Ultegra Di2 has been one of our go-to groupsets for the past two years. It brought Di2 to the masses (or at least to a much cheaper price point than Dura-Ace or EPS). And manufacturers specced plenty of mid-priced bikes with the group set. And for those who say there is no need for Di2 (we are looking at you roadies over there), triathletes are huge fans of being able to shift and brake out on the bullhorns. So we have been pretty excited over the past few weeks when rumors started flying about a new Ultegra groupset dropping very soon – and where there is smoke, there is fire. Meet the new Ultegra R8000 line.
R8000 is all about trickle-down technology from Dura-Ace R9100. And that starts with the FC-R8000 HOLLOWTECH II Crankset, which receives numerous technologies from its big brother along with shaping, which further enhances ULTEGRA’S 4-arm design. Shimano’s Rider Tuned chainring combinations offer multiple gearing configurations via a singular BCD platform for excellent versatility. With redesigned chainring tooth profiling first introduced for DURA-ACE R9100, the ULTEGRA FC-R8000 Crankset is optimized for the latest disc brake frame designs without the need to increase q-factor. Crank arms will be available in 165mm, 170mm, 172.5mm, and 175mm lengths. And 46-36T, 50-34T, 52-36T, 53-39T combinations.
The Ultegra cassette is one of the most ubiquitous cassettes in cycling. Much cheaper than its Dura-Ace brethren (albeit at a slight weight penalty), many a cyclist has chosen to ride with it. The Ultegra cassettes will be available in – 11-25T (232g), 11-28T (251g), 11-30T (269g), 11-32 (292g), 12-25T (243g), 14-28T (300g) and 11-34T (335g).
While Di2 is what we are most excited about, lets start with updates to the mechanical group set. The FD-R8000 front derailleur features new construction that matches the force curve of the hand more naturally to reduce effort at the end of shifting. For your mechanic, the new design allows for more flexible cable routing design, and features a cable tension setting for precise setup and tool-free adjustment.
At the back, the RD-R8000 Shadow low-profile design increases shift stability and reduces crash vulnerability while providing a sleek, integrated appearance. Two cage length options provide wide range of gearing compatibility – RD-SS covers: 11-25T to 11-30T and RD-GS covers: 11-28T to 11-34T. We don’t imagine a lot of triathletes will be rocking the long cage, but we suspect a few may.
Now back to Di2. The ULTEGRA RD-R8050 Di2 Rear Derailleur was totally redesigned featuring Shimano’s Shadow RD architecture. Like the R8000 mechanical derailleurs, the low-profile design of the electronic options deliver a sleek appearance while improving shift performance and minimizing potential damage to the derailleur in the event of a crash. The FD-R8050 Front Derailleur delivers powerful and precise shift performance even under high pedaling torque. With the recent update, Ultegra 6850 now has synchro shift and, as expected, R8050 also comes with Shimano’s SYNCHRO SHIFT programming and E-TUBE PROJECT customization.
The FD-R8050, Di2 Front Derailleur (2×11-speed) features quick and smooth front shifting under high pedaling torque and programmed control of chain guide. At the back, the RD-R8050 Di2 Shadow RD (11-speed) will feature two options like its mechanical sibling – RD-R8050-SS covers: 11-25T to 11-30T and RD-R8050-GS covers: 11-28T to 11-34T.
The last big update is the ST-R8060, Di2 TT/Triathlon Dual Control Lever. The new design features reduced drag through a more aerodynamic design and a slimmer profile for improved rider ergonomics. The one change we are curious about is the switch to a single-button-per-lever design, specifically engineered for use with SYNCHRO Shift. While eTap also features a single shift button design, it also allows you to hit both buttons at once if you want to force a large chain ring change. We are curious if there is a similar option with the R8050 groupset.
And that wraps up the major updates for us triathletes. The full breakdown of pricing, availability, and weights is below. Be sure to let us know what more you want to know about the groupset!