Shimano launches new Di2 105 – The R7100 sees electronic shifting and 12-speed
Shimano 105 is the beneficiary of trickle-down technology which brings electric gears and carbon wheels to the masses
All the rumours are true. Shimano has today given its 105 groupset the ultimate upgrade by moving it to Di2 (digital integrated intelligence) electronic shifting. New innovations from the world leading technology company don’t stop there, either – Shimano has also added its flagship 12-speed to the 105 groupset and launched its most affordable carbon wheelsets yet: the RS710.
Shimano 105 has long been one of the most popular choices for consumers as a reliable and reasonably budget-friendly groupset option. While Shimano launched some of its most advanced – and expensive – technology recently with semi-wireless 12-speed Ultegra and Dura-Ace groupsets, 105 has, until now, remained mechanical. It’s thanks to trickle down technology, though, that the Shimano 105 Di2 utilises the same hybrid wireless system as its Ultegra and Dura-Ace siblings. It features a wireless cockpit paired with a wired connection between a seat-tube-stored battery and the front and rear derailleurs. Shimano argues this ensures absolute reliability in all conditions when compared to fully wireless groupset options on the market.
Like Ultegra and Dura-Ace Di2, Shimano 105 Di2 can be customised using the Shimano E-Tube App. This can be paired with most cycling head units such as Garmin and Wahoo so riders can see battery and gear selection status on the move. The E-tube Project allows 105 Di2 users to adjust shift speed, decide the number of shifts per button pressed, as well as use synchronised shifting functionality.
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Shimano have added the improved hood ergonomics seen on the new Dura-Ace and Ultegra Di2 into 105 Di2 as well. The dual control levels now feature a raised hood peak which is said to improve comfort in a variety of riding positions following feedback from Shimano’s pro athletes. A bigger braking control area should mean that now riders can now have better handling over the system’s stopping power.
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The new 12-speed cassette means that 105 R7100 gives riders a much wider range of gearing options with less severe steps in between. This should allow riders to find a comfortable cadence more easily and also means shifting will be smoother. Shimano offers two options when it comes to cassettes and cranksets: 11-34 and 11-36 and 50-34 and 52-36. Both cassettes are compatible with 11-speed freehub bodies meaning many riders will be able to use their current wheelsets along with the new groupset.
Like with Dura-Ace and Ultegra, the new 105 has an improved, quieter braking system thanks to a 10% wider pad-to-rotor clearance. The new brakes are also said to be easier to maintain, with the bleed process able to be completed without removing the calliper from the frame.
While some may have expected the launch of a Shimano Di2 105 groupset, the launch of two carbon wheelsets alongside the groupset comes as more of a surprise. Named the RS710 wheels, Shimano explains that these wheelsets share much of the same DNA as the the C36 and C50 Dura-Ace and Ultegra wheel options, with a focus on aerodynamics, weight and rigidity,
There are two wheelset options: the C32 and the C46. The C32 sees a 32mm tubeless rim and Shimano say the target weight of these wheels is 1502 grams – designed to be a lightweight wheel for when acceleration is key. The C46 is 42mm tall, comes in at roughly 1610 grams and is made to be an all-round wheel designed for breakaways and more. Both feature a minimalist design with a small Shimano logo on the rim. Both wheelsets are priced at £999.98.
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Overall, the entire Shimano 105 Di2 groupset retails at £1730 with rotors, chain, eTube wires and battery. Of course, this can’t be described as “cheap” by any means, but when considering the advanced technology on offer with the new R7100, and the performance gains that will come with this, we’d say that Shimano has priced things reasonably well. It’s impressive to see Shimano’s trickle-down technology come to the fore, and Shimano 105 Di2 is only further proof that electronic shifting is the future of bicycle componentry – perhaps soon it will be the only offering on the market.