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by Dave Rome
April 4, 2018
Photography by Shimano
Just like clockwork, Shimano has announced an overhaul of the workhorse 105 groupset. The consistent trickle-down routine continues, and 105 will more closely match Dura-Ace R9100 and Ultegra R8000 in both appearance and features. With both rim- and disc-brake options, wider gearing, and a choice of black or silver finishes, the new 11-speed Shimano 105 R7000 groupset is a major upgrade to the 5800 it will replace.
Additionally, the Shimano Ultegra RX clutch-equipped derailleur spotted at the Tour of Flanders is now official. Shimano 105 R7000 and the Ultegra RX rear derailleurs won’t be out until at least June, but with (limited) information released overnight, here’s what to know.
Moving to a similar aesthetic as the upper-tier Ultegra R8000 and Dura-Ace R9100 groupsets, the new 105 R7000 looks set to safely continue Shimano’s market dominance within the mid-level price range. Like previous generations of 105, R7000 sees aesthetics, ergonomics, and general design trickle down, albeit with use of heavier materials, less aggressive machining, and some subtle finer details removed.
Those hoping to see Shimano’s Di2 electronic shifting offered at a lower price point will need to continue waiting for what’s likely another product lifecycle (approximately three years). Shimano is sticking exclusively to 11-speed mechanical shifting with 105 for now.
But while Ultegra and Dura-Ace are only offered in dark anodised finishes, Shimano will offer 105 in a choice of dual-tone black or silver. As has been the case with Campagnolo’s Potenza groupset, the silver colourway may prove popular for those looking to build a more classically styled bike.
Some technical details are still lacking, such as specific component weights. However, signs are that the new R7000 (at least in rim-brake form) is marginally lighter than 105 5800.
It wasn’t long ago that Shimano offered hydraulic road disc brakes as “non-series” components that didn’t technically belong to any one groupset. But just like Ultegra and Dura-Ace, 105 now has an official disc brake option. The new R7070 flat-mount hydraulic disc brake calipers look sleek and tidy, and while the weight likely isn’t that different from Ultegra or Dura-Ace, there’s one key difference for riders concerned about heat-related brake fade. Shimano’s heat dissipating Ice Tech finned brake pads are compatible, but not included as stock equipment; instead, conventional non-finned pads are featured stock. Likewise, the RT70 CenterLock rotor uses the same three-layer, aluminium-core construction as Shimano’s upper-end rotors, but without the extended fins of upper-end models. Nevertheless, a 140mm-diameter version will join the existing 160mm size.
These disc calipers match up with a new dual control lever (ST-R7020), which matches closely the design of Ultegra R8020 levers, and also offers a greater range of reach adjustment to suit different hand sizes.
Rim brake options continue, with new R7000 dual-pivot brake calipers in both center-mount and direct-mount variants, both featuring a more streamlined aesthetic and tidier quick release lever. The mechanical brake shift levers (R7000) receive a similar tweak to ergonomics, also now matching the more compact Ultegra and Dura-Ace.
Where it’s hard to tell the difference between the rim brake and hydraulic disc brake levers of Ultegra and Dura-Ace, there is clearer difference in the ergonomics of the 105 options (mechanical R7000 shifter left, hydraulic R7020 shifter right).
Shimano state that regardless of braking format, the shift internals have been redesigned to offer faster and lighter shifts, with a shorter stroke compared to 105 5800. Looking at the images, it appears the downshift levers have been reshaped and enlarged, too.
The new small-handed R7025 hydraulic disc shifter (right) next to the regular R7020 hydraulic shifter (left).
If reach adjustment wasn’t enough, taking things even further is a new version of the Dual Control levers specifically designed for riders with smaller hands. This R7025 model, also designed for use with disc brakes, will offer a lever position that’s angled more closely to the bar, while taking a more outboard position to ensure better clearance with the handlebar drop during operation. We expect this new lever design will feature prominently on smaller bike sizes, as well as women-specific models. Hopefully this is a feature that will eventually trickle up to Ultegra and Dura-Ace, too – women with smaller hands deserve high-end options as well, after all.
The new derailleur gets a similar Shadow design to that found on Ultegra, Dura-Ace, and Shimano’s mountain bike ranges. This low-profile design tucks the derailleur in and under the cassette, offering a cleaner aesthetic and reducing the risk of damage during a crash.
Shimano will offer the R7000 rear derailleur in both short-cage (SS) and medium-cage (GS) variants. The longer pulley cage on the GS model allows the use of larger 11-32T and 11-34T gear ranges, the latter being something Shimano will offer with its new HG-700-11 cassette. Much like the Ultegra HG800 cassette (an item we just reviewed), this cassette is compatible with both 10 and 11-speed freehub bodies.
