First Look: Shimano launches hydraulic road, cross brakes for non-electric group

Disc Parts

Shimano hydraulic disc brakes can now be added to any 11-speed group

‏Shimano has announced the release of their first hydraulic road disc brake system for use with mechanical shifters, the ST-RS685 levers and BR-RS785 calipers. Though not part of a component group, the Ultegra-grade levers and calipers are compatible with all Shimano 11-speed road drivetrains.

‏The system carries over mountain bike technology from the company’s highly-praised Ice Technologies rotors and brake pads to aid managing heat buildup. The caliper features a new inboard, straight-type hydraulic line connector for a sleek, integrated appearance and employs a one-way bleed system that uses environmentally-friendly mineral oil fluid. It ships with resin brake pads installed, but longer-wearing metal pads are an aftermarket option. The caliper is also compatible with ST-R785 Di2 levers.

‏Shimano recommends their RT99 Freeza Centerlock rotor for all road hydraulic disc brake use due to its maximum cooling effect. When paired with Ice Technologies finned brake pads, 140mm RT99 rotors can be used without any rider weight limits. For riders seeking more stopping power, 160mm diameter rotors can be used.

‏The new ST-RS685 levers feature 10mm of reach adjust to accommodate a wide variety of rider hand sizes.


  • ‏BR-RS785 Caliper Only: $74.99
  • ‏ST-RS685 Brake/Shift Lever Only: $549.99
  • ‏ISTRS685 + BR-RS785 Kit Brake/Shift Lever + 2 Caliper Set: $699.99

Available: August 2014

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  • Ewain says:

    Hmmm, am I the only one wondering April fools…

    Just hoping it isn’t, cause I’ll be taking a pair of these the minute they hit the shelves if not, been wanting to go 11 speed.

  • abe says:

    Oooo wow, holy crap! I’m really going to have to NOT run out and buy a pair of these. My rim brakes work just fine for 98% of the riding I do. If some one can’t ride downhill (speeds varying from 35-50+) without smoking their brakes or exploding a wheel, then they need to stay the hell off the mountains.

  • kennyray says:

    too expensive and too heavy, and my rim brakes work 100% of the time! Just say no!

  • Randonneur says:

    My goodness, it seems some people think only of themselves. Do these anti-disc brake pundits drive Model T automobiles too?

    Cable-pull rim brakes are absolutely fine for most people on flat terrain and good roads. Unfortunately, some people brave the elements in non-ideal conditions.

    I am ECSTATIC that hydraulic discs have finally started to move into road bikes. It’s far better for daily commuting in all weather, and it’s definitely more robust for self-supported touring when you care more about reliable equipment than you do how many grams your brakeset weighs. I wouldn’t build another touring bike or tandem without including disc brakes. For a few years, I’ve been assembling quite a few flat bar road bikes with mountain groups. Finally now I can give disc-brake customers the options of a drop bar again!

    Comment to manufacturers: improve your pad retract spring design! They all need to be stiffer and more robust. Dragging discs are the #1 reason for customer complaints — not weight, not feel, not performance.

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