Shimano Ultegra Electric Unveiled – Button Shifting at Half the Price

2012 Shimano Ultegra electronic shifting electric rear derailleur

Rumors of an electronic Ultegra group have been circulating for a few months and as of today it’s official!

The second iteration of electronic shifting gets put in the books before Campy’s system gets laid out in full production spec (though they’re close), and it improves upon the higher end Di2 Dura-Ace with a simpler wiring system and slimmer profile. It also improves on the price by coming in under the cost of mechanical Dura-Ace!

Jump on in for details…

2012 Shimano Ultegra electronic shifting electric rear derailleur

Since the introduction of Di2 at the Dura-Ace level, Shimano’s made several improvements in the wiring harnesses. The original 4-wire system has been replaced by a more simple 2-wire system that allows cable diameters to be reduced by 3mm for lighter weight and a slimmer profile. Cable selection has also been simplified with all connectors being identical so that cable inventory becomes easier to manage.

At the controls, the shifter/brake lever hoods are more ergonomic. Thanks to the cleaner wiring system, the brackets are slimmer and there’s a simplified junction box that’s more discreet in external mounting or more able to be hidden in custom or  internal cable routing applications. Frame holes can be smaller, too, which means we should see plenty of stealthy builds at NAHBS next year.

Unfortunately, most of Shimano’s North American group were playing with the new XT stuff this past week, so we haven’t received any glossy glamour shots of all the new parts yet. So, we can just paint the picture: The levers are aluminum but share the shape of the Di2 DA’s carbon blades, and the hoods have an identical profile but skip the dimpled covers for a smooth rubber. The control box is only marginally (if any) smaller than DA’s, but there are fewer wires sticking out of it.

The changes in wiring mean the new Di2 Ultegra won’t be compatible with any Di2 DA parts, but the battery and mounting options are similar enough to work with existing Di2 compatible frames.

Pricing isn’t set in stone, but it’s expected to be about half the cost of Di2 Dura-Ace. This isn’t the only new stuff for Ultegra, there were some recently announced carbon pedals (shown below) and a new cyclocross group, too.

2012 Shimano Ultegra SPD-SL carbon fiber road bike pedals

The new carbon fiber SPD-SL Ultegra pedal saves about 50g from the alloy version. It keeps the same super-wide platform and stainless steel contact plate.

Comments

Guitar Ted - 06/19/11 - 11:50pm

One thing of note: The loss of two wires from Di2 to the Ui2 means half the battery life, since the circuitry is pulling more energy from the battery, (which is the same as Di2 internally), than the more efficient, but more cluttered wire set up of Di2. This has to do with the servos and all. So, Di2, even though it is a premium price, does have benefits in terms of real world use when you look at battery life, which may become an issue for some riders looking at Ui2.

Raskladnoy - 06/20/11 - 12:31am

“The loss of two wires from Di2 to the Ui2 means half the battery life”
that does not make sense at all.

Quickfingers - 06/20/11 - 1:29am

If I can remember to charge my cell phone everything I surely can remember by beloved bike.

Quickfingers - 06/20/11 - 1:30am

*every night

Caliente - 06/20/11 - 3:31am

So instead of having three week “tdf” battery life-span, this will be a week-long “dauphine” style group?

Robin - 06/20/11 - 3:46am

This claim about battery live halved for e-Ultregra: is that a fact from Shimano, one that’s been tested and verified, or is that just supposition?

Guitar Ted - 06/20/11 - 6:55am

@Robin: That’s straight from Shimano tech. We were shown the group’s features at a tech clinic in March.

Fred Astaire - 06/20/11 - 8:17am

I just spent last week with the Shimano Tech Rep and he made no such claim that the battery life would be shortened. I’d give him a call and straighten that out.

Even if it was half the battery life. The DA Di2 battery lasts FOR seemingly EVER!

Nathan - 06/20/11 - 10:27am

Is there/will there be a UI2 compatible TT shifter? The biggest appeal to electric shifting for me is on my TT bike where torturous cable routing makes for difficult maintenance and keeping up good shifting performance can be a challenge. Powercordz have helped a ton, but electronic shifting would be really nice.

eric - 06/20/11 - 6:41pm

Hey, Guitar Shill, head back to the 29er forum where your amazing shill powers are respected….

Mike - 06/20/11 - 11:59pm

Oh man, I can’t wait to get my hands on these. I work at a shop and I’ve been drooling over the pair my boss has for a while… come to daddy!

BunnV - 06/23/11 - 12:17am

From the Shimano website
Ultegra Di2
The battery forms the Di2′s heart. Its lithium ion technology guarantees a range of at least 2,000 km [1,250 miles] after which it can be fully recharged in just ninety minutes.

Dura Ace Di2
At a feather light 71g, the DI2 battery pack powers your entire system. On average, the battery can hold a charge for 1000 miles. Your current battery charge level can be checked through the front wire kit.

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