After years of lagging behind SRAM’s wireless innovation, Shimano wireless road groupsets are here. The brand is also introducing its first 12-speed setups.
In 2015, the SRAM RED eTap became the world’s first wireless road groupset. Six years later, Shimano has responded to the signal.
Today, the brand announced its first wireless groupsets for road bikes. The newest versions of the Ultegra and Dura-Ace groupsets will cut the cord and add a gear, shifting Shimano into the 12-speed category.
Shimano has built its reputation on reliability. The Japanese manufacturer might have taken its time getting its wireless groupset to market, but it says the Dura-Ace R9200 will deliver “the world’s fastest, most precise shifting.”
Time will tell whether Shimano’s new wireless groups shoulder SRAM out of the inside track. But after redesigning its electronic shifting system and updating a slew of other components, Shimano seems poised to strike.
Redesigned Di2 System
Both of Shimano’s new groupsets start with the redesigned Di2 electronic shifting system. It uses wireless tech developed in-house by Shimano to generate lightning-fast responses: 58% faster rear shifting and 45% faster front shifting than the previous wired R9100 Di2 setup.
Both derailleurs get power from one internal, wired battery. They’re connected to limit mechanical hassles and simplify the build process by eliminating junctions. Shimano says it also simplifies charging and stays secure on rough terrain.
Shimano Wireless Groupset Highlights
Beyond the wireless innovation, Shimano infuses both its new groupsets with utile and thoughtful updates.
The Dura-Ace R9200 and (more affordable) Ultegra R8100 retain 11-tooth small cogs in the drivetrain from the previous designs, both for efficiency and retrofit compatibility. The groupset’s 11-30 and 11-34 cassettes offer a wide span of gear ratios and are notably backward compatible with any HG freehub. Hyperglide+ tooth profiles make their way over from the MTB side to facilitate smooth shifts.
The Dura-Ace crankset features three chainring options, the biggest being a 54-40T for those with real sprinting prowess, and power meter cranks are available.
The cockpits get a redesign from the previous series, geared toward ergonomics. Taller hoods on the bars offer better purchase, and the levers stand out 4.6 mm further than on the previous iteration to allow a wider gap for fingers.
The lever switches are both longer and more offset than previously, and shift buttons are available on the tops and the drops.
Speed only matters when you have the ability to control it, Shimano says, so the brakes get an update too. Each groupset gets the same brake system with Shimano’s Servo Wave technology, which delivers a faster bite and a wider control area.
The caliper also gets a handy redesign that separates the bleed port and valve screw, so it’s possible to bleed the system without taking the caliper off. Rim or disc brakes are available.
Wheels are full-carbon and tubeless, with 21mm internal rim widths at three different depths: 36, 50, and 60 mm. The new wheels drop up to 161 g compared to the previous Shimano groupsets.
Pricing and Availability
Shimano’s first wireless road groupsets will be available in fall 2021. Components in the Ultegra are significantly less expensive than the Dura-Ace’s. But consumers should plan to spend well over $5,000 for the highest spec available and about $2,500 on the low end.
To geek out over every detail of the kit, visit Shimano’s groupset page.