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At last! Shimano unveils 12-speed mechanical 105 R7100 groupset to sit alongside existing Di2

New mid-level 105 R7100 mechanical groupset costs under £1,000 and plugs a gap in Shimano’s range – but there are still no rim brakes

Shimano has launched a new version of its 12-speed 105 R7100 groupset, adding mechanical shifting as an option alongside the Di2 (electronic) components that were introduced last year. The new Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed groupset, which is compatible only with hydraulic disc brakes, is considerably cheaper than the electronic alternative – by nearly £700, costing £987 in total. At the same time, Shimano has also introduced a 12-speed mechanical option in its GRX gravel groupset lineup.

> Check out all the news on Shimano GRX Mechanical 12-Speed Components 

Here are a few bullet points to get you up to speed:

  • Third-tier Shimano 105 R7100 groupset that was Di2-only is now available with mechanical shifting.
  • This means Shimano is offering 12-speed mechanical shifting for the first time on the road.
  • New groupset is compatible exclusively with hydraulic disc brakes.
  • Shimano is also introducing a 12-speed mechanical option in its GRX gravel groupset lineup.

Shimano 105 Mechanical 12-speed has been the worst-kept secret in the bike industry for, ooh, about three weeks, since the launch of the Specialized Tarmac SL8.  The components were even accidentally displayed at Eurobike before Bianchi unintentionally confirmed that a launch was imminent a couple of weeks ago

> Shimano 105 12-speed mechanical groupset breaks cover 

2023 Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed - 11

Although Shimano 105 R7100 Di2 has been very well received, many riders were disappointed last year when the Japanese giant's everyman lineup became Di2 and disc brake-only. It also left a gaping hole in the middle of Shimano's range between 12-speed and electronic 105 and 10-speed and mechanical Tiagra.

> Check out our Shimano 105 R7100 Di2 groupset review

Shimano has now officially announced what has long been suspected – that there’s to be a version with mechanical (cable-operated) shifting, although rim brakes remain off the menu. Shimano 105 Mechanical 12-speed shares many components with the existing Di2 version but there are, of course, new shifters and derailleurs.

> Your complete guide to Shimano’s GRX gravel groupset

2023 Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed - 13

Shimano says, “With the introduction of the 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed groupset, Shimano brings the pure joy of self-powered adventure to the massive community of cycling enthusiasts looking for reliable, easy-to-maintain componentry at an affordable price.”

Of course, “affordable” is a relative term, especially with pretty much everything in the cycling world – and elsewhere – having gone up in price massively over the past couple of years. It’s certainly considerably cheaper than the electronic version of 105.

“The new, lightweight Shimano 105 Mechanical groupset offers premium mechanical shifting, which means riders can capture that natural riding feeling without worrying about battery levels – while still enjoying the comfort and range of a premium 12-speed groupset,” says Shimano.

Like the previous 11-speed option, the new 105 Mechanical 12-speed RD-R7100 rear derailleur uses Shimano’s Shadow RD technology, meaning that it doesn’t extend as far outboard of the bike as a more conventional design. This is intended to reduce the possibility of damage and, Shimano says, means that the derailleur doesn’t hit the chainstay in rough riding conditions.

2023 Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed - 12

Also like the previous generation, the FD-R7100 front derailleur features what Shimano describes as a toggle-link construction with an integrated cable tensioner.

“This means riders can rely on hassle-free shifting, whether going up to the larger chainring or dropping down to the small one,” says Shimano.

To be fair, that’s exactly what you’d expect from any front derailleur, isn’t it?

The biggest difference, apart from the change from 11-speed to 12-speed, is the increased gear range. Whereas the 11-speed Shimano 105 medium cage rear derailleur could handle a cassette with a maximum sprocket size (at least officially) of 34T, the 105 mechanical 12-speed RD-R7100 rear derailleur, like a 105 Di2 setup, can work with an 11-36T cassette.

“With the jump to 12-speed, Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical delivers the high and low gearing that riders want, along with an intelligent progression of gear steps in between,” says Shimano.

“This is the result of optimised drivetrain components, including 11-34T and 11-36T cassette options, while the FC-R7100 Hollowtech II 12-speed cranksets have 50-34T and 52-36T chainring options.

“Using 50-34T chainrings with an 11-34T, or even an 11-36T cassette means riders can climb any mountain while keeping their cadence efficient and manageable up those long, steady climbs. Additionally, Shimano 105 Mechanical’s semi-compact 52-36T setup will reduce the chance of spinning out mid-descent or when sprinting on the flats.”

