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Shimano Di2 - A New Era of Performance Shifting

November 28, 2023
  • At Ribble Cycles, we're always excited to embrace the latest technologies and innovations from the cycling world. Today, we'd like to share our perspective on the latest iterations of Shimano's electronic road groupsets: the Dura-Ace Di2 R9200, Ultegra Di2 R8100 and 105 R7150. This launch is a momentous occasion for Shimano and cycling enthusiasts in general. In this blog post, we'll delve into the key features and advantages offered by these innovative and performance-enhancing Shimano Di2 drivetrains.

  • The Transition to Semi-Wireless Shifting

  • One of the standout features of the latest Dura-Ace, Ultegra and 105 Di2 drivetrains is the transition to a semi-wireless format. In this setup, each lever is entirely independent, eliminating the need for cumbersome cables. However, the front and rear derailleurs remain connected to a central battery, discreetly nestled inside the frame. Shimano's decision to retain this central battery provides a significant advantage in terms of battery capacity, offering a longer runtime of approximately 1,000 kilometers before requiring a recharge. Additionally, the replaceable CR1632 coin cell batteries in each shifter boast a remarkable lifespan of up to 1.5-2 years. These extended runtimes surpass the capabilities of rival systems and enhance the overall usability of the groupsets.

  • Eliminating Front-End Wiring Hassles

  • While the move towards wireless components is undoubtedly exciting, Shimano's decision to maintain a wired connection between the derailleurs and the central battery at the rear offers some distinct advantages. It simplifies the installation process, especially when dealing with modern road bikes that feature intricate integrated cockpits and internal cable routing at the front end. Routing wires through these complex setups can be a hassle, and Shimano has effectively eliminated this issue with their new design.

  • Enhanced Signal Speed & Shift Performance

  • Not only has Shimano eliminated front-end wiring challenges, it's also significantly improved signal speed and shift performance in the new Di2 groupsets. Signals betweeen the levers and rear derailleur now travel faster, thanks to a faster processor integrated into the rear derailleur. Shifts themselves are also noticeably quicker, thanks to new tooth shaping borrowed from their mountain bike components, known as Hyperglide Plus. These innovations result in an approximate 50% increase in shift speed, ensuring smoother and more efficient gear changes.

  • Integration & Customisation

  • Shimano has invested in seamless integration and customisation options for the new Di2 groupsets. The wireless hardware is now directly integrated into the rear derailleur, eliminating the need for a separate D-Fly wireless unit. Additionally, the function button found on the junction box in previous models is now integrated into the rear derailleur. LED indicators on each lever provide valuable information on battery life and adjustment mode, enhancing user convenience.

    Shimano's updated E-Tube app, compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones, allows cyclists to easily customise component behaviour, shift speed, and synchro shift modes. This user-friendly app empowers riders to tailor their Di2 experience to their preferences with ease.

  • Introducing 12-Speed

  • One of the most significant changes in these new groupsets is the introduction of 12-speed gearing at the rear. While some may question the need for an additional gear, Shimano's rationale is simple: 12-speed allows for smaller gear jumps, enhancing overall gear ratio options while maintaining the same overall range. This ensures smoother transitions between gears, keeping pedalling rhythm smooth and uninterrupted whilst catering to a broader range of riding styles and preferences.

    Both the Dura-Ace and Ultegra groupsets offer 11-30 and 11-34 cassettes initially, with Dura-Ace adding an 11-28 cassette for road racing. The latest to launch; 105 is available to order with 11-34 or 11-36 cassette ratios. Notably, Shimano has made these new 12-speed cassettes backward compatible with older 11-speed freehub bodies, simplifying the transition for riders with existing wheelsets. However, it's essential to keep in mind that the latest new Hyperglide+ 12-speed hubs will only accept 12-speed cassettes.

  • Real-World Rider Considerations

  • Shimano's commitment to real-world riders is evident in their product offerings. The introduction of an 11-34 cassette combined with a 50-34 tooth chainring configuration provides a stock one-to-one climbing gear option. This addition caters to cyclists who prefer more comfortable climbing options, whilst eliminating the need for sub-compact chainrings.

