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New Shimano Ultegra R8000 groupset includes disc brakes and synchronised electronic shift options

13 Jun 2017

Page 1 of 2New Shimano Ultegra R8000 groupset includes disc brakes and synchronised electronic shift options

Verdict:

The new Shimano Ultegra R8000 groupset covers electronic and mechanical, disc or calliper, with plenty of new features all round

Price: 
Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset: £999.99 (mechanical)

Shimano has released details of its soon to be launched Shimano Ultegra R8000 groupset. Long thought of as Dura-ace for normal people, the latest Ultegra range sees plenty of tech pinched from the recently released Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 mechanical groupset, along with some electronic specific features which make their debut for the first time.

The new Shimano Ultegra R8000 electronic shifters get greater programmability, allowing users to decide the function of each button and customise how the derailleurs move through the available gears.

For example, this means both buttons on the left shifter could be set to move up through the gears and both right shifter buttons programmed to move down.

The Synchroshift function means the system automatically balances front and rear options to select the next available gear ratio.

For the first time the shifters also include the same 'secret' button found on the current Dura-Ace Di2 shifter. These top-of-the-hoods switches can be programmed to shift gear or to control additional devices such as compatible computers or lights.

Set up of both systems can be achieved via the E-Tube app for smartphones, tablets or PCs.

Shimano claims all the buttons now have a more definitive click, something that should please riders who previously found the system a little indefinite when shifting.

Visually beefier chainset, that is actually slightly lighter

Shimano Ultegra R8000 hydraulic disc brakes

For the first time Ultegra adds provision for riders wanting to run hydraulic disc brakes. Previously mechanical Shimano users had been forced to choose between shelling out for top end Dura-ace levers and brakes, or dropping down to the slightly clunky looking 105 level parts, while Di2 aficionados were stuck with just Dura-ace.

Now Shimano have filled the gaps in their range with Ultegra options covering both electronic and mechanical systems.

All the potential lever configurations have been redesigned, with the hydraulic shifters also having been shrunk, improving both aesthetics and standardised sizing between mechanical and fluid filled options.

The newly introduced disc callipers and rotors share their design with Shimano’s already obtainable top tier models. The brakes themselves are available only in the flush fitting flat mount standard.

The enclosed rotors with which they’re paired feature large cooling fins to help keep the system from overheating, while also assuaging any fears users might have of getting their fingers caught during a crash.

Both electronic and mechanical rear derailleurs inherit the Shadow design found on the recently released Shimano Dura-ace groupset.

Long a feature on Shimano’s mountain bike groupsets, this revised parallelogram design ensures the knuckle of the derailleur remains tucked in close under the cassette, making it less likely to sustain accidental damage.

The long cage (GS) mech can accommodate cassettes with up to a huge 34t largest sprocket.

The front derailleur has also been redesigned to better accommodate wider tyres. Mechanics will be happy to learn that the design does away with the in-line barrel style cable tension adjuster, instead using an allen key adjustment to tune the cable tension.

Visually the asymmetric crankset has been beefed up with bigger arms, yet has actually dropped a small amount of weight: 674g for the 50-34t, down from the previous design which came in at 676g.

It again echoes the looks and features of the top end Dura-ace model, and is available fitted with traditional 53-39t, mid compact 52-36t, compact 50-34t, and cyclocross-specific 46-36t chainring combinations.

Discussing the development of the groupset, Shimano Europe Product Manager Tim Gerrits explained: ‘Ultegra is designed to cover everything from TT/Triathlon racing, to those who want disc brake and Di2 race or Gran Fondo performance, to the digital intelligence and shifting accuracy of Di2 and rim braking, to the braking performance of discs with the reliability of mechanical shifting, or to the simplicity of rim braking and mechanical shifting.

'With five different ‘standard’ set ups the choice for consumers is really broad.'

Gerrits continued, ‘to retain that Ultegra quality level across such a wide variety of products and for such a wide range of uses was a big development challenge, especially when it came to integrating some of the new features from our top-tier Dura Ace R9100 series.

'Hydraulic disc brakes and Synchronised Shifting for example, were two completely new areas for Ultegra and we needed to find the right balance between high performance, high quality and high levels of durability and reliability,' he added.

Shimano Ultegra R8000 mechanical rim brake components will start to arrive in Europe from June, while the Di2 and disc brake components will be available from August.

Shimano Ultegra R8000: Prices

Di2 shifter levers (+ disc brake callipers)

Ultegra ST-R8050 - for Di2 shift for mechanical brake - pair, £299.99
Ultegra ST-R8070 - for Di2 shift and hydraulic disc brake - pair £649.99

Di2 rear derailleur

Ultegra Di2 R8050 - E-tube - Shadow design - SS short cage 244.99
Ultegra Di2 R8050 - E-tube - Shadow design - GS medium cage 249.99

Di2 front derailleur

Ultegra FD-R8050 Di2 £209.99

Mechanical shift levers (+ disc brake callipers)

Ultegra R8000 - 11-speed - Mechanical - pair £319.99
Ultegra R8020 - 11-speed - Mechanical inc hydraulic disc brake - pair £649.99

Mechanical rear derailleurs

Ultegra R8000 - Shadow design £84.99-89.99

Mechanical front derailleur

Ultegra FD-R8000 £49.99-52.99

Chainsets

Ultegra - FC-R8000 £249.99

Cassettes

Ultegra R8000 £74.99-84.99

Chain

CN6800 £27.99

Brake callipers

49 mm Drop - each £69.99
Direct mount - each £79.99

Disc brake callipers

Ultegra R8070 calliper - each £64.99

Centre-Lock rotors

SM-RT800 Ultegra - Ice Tech FREEZA £49.99 (each)

Shimano Ultegra R8000 groupset Prices (from)

Mechanical with rim brakes - £948
Mechanical with disc brakes - £1,103
Di2 with rim brakes - £1,248
Di2 with disc brakes - £1,558

UK distributor

Madison.co.uk

Click through to page two for our review of the Shimano Ultegra 6800 Di2 and mechanical groupsets

Page 1 of 2New Shimano Ultegra R8000 groupset includes disc brakes and synchronised electronic shift options

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