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Is a MECHANICAL 12-speed Shimano 105 groupset coming in 2023 after all?

New evidence suggests Shimano's mid-range 105 groupset will be available with mechanical shifting to sit alongside the Di2 version

With everyone having finally got their heads around Shimano’s 12-speed 105 groupset now being Di2 (electronic) only, the KHS Bicycles website suggests the Japanese component giant will be offering a new version of 105 with mechanical (cable-operated) shifting. We owe Bicycling the credit for this story.

What we have here is a 2024 KHS Bicycles Flite 700 road bike fitted with a mechanical Shimano 105 groupset. The components pictured look like they’re from the previous-generation Shimano 105 R7000 groupset. R7000 was released in the 2018 model year.

However, the KHS website specifically lists a Shimano 105 FD R7100 front derailleur, a Shimano 105 RD R7100 rear derailleur, and Shimano 105 ST-R7120 shifters.

2023 KHS Shimano 105 mechanical - 1

None of these components exists in the current Shimano range. The latest 105 series is R7100 but the electronic components are RD-R7150 (rear derailleur), FD-R7150 (front derailleur), and ST-R7170 shifters (you’re taking notes, right?).

Second, KHS lists the bike as featuring a 12-speed 11/36-tooth cassette. Shimano 105 R7000 was 11-speed and the medium cage could handle a maximum sprocket size of 34-tooth.

Third – we are up to three now, aren’t we? – KHS lists a 12-speed chain.

On top of that, the spec sheet shows a Shimano FC-RS520 Compact chainset. This is a non-series (meaning that it doesn’t belong to a groupset) option designed for 12-speed drivetrains. Although this already exists, it further suggests that the other drivetrain components are specifically 12-speed and that the spec sheet isn’t just the result of an admin error.

…and that rests the case for the prosecution. We’d say it’s a strong case, Shimano is banged to rights here, and there’s going to be a new mechanical-shifting version of its R7100 groupset sometime this year.

2023 KHS Shimano 105 mechanical - 1 (1)

> Check out our Shimano 105 R7100 Di2 groupset review here 

We’re big fans of Shimano 105 R7100 Di2 – the shift quality and speed are excellent and the braking is both powerful and reliable – but the issue is that it’s not cheap. With 105 having jumped massively in price with the move to electronic shifting, there’s a big price gap down to fourth-tier Tiagra.

Shimano Tiagra R4700 is currently 10-speed and mechanical only. Shimano 105 R7000 is currently 12-speed and Di2 only. Although we’re expecting a new version of Tiagra this year, it would make sense for Shimano to plug the gap with a mechanical version of 105, giving bike brands and end consumers the option of saving money by foregoing Di2. Shimano always used to boast that 105 was the most popular groupset in the world; adding an updated mechanical version would make for an easier defence of that position.

Spoiler alert: Jamie is preparing a video on rising prices in the bike industry that will show you exactly how much Shimano 105 has increased (taking inflation into account) over recent years. It’s a lot!

Okay, so there’s all the evidence as well as a rationale explaining why Shimano might want to introduce Shimano 105 R7100 with mechanical shifting. What do you think?

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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33 comments

Avatar
Kim Chee | 1 year ago
1 like

The best thing for Microshift would be for Shimano to cease mechanical shifter-making. I am AMAZED at the humble 9 speed Advent (with upgraded metal thumb shifters) shifers, cassette, and RD on my fat bike! If their drop bar shifters are anything like Advent, who cares what Shimano does?

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IanMSpencer replied to Kim Chee | 1 year ago
1 like

On old MTBs, I used Microshift replacement shifters to resurrect them economically. Never had any complaints and I thought they felt really nice to use.

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geomannie 531 | 1 year ago
1 like

IMHO this is a sensible move, but I see the same old mindset with over-geared chainsets. 50/34 is lower than offerings of yesteryear, but I hang out with lots of good older cyclists who want to push something even smaller. At the same time, they want a good quality groupset. Where is the (say) 42/28 option? It might sound undergeared to cycling athletes but spinning-out on a 42 chainring with 11 teeth at the rear will give you around 30mph, which frankly is way faster than I can push a bike on the flat. For sure you will be a bit slower downhill but I (& this is important) am not racing, not are my cycling companions.

