THROWBACK THURSDAY, 2011: SHIMANO UNVEILS ULTEGRA DI2
Heading to the UCI headquarters Switzerland to ride the 2012 electronic drivetrain
Our second day’s ride took us from UCI headquarters to the ski town of Champery, home to an annual round of the cross-country mountain bike world cup series. It was, quite simply, one of the best rides of my life. Several other journalists I spoke with during and after the rides had never tried Dura-Ace Di2, and their impressions of Ultegra Di2 were, on the whole, very positive. “Shifting between the big and small chainrings felt effortless,” exclaimed one fellow journo. Another was experiencing a definite “wow factor” and said that “it’s like you don’t have to think about the shift. You just press a button and everything’s handled for you.”
Shimano mechanics made sure each and every bike was working properly before each of our rides. Several reps confirmed that the total weight for Ultegra Di2 comes in at 2482 grams (this includes brakes and all other parts, such as a battery mount and wiring). Retail pricing is forthcoming, but based on some information RBA’s gathered about 2012 model bikes, a bike outfitted with Ultegra Di2 will run you around $800-1000 less than the same bike equipped with non-electronic SRAM Red, and around $1000-1200 less the one outfitted with mechanical Dura-Ace. For comparison’s sake, mechanical Ultegra weighs 2402 grams, a Dura-Ace Di2 group weighs 2219 grams, and mechanical Dura-Ace weighs in at 2149 grams. The lower-cost mechanical 105 weighs in at 2609 grams.
Ultegra Di2 is, in my opinion, a major leap forward for cycling. Most everyone who has ridden Dura-Ace Di2 will agree that its shifting performance and consistency is top notch. Now, Shimano has brought that technology to a lower price point. Speaking of the future, several journalists joked that 105 Di2 won’t be far off. But for now, Ultegra Di2 offers the same shifting experience found on Dura-Ace Di2. It comes with a weight penalty, and shifts feel mere milliseconds slower than Shimano’s flagship electronic drivetrain. but for the price, Ultegra Di2’s greatest strength may not be performance, but perceived value. Be sure to check back soon for an exclusive look inside UCI headquarters, including such sights as their indoor Olympic-caliber velodrome, an impressive collection of Cycling photography, and some of the wildest cycling-related sports you’ve ever seen.
For more info: Shimano’s Ultegra Di2