Shimano has launched the widely expected update to its mid-range 105 groupset, incorporating much of the look, feel and tech of Dura-Ace and Ultegra. Designed as the entry point to Shimano's 'race' groupsets, the new 105 R7000 groupset shares many of the features of its top-level siblings and gains dedicated disc brakes.
Where before Shimano has opted for a ‘trickle-down’ approach to product development, this generation of 105 was designed and conceived alongside its Dura-Ace and Ultegra forebears. The result is a groupset that shares much of its DNA with the more premium groups, according to Shimano. In a double-drop of news from Shimano, the R7000 groupset has been launched alongside the Japanese firm's new Ultegra RX clutch rear mech, designed to provide extra chain security on rough roads.
Let's focus on 105 for now, though. The main standout addition to the line-up are the groupset's own 105-level disc brake calipers, where previously 105 users have had to make do with non-series stoppers. These are designed to work optimally with SM-RT70 rotors, which don’t include the cooling fins of the Dura-Ace or Ultegra models.
On top of this, plenty of thought has gone into the design of the hydraulic R7020 levers, which mirror Ultegra in shape, ergonomics and features, with expanded reach adjustment built into the design. Interestingly, there's also a more compact version of the hydraulic levers – known as ‘R7025’ – which angle even closer to the handlebars to suit riders with smaller hands.
Those hoping for a 105 Di2 groupset will be left disappointed, but Shimano has taken time to improve the performance of its mechanical shifting to sit more in line with the very good Ultegra groupset, with a reduced throw at the lever married to the toggle-design front derailleur which helps to lighten the force required to actuate a shift, as well as incorporate an integrated cable tension port. This removes the need for in-line cable adjustors, while the ‘Shadow’ rear derailleur design also helps with efficient shifts at the sprockets as well as keeping the derailleur itself closer to the cassette for greater protection from impacts.
The R7000-spec groupset also sees the introduction of a semi-compact 52-36t chainset (which once again demonstrates Shimano’s oversized crank arm design) alongside 11-30t and 11-34t cassettes. The latter will work with the optional long cage rear derailleur and is compatible with ten-speed freehubs. The climb-friendly cassette should allow the latest 105 group to better suit gravel, adventure and cyclo-cross riding alongside traditional road use.
All components draw inspiration from the two-tone black designs of Dura-Ace and Ultegra, although you can also have all 105 components in a traditional silver colour, too. UK prices at time of writing are still to be confirmed.