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Shimano unveils Di2-only Dura-Ace groupset with “fastest-ever shifting”

New 12-speed groupset features wireless shifting, a new power meter, plus a new line-up of tubeless and tubular wheels

Images: Irmo Keizer / Andreas Dobslaff – Shimano

Shimano’s much anticipated top-end Dura-Ace R9200 series has officially landed; it's 12-speed and Di2-only, offering wireless shifters, faster derailleur operation, and larger 54-40T chainrings and 11-34T cassettes.

The new R9200 series also includes a new integrated power meter chainset option, Servo Wave brake technology brought over from the mountain bike/gravel line, and there are new tubeless and tubular wheels with improved “driving rigidity” (more on that later), at a lower weight too.

Here are some of the highlights that Shimano promises…

  • Rear derailleur shifting is 58% faster than previously, front derailleur is 45% faster
  • Servo Wave tech offers finer braking control
  • 10% wider brake pad and rotor clearances lead to a quieter system
  • Separate bleed port and valve screw makes brake maintenance easier
  • Adjusted shifter shape for greater comfort
  • Increased button offset gives better control with gloves, wet fingers, etc.
  • Larger 54-40T chainset is an option
  • Revised ‘sweet spot’ gear jumps in new 11-34T cassette

It’s not just the tippy top Dura-Ace groupset that’s been updated though, find out about the new second-tier Ultegra groupset over here.

Shifting

Shimano says it has improved the motor design in the derailleurs of its Di2 (electronic) system to increase shifting speed while also making the shifter-derailleur connection wireless.

2021 Shimano Dura-Ace Irmo Keizer / Andreas Dobslaff – Shimano rear d

The new motor design is said to decrease the processing speed – the moving time between motor and gear mechanisms, and the transmission performance.

Shimano admits in terms of actual time savings this is just fractions of a second, but it does claim it results in a 58% decrease in rear derailleur operating time and a 45% decrease in front derailleur operating time.

Wires and batteries  

Although new Dura-Ace 9200 is semi-wireless, Shimano says that it still uses wires in certain areas for “absolute reliability”. New smaller diameter SD-300 wires connect up the Di2 battery (BT-DN300) to the front derailleur (FD-R9250) and rear derailleur (RD-R9250).

“This single internal battery makes for a simple charging solution and ensures a stable and high voltage connection to the derailleurs,” says Shimano.

A proprietary chip circuit, which Shimano claims has fast processing and low power consumption, is said to decrease the chance of interference from external devices.

Shimano’s testing showed the BT-DN300 battery powers the derailleurs for 1,000km (625 miles) between charges (this calculation is based on distance: 45km/day; riding time: 2h/day; front derailleur shifts: 54 times/day; rear derailleur shifts: 370 times/day; does not include BLE/ANT+ communications; at 25° C).

The STI (Shimano Total Integration) shifter buttons are powered by CR1632 coin cells that will last about 1.5-2 years.

2021 Shimano Dura-Ace Irmo Keizer / Andreas Dobslaff – Shimano battery

To increase battery capacity by a further 50%, a fully wired option is also possible and Shimano points out that this has added practical benefits for riders using Dura-Ace with an e-bike.

The new RD-R9250 rear derailleur now has a hidden charging point (replacing Shimano’s SM-BCR2 charger).

It also provides the connection to the STI shifters, the ANT+ connection to other third-party devices (replacing the EW-WU111 wireless unit), as well as replacing the handlebar or in-frame Junction-A (SM-RS910).

2021 Shimano Dura-Ace Irmo Keizer / Andreas Dobslaff – Shimano charging

A button for Di2 operations has been integrated into the rear derailleur and LED lights also now found here indicate Synchronized Shifting mode, settings mode, or any charging requirements.

Controls

The new 2x12-speed wireless hydraulic disc brake shifters (ST-R9270) have an adapted shaped with a raised head portion along with a slight inward curve and an increased area between the shifter and the handlebar.

2021 Shimano Dura-Ace Irmo Keizer / Andreas Dobslaff – Shimano bars

“This provides riders with better index finger and thumb grip on the hoods and better three-finger grip behind the brake lever, whilst still giving easy access to the shift lever in the drops,” Shimano claims.

2021 Shimano Dura-Ace Irmo Keizer / Andreas Dobslaff – Shimano shifter 2

The offset between the Di2 buttons on the lever has also been increased which, according to Shimano, allows for better differentiation between the up-shift and down-shift buttons. This could be a big help with shifting when wearing gloves or when your fingers are cold and wet.

Clean cockpit

2021 Shimano Dura-Ace Irmo Keizer / Andreas Dobslaff – Shimano bars 2

The shifters are wireless which allows for easier installation than previously. Together with internal hose routing, this leaves a clean-looking cockpit area.

