It won’t surprise many of you to learn that most of the technology that has made it onto the new Ultegra R8000 groupset has migrated across from Shimano’s top-tier Dura-Ace line.
In fact, most of the components share what we can safely assume to be more than just a resemblance to the latest generation Dura-Ace R9100 components, which were released back in January.
The all-important colour appears to have got a shade or two darker from the outgoing Ultegra, with the new parts wearing a two-tone contrast finish.
Shimano Ultegra BR-R8070 hydraulic disc brakes
For the first time ever we are seeing the Ultegra marque stamped on hydraulic disc brakes. The closest we’ve come prior to these parts is Shimano’s popular RS-ST685 shift levers, which were sold at roughly an Ultegra level but never held the branding.
The angular flat-mount BR-R8070 calipers appear extremely similar to the BR-R9170 components that belong to new Dura-Ace and include Shimano’s Ice-Tech pads for improved heat management.
The SM-RT800 disc rotor uses the same three-part sandwich construction as previous designs, putting an aluminium core either side of two stainless steel layers.
Larger cooling fins make for an almost solid appearance but one that is easily distinguished from the mostly black Dura-Ace rotors.
Shimano Ultegra R8000 STIs – more precise and ergonomic shifters, further Di2 functionality
The new ST-R8020 hydraulic/mechanical and ST-R8070 hydraulic/Di2 levers appear to have ergonomics similar to that of Shimano’s Dura-Ace equivalents, those being the ST-R9120 and ST-R9170 levers.
Both the Di2 and mechanical levers are said to offer a more defined and positive shift action, which addresses criticism that has often been levelled at Di2 levers of old.
Front shifting is claimed to be lighter when paired with the new FD-R8000, and the levers offer a greater range of reach adjustment than before, as well as more free stroke adjustment for the hydraulic versions.
Shimano also claims to use ‘lightweight race-ready materials’ for their construction, and right now we are interpreting that to mean a carbon lever blade.
Shimano Ultegra FC-R8000 Hollowtech II crankset
In aesthetic terms the new FC-R8000 Ultegra cranks are somewhere between the outgoing 6800 version and the more recent Dura-Ace R9100beefy 4-arm design is said to be stiffer and lighter (by just 2g for a 50/34t) than the current 6800 design.
The crankset’s outer chain ring features Shimano’s Hollowglide technology, meaning it’s a highly rigid yet hollow structure to cut down on weight and maintain strength for more precise front shifting. As with R9100, a wider gear pitch increases clearances for road bikes with discs, particularly for those with a shorter rear triangle. In practice that should mean a groupset that’s more tolerant of sub-optimal chainlines.
Crankset options include a standard 53-39t ratio, mid-compact 52-36t, compact 50-34t, along with a cyclocross-specific 46-36t. Unlike Dura-Ace it doesn’t seem like we will be seeing an integrated power meter anytime soon.
Shimano Ultegra FD-R8050 Di2 front derailleur
Details are light on Shimano’s new Ultegra Di2 front derailleur but we do know it has been designed to offer smooth shifts even under high pedalling torque. Just like the chainset, improved clearances mean that this part will now play nice with chainstays as short as 410mm on bikes with a regular 135mm rear end.
Shimano Ultegra RD-R8050 Di2 rear derailleur
The new RD-R8050 rear derailleur looks remarkably compact for an electronic component — just cast your mind back to the chunky first generation Di2 derailleurs. The RD-R8050 also sports the low-profile Shadow design that debuted on Shimano’s mountain bike derailleurs many years ago and more recently on Dura-Ace R9100.
Two versions will be sold, an SS short cage part, which is good for cassettes between 11-25t and 11-30t and a longer cage GS version which will now support a cassette with a 34 tooth big sprocket.
Shimano Ultegra CS-R8000 and CS-HG800 cassettes
The 11-speed cassette sprocket of new Ultegra comes in six ‘standard’ sizes (CS-R8000; 11-25t, 11-28t, 11-30t, 11-32t, 12-25t, 14-28t) while the new wider range 11-34t (CS-HG800) cassette that we mentioned above can be used with the longer of two derailleurs (GS rather than SS).
The 11-34t is the same width as Shimano’s mountain bike cassettes, so it will fit on MTB wheels or road wheels with an extra spacer.
Like Shimano’s current Di2 components, the new generation parts are fully compatible with the company’s full and semi-synchronized shifting programmes. The former requires the rider to operate one shifter only (the right-hand one, by default), issuing an ‘up’ or ‘down’ command, and the system decides when to shift the front derailleur.
In ‘semi-synchronized’ mode, the rider shifts normally, but front shifts are accompanied by an automated rear shift to smooth the transition, avoiding a sudden change in effort.
As with Dura-Ace, there’s considerable scope for customisation of the shifting arrangements using Shimano’s own app.
Shimano Ultegra FD-R8000 mechanical front derailleur
Shimano is particularly proud of the FD-R8000 front derailleur, claiming that its new link construction matches the “force curve” of the hand more naturally, to reduce effort towards the end of a shift.
This new design does away with the long arm used on the current 6800 Ultegra and at the same time also allows for more flexible cable routing, as a cable tension adjustment is built into the derailleur.
There’s no need to mess around with the old TL-FD68 cable setup tool, and no inline barrel adjuster is required either. Like the Di2 equivalent, it works comfortably for designs with a short rear centre (minimum 410mm with a rear O.L.D of 135mm).
Shimano Ultegra RD-R8000 rear derailleur
Like the Di2 version, the RD-R8000 mechanical rear derailleur inherits Shimano’s low profile Shadow design. The mechanical derailleur’s limit adjust screws now use hex heads as they have done on Di2 for some time.
Shimano Ultegra BR-R8000 dual-pivot brake caliper
A new angular design distinguishes Shimano’s latest dual-pivot caliper brakes from the parts used in the 6800 groupset and they’re claimed to be more efficient too.
A narrower gap between the arms makes for slicker looks, despite this there’s still room for 28mm tyres. Lighter direct-mount front and rear versions are also going to be available.
All-new Shimano Ultegra wheels
Complementing the new Ultegra line-up are two new lightweight wheelsets: the tubeless carbon-laminate WH-RS700 rim brake wheels (which replace the Ultegra WH-6800) and the tubeless WH-RS770 disc brake wheels (pictured below) with thru-axles.
New hubs (HB/FH-RS700/770) at the heart of each wheel save just under 60g compared to a pair of Ultegra 6800 hubs, while the rims use a new lighter yet stiffer carbon layup procedure to create a rim brake wheelset that comes in 80g lighter than its predecessor.
- WH-RS700 claimed weight: 1568g
- WH-RS770 claimed weight: 1639g
Shimano Ultegra ST-8060 Synchronized TT shifters
A new pair of new dual control Ultegra ST-8060 levers offers a simpler and lighter shifting solution for triathletes and time trial riders.
These shifters use just one button per side and utilise Shimano’s Syncronized Shifting technology (as explained above). One shift button and the switch box of the ST-6871 unit have been removed, making the design smaller, shorter and more aerodynamic.
Article from bike radar: see full link here: http://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/article/shimano-ultegra-r8000-r8020-r8050-r8070-50080/