SHIMANO’s new R8000 offers race-proven features for a wide range of users
SHIMANO’s new ULTEGRA R8000 features a multitude of top technologies that were previously only available in the high-end segment: Enormous but optimally controllable deceleration power with hydraulic disc brakes, ergonomically shaped mechanical and electronic shift/brake levers, Di2 gear knobs on the top of the handlebars for additional customisation options, particularly slim and easy-to-use shift/brake levers for time trials and triathlon thanks to Synchro-Shift as well as Shadow gear shift units with flat profile, which not only optimise shift performance, but also bring aerodynamic advantages, to name but a few.
With the introduction of the new ULTEGRA R8000 SHIMANO presents not only a cheaper version of the products proven in the professional sector. For the new ULTEGRA, SHIMANO engineers have used technologies that successfully employ the best professional teams in the world and adapted them in the new R8000 components so that they are also optimally suited for non-professionals and their specific requirements and offer maximum performance. The new ULTEGRA is characterized by individually adjustable, ergonomically optimized and under all conditions best controllable shift, brake and drive components – whether with hydraulic disc brakes or mechanical rim brakes, whether with mechanical gearshift or as an electronic Di2 system.
When developing the new ULTEGRA, the engineers focused equally on racing, training or leisure use, and so the R8000 components enable an immensely wide target group to rediscover the fun and pleasure of racing cycling with high-quality technology.
ULTEGRA R8000 DRIVE
The new HOLLOWTECH II crankset with its powerful four-arm design clearly shows the genes of the DURA-ACE R9100. Despite its enormous rigidity, which ensures optimum power transmission, the new R8000 crank is even more reserved than its predecessor on the scale (674 g, 50-34 Z). However, the chainring spacings have also been revised, which have been slightly increased, especially in view of the ever-increasing number of racing bikes with disc brakes. This creates more space for the frame and – in conjunction with the new derailleurs that are absolutely necessary for the new cranks – significantly improves shifting performance.
With SHIMANO’s HOLLOWGLIDE technology, the large chainrings offer maximum rigidity and low weight due to the hollow structure. This stiffness benefits the driver directly through the high shifting performance at the front. The R8000 cranks are available in numerous ratios: 53-39 teeth, 52-36 teeth, 50-34 teeth and in the typical Cyclocross ratio with 46-36 teeth.
The 11-speed cassettes are even available in six versions so that in combination with the different cranks, the right ratio can actually be selected for every type of driver, for every terrain and for every application scenario. The CS-R8000 cassettes are available with 11-25 Z, 11-28 Z, 11-30 Z, 11-32 Z, 12-25 Z and 14-28 Z. In addition, the CS-HG800 11-34 Z cassette already on the market, which can also be mounted on the road bike with an appropriate spacer included in the delivery, offers an even wider ratio option.
The new ULTEGRA SPD-SL carbon pedals also offer a proven performance advantage in the professional circus with a further 0.7 mm reduction in contact height. This increases the lever effect of the crank even further and correspondingly more leg force can be transferred directly to the wheel. In addition, the new pedals save another 12 g in weight, which is now 248 g. The new ULTEGRA pedals are also available with a 4 mm longer axle for optimum individual adaptation of the bike to the rider.
ULTERGRA R(000 SWITCHING SYSTEMS
With the new ULTEGRA, racing cyclists can choose between incredibly fast and high-precision shifting with Di2 or powerful and solid gear changes with mechanical gearshift mechanisms. The STI shift/brake levers in both the mechanical and electronic versions are characterized by the fact that, with both the mechanical and the hydraulic brake systems, they offer almost the same slender croissant shape and thus optimum ergonomics throughout.
For the Di2 system, the recently introduced full or semi-synchro shift functionality offers the possibility that the system shifts automatically (full-synchro shift) depending on the gear selected at the front (semi-synchro shift) or automatically makes the necessary compensating gears when shifting manually at the front and rear to keep the cadence jumps as low as possible (semi-synchro shift). For example, the free programmability of all shift buttons allows the “lighter gear” function to be assigned to both left-hand switches and the “heavier gear” function to both right-hand switches (or vice versa), making the operation more intuitive than ever. In addition, the Di2 buttons feature even better-defined click feedback so that the driver always has the best control over the system, even with thicker gloves.
As with the DURA-ACE, the ULTEGRA Di2 gear/brake levers (ST-R8070/ST-R8050) each have a “secret” switch, namely directly on the top of the horns, under the rubber cover. These buttons can also be freely programmed and thus assigned to specific switching functions or to the control of compatible third-party devices such as computers or lights. In addition, all switches feature multi-shift functionality, which, like all other Di2 functions, can be freely programmed via the E-TUBE system via PC connection or via Bluetooth via smartphone and tablet. In addition, the E-TUBE applications offer numerous other features, for example, the possibility to install firmware updates and thus always keep each individual component up to date. Newly developed functions or features can thus under certain circumstances be “retrofitted” for older systems without exchanging hardware. For PC and Tablet, there is also the possibility of a system analysis, which quickly provides information on a possible error in case of possible malfunctions.
