Shimano has announced what we've all be waiting for... The new DURA-ACE R9100 groupset. Featuring synchronised shifting, power measurement, hydraulic brakes, new wheel profiles and wireless connectivity, this is another leap forward for road bike development.
We take a first look at the main features of DURA-ACE R9100 before its arrival in early 2017.
Words - Mike Boudrie
I've been chatting with the guys at Shimano for a while about new DURA-ACE R9100. It seams like there has been talk swirling for ages now, so to see the official announcement arrive made me drop everything to take a look.
In the usual Shimano way, each piece has been scrutinised and improvements found. The most exciting features for this new iteration are the arrival of synchronized shifting to road bikes. This is basically where you can control both derailleurs with one shift button. Then there is the arrival of an integrated power meter option, something I'm personally really excited to see. Then of course there is the arrival of hydraulic disc brake options and the wheels to match.
9100R brings with is Shimano's first integrated power meter that promises accurate real time power data to track and analyse performance and the ability to pair with third party computers. Information includes overall output, left and right leg separate measurement and cadence. The power meter is crank-integrated, with the hardware located inside the spider section of the crank resulting in a minimalistic look. The location also means that chainrings can be changed without recalibration, there's a charging of an integrated rechargeable battery via a magnetic adapter with no need to remove covers or casings.
There's mechanical or electronic shifting available, with either being able to be paired with hydraulic or mechanical brakes. Lever position is customizable and if you go for Di2 you can also set up an option for multi-shift either through an on/off switch on the lever or, for even more customization by using the 'E-TUBE' software.
'Synchronsized Shift' has previously featured on Shimano's mountain bike groupsets and is designed for racing... or if you just don't want to think too much about easier or harder. It basically allows you to choose next biggest or lowest gear with one touch, from their the front and derailleurs will move to the next ratio in either direction. Nice. We like simple.
On the connectivity side, there's ANT private connection, connection to Shimano's E-TUBE software to program to your needs and via bluetooth so you can let it chat with your phone or tablet.
A quick note on this one, there's a new 11-30 rear cassette, a real consideration for most everyday riders that want one cassette to do the lot. I'd be thinking about going for this one for something like the Peaks Challenge.
So it has happened. Disc brakes. No surprise and personally I am pleased to see them arrive on Shimano's flagship product. There's still an option of mechanical rim brakes, that I'm sure plenty of people will go for. Shimano are claiming at 43% reduction in flex, likely making a good brake set even better and clearance for tyres up to 28c
The disc option features flat mount calipers, new DURA-ACE rotors with improved heat management and an increased adaptor size result in a claimed overall heat reduction of 30 degrees C.
There's two new 28mm wide wheels in the C40 and C60 that will be available as a through axle, tubeless or tubular wheelset for disc brake or three non disc versions, C24 (clincher) and C40 (clincher, tubular) and C60 (clincher, tubular).
All the wheelsets promise increased stiffness and increased performance, with the C60 claiming at 16W saving over the current C50 wheelset... that's not to be sneezed at.
I think that anyone that wants the latest tech and is after a performance advantage is going to be all over the new DURA ACE R9100, I can't wait t get out on this for a spin, integrated power, Synchronsized Shift and disc brakes take Shimano's premium offering to new highs. Watch La velocita for updates as we eagerly await the arrival of this groupset!