First Look: Shimano’s all new 12-speed Ultegra R8100 groupset
Alongside the drop of the new Shimano Dura-Ace, we also have the launch of the new 12-speed Ultegra R8100. The updated groupset features Di2 upgrades, a power meter and the road group’s first carbon wheels.
The latest Shimano Ultegra Di2 brings with it a number of firsts and updates for Shimano’s second-tier road groupset, including 12-speed gearing, wireless shifters, an Ultegra-level power meter option and more.
Like the new top-level Dura-Ace 9200, Ultegra R8100 features semi-wireless shifting, meaning that the two derailleurs are wired to an internal battery but the shifters communicate wirelessly with the rest of the system.
So let’s take a look at some of the new and improved features.
One of the most notable changes is the 12-speed drivetrain, which delivers even faster shifting across all 12 gears. To ease shifting under a heavier load and for the first time Ultegra uses Shimano’s Hyperglide+ technology, which originated from their mountain biking groupsets. With a new dual-sided power meter that ensures incredible precision when measuring performance.
Shimano’s own super secure Di2 wireless circuit also delivers fastest ever processing speed and long battery life and is fully customisable via Shimano’s user-friendly E-TUBE app. The motors and circuit technology are the same as the latest Dura-Ace, which Shimano claims to have an increase in shift speeds: 58% faster rear shifting and 45% faster front shifts .
Optimised Braking Control
The R8100 has a new quieter braking system that delivers more stopping power and features Servo Wave Action for even more precise modulation. Shimano has switched Ultegra to its RT-MT800 rotors and says that clearance between the pads and rotors has been increased by 10% to reduce the chance of contact when you’re not braking.
The brake caliper has been redesigned to minimise the brake rub, with more maintenance-friendly hydraulic disc brakes and unparalleled brake level ergonomics.
In terms of maintenance, you can now bleed the brake without removing the caliper from the frame thanks to a separate bleed port and valve screw.
A range of Ultegra’s first ever tubeless full-carbon wheelsets are also being released along with the updated groupset. In line with more modern road tyres, the Ultegra wheels feature wider 21-millimetre internal rim widths.
With a focus on improving the aerodynamics of the wheels, using faster and more stable profiles used across the range. All three models use 1:1 standard spoke lacing on the front wheel and Shimano’s 2:1 Optbal spoke lacing design in the rear.
There are three different rim depth options:
- The C36 wheels- shallow, light and designed for climbing
- The C50 wheels- all-around wheels that balance aerodynamics, weight and rigidity.
- The C60 wheels- aerodynamically structured for optimised sprinting and high-speed pursuits.
All wheels are compatible with the existing 11-speed cassettes.