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by James Huang
June 8, 2017
Shimano today announced the much-anticipated redesign of its workhorse Ultegra groupset. In typical Shimano fashion, the new Ultegra R8000 groupset is a close cousin to its Dura-Ace R9100 big brother in terms of both design and functionality, including the same updated four-arm crankset design, enhanced Di2 electronic shifting capabilities, and — finally — true Ultegra-branded hydraulic disc brake controls and calipers in both mechanical and electronic variants.
Data-minded cyclists will be disappointed to hear that there is no Ultegra crankarm-based power meter option confirmed as of yet, but R8000’s heavier weight and less elaborate finish relative to Dura-Ace R9100 will nevertheless make it vastly less expensive — and, undoubtedly, will keep it as popular an option as ever for performance-minded riders on more reasonable budgets.
Update (09/2018): Read our in-depth review of Shimano Ultegra R8000.
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Changes to the current Ultegra SPD-SL are decidedly modest, including new pared-down (and non-replaceable) stainless steel wear pads on the molded carbon fiber composite body, a 0.7mm reduction in stack height, 12g of weight savings, and the option for 4mm-longer spindles for riders that need a wide Q-factor for proper biomechanics.
The new Shimano Ultegra R8000 pedals get updated with pared-down stainless steel wear plates, a 0.7mm-lower stack height, and the option for 4mm-longer spindles for riders that require a wider Q-factor. Photo: Shimano.
Accompanying the new Ultegra R8000 groupset are two new wheelsets as well, both built with new tubeless-compatible carbon fiber-and-aluminum laminate rims and updated, lighter-weight hubs. The WH-RS700 (replaces WH-6800) is intended for rim brakes and features quick-release axles and a 15mm internal rim width. The WH-RS770, meanwhile, is disc-specific with 12mm thru-axles front and rear, and a slightly more generous 17mm internal rim width to better match with the all-road bikes Shimano expects those users to be riding.
Claimed weight for the tubeless- and disc-compatible WH-R770 wheelset is a reasonable 1,639g per set. Internal rim width is a modest 17mm. Photo: Shimano.