Shimano Ultegra Di2 6870
As good as Dura-Ace Di2, for significantly less money and only a minor weight penalty
Shimano’s second tier electronic groupset might have taken two years to come to fruition after Dura-Ace Di2’s launch in 2009, but there are very few people who’d argue that it wasn’t worth the wait.
Two years on and everything had gone 11-speed, so Ultegra Di2 was updated to include that, and we arrive at the model on the market today. While it might technically be second-tier, there’s nothing second rate about Ultegra Di2 and it boasts a whole host of trickle-down features from Dura-Ace Di2.
Shimano say Ultegra Di2 represents race-proven technology at a far more affordable price, even more so considering that while the RRP for the group might be two grand, in practice you can get hold of a set for less than half of that, making it a very enticing package indeed.
There’s nothing to dislike about Shimano’s second-tier electronic groupset, and the only wish we have for the future is that we’ll see a 105 version at some point soon
While some people still want to stick with their mechanical groupsets – and there’s nothing wrong with that at all – there’s little argument these days that electronic groupsets are king when it comes to precise, fast shifting and minimal maintenance.
It’s not all unique to Di2 though. Crankset, brakes, chain and cassette are shared with the 6800 mechanical groupset, but shifters and derailleurs change, while you also have to factor in the junction box and battery into your build.
The shifters are slimmer and smaller, a bonus from being able to remove the mechanical gubbins needed for shifting cables, and installation is simpler with wires plugging into sockets rather than the tedious process of routing cables.
At the derailleur ends life is made easier as well, with both front and rear derailleur providing an awful lot of assistance during installation. Set the limit switches and the slimmed down rear derailleur will auto adjust itself to make sure each shift aligns correctly.
- Price: £1,199.99
- Website: Shimano
- UK distributor: Madison
The front derailleur, on the other hand, has an auto trim function that moves the derailleur cage as you move up and down the cassette, ensuring chain alignment stays true no matter what your preferred gear.
One more improvement on the latest group is the slimmer battery, designed to be mounted in a seatpost or downtube. That means no ugly battery on the outside of your bike and it’s tucked away, safer from the elements, too. Plus, the whole system now charges through the junction box rather than you having to remove the battery.
Outside of the on-bike tech, Shimano’s E-Tube software allow full customisation of the system. Everything from shift speed to multi-shifting options and even whether the left or right shifter controls the front or rear derailleur. You don’t even need a separate cable to connect to your computer now, either. You can simply use the charging cable that comes with the groupset.
Basically, there’s nothing to dislike about Shimano’s second-tier electronic groupset if you want fast, precise and flawless shifting, and the only wish we have for the future is that we’ll see a 105 version at some point soon.