I hang out in another place & the forum is endlessly about "how do I lower my gearing?". How about the manufacturers listening to their actual market & providing the product?

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kinderje replied to geomannie 531 | 1 year ago
1 like

Agree - although I am happy with 50/34 I have 11-28 on the rear and would much rather prefer 12-30 (or higher!) 

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IanMSpencer replied to geomannie 531 | 1 year ago
1 like

My Giant Revolt has a 48/31 crank and those couple of notches less are pleasantly noticeable.

As you say, in social riding you are unlikely to be tanking it down hill, it's free cycling, recharging yourself for the next uphill.

I notice that locally there are the cycle club rides where we tend to go for distance (say 50 miles for a "morning ride"), whereas the local mates informal groups will tend towards shorter high speed rides, say 30 miles aiming for 20mph. Those two groups will want different set ups - indeed will prefer different bikes.

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Rik Mayals unde... | 1 year ago
2 likes

After decades of using Shimano, I moved across to Campagnolo when I changed my Colnago C40 Dura Ace, to a Colnago C60. I had Campagnolo Super Record RS fitted. In a different league to Shimano for performance and looks. So, when I replaced my 50,000 mile winter bike, I didn't hesitate, and put Record 12 speed on. The spare parts availability of Campagnolo seems to be much better than Shimano too.

And Campagnolo are still making mechanical groupsets.

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IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
1 like

Let's go back 10 years. 10 speed met all your needs and there was compatibility all the way from Tiagra to Dura-Ace. Tiagra was a little bit nasty in places but quite usable unlike Sora which had barely useable shifters.

There's good reason to bring everything back in line, but I guess one of the issues is that Shimano has put quality into even Claris so gear count is a better price differentiator than quality (especially as quality is now basically weight more than function).

I moved up from 105 to Ultegra for the Di2 and discs, but it was an extravagance (I would happily be on 105 on the current offerings).

I guess what makes me really nervous is longevity because what the range of 10+ years ago gave was the opportunity to sling on a perfectly functional alternative if you needed to repair if you didn't feel old faithful warranted a series replacement. You used to be even able to fudge across speeds to some extent. Now I'm a bit nervous that if my 2017 series 11 speed needs replacement components will there be a suitable component available at economic price, given the poor compatibility even with current Ultegra?

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RoubaixCube replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
0 likes

time to stock up on cassettes, chains and chainrings then.

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Rendel Harris replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
0 likes
IanMSpencer wrote:

Let's go back 10 years. 10 speed met all your needs

And still does, who outside pros and top amateurs really is so accurate in their effort and cadence that they desperately need those two extra cogs? Not me for sure, very happy with my 2014 Ultegra Di2 10sp and hoping I won't be forced into unnecessary upgrades due to lack of spares for a while yet.

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IanMSpencer replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
2 likes

I think us feeble amateurs get the benefit when you start having 34 or 36 rear cogs. The pros will fit what suits but we want one cassette which stays on the bike. 10 speed was fine with a triple and a 12/27, but being a bit feeble I find that I've got a pretty narrow torque range so with the wide spread the extra cog does help, it stopped me hunting around on one or two of the gears where I was unable to maintain revs or over-spinning at a cruise which is what happened on my 105 10 speed.

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wtjs replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
0 likes

36-ers are dirt cheap on the excellent Sora 9-speed, which I have on the gravel trailer tower and the Halfords Intercity folder

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check12 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
0 likes

13-28 10 speed cassette one cassette to rule them all 

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Jamminatrix | 1 year ago
1 like

NO, there will NOT be a new 12 speed 105 mechanical groupset.  The reason?  Because of cost and practicality.  Not having Dura-Ace or Ultegra mechanical means not having an already established design and trickledown tech.  Shimano would basically have to design completely new components for just one series, which are more costs for R&D, completely new tooling, another new manufacturing line, stocking new inventory, etc.  Shimano is not going to do all that work for one groupset series.  Maybe if they still made Ultegra and Dura-Ace mechanical they would do that, as all three groupsets have crossshare of various tooling and assembly in Japan, but not for one new group.

