Shimano Ultegra R8000 first ride review

All the functionality of Dura Ace, but for less money

Brakes Parts Video
Shimano Ultegra R8000 First Ride Review

The system is designed to deliver quick and smooth front shifting under high pedaling torque.

On paper, Shimano’s recently launched Ultegra R8000 drivetrain has all the functionality of the higher priced Dura Ace road group. But how does it actually perform in the real world? To find out we turn to our friends at the Global Cycling Network for this first ride review.

Here’s a recap of the new Ultegra group. Employing the latest technologies from its Dura-Ace R9100 road components and through its proven system engineering approach, Shimano’s Ultegra R8000 series is claimed to deliver refined rider ergonomics, increased shifting performance, and confident control in a variety of riding conditions. Featuring expanded Rider Tuned gearing configurations, more shifting and braking choices, and the power of Shimano’s E-Tube Project customization, Ultegra R8000 is designed to meet the specific needs of the broad spectrum of performance road cyclists.

New Shimano Ultegra R8000 drivetrain and components

Available with either Di2 electronic or the mechanical shifting reviewed above, each system is also available in either rim brake or hydraulic disc brake options. Expanded Rider Tuned gearing options — including Shimano’s widest-range new 11-34T performance road cassette — enhance drivetrain versatility. Ultegra R8000 also utilizes Shimano’s low-profile Shadow rear derailleur design for improved shift performance and a sleek appearance. For Di2 shift systems, Shimano’s SYNCHRO and SEMI-SYNCHRO Shift programming continues to open up new possibilities.

New Shimano Ultegra R8000 drivetrain and components

Drivetrain

Highlights of the new drivetrain include the FC-8000 Crankset, which delivers increased efficiency and frame compatibility. The FC-R8000 HOLLOWTECH II Crankset receives numerous technologies from Dura-Ace R9100 along with shaping which further enhances Ultegra’s four-arm design. Shimano’s Rider Tuned chainring combinations offer multiple gearing configurations via a singular BCD platform for excellent versatility. With redesigned chainring tooth profiling first introduced for Dura-Ace R9100, the Ultegra FC-R8000 Crankset is optimized for the latest disc brake frame designs without the need to increase q-factor. Other features include:

  • Lightweight crank arm design that produces excellent power transfer
  • Redesigned chainring tooth profiling that increases clearance between chain and leading teeth to provide compatibility with frames featuring 135mm O.L.D. and 410mm chainstay length
  • Crank arm lengths: 165mm, 170mm, 172.5mm, 175mm
  • Rider Tuned gear combinations: 46-36T, 50-34T, 52-36T, 53-39T
  • Weight: 674g (170mm, 50-34T)

As with Dura-Ace R9100, the new 11-30T Ultegra cassette increases gear range while remaining compatible with the new short cage rear derailleur options. And the addition of the new 11-34T CS-HG800-11 cassette will be welcome for riders who seek the most challenging terrain. Here’s a rundown:

  • CS-R8000 Gear combinations/Weight: 11-25T (232g), 11-28T (251g), 11-30T (269g), 11-32 (292g), 12-25T (243g), 14-28T (300g)
  • CS-HG800-11 Gear combinations/Weight: 11-34T (335g)

New Shimano Ultegra R8000 drivetrain and components

Braking Systems

The new rim brakes feature sleek design, improved performance and increased tire clearance. Redesigned Dual-Pivot and Direct Mount models feature new technologies and sleek designs, resulting in improved stopping power and efficiency with clearance for 28C tires. Here’s a rundown of features:

  • Precise contact feeling with balanced rigidity, weight and stopping power
  • New design features additional stabilizer between brake arms to reduce deformation and improve efficiency
  • Sleek design with a narrower gap between arms
  • Wider clearance with larger tire sizes (up to 28C)
  • Weights: BR-R8000: 182g (Front), 178g (rear); BR-R8010-F: 174g; BR-R8010-RS: 172g; BR-R8010-R: 160g

New Shimano Ultegra R8000 drivetrain and components

Disc Brake Breakdown

Utilizing a lightweight and sleek flat mount design, the BR-R8070 Hydraulic Disc Brake Caliper features premium stopping power and aerodynamics for road applications. The new RT800 rotor offers new ICE TECHNOLOGIES FREEZA construction with even greater heat management for confident performance on the longest descents. Here’s more disc brake beta:

  • Increased rider control in all conditions
  • Sleek Flat Mount design integrates seamlessly into a road bike’s aero profile
  • Weight: 140g (Front), 140g (Rear)
    SM-RT800, CENTER LOCK Disc Rotor
  • New ICE TECHNOLOGIES FREEZA construction provides better heat management than previous designs
  • Sizes/Weights: 140mm (106g), 160mm (127g)

New Shimano Ultegra R8000 drivetrain and components

Mechanical Shifting Systems

Ultegra’s ST-R8000 Dual Control Levers have further refined shift performance with improved ergonomics with both mechanical rim brake and hydraulic disc brake options. The new FD-R8000 mechanical front derailleur utilizes the new link construction first introduced with Dura-Ace R9100 for easy setup and fine-tuning adjustments without the need for specialty tools. The RD-R8000 rear derailleur utilizes Shimano’s SHADOW RD design, which allows for more stable shifting performance and a lower profile to minimize exposure to damage.

