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So, the bike is the first I've built with 9100 (has the shifters, front and rear mechs). And while the mechs are definitely a new breed (especially cable attachment and adjustment for the front, and the attachment for the mech itself in the back), there's no accounting for the problem I'm having.
In short, if I adjust the cable tension via barrel adjuster so that it can shift into the large cog (happens to be a 28 on this bike), then it won't shift into smallest, or will only do so after a full minute or two of clatter.
If I adjust tension so that it shifts into and out of small without problems. Then it won't go onto the large cog, even in small chainring.
It's odd. This is the kind of thing that normally you fiddle with and then after an overnight hiatus to allow the cable to stretch, you take two or three stabs at adjustment and bingo, no problem.
But I've now tried 40-50 times to get the adjustment right in the house, and many more outside riding and stopping, riding and stopping, making tiny incremental adjustments.
Theinitial setup Shimano recommends -- shifting to from smallest to second-smallest, then adjusting by ear to put the mech close to shifting to third-smallest doesn't even faintly come close.

The history:
Hangar LOOKED straight so the first time I simply installed the mech...tried to adjust repeatedly with the barrel, detached and re-tensioned the cable half a dozen times. Then tried with the barrel agin multiple times.
Then rode it 60 miles, with multiple efforts at adjustment. Then removed it, checked and made slight correction to the hanger alignment with the standard Park tool.
Then REINSTALLED it, making sure to go completely per instructions for everything from cable housing length to b-screw adjustment.
High limit is set with jockey wheel centered to outer face of small cog, and low limit is set to center of large cog.
I've ridden the bike about 100 miles now, and gotten off repeatedly to adjust it slightly up and down, trying to find a sweet spot that doesn't exist. Making adjustments at no more than 1/8 turn at a time.

Just for context, the cables are routed internally through the bars, most of the downtime, then emerge and go under the BB etc so there's a fair amount of bending though go through. But they are the coated Dura Ace cables and latest housings, and don't have any unusual friction that i can detect.
This is maybe the 30th rear mech I've installed over the years on various bikes, from Campy SR in the early 80s to every variant of Di2 up through 9070. So I'm not completely clueless, but up against a wall for sure.
It's almost like its a 10.5 speed setup.
Any thoughts?
 

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The groups is supposed to be backwards compatible with the older version. If you have any 9000 series stuff, you could try using the 9000 shifter with the 9100 RD and vice-versa. This way you might be able to narrow down if it's a problem with the shifter or rear mech.
 

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Russian Troll Farmer
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You have a Dura-Ace derailleur, which is compatible ONLY with Dura-Ace shifters, and no other Shimano line.
 

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Does the cable still move freely? Try disconnecting and pushing it back enough so that you can hold both ends. Then wiggle.
 

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Good luck and I hope you figure it out.

I remember the 7900 rear derailleur I had on one of my bikes had this issue for adjustment. No matter what I did it wouldn't shift into all cogs..either the big or the small would be sacrificed. Couldn't adjust the rear hanger because it is a non-replaceable one constructed of carbon fiber with a threaded insert.

Didn't have any issues adjusting other Shimano derailleurs, 10 or 11 speed (put a 9000 rear on that bike now and if shifts perfectly as I got it dialed in on the first try and one minor adjustments after the cable settling period).
 

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Banned forever.....or not
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Yeah, all DA 11 speed are compatable......Same with 9 & 10 speed, and 7 & 8 speed.
 

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It's a cable-housing friction issue. To test it disconnect the cable from the RD, push the cage up from the 11t a couple of cogs and let it go. If it snaps back to the 11t quickly it's a cable friction issue.
 

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I'd guess cable friction too (since you've already checked the hanger alignment) although I've always adjusted the high limit screw so that the upper mech pulley is directly under the smallest cog rather than under its outer face (the latter is new to me, but may be what the 9100 dealer installation manual says IDK).
 

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It's a cable-housing friction issue. To test it disconnect the cable from the RD, push the cage up from the 11t a couple of cogs and let it go. If it snaps back to the 11t quickly it's a cable friction issue.
That's what I was thinking
 

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FWIW, I just installed a 9100 RD on my wife's Colnago C60. Took a bit of studying the dealer manual http://si.shimano.com/php/download.php?file=pdf/dm/DM-RARD001-01-ENG.pdf
to make sure I was doing it right, but once done, it is AMAZINGLY smooth and fast shifting. Didn't know anything could shift better than 9000, but this definitely does. Incredible. Only other thing I can suggest is maybe make sure you're using the cable housing and guides included with the RD??? The bike has 9000 shifters BTW and if that matters.
 

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Could be cable got slight kink, also cable not bolted in quite the right position, ive got it, and its fantastic, as an aside, I ran the system with 9000 right hand Sti(while waiting for 9100 to arrive) and thought it better/lighter/smoother, it could be the 9100 needed running in, ran on flying snake ousters/any old cable inner, superb, now on 9100 inner, still on Snake outer, fab, I only make these comments because im usually on electric, but this system is so good, SORRY, one last thought, could be the rear outer housing is to long, as the top part of mech does not move, cable out can be short, I take it the rear mech is bolted in the right position, between the notches, so there is no movement back forth, ???
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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Could be cable got slight kink, also cable not bolted in quite the right position, ive got it, and its fantastic, as an aside, I ran the system with 9000 right hand Sti(while waiting for 9100 to arrive) and thought it better/lighter/smoother, it could be the 9100 needed running in, ran on flying snake ousters/any old cable inner, superb, now on 9100 inner, still on Snake outer, fab, I only make these comments because im usually on electric, but this system is so good, SORRY, one last thought, could be the rear outer housing is to long, as the top part of mech does not move, cable out can be short, I take it the rear mech is bolted in the right position, between the notches, so there is no movement back forth, ???
You do know this thread is damn near 2 years old, right? Seems like the OP got it figured out quite a while ago.

And that may be the longest sentence every posted on RBR. Try a period every now and then, your posts will be much more 'readable'.
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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You have a Dura-Ace derailleur, which is compatible ONLY with Dura-Ace shifters, and no other Shimano line.
I know it's old but to correct this post: ALL 11 speed D/A, Ultegra and 105 shifters and derailleurs are cross compatible. ALL of them.
 
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