Content credit: Clive de Sousa Glory Cycles 2018
Shimano has steadily evolved their electronic shifting/hydro braking groups to the point that other component manufacturers are going to have a tough time catching up. The new Ultegra 8070 Di2 group has it all. After a few rides we completely fell in love, and found few faults in its design, function, and form.
The hydro braking is smooth and powerful, offering excellent modulation, and allowing for confidant braking in any situation. The new brake levers also offer excellent reach and stroke adjustment that be customized for any riders taste. The shift paddles are larger than the previous generation Ultegra Di2 and have a great tactile feel to them. The addition of a small spring that provides an assured click to confirm shifting, it is a much appreciated/well thought out addition from Shimano.
The new hoods have a improved texture and a new shape, they are more compact than the previous model and incredibly light as well. To top if off the levers have an additional button that can be programmed to operate your computer, light, or can be used an additional shift button. For those of you plagued by the rattle of the old Di2 hydro shifters, worry no more, the new shifters are largely noise free
Wiring options are improved with the addition of a new, in-bar, charging junction that replaces the previous under stem junction. The new junction allows for improved routing, and there are even some bikes (like the Cento 10 NDR below) where one can have zero wires or cables visible.
Users of older model Shimano Di2, and e-Tube systems will be pleased to know that the old derailleurs can be mixed in with the new shifters. Further, older systems can be updated for Syncroshift and can be accessed via the e-tube app with the inclusion of the WU111 junction. We find it quite encouraging to see a massive company not making legacy product obsolete just because they can.
Shifting is pretty much the same as the previous Ultegra Di2 with smooth, confidant shifting being the norm. Shimano even offers the automatic shifting via Syncroshift, eliminating the rider from the equation entirely. Both semi and full Syncro were fun to ride with, although difficult to get used to. While the new Syncro options might change the way some of us ride, I for one will be sticking to shifting my own bike. While you may not use Syncroshift to its full capability, it shows how Shimano having a huge impact on how we ride. Shimano’s innovation, styling and price is such that other brands have fallen behind. In our opinion Di2 is the very best shifting available for a road or gravel bike at this time.
Brake calipers are flat mount and look very neat on any bike, post mount frames can be accommodated as well and the new rotors have ample power for a road bike with a 140 on the front and rear. Gravel bikes perhaps better with 160/140 if you know you are going to encounter steep grades.
The new Ultegra R8000 crank is pretty impressive as well, the new style chainrings feel better then the previous generation when riding cross chained. The weight and stiffness of the crank is fantastic. For those of you who run power, there are some great options from Pioneer and Stages that give you the benefit of the 8000 crank, without sacrificing data or aesthetics.
New cassette ratios added to the R8000 Ultegra cassette give more options for gear selection and a new medium cage rear derailleur that can accommodate up to 34T cassette. The new cassette ranges mean the Ultegra group is perfect for anything from fast flat road riding in Florida to the steepest gravel climbs in Colorado.
In summation (although you could’ve figured it out by now) we think the Ultegra 8070 group is the ultimate balance of price, performance, and aesthetics on offer. The only issue we have with the new group is that it’s popularity has created a shortage in the market. New Di2 groups have been hard to come by, but if you have not been able to find a group we can do it for you. If you are looking to put together a custom bike with some of all of the new Di2 we can do that as well. firstname.lastname@example.org