Today's big news is the launch of a new version of Shimano's flagship Dura-Ace road groupset. But its electronic Di2 offshoothasn't been forgotten – an updated version is in development. It's yet to be officially launched but Shimano did give us some information on what to expect from the new 11-speed Dura-Ace Di2 9070 series.
There must have been a temptation just to adapt the original Di2 7970 to cope with the extra sprocket out back. Instead, Shimano have gone for a wholesale revamp. As their UK distributorsMadison put it: "They’ve proven it works, now they want to get it looking and working even better.”
As before, the electronic group shares mechanical Dura-Ace's crankset, chain, cassette and brakes. Elsewhere, there have been big changes though. The old wiring has been ditched in favour of the slimmer, modular, dual-core E-Tube configuration used on Ultegra Di2, and now Alfine Di2 too – apparently “the aim is to have a standard wiring system through all of Shimano’s Di2 groupsets”.
Dura-Ace Di2 9070 is looking good, even in prototype form
This means we now have the option to mix and match the groups, so expect some value-added options in complete bike specs next year. It also means it’ll no longer be necessary to heat-shrink the connections as with current Dura-Ace, as Di2 9070 will use the same waterproof connections as Ultegra.
The next big change is a new optional internal battery, available to fit either in the seatpost, seat tube or down tube. To get around any charging issues, a new junction box port will allow the battery to be charged in situ. As the internal battery doesn't require the same level of weatherproofing as the external version (though it's still fully sealed), it weighs 60 percent less.
The Dura-Ace Di2 9070 battery is designed to be housed inside the frame or seatpost
Shifter ergonomics have been improved, with an 8mm longer button and a new cable path on the brake lever, and the derailleurs are said to provide slicker shifting. They've also been significantly reduced in size and, more importantly, weight – as a pair they come in at 90g less than the current models.
The goal Shimano set out for the new Dura-Ace Di2, weight wise, was a 160g reduction overall, giving it parity with the mechanical group. The whole system weighed just 1,995g when we saw it in prototype form earlier this year – just 30g heavier than the mechanical version – and Shimano say the production transmission should still weigh sub-2,000g.
New for Dura-Ace 9070 is programmable multi-shift. This means that if you hold the button down, the rear derailleur will keep changing until it gets to the end of the cassette, reaches a pre-set (by you) number of shifts or you let go. This wrests back the major advantage of Campagnolo's EPS.
The Dura-Ace Di2 9070 derailleurs are said to be more compact, lighter and provide slicker shifting
"Tunability" is a buzzword Shimano kept returning to at the launch. The new Di2 can be customised to suit your needs, with the PC interface (sold separately) allowing you to configure everything from shifter operation – want to switch over the left and right shifting? Well now you can – to the speed at which multiple shifts are made.
Myriad secondary shifter options to tune your bike to your needs are also available, including sprinter triggers, time trial shifters, tri shifters and a new top mounted Roubaix shifter. No additional wiring is needed to add these, and there's no setup procedure either – the new junction box below the handlebar allows you to plug-and-play.
The under-stem junction box is the key to Di2 9070's versatility. It allows the addition of numerous 'plug & play' accessories
There are two versions of the box – SM-EW90-A, with three ports, and SM-EW90-F, with five ports – and combined with the three ports on the back of each STI lever, this offers a huge range of setup options.
The five-port box is also designed to work with Shimano's latest Flight Deck computer (SC-R770) via an ANT+ wireless connection. When used with mechanical Dura-Ace, the touch-screen computer shows what gear you're in and can be paired with ANT+ devices to show your speed, cadence and heart rate. It also offers remote operation via a bar end switch. Connect the Flight Deck to Di2 9070, however, and it comes into its own. You can use it to adjust your gears, show the battery level, perform simple system diagnostics and even programme the multi-shift function.
Shimano's latest Flight Deck computer can be used with both mechanical and electronic versions of Dura-Ace
Also in development is a time trial/triathlon-specific version of the new transmission called Dura-Ace Di2 9071. We'll bring you more on the new electronic groupset as soon as we get it.
Yes but when it's all said and done it's still not Campag.
Campag, what's that? :)
Perhaps it is a way that some people show they earn too much money but don't what to give it to charity :-)
You can donate all the money you like to Shiamno but it still wont be a tax deduction!
11speed pffft its been done.
I must be obscenely rich then....I run Campy AND give to charity
But doesn't innovation from Shimano put pressure on other bike component manufactures to produce better products as well?
After all if the others stay still Shimmano will eventually be the best.
I would immagine that somone at compag would relise that if they are nor better than Shimano they will struggle to sell their stuff.
Don I was just stirring but in actual fact the article is just saying at least the way I read it that Shimano has caught up it has not gone past and one of the biggest complaints the Shimano crowd has is no audible click when the gears change like campagnola has and they don't appear to have addressed that.
Personally I won't touch battery operated gears for a long time yet no matter what the brand unless I'm given them and then they would have to be on an Orca Gold in Euskadi colours and well while I'm at it they would have to be campy.
I love mechanical Dura Ace, DI2 is ok, but much perfer the feel and servicablity of mechanical.
That being said it will be a long time, if ever, that I conver to this version.
I have 4 sets of wheels which I use to train and race on of which none will be compatable with the new system unless I replace the rear hub. Way more costly and problematical then just learning how to use the SRAM shift system
Its interesting that you would need a wider freehub and therefore new wheels as the current 10 speed Shimano wheels run a spacer with a 10spd cassette. Would have thought that you just run the 11 speed cassette without the spacer and hey presto.....
Most decent wheels have replaceable freehub bodies. I'm sure you'll be able to get 11-speed Shimano bodies on the open market for DT Swiss, Fulcrum, Mavic, Zipp etc soon.
I personally probably wouldnt notice the difference between electronic and mechanical. I find my Ultegra gear shifts to be excellent, and its chalk and cheese compared to my flat bar which had Deore.
I just found the article to be an interesting read on the technological advancements in cycling today.
My concern with electronic is breakdown when travelling.
If I have a spill or similar with mechanical I can quickly source a 105 or similar derailure and fix it myself in around 30 minutes and less than $250.
If you break a Di2 deraluire you are up for around $800 and that is assuming that the shop has one in stock. Just recently the shop I work in was informed by Shimano Australia that the order time was 8 weeks for a replacement.