Cable ports can be used for the installation of remote shifter buttons: Shimano’s sprint (SW-R801-S) or climbing shifter (SW-R801-T). These work with a clamp band or can sit integrally in a specific port in a handlebar. The new Pro Vibe Evo bar has such a port.

> Review: Pro Vibe Aero Alloy Handlebar

These new more compact satellite shifter options either attach to the drops via a 100mm cable or to the tops via a 260 mm Di2 cable.

Drivetrain

The new Dura-Ace 12-speed Hyperglide+ cassette keeps the top 11T gear, but on the 11-30 option the “sweet spot” gears between the 6th, 7th and 8th sprockets have been revised for more consistent gear steps.

2022 Shimano Dura-Ace 9200 drivetrain - 1

The sprocket sizes are now:

11-12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-24-27-30T

It's the 16-tooth sprocket that's new.

2021 Shimano Dura-Ace Irmo Keizer / Andreas Dobslaff – Shimano cassette

Shimano promises that ramped profiles lead to smoother gear changes, even under heavy load, no matter whether you’re moving up or down the cassette.

“The result is that there is no longer any need to back off an acceleration or time an easy pedal stroke with your shifts,” Shimano claims.

Along with the new 11-30T cassette, there's an 11-34T option for hilly rides:

11-12-13-14-15-17-19-21-24-27-30-34T

The cassettes have a new spline fitting pattern which is backwards compatible with Dura-Ace R9100 11-speed freehub bodies.

Faster and lighter derailleurs

Shimano says that derailleur shifting speed has been improved by 58% at the rear, and 45% at the front.

2021 Shimano Dura-Ace Irmo Keizer / Andreas Dobslaff – Shimano front d

As well as this, the front derailleur now has a 33% smaller frontal area and a weight of just 96g, while offering capacity for 50-55T large chainrings.

Integrated power meter

2021 Shimano Dura-Ace Irmo Keizer / Andreas Dobslaff – Shimano crankset

There are two chainsets available: an integrated power meter version (FC-R9200-P) and the non-power reading version (FC-R9200).

Chainring combos are 50-34T, 52-36T or the new larger 54-40T option that "offers higher transmission efficiency than smaller chainring options and helps pro riders respond to ever-increasing speeds", according to Shimano. Crank arm lengths span 160 to 177.5mm.

Shimano says that the integrated power meter offers 300+ hours of ride time between charges and 1.5% accuracy. It transmits via Bluetooth and ANT+.

Brakes

Shimano is bringing over the Servo Wave technology found in its mountain bike and gravel braking systems to the Dura-Ace brakes.

2021 Shimano Dura-Ace Irmo Keizer / Andreas Dobslaff – Shimano

“Riders have a shorter free stroke and are able to get a more immediate connection between brake pads and rotors, allowing for more feathering or modulation of the brakes, resulting in more speed carry-through and more confidence in technical situations,” Shimano claims.

“Quieter system”

Brake noise reduction has been improved, according to Shimano, thanks to 10% wider brake pad and rotor clearances, as well as a switch to its RT-MT900 rotors.

2021 Shimano Dura-Ace Irmo Keizer / Andreas Dobslaff – Shimano clearance

“The result is a quieter system, achieved through less heat deformation of the rotor and less temporary interference between the pad and the rotor,” claims Shimano.

“Maintenance-friendly”

Brake maintenance is promised to be easier with it now being possible to bleed the brake without removing the calliper from the frame thanks to a separate bleed port and valve screw.

A new funnel and bleed spacer also help improve the bleeding process, according to Shimano.

Wheels: “Improved aerodynamics, driving rigidity and lighter weight”

Shimano has redesigned its full carbon tubeless and tubular wheel line-up, with reduced drag, improved driving force rigidity and dropped weight as the focuses.

2021 Shimano Dura-Ace Irmo Keizer / Andreas Dobslaff – Shimano wheels 2

Three new rim height profile wheels from 36mm to 60mm have been released and these offer the following different performance benefits for riders (in Shimano’s own words):

  • The C36 (WH-R9270-C36-TL wheel is focused on climbing and is the lightest wheel offering
  • The C50 (WH-R9270-C50-TL) is an all-round wheel with a great balance of drag, lateral and driving rigidity, periphery and overall weight and controllability
  • The C60 (WH-R9270-C60-HR-TL) is the most aerodynamic wheel with High Rigidity (HR) for sprints and high-speed pursuits. It is focused on providing drag, lateral rigidity and driving rigidity benefits.

