DURA-ACE R9200 // Ultegra R8100 Wireless Di2
Shimano just announced their new DURA-ACE R9200 and Ultegra R8100 Di2 groupsets. These long-anticipated groupsets are a massive step forward for Shimano and Di2 as a whole.
It's not just the new DURA-ACE R9200 that has just been announced - the Ultegra level is getting the 12 speed wireless Di2 treatment too!
In a nutshell: 2x12 speed Di2 powered by a single battery. Wireless shifting. Smaller wires between battery and derailleurs. Improved disc brakes.
Curious? Want to know more? Read on..
DURA-ACE and Ultegra
While people have been expecting Shimano to release DURA-ACE R9200 for some time now, you may not have expected them to also announce Ultegra R8100 12 speed Di2 at the same time!
These groupsets are available in both rim and disc brake versions, though the biggest changes are on the disc brake side of things.
This is also the very first time that a new DURA-ACE and Ultegra groupset have been introduced at the same time. Due to the new wireless circuitry it took Shimano a bit longer to get the new DURA-ACE system perfect and releasing DURA-ACE and Ultegra at the same time just made a lot of sense.
DURA-ACE R9250 / R9270
The new DURA-ACE R9250 is the high-end road groupset Di2 fans have been waiting for. It is the lightest, fastest, most expensive and simply the best cycling groupset you can buy.
R9270 is the new top of the line disc brake groupset - a 12 speed drivetrain, wireless shifting, improved disc/rotor clearance, faster shifting, better ergonomics as well as new wheelsets.
Its rim-brake sibling, R9250 is their more legacy groupset, for those who prefer rim brakes over discs. R9250 still gets the faster and more efficient shifting, but without the disc improvements. Also, the shift levers do not feature the wireless connectivity.
In Europe the R9270 groupset will cost you € 3899, while the rim-brake R9250 will set you back € 3849. If you'd like a power meter with that, it'll cost you about € 1100 extra.
Ultegra R8150 / R8170
Just a small step below DURA-ACE in terms of weight and looks, Ultegra Di2 is the next best thing. Performance is about the same as its more expensive big sibling and the weight is similar. The price point is a lot better for those of us buying their own bikes though.
(basically anyone who's not a pro)
As you might have guessed, R8170(€ 2449) is the disc version of R8100 and R8150(€ 2149) is the rim brake groupset. Again, this rim brake groupset doesn't support wireless shifting at this time.
For the very first time, you can now also buy an Ultegra Power Meter - the FC-R8100-P. This will cost about € 1000.
2 x 12 speed Di2
So, it's 12 speed. One extra cassette sprocket - or cog, if you will. What does this mean, really?
Let's start with the obvious: you get an extra cog, so more gears! While other manufacturers used the extra cog to implement a 10T gear, Shimano have taken a different approach.
The smallest cassette sprocket for the new DURA-ACE R9200 / Ultegra R8100 groupset has 11 teeth. This doesn't give you an extra top gear, but it does something a lot nicer - it decreases the jumps or gaps between the gears.
This means smooth shifting from one gear to the next, even when using an 11-36T cassette.
Cassettes & Chainrings
What 12-speed cassettes will Shimano produce? A limited amount, but given the 12 gears we've got this makes sense to me.
There will be both DURA-ACE and Ultegra 11 - 30T and 11 - 34T cassettes. We'll see an 11 - 28T DURA-ACE cassette too at some point in the future.
These cassettes have been optimized for the sweet spot gears between the 6th, 7th and 8th sprockets. Even more than before, shifting should be smooth and effortless.
- 11 - 30T: 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 19 - 21 - 24 - 27 - 30T
- 11 - 34T: 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 17 - 19 - 21 - 24 - 27 - 30 - 34T
The available chainrings will be 50 - 34T, 52 - 36T, and 54 - 40T. They'll come in all the crank arm lengths you'd expect, from 160mm all the way to 177.5mm. The Q-factor is 148mm.
Freehub (in)compatibility?Will the new cassettes work on my existing wheelsets?
The answer is yes, they will. While Shimano have developed a new spline fitting pattern, they have taken the effort to make this backward compatible.
You can use your 11-speed wheels with 12 speed cassettes, but it doesn't work the other way around. You cannot use 12 speed wheels and install 11 speed cassettes on them.
And yes, Shimano are also announcing new wheelsets. Both DURA-ACE and Ultegra.
This probably doesn't come as a surprise, but besides the extra gear, the main feature of the next-generation Di2 series is Wireless Shifting
For a long time Di2 was known for its impressive battery life. You can easily ride 2500 kilometers on a single charge. The single battery is also the system's downside, forcing bike builders to route Di2 wires from the shifters to the bottom bracket area, through the already crowded frame and handlebars.
SRAM's fully wireless system, on the other hand, features smaller batteries that you can swap between derailleurs as you see fit. These don't last as long as Shimano's larger battery and it's not uncommon to end up with a flat battery if you're not careful.
