Aerodynamic, power measurement, hydraulic brakes, synchronised electronic shifting, updated wheel profiles and all-new wireless connectivity.
Coined around the phrase “System Supremacy”, the latest top-shelf Dura-Ace offering from Shimano has been refined to provide the user with the greatest return on their physical investment. Each component of the electronic and mechanical group has been designed to provide greater efficiency gains through every touch point. We take a look at some of the key changes we’re most excited about.
Don’t think, just ride
Synchronised shifting technology – borrowed from the off-road Di2 ensemble – brings a whole new dimension to shifting on the road. Coupled with the Bluetooth-enabled E-Tube App, users can select their preferred shifting setup; from traditional function left lever-front derailleur, right lever-rear derailleur through to fully or semi-synchronised with just the touch of two buttons. It will be interesting to see how the road market adopts this style of shifting. The most exciting part of this technology will no doubt be the trickle-down effect over the coming years – simplifying the entire shifting process for newer cyclists.
Professionals may be busy squabbling about the need, safety and performance of disc brakes, the rest of us can get on with simply enjoying the ride. Revised lever shapes for both electronic and mechanical setups will also be available in a hydraulic disc brake version. But it’s not just about the roadies, TT specialists and triathletes will be pleased to see some big changes to the aerobar shifters.
Larger clearance for traditional brake callipers fall inline with the growing ‘bigger bag is better’ trend. There’s also a reduction in flex, read: improvement in what is already a very solid braking feel at the lever. The discs have been designed specifically for the demands of the road. Flat mount callipers provide a clean and aerodynamic finish along while the dedicated Dura-Ace rotor has led to a claimed 30% reduction in rotor temperature – over the previous ICE incarnation.
Out of the shadows
Borrowing proven technology from the mountain bike world, the Dura-Ace derailleur has taken on the Shadow profile. The Shadow derailleur, which sees the once precarious b-tension pivot almost completely flattened, should in theory lead to few ‘crash and burn’ moments. With the derailleur sitting further toward the wheel, the idea is that it should no longer be one of the first touch points during a fall. It’s also great news for those who love to travel with the bike. Front mechanical shifting also sees significant improvements to function and adjustment. Shifting effort has been once again improved.
Power to the people
The long-awaited and integrated power meter is one of the biggest coups for the Japanese supplier. Never one to jump into the party before thoroughly considering the proposition, the dual-sided FC-9100-P (also available without power measurement) receives an updated crank profile, chainrings and a minor weight saving. Both left and right-side strain gauges are neatly tucked away inside the crank arms with just a small showing on the drive side spider and discrete raised profile on the left giving the game away. The heart of the power meter, or should we say brain, sits inside the hollow crank spindle.
We’re yet put eyes on the actual charger but users will be pleased to know that changing batteries is a thing of the past (short of fault or breakage). Magnetic adapters connect to each crank arm to recharge the batteries. Run time along with charge time is yet to be released.
Two new 24mm width wheelsets, in 40mm and 60mm heights enter the fold with clincher, tubeless and disc brake options on the cards. The stiffer and more aerodynamic profile will no doubt be a favoured choice for both the avid enthusiast and racer alike. Nine models fill the wheel lineup with the popular low profile C24 model continuing with refreshed decals.
Delivery in Australia is expected during the early months of 2017. Pricing is yet to be confirmed.
Stay tuned for a full review of the Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 groupset in a coming edition of Cyclist.