Shimano claims that the new C50 is slightly more aerodynamically efficient than the existing 60mm-deep R9100 C60-TU tubular wheel.

2021 Shimano Dura-Ace Irmo Keizer / Andreas Dobslaff – Shimano wheels

The C50 wheels are also a claimed 161g lighter than the current R9170 C40 (40mm deep) tubeless wheels.

Driving rigidity has been increased, with the idea being that this improves the direct pedalling feel when accelerating, explains Shimano.

To do this, Shimano has used two interlocking faces in its new direct engagement hub, rather than a pawl and ratchet system. It claims that this means the driving rigidity of the new C50 wheelset is 63% higher than that of the previous R9100 C40 wheels.

Weights, prices, and availability

Here's how new Dura-Ace 9200 stacks up against previous-generation Dura-Ace 9100 in terms of weight:

Comparison of weights (grams) of Dura-Ace 9100 and Dura-Ace 9200 components
Component 9100 Series 9200 Series
 Rear derailleur  197  215
 Front derailleur  104  96
 Cassette (11-30T)  211  223
 Chain  246  242
 Chainset (52-36T 170 mm w/PM)  695  748
 Chainset (52-36T 170 mm)  624  690
 Bottom bracket  54  54
 Shifter (pair)  320  350
 Brake calliper (pair)  250  229
 Brake hose  60  60
 Rotor  234  212
 Cable/EW  39.9  14.5
 Battery  50  53
 JCT-A (EW-RS910)  6.4  
 JCT-B (SM-JC41)  4  
 Wireless Unit (EW-WU111)  3  
 Total (not including power meter)  2403.3  2438.5

Here are the prices of the various Dura-Ace 9200 components:

Prices of Shimano Dura-Ace 9200 components
Component Price
 Bottom bracket  £56.99
 Power meter  £1,199.99
 Chainset  £549.99
 Cassette  £329.99
 Chain   £56.99
 Shifters (pair, for mechanical brakes)  £699.99
 Shifter with hydro disc brake and hose (per unit)  £599.99
 Sprinter switches (pair)   £119.99
 Top bar switches (pair)  £119.99
 Rear derailleur  £699.99
 Front derailleur  £399.99
 Ice-Tech Freeza rotor (per unit)  £59.99
 Tubular wheelsets (C36, C50, C60)  £1,799.98
 Tubeless wheelsets (C36, C50, C60)  £1,799.98
 Pedals   £234.99
 E-Tube Di2 individual wires  From £24.99
 Di2 BB junction   From £20.99
 Battery  £174.99
 Charging cable  £44.99

The cassette price in particular has sky rocketed from £219.99 to £329.99—that’s a price rise of £110.

The rear derailleur cost has also gone up by a lot, £150 (£549.99 to £699.99), while the front derailleur price jump is a little less significant—from £329.99 up to £399.99 that’s a £70 increase.

The chainset is now £549.99, which is fifty quid more than previously. Then there’s the battery that has gone up £35, the chain by £12 and the bottom bracket by £7 as other examples of price increases.

The complete new Dura-Ace groupset comes to a total price of £4,281.87 with a power meter and £3,631.87 without. Shimano’s previous range-topping Dura-Ace R9150 Di2 groupset was £4,132.81 with power, and £3,132.81 without. This means. then, that the price has only risen by £149.06 for the complete groupset with the power meter included; however the version without power has shot up by a much more significant £499.06. As expected pretty much all of the savings on the power meter-equipped groupset are found in the power meter, as the price of it has dropped from £1,499.99 down to £1,199.99 in the latest Dura-Ace groupset.

Price comparison vs the competition

SRAM’s RED eTap AXS electronic 12-speed disc groupset costs £3,794 with a power meter included, and £3,349 without. This puts SRAM’s offerings at £487.87 cheaper for the power version and £282.87 cheaper for the version without at recommended retail prices. 

Campagnolo’s Super Record EPS electronic 12-speed groupset with disc brakes doesn’t come with a power meter, and costs considerably more than the Shimano equivalent. The price of this is £4,108, which puts Shimano’s new Dura-Ace groupset as £476.13 cheaper for the non-power option.

Shimano says that Dura-Ace 9200 will be available in the shops from October 2021.

We’ll be getting the whole groupset in for some thorough testing, with an in-depth review on the way… While you wait for that, read Liam’s first ride over here.

Anna has been hooked on bikes ever since her youthful beginnings at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit. As an avid road and track racer, she reached the heady heights of a ProCyclingStats profile before leaving for university. Having now completed an MA in Multimedia Journalism, she’s hoping to add some (more successful) results. Although her greatest wish is for the broader acceptance of wearing funky cycling socks over the top of leg warmers.

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