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Off the back replied to Jamminatrix | 1 year ago
1 like

Even so, 105 is the most widely sold groupset and is fitted to more new bikes than DA and Ultegra and probably any other road groupset on the market. That alone would make it plausible. 

For many, DA and even Ultegra mechanical were too costly and 105 hit a sweetspot in price and performance. being Di2 has made it essentially Ultegra in all but name. Even if they dont make a mechanical groupset above it, they still need that tech to trickle down to Tiagra, Sora etc. They can't and won't just stop developing new components. 105 would just become the top level mechanical groupset. 

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themuffle replied to Jamminatrix | 1 year ago
2 likes
Jamminatrix wrote:

NO, there will NOT be a new 12 speed 105 mechanical groupset.  

Eh? Have you read the article? Can you not see the images? You think KHS invented this? 

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IanMSpencer replied to Jamminatrix | 1 year ago
2 likes

I doubt that the change from 11 speed mechanical to 12 is a major change. There are probably 3 or 4 parts in the 105 shifter that would need changing, and the rear mech the same, if at all. The crank, cassettes and chain exist.

It really depends whether the accuracy of change for 12 is there on cable. I doubt the one extra gear is too difficult, the amount of pull between shifts is very similar, and might be simply a ratchet change in the shifter, and possibly a slight gearing change in the rear shifter. The minor tooling costs are on the component suppliers, the assembly would be identical to current 105.

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mark1a | 1 year ago
1 like

My prediction was that next-gen Tiagra would become 11 speed and effectively be based on a trickled down 5800, therefore providing the sweetspot mid-range groupset that 105 was known for. If this still happens, and the R7000 mechanical 12 speed is true, then multiple bases are covered.

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Generally speaking | 1 year ago
3 likes

Hands up who saw this coming 🙌, A company which still makes a 7 speed groupset was never going to leave so much money on the table, this also means a 12 speed  GRX mechanical groupset can't be too far behind 🤞

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festina | 1 year ago
0 likes

KHS's 2024 range is out already? They are ahead of the curve.

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Surreyrider replied to festina | 1 year ago
2 likes

Something doesn't add up here. A number of 2023 models aren't even available yet. Not sure about the business logic of bringing out a 105 12-speed mechanical groupset that damages sales of the newly released electronic version (that is probably an understatement). It's far more likely that Tiagra will be made 11-speed, although even that would have an impact. 

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Jimmy Ray Will | 1 year ago
2 likes

Surely this groupset is essential for the industry. 

I was reminded of the 105 price hike this week when one of the big online retailers showed an advert promoting their groupset sale. Mechanical 7000 series 105 was being advertised at £299, whilst the new groupset was up for £1,350.

Now they are far from like for like groups... electric, 12 speed and disc, etc. but its still a ridiculous price difference. 

The extra gear and disc over rim braking should be seen as simply technology progressing, and should therefore, to me anyway, only ellicit a small price increase over the previous generation. It seems you are paying a mighty premium to run electronics over cables. 

The new groupset is a bit like advertising a new Mondeo model with 100% more boot space. Only, in achieving this, the wheelbase has doubled, the vehicle is now classed as a commercial van, and the price has trebled. Same name, different product / purpose. 

 

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festina replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 1 year ago
0 likes

But £299 is at a massive discount from MSRP as shops clear old stock. However the price diff between mech 105 disc and Di2 disc is significant even at MSRP.
Will we get a mech 105 or will Tiagra be remodelled in it's place. It's due for a refresh.

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Jimmy Ray Will replied to festina | 1 year ago
3 likes

To be fair, £299 was what I think I paid for the last 105 groupset I purchased four years ago, so whilst definitely discounted, I don't think that figure is unreflective of its value. 