The STI levers for hydraulic disc brakes (Di2: ST-R8070, mechanical ST-R8020) are characterised by an even wider adjustment range for grip width and free travel and, at 360 g and 550 g respectively, are only 65 g and 112 g heavier than the corresponding models for mechanical rim brakes (ST-R8050: 295 g, ST-R8000: 438 g respectively).
In the case of the front derailleurs, the developers have written fast and smooth-running gearshifts into the specifications, even with high pedal forces. Of course, both the mechanical and the Di2 derailleurs are designed in such a way that, on the one hand, they offer sufficient clearance even to wider tires and, on the other hand, provide optimum shifting performance and precision with the already mentioned larger chainring spacings. In addition, the mechanical ULTEGRA front derailleur has been given the new design introduced by DURA-ACE for the first time, in which tensile clamping and adjustment are carried out via a single hexagon socket screw and a separate tension adjuster is no longer required.
The relationship to the DURA-ACE is also evident in the Di2 (RD-8050) and the mechanical (RD-R8000) rear derailleurs. All ULTEGRA rear derailleurs feature the low-profile design of a SHIMANO SHADOW RD rear derailleur already known in the top segment, which not only offers aerodynamic advantages but also positions the rear derailleur “in the shadow” of the cassette and thus protects it even better against damage. The rear derailleurs are available as SS version with short cage for cassettes from 11-25 Z to 11-30 Z and as GS version with medium cage for 11-28 Z to 11-34 Z. To enable the full and semi-synchro shift functions already mentioned, the Di2 derailleurs and derailleurs communicate with each other via the E-TUBE cabling so that the driver can concentrate fully on the road or the racing situation. The mechanical versions use high-quality, polymer-coated cables, which increase the shifting forces and at the same time reduce the operating forces so that ergonomics, performance, and precision are equally increased.
ULTEGRA R8000 ADDITIONAL COMPONENTS
For time trials and triathlon, the special ST-8060 gear/brake levers offer controllability and operating comfort at the highest level. Thanks to the full synchro shift function, these levers require only one switch per side so that they are much slimmer and lighter than their predecessors, offering an unprecedented level of ergonomics and performance. In addition, the previous group-independent Di2 auxiliary switches SW-R671 (bar-end switch for time trial/triathlon) and SW-R600 (top link switch) and SW-R610 (sprinter switch) are also fully compatible with the new ULTEGRA.
ULTEGRA R8000 BRAKING SYSTEMS
With the R8000, for the first time, a ULTEGRA receives a completely group-integrated hydraulic braking system. In addition to the already mentioned STI levers (ST-R8020/ST-R8070), the BR-R8070 direct-mount brake calipers are used and guarantee the best deceleration performance with excellent controllability and a slim, racing bike-specific design. The brake discs have integrated cooling fins that dissipate the heat generated even more efficiently and further increase the performance and stability of the brake. The new hydraulic disc brakes are also pleasantly restrained on the scale. A pair of BR-R8070 calipers weighs just 280 g, the brake disc another 212 g, a weight disadvantage compared to the 360 g of the mechanical ULTEGRA brakes (BR-R8000). Once again significantly improved and further developed, the mechanical brakes have also reached a completely new level in terms of performance. In addition to the classic dual-pivot brakes, the brakes are also available as direct-mount models. All rim brakes are compatible with up to 28C tires and have also been optically enhanced by reducing the distance between the brake arms. On the dual-pivot models, a stabilizer between the brake arms also provides even greater rigidity and thus even higher braking performance.
WHEELS AT ULTEGRA LEVEL
Matching the new ULTEGRA Lineup SHIMANO presents two new wheelsets: The WH-RS700 tubeless rim brake wheel with carbon laminate rim (replaces the previous ULTEGRA WH-6800 wheel) and the WH-RS770 tubeless disc brake wheel with E-THRU thru-axle system. In both wheels, the new hubs (HB/FH-RS700/770) provide even more efficient acceleration by reducing the weight by almost 60 g compared to the previous versions.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ULTEGRA R8000
Tim Gerrits, Product Manager at SHIMANO Europe: “The goal was to make high-end technology available to a broad target group. We want to enable as many different rider types as possible to ride on the highest technical level racing bike and therefore offer a variety of different versions and components, which allow the best choice for everyone in the ever more diverse racing bike landscape”.
“The ULTEGRA was developed to cover all application scenarios. From time trials and triathlon to wheels with Di2 and hydraulic disc brakes for racing and Gran Fondo use, the combination of Di2 gearshift system and mechanical rim brakes or vice versa mechanical gearshift and hydraulic disc brakes to the classic setup with mechanical gearshift and brake system, the new ULTEGRA truly offers a suitable setup for everyone”.
“Maintaining the typical ULTEGRA quality level over such a wide range of components and combinations was a great challenge during development. Especially when it came to integrating functions and features from the top group DURA-ACE R9100 into the ULTEGRA. With the hydraulic disc brakes and the synchro-shift function, for example, we entered completely new territory at ULTEGRA level and had to find the ideal solution.