6 Things I Like about Shimano’s New Dura-Ace and Ultegra Groups, and 4 Things I Don’t
I’m excited about Shimano’s new Ultegra and Dura-Ace groupsets, mainly because of the electronics side of it rather than the mechanicals. It will be cool to see what new features wend their way into the E-Tube app and cooler still to see if there is any new info/metrics to display on our head units.
I like These
These are my faves…
Ultegra Power Meter
The new Ultegra power meter is priced at $1,160 ($1,470 Dura-Ace) for a dual-sided crankset including chainrings. That’s not too bad but the real savings will come when these are bundled into the new bikes you buy rather than ones bought on the aftermarket.
Far Fewer Wires
When I first upgraded my last bike to wired Di2 it was quite complex to understand what lengths of wires were needed, exactly what components were needed and what junction boxes made the whole shebang easier still to install.
Then, when you’ve finished, you realise that there are a few more external wires than you bargained for and probably bumps under your bar tape. My TT Di2 setup is even more complicated as the junction boxes needed filing down to fit inside the very limited space in the bars.
In part, that’s all now much easier. A battery with one wire going to each derailleur is all you need. Your front ‘cockpit’ should look cleaner, although those pesky brake cables need to go somewhere.
Oh and if you want to wire up some satellite sprint shifters on your bars you’ll need some more wires. #Sigh
OK you already have LEDs on the current charging ports and you can get pop-up messages on your head unit to tell you the battery is low but I’m hoping that the LEDs on each shifter and on the rear derailleur give me a bit more warning of impending battery-doom than I currently get.
The Bluetooth communication component is now built into the rear derailleur and you no longer need the EW-WU111 module. The ANT+/BLE comms for your head unit and E-Tube app are now both handled by the derailleur’s inbuilt comms.
One Derailleur Cage
I have a Dura-Ace Di2 rear derailleur on one bike and an Ultegra on another, yet I can’t switch my lighter wheels. Why? The Dura-Ace is a medium cage and the Ultegra is a long cage. The Wheel has a 32T cassette and that won’t fit the Dura-Ace which has a maximum of 30T.
The new derailleurs get around that with a single option that covers every cassette up to 34T.
The new 12-speed cassette is backwardly compatible with the existing 11-Speed Shimano hub on your wheel. So you can probably upgrade your old rear wheels to 12-Speed.
DID YOU KNOW?: Di2 stands for DIGITAL INTEGRATED INTELLIGENCE (Dii or D and 2 i’s)
I Dislike These
These are my peeves…
Power Meter Magnets
Yes, you still have to stick a magnet onto the frame for the power meters to work. I really thought cadence would be taken care of by accelerometers but, hey ho, here we are. Possibly a magnet is a more reliable measure of cadence and hence a more accurate input to the power calculation? Hmmm…
A New Battery
You previously had to fork out £$£$£$ on an expensive new Di2 battery to support the R9100’s expensive BlueTooth module (EW-WU111). Well, this time around you’ll need a different and expensive battery to make your R9200 setup work!
I was hoping that the new R9200 would be fully wireless with a battery on each derailleur and easily swappable. Oh well.
No Mechanical Option
I prefer Di2 to mechanical, however, I would have liked that other riders had a choice.
Bye Bye Rim Brakes
OK, PROs can still technically get the Dura-Ace R9200 to support rim brakes. I’m going to try and get some, let’s see. Failing that there ARE new Ultegra BR-R8100 caliper brakes…
Either way, the lack of a RIM braked Ultegra wheelset further signals the demise of my favourite braking method.