Home
New Ultegra R8000 has landed, but here's why you might want the existing version… and it's a bargain right now

[This article was last updated on September 13, 2018]

Shimano's new Ultegra R8000 groupset is now widely available, both on bikes and as parts. If you're considering an Ultegra upgrade, should you get the new groupset, or pick up the old Ultegra 6800 at a bargain price?

Check out the new Ultegra R8000 groupset here.

Here are the potential advantages of grabbing an Ultegra 6800 groupset while you still can.

Cost

First, and most obviously, there’s the cost.

Online retailer Mantel.com, for example, is currently selling the Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset for £580.20 (compared to the RRP of £999.99). That comprises the chainset, dual control shifters, brakes, derailleurs, cassette, chain, and bottom bracket.

Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset - crank

Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset - crank

The RRPs on that lot for new Ultegra R8000 are:

Component price
Chainset £249.99
Dual control shifters (mechanical/rim brake) £319.99
Brakes (dual pivot, pair) £139.98
Front derailleur £49.99
Rear derailleur £84.99
Cassette £74.99
Chain £34.99
Bottom bracket £29.99
Total £984.91

 

However, you can now get Ultegra R8000 for as little as £620, the 6800 incarnation is getting hard to find and those outlets that still have it don't offer a wide range of options. Want 165mm cranks or a 12-25 cassette? Sorry.

Read our Beginner's guide to groupsets here.

Weight

Shimano boasts that, “At its lightest set up (Di2 with mechanical braking) Ultegra R8000 weighs 4,071g, which is an 84.5g saving over Ultegra 6800.”

Okay, but that 84.5g saving includes wheels and pedals, and many people will already have favourite wheels and pedals.

Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset - rear brake.jpg

Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset - rear brake.jpg

In some formats, outgoing Ultegra 6800 is actually a little lighter than incoming Ultegra R8000.

If you want mechanical shifting and rim brakes, for example, this is how the two systems compare (according to Shimano’s own figures):

  Ultegra 6800 Ultegra R8000
Chainset (50-34T) 676g 674g
Dual control shifters (mech) 425g 438g
Brakes (rim) 335g 360g
Front derailleur (braze on) 89g 92g
Rear derailleur 195g 200g
Cassette (11-25) 232g 232g
Chain (114 links) 257g 257g
Bottom bracket 63g 63g
Total 2,272g 2,316g

So in that setup Ultegra 6800 is 44g lighter.

Weight certainly isn’t the be all and end all – function is way more important – and 44g is negligible anyway, but the point we’re making is simply that you’re not necessarily going to save grams by going for Ultegra R8000.

Check out our guide to Shimano groupsets.

Ultegra 6800 is well-proven

Ultegra 6800 is an excellent groupset; check out our review here.

road.cc’s Dave Atkinson said, “The bottom line is: for the serious fitness rider or privateer racer, as a package, this is as good as a mechanical groupset has ever been.”

We’ve used Ultegra 6800 loads since that review was written and we stand by the view that, “As a whole package… Shimano Ultegra 6800 is everything you want from a mechanical performance groupset. It's light, the shifts are crisp and quick, the braking is truly excellent.”

Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset - rear mech.jpg

Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset - rear mech.jpg

It has proven to be durable too.

Ultegra R8000 is turning out to be equally impressive, but you certainly shouldn't dismiss 6800 on raw performance alone.

Fair enough, you might want some of the new features that Ultegra R8000 offers (go to our previous story to read all about those). Dual pivot brakes with enough clearance for 28mm tyres might be important to you, for example, you might really like the new hoods and levers design of the R8000 dual control shifters, or you might be putting together a low-geared build for riding in the mountains and want R8000's ability to handle a 34-tooth sprocket.

If you don't need those features, though, Ultegra 6800 remains an outstanding groupset, and you'll still save a bit of money.

About road.cc Buyer's Guides

The aim of road.cc buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

Our guides include links to websites where you can buy the featured products. Like most sites we make a small amount of money if you buy something after clicking on one of those links. We want you to be happy with what you buy, so we only include a product in a if we think it's one of the best of its kind.