2023 Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed - 17

These are the cranksets – or chainsets,  if you prefer – that were already introduced for Shimano 105 Di2. The 53-39T option that you had with 11-speed 105 has gone, as it has from Shimano’s higher level Dura-Ace and Ultegra lineups.

The new 105 Mechanical shift/brake levers are a slightly different shape from the existing ST-R7170 Di2 Dual Control Levers. The hood is more rounded, for example, and there’s a more pronounced bump in the brake lever – as with the previous generation 11-speed Shimano 105.

“Designed to fit any hand size and shape, the ST-R7120 Shift/Brake levers provide a relaxed shifting experience with the next-generation ergonomic mechanical shift levers, ensuring more comfort and control,” says Shimano.

“Thanks to a lighter, smoother lever action and expanded braking control area, the reach – the distance from handlebar to lever – is also reduced.”

As previously, the cables and hoses are integrated rather than exposed. Shimano says that braking is optimised for use with its existing 105 BR-7170 callipers which offer 10% more brake rotor clearance than previous designs. The idea is to reduce the chances of pad/rotor rub when you’re not braking. As mentioned earlier, Shimano 105 Mechanical is compatible only with hydraulic disc brakes – there’s no rim brake or cable-operated disc brake option.

Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed components

Here are the various component details. The descriptions are in Shimano’s own words.

2023 Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed - 2

RD-R7100 Rear Derailleur £59.99
• Shimano Shadow RD
• Direct mount attachment
• Super low profile, single tension construction

2023 Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed - 10

FD-R7100 Front Derailleur £41.99-£44.99
• Fast, precise front shifting

2023 Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed - 9

ST-R7120 Hydraulic Disc Brake Set (calliper and lever) £279.99 per side
• Dual control levers
• New blade shape gives a shorter lever access curve
• Refined ergonomics and shaping create a new lever position
• Each shifter is available without a brake calliper, priced at £179.99

2023 Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed - 7

FC-R7100 Crankset £159.99
• HollowTech II Crankset
• 2 x 12-speed
• Chainring combinations: 50-34T and 52-36T
• Crankarm lengths: 160mm, 165mm, 170mm, 172.5, 175mm

2023 Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed - 1

CS-R7101-12 Cassette £69.99
• Hyperglide 12-speed
• 11-tooth small cog for optimal efficiency
• Compatible with 11-speed freehub bodies
• Cassette combinations: 11-34T and 11-36T (CS-HG710-12, £84.99)

2023 Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed - 15

SM-RT70 Disc Brake Rotor £29.99 each

CN-M7100 Chain £34.99

How does the price compare with Shimano 105 Di2?

Here are the prices of the various Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed groupset components compared with their Shimano 105 R7100 Di2 12-speed equivalents (many of the components are the same):

Table 1
Groupset component Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed Shimano 105 R7100 Di2 12-speed
 Rear derailleur  £59.99  £274.99
 Front derailleur  £41.99  £149.99
 Cassette  £69.99  £69.99
 Chain  £34.99  £34.99
 Chainset  £159.99  £159.99
 Shifters & brake callipers (pair)  £559.98  £699.98
 Rotors (pair)  £59.98  £59.98
 Battery  NA  £174.99
 Charger  NA  £44.99
 Total  £986.91  £1,669.89

You can see that the Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed groupset is nearly £700 cheaper than Shimano 105 R7100 Di2 12-speed.

How does the weight compare with Shimano 105 Di2?

Here are the official weights for Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed components along with Shimano 105 R7100 Di2 12-speed and SRAM Rival eTap AXS equivalents. We've included Rival because, like 105, it's a third-tier groupset, sitting underneath SRAM Red and Force.

We're not really comparing like with like here in that two of these groupsets are electronic while one is mechanical. Plus, it's impossible to have uniformity between Shimano and SRAM because of different chainring sizes, cassette ranges, and so on, so take these figures as an approximation only.

Table 1

Groupset component Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed Shimano 105 R7100 Di2 12-speed SRAM Rival eTap AXS
 Rear derailleur  248g  302g  366g
 Front derailleur  95g  142g  182g
 Shifters
(pair)
 611g  423g  845g
 Brakes (pair)  267g  267g  Inc w/ shifter
 Brake hose  110g 110g  Inc w/ shifter
 Cable  60g 19g  N/A
 Chainset  765.6g  765.6g  844g
 Cassette  361g  361g  282g
 Rotors (pair)  285.6g  285.6g  314g
 Chain  252g  252g  266g
 Battery  N/A  53g  On mechs
  Total  3055.2g  2980.2g  3,099g

Shimano says, then, that R7100 Mechanical 12-speed is heavier than 105 R7100 Di2 12-speed by 75g.

