It’s close to seeing the face of a new baby for the first time. OK that’s a bit much but it’s very exciting.
“Optional wireless” leavers and 12 speed shifting Shimano Dura-Ace and Ultegra components will be shipping December 2021 and promise to be all we ever wanted from a road group. With the focus on pedal efficiency and revised chainring ratios the new 12 speed will be the professional and competitive riders group of choice.
Disc or rim braking but electronic Di2 shifting only the leavers have CR1632 coin cell batteries or the option to use the small diameter SD-300 Di2 wire for those who don’t want to consider multiple battery levels.
With a new 3 port internal battery the Di2 junctions we are so familiar with are now gone and the group is way simpler to spec and install than ever before.
Both derailleurs plug directly into the battery, the battery has a third port for the optional wired shifting. Charging takes place through the rear derailleur which is the brain of the entire system. No more optional WU-111 junction, the wireless Ant+ connectivity is taken care of by the rear derailleur.
Cassette options. Dura-Ace has three cassette options 11-12, 11-30 and 11-34 while Ultegra only has two 11-30 and 11-34
Chainring options. Dura Ace has three chainring options 54/40, 52/36 and 50/34 while Ultegra only has two 52/36 and 50/34 – Goodbye to the old standard 53/39 which we assume Shimano felt was not needed for recreational riding but not large enough for the pro or competitive racer.
160mm crank length options have been added to both Dura-Ace and Ultegra with the 180mm Dura-Ace crank length no longer offered.
Cassette compatibility: Shimano 12 speed road cassettes will fit previous generation HG11 freehubs but the new 12 speed wheels are not compatible with older 11 speed cassettes.
Wheels. Dura Ace C35, C50 and C60 Disc brake wheels available in tubeless clincher but nothing in tubular and no rim brake wheels. Ultegra wheels are available in C36, C50 and C60 and also no tubular or rim brake options.
Power Meter. Optional Dura-Ace and Ultegra power meter cranks are available. We assume Shimano has taken the best of Pioneer and the gen one 9100-P crank and refined it. Add $845 for Dura-Ace and Ultegra.
Disc brake levers are larger than the previous generation and the Di2 buttons are further apart giving the rider more differentiation between and down shifting. With a slight inward sweep the new levers might take some time to get used to looking at but we expect big things as far as functionality.
The 12 speed chain is the same chain Shimano have been using in the 12 speed mountain bike groups and the bottom brackets remain unchanged. Goes without saying Shimano has stuck to the alloy crank with hollow chainrings and 24mm steel spindle format that works so well.
Disc brake rotors. Like the 12 speed chain there are no new disc brake rotors. Shimano Dura-Ace groups get the 4 arm RT-MT900 rotors used in the XTR groups and the Ultegra 12 speed get’s the RT-MT800
Weight has gone up ever so slightly over the previous generation of Dura-Ace and Ultegra which we find a little surprising given the average weight of a disc brake bike is a good bit more than we were used to some 10 years back at the height of rim brakes.
Price of the new groups did not go up much at all which was a pleasant surprise to us. Less than 10% more than the previous 11 speed groups.
Availability. Get yourself a good book or rather put your name in the hat and wait for it to be called. We have been told first groups will ship in Dec 2021 and after that it’s going to be a consistent flow FIFO.
Demand will far exceed supply and it’s probably years before there is a surplus of inventory in the market. We will be updating our site with eta dates as best we can.
Shimano Dura-Ace 12 Speed & Ultegra 12 Speed reviews we will get to as soon as we get to build some bikes. For now we are going to get to reading that book and some lamaze breathing exercises.