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Shimano 105 Di2 is finally here: Blue-collar groupset goes 12-speed electronic

Electronic shifting, more sprockets, wider gearing, carbon wheels, and an increased pricetag. Has Shimano 105 gone posh?

Joseph Delves
29 Jun 2022

Electronic Di2 shifting and 12-speed gearing arrive at a somewhat more affordable level with the launch of Shimano’s new R7100 series 105 groupset.

The world’s largest component manufacturer has announced its mid-level groupset will now also be available with electronic shifting and an extra sprocket, previously the preserve of Dura-Ace R9200 and Ultegra R8100.

Costing around £1,700, the groupset also switches wholesale to disc brakes.


Shimano 105 Di2 groupset at a glance

  • Di2 electronic shifting
  • 12-speed
  • Semi-wireless
  • Disc-brake only
  • Wide-ratio 11-36t cassette
  • 50/34 crank only at launch
  • 2,996g claimed weight
  • ~£1,700 for a full groupset

Shimano 105 finally goes electric

While groupset prices are tricky to pin down, the new Di2 version of 105 is a little under £1,000 more expensive than the current 11-speed mechanical version. However, it’s about £700 cheaper than the similarly equipped Ultegra Di2, which comes in at around £2,400 at full retail.

Those worried that 105 is about to follow Ultegra and Dura-Ace in switching wholesale to electronic shifting can calm themselves with the fact that the 11-speed mechanical version will remain in production.

What’s new with Shimano 105 Di2

So what will you get for your money? Current details are a little thin. However, 105 looks to borrow wholesale the Di2 technology found on the current Dura-Ace R9200 and Ultegra R8100 groupsets.

This includes the firm’s hybrid semi-wireless system, which sees the shifters communicating wirelessly with the derailleurs. With a receiver on the rear derailleur, this is then wired to the seat tube-based battery and back up to the front derailleur.

This means it’s just the components toward the back of the bike that are physically connected, the main benefits being an uncluttered cockpit, easy installation, and decent battery life.

With the operation of the complete ensemble customisable via the firm’s E-Tube Project app, you can also pair your gearing with most third-party cycling computers, including Garmin and Wahoo.

This will allow you to monitor gear selection or battery status. However, Hammerhead users seem set to find themselves out in the cold, what with the firm recently being bought by rivals SRAM and so shut out of the system.

In fact, one of the few differences we could instantly identify between the new 105 and the current R9200 and R8100 groupsets was the slightly tweaked hood ergonomics. Apparently, on the advice of the firm’s pro athletes, these have been remodelled and now feature ’a raised hood peak and new lever shape for enhanced comfort and control in every riding position’.



Shimano 105 R7100 gearing

While the switch to electronic shifting will be the main headline, the change to 12-speed also brings the groupset in line with its more expensive siblings.

But it’s not simply a case of banging an extra sprocket in, although thankfully, the new 12-speed cassettes will be compatible with existing freehubs.

Instead, Shimano has taken the opportunity to increase the overall range offered by the groupset. It now comes with an 11-34 cassette as standard, with an 11-36 option to follow shortly.

Serviced by a single Shadow-type rear derailleur, crankset options remain standard, with the groupset offering only a 50/34 compact option initially.

While not as drastic as SRAM’s ‘X-range’ gearing rethink, the ability to accommodate a 36t sprocket means 105 users will have an extra bailout gear versus those on Shimano’s racier groupsets.

In fact, the combo of a 34t chainring and 36t sprocket means riders can call on a sub-1:1 ratio for the longest and steepest hills. Given that 105 is marketed as a groupset for more everyday riders, this is probably a good thing.

More prosaically, Shimano’s Hollowtech II crankset standard remains, while all cranks come in 165, 170, 172.5, and 175mm lengths.

Shimano 105 R7100 brakes

Shimano’s universally excellent braking also gets an overhaul. With no conventional calipers or mechanical shifters listed, it would appear this groupset will be disc brake only.

Nicking technology from the recent Dura-Ace and Ultegra groupsets, Shimano promises its new 105 brakes are both quieter and easier to maintain. Key to this is a 10% wider pad-to-rotor clearance, imparting what its makers claim will be a noiseless operation.

The braking feel has also been tweaked, with Shimano describing the new system as offering a ‘lighter, smoother lever action and expanded braking control area’.

Though this evidently hasn’t been achieved via the inclusion of Shimano’s well-regarded ‘Servo Wave’ lever pivot mechanism, which alters the leverage ratio at different points of the lever travel, as it hasn’t been brought down to 105 level.

In a move that will no doubt cause mechanics to rejoice, bleeding has been revised in a similar manner to 105’s bigger siblings. The calipers now use a bleed port design with a more secure attachment for the syringe, as well as a separate valve to open and close the system.

Removing the calipers from the frame is no longer required either. The system’s standard Center Lock rotors are borrowed from Shimano’s Deore mountain bike groupset and come in 140 and 160mm varieties.

Matching wheels

105 now incorporates a range of tier-specific carbon wheels, though strictly speaking, they are non-series products that aren’t labelled up as 105 wheels in the same way the Ultegra and Dura-Ace wheels are.

Nonetheless, the new RS710 carbon wheels are Shimano’s most affordable yet and come in two versions, the C32 for climbing and the C46 for all-around use. Bonus points if you can guess how deep each model is…

Sharing the same tubeless-ready technology and 21mm internal width as the wheelsets in the Ultegra and Dura-Ace tiers, the 32mm deep C32 weighs a claimed 1,502g, while the 46mm deep C46 is only slightly heavier at 1,610g.

Both styles cost £479.99 for the front and £519.99 for the rear. If you’re too lazy to do the maths, that’s 2p short of £1,000 a pair. Not bad for carbon-rimmed wheels.

Shimano 105 Di2 weight, pricing, and availability

Announced today, the commercial release date for the EU and UK will be 5th August. We spoke to Shimano Europe who confirmed that initially, 400 units will be available to retailers in the UK.

This probably means most people’s first sight of the groupset will instead be on fully equipped bikes, which will start appearing on the market immediately. 

Shimano 105 7100 Di2 pricing and weights

Price Weight
Shimano 105 Di2 complete groupset £1,700 2,996g
ST-R7170 105 Di2 hydraulic disc STI and caliper (single) £349.99  408g
SM-RT64 Deore Center Lock rotor £26.99 143g
FC-R7100 105 double 12-speed chainset £169.99 766g
RD-R7150 105 Di2 12-speed rear derailleur £274.99 302g
FD-R7150 105 Di2 12-speed front derailleur £149.99 142g
CS-R7100 105 12-speed cassette (11-34) £69.99 361g
CN-M7100 12-speed chain £34.99 252g
BT-DN300 Di2 internal battery £174.99 53g
EW-SD300 E-tube Di2 electric wire £24.99-£30.99 19g

Shimano 105 Di2 versus SRAM Rival eTap AXS

Linning up against SRAM’s appropriately named Rival AXS groupset, both firms’ entries into the world of electronic shifting now feature 12-gears, plus relatively similar pricing.

With Rival coming in around £1,520, it’s a bit cheaper, However, at around 3,200g it’s also about 200g heavier.

On the plus side, you do get all kinds of gravel-friendly 1× and ultra-wide gearing options, while Shimano plays things a bit more traditionally. We’ll look to bring you a head-to-head shoot-out soon.

Excited for the new groupset? Don't miss our round-up of bikes with Shimano 105 Di2


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