  • Redesigned internal shifting unit for quick and intuitive shifting
  • Increased reach adjustment range
  • Lighter front shifting when paired with redesigned FD-R8000
  • Slimmed-down hydraulic internals (ST-R8020) for similar ergonomics between
    disc and rim brake configurations
  • Weight: 438g (ST-R8000, Pair), 550g (ST-R8020, Pair)

Here are the highlights of the new FD-R8000 front derailleur (2×11-speed):

  • New construction matches the force curve of the hand more naturally to reduce effort at the end of shifting
  • New design allows for more flexible cable routing design
  • Integrated cable tension setting for precise setup and tool-free adjustment
  • Redesigned for disc-specific frames, accommodating a wider gear pitch without
    sacrificing shifting performance
  • Weight: 92g (Direct Type), 106g (Clamp)
    RD-R8000 SHIMANO SHADOW RD (11-speed)
  • Shimano SHADOW RD low-profile design increases shift stability and reduces crash vulnerability while providing a sleek integrated appearance
  • Two cage length options provide wide range of gearing compatibility o RD-SS covers: 11-25T to 11-30T
    o RD-GS covers: 11-28T to 11-34T
  • Weight: 200g (RD-R8000-SS), 210g (RD-R8000-GS)

New Shimano Ultegra R8000 drivetrain and components

Di2 Shifting Systems

From aspiring road racers to those who prefer epic rides off the beaten path, Ultegra Di2 precise shifting performance is highly versatile with multiple braking and gearing configurations. With refined designs inside and out, both the hydraulic disc brake and rim brake Dual Control Lever options deliver the same improved ergonomics and increased reach adjustment range. Ultegra ST-R8050 and ST-R8070 Dual Control Levers also provide more tactile feedback from shift operation for a more intuitive feel, even when riding with winter gloves. Paired with Shimano’s E-Tube Project and compatible with SYNCHRO SHIFT technology, R8000 is the most customizable Ultegra group ever created. Additional features include:

  • More defined tactile feedback and clearer separation between shift buttons support a more intuitive shift operation, even with thick riding gloves
  • Each switch has the option for multi-shift ON or OFF
  • Programmable function of ST top button remote switch for either third-party cycle
    computer or shifting operation
  • Slimmed-down hydraulic internals (ST-R8020) deliver near-identical ergonomics
    across disc and rim brake dual control lever options
  • Increased reach adjustment range and free stroke adjustment
  • Weight: 295g (ST-R8050) Pair, 360g (ST-R8070) Pair
    ST-R8060, Di2 TT/Triathlon Dual Control Lever (2×11-speed)
  • Reduced drag through a more aerodynamic design
  • Slimmer profile for improved rider ergonomics
  • Single switch design specifically engineered for use with SYNCHRO Shift
  • Weight: 138g (pair)
Low-profile Shadow Derailleur

The new Ultegra RD-R8050 Di2 Rear Derailleur was totally redesigned featuring Shimano’s SHADOW RD architecture. The low profile design delivers a sleek appearance while improving shift performance and minimizing potential damage to the derailleur in the event of a crash. The FD-R8050 Front Derailleur delivers powerful and precise shift performance even under high pedaling torque. Combined with Shimano’s SYNCHRO SHIFT programming and E-TUBE PROJECT customization, Ultegra Di2 offers a highly intuitive shifting experience.

  • Quick and smooth front shifting under high pedaling torque
  • Programmed control of chain guide
  • E-TUBE customization with SYNCHRO and SEMI-SYNCHRO Shift compatibility
  • Redesigned for disc-specific frames, accommodating a wider gear pitch without
    sacrificing shifting performance
  • Weight: 132g
    RD-R8050 Di2 SHIMANO SHADOW RD (11-speed)
  • Shimano SHADOW RD low-profile design increases shift stability and reduces crash vulnerability while providing a sleek integrated appearance
  • Shimano SYNCHRO Shift capability
  • Two cage length options provide wide range of gearing compatibility (RD-R8050-SS covers: 11-25T to 11-30T; RD-R8050-GS covers: 11-28T to 11-34T)
  • Weight: 242g (RD-R8050-SS), 249g (RD-R8050-GS)

New Shimano Ultegra R8000 drivetrain and components

New Wheels

There are two new lightweight wheelset — the tubeless carbon-laminate WH-RS700 rim brake wheels (which replace the Ultegra WH-6800) and the tubeless WH-RS770 disc brake wheels with road e-thru axles.

Shimano is also rolling out new hubs (HB/FH-RS700/770) that encourage faster acceleration with a weight saving of almost 60g compared to a pair of Ultegra 6800 hubs, whilst the rims use a new rigid but lighter carbon lay-up procedure to create a rim brake wheelset that comes in 80g lighter than its predecessor. Claimed weights: WH-RS700 (1,568g/Pair), WH-RS770 (1,639g/Pair)

New Shimano Ultegra R8000 drivetrain and components

Shimano SPD-SL Pedals

Finally, the new PD-R8000 Pedal receives numerous refinements resulting in a lighter overall weight and a lower stack height. Those refinements along with a carbon-composite body and extra-wide platform, deliver efficient power transfer.

  • Adjustable entry and release tension settings
  • 4mm longer axle option for additional personalization
  • 0.7mm lower stack height than PD-6800
  • Weight: 248g
New Shimano Ultegra R8000 drivetrain and components

Here’s a complete rundown of prices, weights, and availability.

To learn more head to bike.shimano.com.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

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  • Brian Green says:

    Looks good, but it seems to be the cycling industry is more about updates to maintain market share than real improvements or added value. Still going strong on my 12 year old DA 7800 with 50,000 + miles. Yes, I can certainly afford the latest and greatest, but why. Just me. Many others see it different and that’s fine as well.

  • Ivan says:

    Real World: From September 9th I have 427 miles on the new r8000 with 50/34 11-32 cassette (but with ROTOR Q-Rings), Fast, super fast, and one 8000 feet mountain event. Shifting is smooth and quiet on hammer rides and century rides. ..damn.. I guess it’s time for my free tune up next week?

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