Shimano revealed their newest iteration of their flagship Dura-Ace group set (now R9100 compared to the previous 9000) to the public yesterday morning. And to be honest, the reveal wasn’t all that unexpected (we first shared an image of a purportedly leaked version of it in our WiR). However, some of the specifics that are introduced with R9100 are especially when it comes to TT and Tri bikes. Rather than giving you the full run down (there are already quite a few of those out there), we thought we’d concentrate on exactly what Shimano is bringing to the TT\Tri world.
First introduced in XTR Di2, Shimano’s Synchro Shift is now available with the new R9100 system. Available as a programmable Di2 option, Synchro Shift creates an intuitive experience on the bike through synchronized front and rear shifting that can be custom programmed by riders.
In addition to traditional “Full” Synchro Shift, riders can select “Semi” Synchro Shift. This new mode automatically reacts when the rider shifts from one chainring to another, automatically shifting the rear derailleur to minimize the gear step, thus preserving the rider’s rhythm. Shimano Synchronized Shift will be available for all previous 11-speed Di2 road component groups with the use of new Di2 firmware and accessories in November 2016.
Part of what makes Syncro Shift for Di2 so exciting is the new EW-WU111 Wireless Unit, which enables wireless communication for E-Tube programming with a smart phone or tablet. What this means for you is that you will no longer need a Windows computer to customize your Di2 settings or do firmware updates, instead you will be able to perform this functionality straight from your iOS or Android device.
New Shifting Hardware
R9100 gets both new extension shifters and Di2 enabled brake levers. The new extension shifters are extremely simple one button affairs that rely on the afore mentioned Syncro Shift updates. Simply choose one button (configured via your mobile device) for shifting up, and the other for shifting down.
Similarly, the brake levers are each updated with just a single button. Shimano tells us the levers are slimmer, more aerodynamically shaped, and offer an improved grip feel. The change in shape was meant to ensure optimum power transmitted to the brakes with a firm grip. Users would also experience more control and confidence in race conditions. Shimano also updated the button position for improved shift switch placement for operation without removing your hands from the bars.
We have had plenty of time to experience the current version of Dura-Ace Di2, and our biggest want has been Syncro Shift. We already have half of our test fleet on single-button pods on the extensions, bundling this with Syncro Shift is going to be huge for when you are climbing but want to stay in the aero bars. Factor that in with the new extension shifters—that look both incredibly comfortable and that much harder to unintentionally hit—and we are definitely looking forward to a full review. We’ve already reached out to Shimano about that, so stay tuned for updates. And don’t miss our deeper dive when we head out to Interbike in September.