In addition to the adventure-sized 11-34T cassette, Shimano will add an 11-30T cassette option (CS-R7000) to the existing sizes. The 11-30T cassette is compatible with both short- and long-cage rear derailleurs.
The front derailleur moves to Shimano’s compact toggle pivot design, offering improved tyre clearance and an integrated cable tension adjustment (using a 2mm hex key). Having used this derailleur in both Dura-Ace R9100 and Ultegra R8000, it’s a small but much-welcomed update.
Dropping 30g from the 5800 version, the new crankset moves to a similar asymmetric four-arm design seen with Ultegra and Dura-Ace. Shimano will add a mid-compact 52/36T option to join the existing 50/34T and 53/39T sizes, all of which share the same bolt circle diameter for easy size swapping.
The inner chainring has been moved slightly inboard to reduce the incidence of rub and missed shifts, as well as to improve tyre clearance on disc-brake bikes. The crankset’s Q-factor (the width between the outer surfaces of the crankarms) remains the same 146mm number as seen with R8000 and R9100 cranksets, and Shimano will continue to offer the crank in a single 24mm-diameter spindle option.
The new groupset also brings with it an updated 105 pedal. Similar to what was done with the Dura-Ace R9100 pedals, and then again on the R8000 pedals, the metal wear plate is now split. But unlike its more expensive siblings, whose wear plates are moulded directly into the composite bodies (and thus are non-replaceable), the 105’s plates appear to be bolted in place. This, along with further material relieving, provides a marginally reduced stack height and a 20g reduction in weight while retaining the existing carbon body material. Claimed weight on new 105 R7000 pedals is 265g per pair, without cleats.
Beyond weight, the more expensive Ultegra and Dura-Ace options still offer a few subtle bonuses, including increased ground clearance for pedaling through turns. The new R7000 pedal is quoted at 31 degrees, versus Ultegra’s 33 degrees and Dura-Ace’s 35 degrees.
Mechanical RX800 version on the left, with the electronic RX805 Di2 on the right.
As was spotted on John Degenkolb’s bike at the Tour of Flanders, the new Shimano Ultegra RX clutch-equipped rear derailleur is an item aimed at the gravel, cyclocross, and adventure crowd where the rough terrain is more likely to derail the chain. The clutch is a carry-over technology from Shimano’s mountain bike product line, and offers a firm hold on the lower derailleur pulley cage to reduce chain chatter and excessive movement. The clutch tension is adjustable, and incorporates an on/off switch for easier wheel removal.
The new derailleurs, offered in both mechanical (RX800) and Di2 variants (RX805), will only be available with longer pulley cages for use with Shimano’s larger road cassettes ranging from 28-34T. Both the mechanical and electronic versions will be compatible with current respective generations of Shimano 105, Ultegra, and Dura-Ace shifters.
While Shimano intends these derailleurs to be used with a double-chainring setup, they do open up possibilities for 1x single-chainring setups. We’ve heard of users successfully using the non-clutch R8000 GS derailleurs with 11-40T cassettes, and it seems likely that a similar setup can be created here, but with the bonus of improved chain retention.
The RX800 mechanical version (US$110 / AU$TBC) of the derailleur is quoted at 248g, 41g more than the regular Ultegra R8000 GS derailleur. It’s expected a similar 40g weight penalty will apply to the RX805 Di2 version (US$285 / AU$TBC).
To learn more about this new Ultegra RX clutch rear derailleur, including photos of it in the flesh, see our full story.
Expected to be available at the same time as the groupset, Shimano has a new mid-range 700c adventure wheelset for use on disc-brake bikes. The welded aluminium rims are 19mm-wide (internal width) and tubeless-compatible. Shimano sticks with its proven cup-and-cone bearing design for the hubs, with the rear using both a steel axle and steel freehub body. Joining the rims and hubs together are 24 stainless steel spokes front and rear. The wheels will be available only for use with 100x12mm front and 142x12mm rear thru-axles. Claimed weight is a portly 1,980g for the pair.
For those looking to build their own wheels, Shimano will be updating its 105 hub range, too, including 12mm Centerlock thru-axle options. While heavy, Shimano 105 hubs are historically extremely popular with wheel builders looking for a reliable and impressively low-cost hub to base a wheel build on.
Australian prices for all products mentioned are to be confirmed. Expect components to become available beginning in mid-June.