Bikes available with Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed

We’ve asked key bike brands whether they’re immediately announcing bikes equipped with Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed. This is the info we've got back so far...

Merida says it will offer the following models:

Scultura Endurance 4000
Scultura Endurance 400
Scultura 4000
Scultura 400
Reacto 4000

We don’t yet have prices on these.

Ribble will immediately offer the following models:

CGR Ti, £2,899 
CGR SL, £2,699 
Endurance SL Disc, £2,199 
Endurance Ti Disc, £2,799 
Endurance SL e, £3,399 

Ribble CGR SL SHIMANO 105 12-speed 2s

Orbea is announcing these models:

Orca M30, £2,699
Orca M35, 3,899

Bianchi has these already announced models, although it didn’t previously confirm that they were equipped with new Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed components:

Oltre Race, €3,399
Sprint, €2,549

Giant says that it will have 12 Shimano 105 12-speed Mechanical and GRX 12-speed Mechanical bikes arriving shortly, although we don’t yet have details on the models.

This information is by no means exhaustive. Nearly all big bike brands will have bikes equipped with Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed components, if not immediately then within the next few weeks.

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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24 comments

Avatar
mark1a | 10 months ago
1 like

After less than a fortnight, this is now available from Merlin as a complete groupset for £650, the nay-sayers lamenting the loss of 105 as "the people's groupset" had nothing to fear. 

Avatar
NOtotheEU replied to mark1a | 10 months ago
1 like

I would have given my right arm for this as a teenager (would have made shifting and braking difficult though!). No interest in buying road stuff now but I have been watching Trace Velo's videos of the new L-TWOO and Sensah groupsets with interest lately. Maybe Shimano is trying to stave off the Chinese competition?

Avatar
mark1a replied to NOtotheEU | 10 months ago
1 like

That's almost certainly it, there's definitely a large part of the market (and that's mostly bike manufacturers and builders not us) that wants a mid range 11-12 speed mechanical groupset. My bet would have been next-gen Tiagra going 11 speed, it still could, but this ticks the box. 

Avatar
check12 | 10 months ago
1 like

What porkers - SRAM Red 22 - 1,750g - 1,230g lighter than 12 speed dura ace - Despite being released in 2013, SRAM's 11-speed mechanical Red groupset is still regarded as one of the lightest road bike groupsets. It's a weight weenie's favourite for combining functionality with low weight, weighing around 1,750g for the full groupset.

Avatar
Chris RideFar | 10 months ago
2 likes

If you want rim brakes and a 12-speed cassette then there is a version of the Ultegra Di2 12-speed levers for mechanical brakes; I'm currently using them with some Paul Klamper mechanical disc brakes for excellent braking and easy maintenance.

It is interesting to note that there is no mechanical gears + mechanical brake 12-speed option offered since you can now get each of the parts in separate levers.

Avatar
Cugel | 10 months ago
1 like

What about compatability with 11-speed components? The 12-speed cassette, we're told, will go on an 11-speed freehub but what about other components? For exmple, what's the rear gear pull ratio? Will 12 speed chains work with 11 or even 10-speed chainrings? 

When 10-speed was superseded, it gradually became difficult to find parts that would work with the 10-speed system, particularly brifters. But 11--speed chains seem to work fine on 10 speed cassettes and on 10-speed chainrings ......

Avatar
Matthew Acton-Varian replied to Cugel | 10 months ago
0 likes

The pull ratios will be different and the chain is also narrower. A 12sp chain may work on 11sp componentry but the performance will be compromised. Generally speaking you would need the full 12sp system (shifters and mechs, drivetrain components) to work as intended.

Avatar
Chris RideFar replied to Cugel | 10 months ago
1 like

The last time there was true cross-compatibilty between such components was in the 9 to 10 speed era. I wouldn't expect any here. There are currently no supply shortages of 10-speed chains, so I don't know why you're running 11 speed chains on a 10-speed setup.

Avatar
Matthew Acton-Varian replied to Chris RideFar | 10 months ago
0 likes

Cross-compatibility of different speeds is always a minefield. There is still a decent array of 9, 10 and 11 speed spares out there and Shimano have a compatibility chart on their website especially when it comes to shifters and derailleurs.

In 90% of most cases on the same speed setup you can mix and match other components from brands (I have used SRAM cassettes on 9sp Shimano in the past due to a specific cassette range not being available) and had no issues. It was a tiny bit clunkier and probably slightly less efficient (this is probably more pronounced if using any SRAM 12sp equipment with other brands due to oversized chain rollers) but will still essentially function.

