Shimano's New 105 Di2 Groupset Finally Released
40 years after its initial release, Shimano 105 receives the ultimate upgrade with a move to Di2 electronic shifting technology. The highly anticipated Shimano 105 R7100 group now includes Di2 shifting, a wider range 12 speed cassette, and other high-end touches that trickle down from Dura-Ace and Ultegra.
Since first riding the original Di2 drivetrains in the early 2000s as a cycling coach, this update is a welcome addition for the more budget conscious cyclist!
Shimano 105 R7100 Di2 Highlights:
- Cost for the complete group comes to $1900 (About $400 more than Sram Rival AXS)
- Weighs in at 3086 grams (less than SRAM Rival)
- 2 x 12 speed with disc brake only
- 50-34 and 52-36 Cranksets
- 11-34 and 11-36 Cassettes
- Wireless shifters
- Addition of Carbon 105-level wheels
Similar to the latest Dura-Ace and Ultegra groups, 105 Di2 gets a 12th gear, semi-wireless layout, and updated ergonomics. The brakes also get an update for quieter with 10% more pad clearance and an easier bleeding process that no longer requires you to remove the brake caliper from the frame.
The R7100 group also sees the addition of the 11-36 cassette giving a wide range making the group more appealing to the gravel crowd and those in hilly environments. You can also opt for an 11-34 cassette but no matter which you choose they still will fit an 11-speed free hub body. The 34-tooth cassette will be the first available, with the 36-tooth coming into stock later this year.
One feature the new group misses out on is the Hyperglide+ on the cassette and chain that helped improve shifting down the cassette. While this likely won’t be noticeable to most, unless coming from a higher-end drivetrain, it is worth mentioning.
Features of R7100
Much like its more expensive family members, the 105 Di2 group will feature the same wireless cockpit that communities with the front and rear derailleur that are connected to an internal battery. This will help keep your cables to a minimum and create a clean look. Noticeable missing is the ability to run the system fully wired for those who still have worries about wireless. The shifters have a claimed battery life of 3 years using two coin cell batteries.
You also get improved brakes with claimed enhanced performance. The most significant changes that cyclists and mechanics will enjoy are the improved clearance for rotors and the removal of the need to disconnect the caliper to bleed it.
The updated crankset also sees styling cues from Dura-Ace. As of right now, you can only get the crank in a 50-34 configuration but look for a 52-36 to hit the market later this year. The front derailleur also is much bigger than Dura-Ace and Ultegra. It is closer to the size of the original Di2 parts from years past. You can also change out any Di2 part as they are all compatible, other than the 36 cassette which is above the limits of the Ultegra and Dura-Ace rear derailleurs.
So, what then makes the 105 different from Shimano’s flagship Dura-Ace groupset and second-tier Ultegra Di2?
First off, it is heavier than its siblings. According to Shimano, the complete groupset tips the scales at a touch over 3086 grams, including wires and battery. That makes it 500+ grams heavier than Dura-Ace and almost 360 grams above Ultegra.
Both those groupsets are considerably more expensive so a better comparison is to the SRAM Rival AXS drivetrain that comes in 160 grams heavier than the 105 group. It should also be noted the Rival drivetrain comes in cheaper by about $400 though.
Final Thoughts on Shimano 105 Di2
Like most, we haven’t had a chance to test ride the new groupset yet and that points to the main issue. The real issue with the new 105 group is going to be availability. Its more expensive siblings were released almost a year ago and are still very hard to get your hands on. They are saying expected availability of this summer but we shall see.