As far as possible that means recommending equipment that we have actually reviewed, but we also include products that are popular, highly-regarded benchmarks in their categories.

Here's some more information on how road.cc makes money.

You can also find further guides on our sister sites off.road.cc and ebiketips.

Road.cc buyer's guides are maintained and updated by John Stevenson. Email John with comments, corrections or queries.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

11 comments

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds [2304 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Shifters/mechs/brakes are fine, I don't buy Shimano cranks, overpriced for what they are, a few faulty units out of hundreds of thousands is meaningless however.

Right now 6800 isn't cheap enough from retailers compared to 8000, second hand/lightly used stuff is going for peanuts. You'd be beter off going for 5800/105 shifters, just as good as Ultegra and a lot cheaper, buy the rest individually because it's never cheaper buying as a groupset.

Avatar
littlemig [9 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Can you use 6800 or 5800 shifters with r7000 or r8000 rear mech? Would like a 34t sprocket on my cross bike when I upgrade.

Avatar
fukawitribe [2548 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
littlemig wrote:

Can you use 6800 or 5800 shifters with r7000 or r8000 rear mech? Would like a 34t sprocket on my cross bike when I upgrade.

Are you changing rear mech from 5/6800 GS to 7/8000 ? If so you won't need to just to cope with a 34T, doesn't even really need a B-screw tweak with the 6800 GS at least - nice to have the Shadow profile for 'cross though.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds [2304 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
littlemig wrote:

Can you use 6800 or 5800 shifters with r7000 or r8000 rear mech? Would like a 34t sprocket on my cross bike when I upgrade.

Cable pull is the same so yes.

 

Avatar
Psychodo [1 post] 2 months ago
1 like

weird.. today on chainreaction for US buyers the 8000 groupset is only $32  more than the 6800.  

Avatar
Vejnemojnen [288 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

https://www.mantel.com/de/shimano-ultegra-r8000-gruppe?r=L2RlL2tvbXBsZXR...

 

available with wide range of front chainwheels and cassette options.

 

46-36 with 12-25 is pretty much perfect for my country  1

Avatar
jasecd [534 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

I’ve had 6800 on my main road bike for about 3 years now and after 7,000 miles it still works as if it was new. I’m currently riding from Berlin to London and when I arrived at the airport I reattached the mech and it shifts perfectly. Totally solid and dependable in my experience - I can’t say enough good things about it.

Avatar
PRSboy [312 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

I've been a campag man, but got 6800 on a new bike a couple of years ago.  Been absolutely delighted with it, shift quality is fantastic and its been trouble-free.

I imagine 8000 is even better, so if its still available at around £500 that's a steal... I would need to save more than £50 to buy a 6800 over the newer one.

Avatar
Sub4 [72 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

I’ve worked with 11s Ultegra for a good few years now & currently have 8000 on one of my bikes. I’m increasingly convinced that 6800 has more tolerance at the rear mech. 8000 is great, for sure  though it needs more frequent fettling to keep it perfect. 6800 requires very little interference once set up right.

Avatar
littlemig [9 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
fukawitribe wrote:
littlemig wrote:

Can you use 6800 or 5800 shifters with r7000 or r8000 rear mech? Would like a 34t sprocket on my cross bike when I upgrade.

Are you changing rear mech from 5/6800 GS to 7/8000 ? If so you won't need to just to cope with a 34T, doesn't even really need a B-screw tweak with the 6800 GS at least - nice to have the Shadow profile for 'cross though.

I have claris at the moment with a compact and an 11-32 cassette. Bit clunky, mostly works fine and cheap parts but need lower gears for some of the inclines I ride on the South downs way around Brighton. I think sram 1x would probably be more ideal for off road but limited budget and I do ride the bike on the road as a winter road bike so I am thinking a r8000 rx rear mech gs, r7000 11-34 cassette/chain and a sub compact. Then second hand 5800 shifters and front mech.

Avatar
Pigpen [20 posts] 6 days ago
0 likes

My new bike came with 8000 fitted, but what I did find was a 6800 4iii power meter arm was £200 cheaper than an 8000 one. Also unless you are able to see both sides of the bike together you would never know.