  • Notable Exclusion: the 10-Tooth Sprocket

  • One notable omission in these groupsets is the absence of a 10-tooth sprocket, a feature introduced by SRAM in their AXS setups. Shimano's decision to stick with larger sprockets stems from their desire to maintain low levels of drivetrain friction. While this choice has sparked significant debate, it aligns with Shimano's commitment to minimising friction and optimising performance.

  • Crankset Construction

  • Shimano retains the aluminum construction of the crankset, utilising a two-piece clamshell design for the drive-side crank arms. The left-side crank arm remains a one-piece hollow forging. Four-bolt chainrings bolt directly to the crankset, ensuring easy replacement and compatibility throughout Shimano's performance road range. This construction maintains stiffness and overall drivetrain performance while offering ample weight savings and optimal power transfer.

  • Shimano's Di2 Lineup

  • Shimano's latest Di2 drivetrains are available in three variants, with Dura-Ace offering the most demanding road riders with a race-proven groupset that has achieved race victories across the world. Ultegra takes the market-leading featuers of its flagship sibling and distills it down into a premium groupset for riders who love the thrill of competition, whether that's racing friends for the café stop or pushing yourself to the limit in weekend crits. Last to launch is 105 which brings Di2 tot the everday cyclist who wants a drivetrain which eliminates the need for cumbersome cables and cuts down on routine maintenance. Less time spent indexing your gears means more time doing the thing you love - riding your bike!

  • Dura-Ace Di2 R9200

    The pinnacle of Shimano Road shifting technology and innovation, Dura-Ace Di2 brings new levels of comfort and control to road cyclists everywhere. Boasting the world’s fastest wireless electronic gear shifts and even more precise brake modulation, Dura-Ace 9200 redefines performance. Wireless 12-speed shifting gives you instant, accurate and lightning-fast shifts at the push of a button. Even in the most extreme conditions and under the heaviest loads when climbing or accelerating, gear shifting is precise and controlled. Speed is the driving force behind Dura-Ace Di2, with every component refined to provide the best on-bike experience, whether you’re sprinting to victory on the Champs-Elysees or crushing your local climb.

  • Ultegra Di2 R8100

    Ultegra Di2 with has been completely redesigned, with all-new ergonomics, even greater braking modulation, and the unmatched shifting precision of Di2 wireless electronic. It delivers the world’s fastest and most reliable electronic gear shifting and a wider gear range that means no matter how steep the climb; it’s never out of reach. Ultegra Di2 gives you instant, accurate, and lightning-fast shifts every time, with just a push of a button. Even when accelerating or climbing under heavy load, shifting is precise and controlled. With Di2, you are in complete control.

  • 105 Di2 R7150

    For the first time ever, Shimano brings the wireless electronic shifting precision of Shimano Di2 to everyday cyclists. Featuring cascaded technology from top-tier lines, 105 Di2 shifts perceptions, changing how you ride and the performance you can expect from a digital drivetrain. With a shared Di2 platform, sophisticated ergonomics, wide range gear combinations and the exceptional stopping power of hydraulic disc brakes, 105 Di2 marks a new era of affordable performance.

  • Summary

  • Shimano's new Dura-Ace Di2 R9200, Ultegra Di2 R8100 and 105 Di2 R7150 groupsets represent a significant leap forward in electronic shifting technology for road bikes. The transition to semi-wireless components, improvements in signal speed, shift performance, and the introduction of 12-speed gearing make these groupsets a compelling choice for cyclists seeking the latest advancements.

    At Ribble Cycles, we're excited to offer these cutting-edge groupsets to our customers, providing the opportunity to elevate their riding experience. Whether you're a competitive racer or a dedicated enthusiast, the new Shimano Di2 groupsets promise to deliver precision, reliability, and customisation to suit your cycling needs.

    We look forward to helping you explore the possibilities of Shimano's latest innovations and assisting you in selecting the perfect Di2 groupset for your road bike. Join us in embracing this new era of cycling technology, and let's ride into the future together!

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