As for 10 speed shifters, the current Tiagra is still available. It does use a different pull ratio to older 10sp so you would also need mechs, but sales and ebay exists, and you wouldn't need to change anything else unless it was worn out.

Avatar
Cugel replied to Chris RideFar | 10 months ago
1 like

Chris RideFar wrote:

The last time there was true cross-compatibilty between such components was in the 9 to 10 speed era. I wouldn't expect any here. There are currently no supply shortages of 10-speed chains, so I don't know why you're running 11 speed chains on a 10-speed setup.

Im using a 10-speed chainset with an 11-speed cassette & hydraulic brifters. On another bike I use a 9-speed Deore XT rear mech on a wide range 10-speed cassette with 10-speed 105 triple calliper brake brifters and triple chainset. The mix is necessary to get the gearing I want.

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Secret_squirrel | 10 months ago
0 likes

Not much info on GRX 12 speed mechanical.

Not the least it means GRX DI2 is now the last high end 11 speed groupset, which is a bit wierd.

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AidanR replied to Secret_squirrel | 10 months ago
3 likes

Click the link at the top of the article - it's all listed separately on off.road.cc

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Matthew Acton-Varian replied to Secret_squirrel | 10 months ago
0 likes

Like AidanR said...

Di2 is in the pipeline for GRX but I think that the 10 and 11sp are also going to be phased out as with the road hierarchy. I reckon 11sp and below will become part of the CUES Road system which was alluded to when the flat bar CUES system was launched earlier this year. An announcement was touted for early next year.

Avatar
Daddy Feebs | 10 months ago
1 like

And you can start to mix and match components (Crankset, calipers, chain, maybe an OSPW) to try and approximate a mechanical 12-speed Dura Ace?

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check12 replied to Daddy Feebs | 10 months ago
0 likes

The 105 chain set is usually heavy, swap that out for dura/ult for best bang for buck

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Off the back replied to check12 | 10 months ago
0 likes

If youre going to do that, you're probably better off installing something lighter and better quality for the price. I would even say get a dedicated PM chainset instead. 

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lesterama replied to check12 | 10 months ago
4 likes

It'll take me a long time to trust DA/Ultegra chainsets again

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wtjs replied to lesterama | 10 months ago
1 like

It'll take me a long time to trust DA/Ultegra chainsets again

Oh no! Even HP is resorting to muliple identities now!!

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hawkinspeter replied to lesterama | 10 months ago
0 likes

lesterama wrote:

It'll take me a long time to trust DA/Ultegra chainsets again

Avatar
Matthew Acton-Varian replied to Daddy Feebs | 10 months ago
0 likes

I suspect it wouldn't be worth it. You could use a Dura-Ace chainset, chain and cassette, however these use HG+ as opposed to standard hyperglide. They will probably function with the mechs but not necessarily 100% as designed, especially the rear. That's still a huge expense as DA cranks and cassettes are significantly more expensive than 105 and are also going to wear out over time. The brakes, however are more complex. DA and Ultegra have ServoWave technology which includes different components at the lever body, so whilst the calipers are possibly compatible, you will not get the same lever control as DA. The rotors alone would make a useful upgrade, especially if you find your rotors overheating under braking, or are planning an Alpine epic ride with long descents. 105 rotors are not IceTech so do they have inferior heat dissipation to Dura Ace.

Avatar
Off the back replied to Matthew Acton-Varian | 10 months ago
0 likes

If there is one thing Shimano has always been good at it's compatability across its range. I would suspect it would easily work since they are pushing their whole Cues ethos. 

Avatar
Matthew Acton-Varian replied to Off the back | 10 months ago
0 likes

The CUES system is somewhat independent of road performance technology. The system employs LinkGlide which focusses much more heavily on durability than speed and efficiency. The cassette teeth and chain link profiles across LG, HG and HG+ are all different to each other, and their performance is optimised by running a single system. You would likely lose some of the benefits of the HG+ and Dura-Ace drivetrain tech by running a mechanical shifting system that's optimised and developed specifically alongside its electronic shifting.

Avatar
Off the back replied to Matthew Acton-Varian | 10 months ago
1 like

I was focussing more on the fact Shimano always makes their components compatible. There have been plenty of times I've had to mix and match temporarily if I crashed racing and had to find a cheap mech or shifter. You're over-thinking the HG+ thing. It's not a game changer in performance or comparability 

And tbh, I have always found KMC chains run better on shimano so that means their optimisation is marketing bs. 

Avatar
check12 replied to Matthew Acton-Varian | 10 months ago
0 likes

Just use the da chainset as the 105 one is usually a lot heavier, no need for anything else duta ace to get the last little weight savings 

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