Best of both worlds
DURA-ACE R9270 and Ultegra R8170 utilise a semi-wireless system, offering you the best of both worlds. Ease of installation and a battery charge that'll last for about 1000km between charges.
The shift levers both feature a wireless transmitter and a CR1632 coincell battery each to power them. Each coincell battery should last for 1.5 - 2 years of use.
The levers send shift commands to the other wireless transmitter/receiver - the rear derailleur.
If a front derailleur is installed, it'll receive its shift signals from the rear derailleur. Both derailleurs are connected to a single battery - the BT-DN300 Internal Battery.
Shimano's tests have shown that, when shifting wirelessly, the new BT-DN300 battery can go about 1000km between charges.
This is less than the 2500-3000km I'm used to from the previous generation BT-DN100 and the difference is caused by the new wireless system and improved shifting performance.
The new derailleur has its BluetoothLE connection 'always' open, listening for shifting signals from the shift levers. It makes sense for this to impact battery life and 1000km is still good enough for me.
Wired is an option too // Rim brakes
Don't fancy wireless? Then perhaps it's good to know you can run the new Di2 system wired too! It's completely up to you.
If you're running disc brakes, that is.
Rim brake users may initially be disappointed hearing this, but sorry - no wireless shifting for you. The focus for development was mainly on the disc brake components and I don't think this is a bad thing.
Personally I have no issues at all running a Di2 system wired - and you still get the 12th sprocket! Perhaps even better, running a Di2 system wired increases battery performance by up to 50%!
Shift levers and switches
As you have no doubt read above, only the disc levers support wireless shifting. The rim brake levers are basically the same as the previous generation levers, but with EW-SD300 ports.
And no, it looks like you cannot use previous generation shifters with the new system. At least not at this time.
Looking at the images of the new levers I wondered what the small 'window' is that you can see at the front. There are two of them and they looked a bit odd to me.
As it turns out, these are status indicator LEDs. They are used when pairing shift levers to the system and will also light up when the battery needs replacing.
New Di2 shift levers, at least the wireless kind, are powered by one CR1632 battery each. These batteries will last 1.5 - 2 years and are easily replaced.
Of course you can set up the buttons any way you see fit, using E-Tube Project mobile.
New Di2 sprint shifters
Finally, Shimano have also launched some new sprint shifters, the very small SW-RS801-S which is to be used in the drops, and the larger SW-RS801-T, to be installed on top of the handlebar.
Not much is known about these at the moment, but I'll find out at Eurobike.
No more junctions
Yep. That's right. You can now build a Di2 bike without using any junction boxes! The new BT-DN300 Internal Battery has two E-Tube ports, allowing you to connect both Front Derailleur and Rear Derailleur using just two wires. This is definitely a big step forward when it comes to building bikes.
So if there is no junction, how do you charge the bike? How do you enter adjustment mode, or trigger crash mode reset?
The charge port itself has moved from Junction A to the rear derailleur. This is also what you'd traditionally use to connect the bike to a Windows computer and update firmware.
Whether or not the new charger will also let users connect to E-Tube for Windows is not known at this time. I'll update the page as more information comes in.
Of course, since the system supports wireless communications via the rear derailleur, you can change all settings via E-Tube Project mobile.
Let's take a closer look at the R9250 and R8150 components
Building one of these new generation Di2 bikes will require a lot less wires than they used to, but everything else has pretty much stayed the same.
You still need a battery, one or two derailleurs, shifters and other small parts. I've spent a bit of time getting all the component pages online for all of the new components.
DURA-ACE R9200 Components
|ST-R9250 Wired Shift Lever (rim brake)||320 g (pair)|
|ST-R9270 Wireless Shift Lever (hydraulic disc brake)||350 g (pair)|
|BR-R9270-F / BR-R9270-R Disc brake calipers||229 g (pair)|
|RD-R9250 Rear Derailleur (12 speed)||215 g|
|FD-R9250-F Front Derailleur(12 speed)||96 g|
|FC-R9200 Crankset||690 g|
|FC-R9200-P Power Meter Crankset||748 g|
|DURA-ACE Cassette (11-30T, 12 speed)||223 g|
The total weight for a DURA-ACE R9270 disc brake groupset is 2438 g (without power meter), while the rim brake R9250 weighs slightly less.
Ultegra R8150 Components
|ST-R8150 Wired Shift Lever (rim brake)||360 g (pair)|
|ST-R8170 Wireless Shift Lever (hydraulic disc brake)||391 g (pair)|
|BR-R8170-F / BR-R8170-R Disc brake calipers||282 g (pair)|
|RD-R8150 Rear Derailleur (12 speed)||262 g|
|FD-R8150-F Front Derailleur(12 speed)||116 g|
|FC-R8100 Crankset||711 g|
|FC-R8100 Power Meter Crankset||769 g|
|Ultegra Cassette (11-30T, 12 speed)||297 g|
Of course that's not all there is to know about the new R9250 / R8150 Di2 series. There's is plenty more information available, but I'll add that to the site as I actually get some hands-on with the new components.
Image copyright: Irmo Keizer / Andreas Dobslaff - Shimano.