The MSRP for 105 12 speed is ~£1,750 so significantly more than the sale price too. 

 

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Jamminatrix replied to festina | 1 year ago
2 likes
festina wrote:

But £299 is at a massive discount from MSRP as shops clear old stock.

105 mechanical has basically been under £350 for at least three years now (exception being Covid panedmic price spikes when availability did not exist).  They are hardly clearing them out.  Shimano 105 11spd mechanical is still technically in production (for now, until Tiagra becomes 11spd), as Shimano needs to keep some official level of product availability and support for 11spd drivetrains - the 105 mechanical line is serving as that.  Break an 11spd Dura-Ace shifter?  Well 11spd 105 shifter is your replacement.  Need a new 11spd Ultegra cassette for your Ultegra groupset?  Well an 11spd 105 cassette is your replacement.

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kil0ran replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 1 year ago
0 likes

It's certainly distorted the market there not being a mechanical 105 group available. The problem is that it's seen as an aspirational group, pro tech at amateur prices. Given how good current Tiagra is unless you're racing I don't think you really need to go 105 or higher. The only difference is one sprocket and for most riders it won't make a difference (in fact they'll benefit from easier setup, cheaper replacement parts, and official support for 34T). But then you get reviews complaining about pro level carbon frames being dressed with Tiagra. There's now a big jump from Tiagra to 105 bikes for all those brands selling the same frame throughout their range, and that's a hard sell because it exposes just how much you're paying for Di2. Used to be £100-£200 difference between each of Claris/Sora/Tiagra/105 before a bigger jump for Ultegra and Dura-Ace, now it's £600-£700 extra for 105.

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Jimmy Ray Will replied to kil0ran | 1 year ago
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A problem for me is the fact that Tiagra is 10speed, so a definite step back over mechanical 105. On Wiggle Tiagra will set you back over £500. Ouch.

But moreover, this isn't just about 105 not currnetly being available with a mechanical groupset, its about Ultegra not being available with a mechanical groupset. 

A couple of years back, a privateer racer could purchase 11speed mechanical Ultegra for well under a grand. 

Now their only sub grand (actually sub £1250) Shimano choice is 10 speed Tiagra. Nothing between £500 and £1250... nothing arguably in the biggest target budget. Opportunities await for manufacturers willing to step into that market gap. 

 

 

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Simon E replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 1 year ago
0 likes
Jimmy Ray Will wrote:

A problem for me is the fact that Tiagra is 10speed, so a definite step back over mechanical 105.

But one less cog means less weight. Or do you absolutely need a cassette that "goes to eleven"?

Many races have been won on 9 and 10 speed gearing. And why anyone would splash out for Ultegra on an everyday bike when we know the cranks break off after they've seen a bit of bad weather?

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wtjs replied to Simon E | 1 year ago
0 likes

And why anyone would splash out for Ultegra on an everyday bike when we know the cranks break off after they've seen a bit of bad weather?

I knew it! HP has hacked your account!

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Simon E replied to wtjs | 1 year ago
1 like
wtjs wrote:

I knew it! HP has hacked your account!

No, but he's complained about it on here enough times that it's now my first thought about when anyone mentions Ultegra - "oh yes, the breaky cranks".

Rendel Harris wrote:

I see your point but actually a 105 11 speed cassette is over 50 g lighter than a Tiagra 10 speed.

WHAT?!!?

Does. Not. Compute.

Just kidding, I'm happy to be corrected on that score. I get by just fine with 9 & 10 speed systems and relieved that 9sp chains are £10 and cassettes £20 at the moment.

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wtjs replied to Simon E | 1 year ago
0 likes

9sp chains are £10 and cassettes £20 at the moment

I've just checked back to my last order in October and the 11-36 Acera 9-speed was £28 and each of the 5 PC951 chains was £14. I'm quite happy with those prices and they should get me through 3 1/2 - 4 years, when I might get also away with just replacing the 30 chainring

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