@bettershi... replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
1 like

'105' and 'R7150' are printed on the PCB (fcc photos), so I'm pretty sure that it'll be called 105  3

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mark1a | 2 years ago
2 likes

Despite Shimano's previous insistance that Di2 would be top two tiers only, the launch of third tier Rival eTap from SRAM meant that it was only a matter of time. Good news if it happens, 105 is a superb value groupset, Di2 option will make for more choice.

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TheBillder replied to mark1a | 2 years ago
2 likes
mark1a wrote:

Despite Shimano's previous insistance that Di2 would be top two tiers only, the launch of third tier Rival eTap from SRAM meant that it was only a matter of time. Good news if it happens, 105 is a superb value groupset, Di2 option will make for more choice.

More choice only as long as mechanical 105 is kept alive. How long before those who prefer not to have batteries and tech and apps (and hence ruinous obsolescence on the horizon) are limited to Tiagra, and the whole wretched process repeats until Tourney Di2 is introduced?

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RobD replied to TheBillder | 2 years ago
1 like

Yeah I don't really have a problem with Dura Ace and Ultegra being Di2 only, the point of them is for racing, I really hope they don't ditch mechanical 105, I think it'd be commercial suicide unless they're pricing the Di2 version very close to mechanical, which seems unlikely.

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terry@bettershi... replied to RobD | 2 years ago
0 likes

I strongly suspect we'll still see (12-speed) 105 mechanical - just not this year ;-).

Rim brake though... I doubt it.

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SimoninSpalding replied to TheBillder | 2 years ago
1 like

Don't be so narrow minded! Think Italian...yes

Campag EPS stuff is so expensive it would be commercial suicide to stop producing mechanical Chorus and Record. Plus they have cranks that don't fall apart, BB bearings that are off the shelf standard components.

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Dnnnnnn replied to TheBillder | 2 years ago
0 likes

TheBillder wrote:

Tourney Di2

Hilarious, depressing and terrifying in equal measure!

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