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Shimano expert talks new Dura-Ace and Ultegra groupsets: find out everything you need to know

Liam interviews Tim Gerrits of Shimano for a deep dive into the new 12-speed groupsets

We've told you our interpretation of what Shimano has said about its new Dura-Ace and Ultegra groupsets... now it's time to hear from a Shimano expert himself. Liam Cahill caught up with product manager Tim Gerrits for an in-depth chat about the new groupsets, bars and wheels. 

> Shimano unveils Di2-only Dura-Ace groupset with “fastest-ever shifting”
> Shimano launches 12-speed Ultegra R8100 groupset that’s Di2 only

Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 Groupset

If you've been following the launch and all our coverage off the back of it, you'll know that both the top-tier Dura-Ace and second-tier Ultegra groupsets are now only offered with electronic shifting. They're also both 12-speed, and the shifting is now a semi-wireless system that is claimed to be faster than ever, with a new shifter profile.

"It [the shifter] is hiding a wireless communication towards the drivetrain. But that's not all, it hides a lot of technology on braking and much better ergonomics," says Tim. 

"Being able to control the brakes and the shifters from in the drops and on top of the hoods with multiple positions.

"...the brake lever gives a better control ration using Servo Wave technology, which is a different actuating ratio due to a smart cam system that we have on mountain bikes, that allows you better control of the brakes." 

Shimano expert on Dura-Ace R9200 - Everything you need to know 4-52 screenshot

> 34 bikes equipped with new Shimano Dura-Ace and Ultegra groupsets

Tim also explains further about the new wider gear ratios with less faff needed to access them - the new 11-34t cassette option can be mixed and matched with any chainring size, including the biggest 54-40t, which saves home and pro team mechanics a lot of headaches switching to specific long cage derailleurs to fit wider cassettes: 

“Now we have one rear mech that can cover three different cassettes in combination with all three different front combinations,” explains Tim.

“That was one of the demands we’ve seen in racing. Guys in hot stages in the Vuelta, they didn’t want to redo the whole bike the teams when they had to go up mountains. Especially the guys who were dropping and saving their legs for the next stages.

"They wanted to be able to pedal with a high rotation. Then they had to switch out all their derailleurs for an Ultegra long cage version which was undoable.

"Pro riding taught us that this combination of a racing gear but possible to combine with a climbing gear really helps, and it’s one package.”

Shimano expert on Dura-Ace R9200 - Everything you need to know 10-2 screenshot

> Are the new Shimano Dura-Ace and Ultegra groupsets a disappointment?

Remember those untidy junction boxes hanging about underneath your stem? That's fully a thing of the past, with the junction box on Dura-Ace 9200 and Ultegra R8100 moving to the rear derailleur: 

“Every operation on that button is exactly the same as the normal junction box, it’s simply moved,” Tim clarifies.

The quotes above are just three things Tim addresses that you might have missed from our launch stories, first ride and podcast episode. The full Liam Cahill grilling is over 12 minutes long, so just press play on the video for more. 

For more road.cc videos, head on over to our YouTube channel and subscribe.  

Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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9 comments

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Surreyrider | 2 years ago
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Jack/Liam - does Tim say why the hugely popular sportive 11-32 cassette has been dropped? From what I've seen so far, it seems brands are pairing the 11-34 cassette with the 50-34 chainrings when the semi-compact version would be a closer fit to the current 50-34 and 11-32 combination. 
And does he explain what will happen to the current 11-speed Di2?  

Avatar
Awavey replied to Surreyrider | 2 years ago
0 likes

If I was to put my cynical hat on based on that interview it's because...the pro riders and pro mechanics dont use it for racing.

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OnTheRopes | 2 years ago
1 like

No manual option means I will be switching to Campag next time I need a groupset.

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emjay49 replied to OnTheRopes | 2 years ago
3 likes

Good lad, sticking to the past.

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to OnTheRopes | 2 years ago
1 like
OnTheRopes wrote:

No manual option means I will be switching to Campag next time I need a groupset.

Thats the way, object to the cost increase of electronic shifting, by paying just as much for mechanical groupset.

That'll teach em for sure.

Don't forget you will also need to change your wheel freehubs

Avatar
khaostik replied to wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
2 likes

From what I've seen until today mechanical outlasts eletronics both in time and costs.

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wycombewheeler replied to khaostik | 2 years ago
0 likes
khaostik wrote:

From what I've seen until today mechanical outlasts eletronics both in time and costs.

probably, but I wonder about the need for ever increasing derailleur position accuracy as we have moved from 9 to 10 to 11 and now 12 speed. With the gaps between sprockets becoming smaller and smaller, and cables prone to stretch, there must come a point where meachical can't delievr the required accuray, unless people are turning their gears every fortnight

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matthewn5 replied to wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
0 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:

Don't forget you will also need to change your wheel freehubs

No you don't.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to matthewn5 | 2 years ago
0 likes

Campag cassettes won't fit on Shimano freehubs, will they?

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