Shimano has a new workhorse Ultegra group set – the Ultegra R8000. Here’s everything you need to know.
- Higher performance stopping power with hydraulic disc brakes
- Enhanced shifting customisability with Di2 shifting leavers and new top-hood Di2 buttons
- Shifting simplicity with synchronised shift TT levers
- Extreme aerodynamic advantage thanks to lower-profile Shadow rear derailleurs
- Internal changes to the Dual Control levers for mechanical drivetrains yield a 24% reduction in shift lever throw
Amazing ergonomics look slick
The new hydraulic disc-compatible Ultegra levers have some pretty slim-lined ergonomics. How? The actual lever bodies are both smaller and shorter. It may still seem a little cumbersome to some, but overall it’s a huge improvement to the Ultegra system.
The Di2 gets a futuristic edge
Instead of clicking away awkwardly, the new Di2 buttons make gear shifting much more reliable and cleaner. Sure, that refinement was expected but the rest of the developments are incredible for Ultegra.
Until now, the Ultegra system has never had the special ‘hidden’ buttons on the lever peaks. Now though, if you’ve plugged in any accessories from lights to computers and other toys, you can control them from these buttons. That’s pretty snazzy, plus they look incredible and are super important for shaving off a few extra seconds on your bike times.
All shift levers or buttons can also operate multi-shift which, like the top buttons and Synchronized Shift features, are customisable in the E-TUBE app for phones, tablets or PCs. The app not only allows you to customise functions and operations as you please, but also allows you to keep all units up-to-date with the latest firmware and run error checks to pinpoint and solve abnormalities.
There’s a button missing! But it’s good news
The effect of eliminating a button on each shifter means that TT/Triathlon riders will use full Synchronized Shifting mode in this position. That means there is one button on one shifter (ie on the left of the extension bars) to move up through the entire drivetrain and one button on the other shifter (ie on the right) to move down through the entire drivetrain.
An example of how it works in practice
This means that you could set, for example, both left shifters to move up through the drivetrain and both right shifters to move down through the drivetrain. As well as this, the shifters have a more defined click feeling to offer quick and precise shifting with gloves.
Lighter drivetrain enhances speed
Shimano listened to you, and redesigned the asymmetric crank arm according to feedback from the Dura-Ace R9100. This time though, there’s a hefty looking Hollowtech II 40arm which gives you a stiffer, more precise transfer.
Yes, it’s lighter too. It weight just 674g, compared to the old 674g.
Choose your crankset
Options include a standard 53-39T ratio, mid compact 52-36T, compact 50-34T, and cyclocross-specific 46-36T.
Want to get the new goodies but you have a mountain bike? No worries.
The 11-speed cassette sprocket comes in 6 ‘standard’ sizes (CS-R8000; 11-25T, 11-28T, 11-30T, 11-32T, 12-25T, 14-28T) and a wider 11-34T (CS-HG800) cassette with a hub body designed to fit both road bikes (with spacer) and mountain bikes.
“Ultegra is designed to cover everything from TT/Triathlon racing, to those who want disc brake and Di2 race or Gran Rondo 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,” said Shimano Europe Product Manager Tim Gerrits.
It’s Shimano, so it’s not cheap, but the slightly rougher finish makes it definitely more affordable for cyclists keen on balancing performance with value.
“We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve created. Ultegra has such a loyal and enthusiastic appeal that it is associated with the true spirit of the sport. We’ve pushed that forwards, and hopefully in the process we can attract more people to the sport of road cycling,” said Gerrits.
Will you be giving the new Shimano system a try?