Shimano Upgrades Dura-Ace With Synchronized Shifting, Power Measurement & Hydraulic Braking
On the eve of the 2016 Tour de France, Shimano unveiled its legendary Dura-Ace groupset. The groupset will be available to consumers early next year, but here’s a quick breakdown of the new and upgraded bits.
With the Dura-Ace upgrade, Shimano stated that it wanted to push efficiency as far as possible with every component in the group, and it all starts with the crankset. Seven grams lighter than the previous version, the 2X11 Hollowtech II crankset employs an enlarged crank arm and a Hollowglide outer chainring for improved rigidity and power transfer.
Integrated Power Meter
The FC-R9100-P is Shimano’s first integrated power measurement offering, and it’s also the first crank-integrated power meter on the market. This power meter will offer measurements for the left and right legs separately, as well as cadence. The brain for the unit stealthily sits within the crank body, while the sensors are in each crank arm. The system is nearly invisible, and the chainrings can be swapped without any hassle.
Shimano also updated the Dura-Ace wheel line with two 28mm wide rims – with 60mm and 40mm rim depths. Shimano says these lightweight carbon fiber ACE R9100 wheels save at least 16 watts over Shimano’s current Dura-Ace 9000 C50 wheels. Including the C24 wheel, the Dura-Ace wheel line offers three different rim depths, and all wheels are available as clinchers, tubulars or tubeless.
As in the past, the slick shifting of Dura-Ace is offered through standard mechanics or fancy-pants electronics. But new for 2017 is Shimano Synchronized Shift. Borrowing a bit from its electronic mountain bike sibling (XTR), this technology allows a bit of automatic shifting. There are two versions of Shimano Synchronized Shift, and Shimano explains it thusly:
- Full SHIMANO Synchronized Shift: the front derailleur reacts based on the rear derailleur’s shift action. This essentially means that, when activated, there is no need for two separate shifters to control front and rear derailleurs, the two buttons on one shifter will control both derailleurs.
- Semi SHIMANO Synchronized Shift mode: the rear derailleur reacts based on the front derailleur’s shift action, shifting to the next most appropriate rear gear when the rider makes a front shift.
Additionally, the front and rear derailleurs of the Di2 system now enjoy an ANT Private connection between the system and third party devices. “These components can be connected to Shimano´s E-TUBE software, which supports the programmable aspects of the Di2 electronic gear shifting system. Additionally, via Bluetooth technology, this is also accessible on smart phones and tablets.” This allows individual rider profiles to be downloaded to the bike without having to program a new profile from scratch for each new rider.
The Dura-Ace system still offers its regular rim brakes, but it’s also available with hydraulic disc brakes. The rim brake calipers now offer clearance for up to 28mm tires, and deliver a 43% reduction in flex over previous Dura-Ace rim brakes. The flat-mount Dura-Ace hydraulic brakes are a new option for the sexy Dura-Ace group, and will be of particular interest to cyclocross racers, as well as those of us who love all the benefits of disc brakes on drop bar bikes.