Shimano Announces Dura-Ace 9000

I got off a plane yesterday afternoon and was greeted in my first minutes back at home by a press release from Shimano announcing their new 9000-series Dura-Ace groups. Groups—plural—because the release detailed both the new mechanical and electronic versions of the group. We’re not in the habit of reprinting press releases here, but this is an exciting development if for no other reason than I really haven’t much liked 7900. In my cursory reading of the press materials I noted some changes that suggest I couldn’t have been the only rider out there who didn’t see the group as a step up from its predecessors.

 The new mechanical lever looks to have addressed some of the 7900 lever’s obvious faults.

That said, I will need another day or so to put together a full post on the changes that seem to address the previous group’s weaknesses. In the meantime, here are some images from Shimano for you to pore over.

The Di2 lever looks very similar to the previous version.

There will be plenty of wheels on offer with Dura-Ace.

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16 comments

  1. MerlinAma

    Just started reading Grant Peterson’s new book “Just Ride”.
    Somehow I’m now embarrassed that a bike manufacturer has introduced 11 speed electronic shifting for mega $$$.
    Yes – that’ll likely be on my new bike in a year, or maybe three since I need to start an entire new process of rationalizing why I NEED it.

  2. Chromatic Dramatic

    The new crankset is very very nice looking… oh and the ability to be a Compact crank too equals awesome. Given I’ll probably never buy DA, just waiting for this to trickle down to Ultegra.

    But I can leave 11speed. Can’t see it helping me much. But am ambivalent either way.

  3. Wsquared

    I have avoided Shimano cranks for years because I hate their bloated Spacely Industries faux futurist styling. Give me the classic elegance of the old DA 7400 crank, one of which still adorns my cherished Look KG 76 “Hinault.” (see 7400 cranks http://bit.ly/N3lY0d ) It looks like the 7900 is returning to those classic roots. I might even consider owning one.

  4. MCH

    The crank is ridiculous. Another bolt pattern??? More of the crazy over-styling???

    I might be tempted by the mechanical or e-drivetrain (minus the crank), but the rest? No thanks.

  5. grolby

    I can hardly wait to hear your thoughts, Padraig. I’m finding myself surprisingly excited about this next generation of Shimano groups – it looks like they’ve taken a lot of the design problems (“design is how it works,” remember) that dogged 7900/6700 and fixed or ameliorated them. I’m getting a vibe that 9000, for Shimano, is about a few minor but significant technological leaps (the funky new crank, 11-speed) and many refinements and evolutionary progressions on the existing stuff. I can’t say that I know if I’ll buy DA 9000, but I feel pretty certain that, if I don’t, Ultegra 8000 (just a guess) will be a strong upgrade candidate for my current 6700 group.

  6. Alex TC

    I´ve been reading features on the new DA groupset, and while it all looks promising and exciting, I can´t help recalling the “gear war” chapter on the amazing Dancing Chain book by Frank Berto, and wonder how long it´ll take to 12 or even 13 speed to come up.

    I´m by no means nostalgic, quite au contraire I´m a confessed early-adopter and very into new tech and developments. But bringing back personal memories of how durable and smooth my old 8sp chains (I still have a ´99 YBB with 8sp XTR and the original chain measures fine in the tool despite heavy abuse)… well…

    I´ll wait a little more to jump into this 11sp wagon. Besides, despite being a Shimaniac not long ago, I´m very happy with my SRAM RED groupset performance. But I admit the new tech on this 9000 group sounds amazing.

    Cheers!

  7. Mike

    Finally, after years, all my bikes are finally 10 speed (other than the obvious singlespeed/track exceptions). Here’s how I see it: the range is good, and to the extent 11 provides even more range, great. With 10, it finally made sense to dump the triple on my mountain bike (I’m now 2×10) and dump the double on my cross bike (I’m now 1×10), while still maintaining both the highs and lows necessary for my somewhat crappy Cat 4 legs. So, I ask myself, is 11 speed going to make my life easier or harder?

    My answer: no.

    I’m a weight-weenie XC and CX guy in NorCal, so I tolerate those flimsy 10 speed chains on my mountain and cross bikes in the mostly dry weather. Anywhere with real moisture? Fuggedaboutit. As it is, I’ve popped chains here. Last time I exploded a derailleur was in Seattle, but there’s not way I’m putting that much cross chain tension on in anything approaching sub-perfect conditions. As someone noted, the wear life is just going to keep going down with less contact area. Do I need more range? Frankly, no. I’m already riding an 11-36 on my XC bike (29er) and 11-26 on my CX bike. Frankly, any more gears is useless.

    Oh yeah, this is a road group. Same question – can I think of any situation where I’m lacking for gears? Nope. Though I CAN think of how I would hate even more dish on my wheels, or replacing chains more frequently, or how I replaced my old XTR cranks (760s) with the proprietary BCD because it was obnoxiously expensive to replace the chainrings.

    Anyway, I’m one of these guys still riding on several sets of 7800 because 7900 just wasn’t worth shifting to (7700 on the other hand was worth ditching). Frankly, until 7800 is literally unavailable, I’m not going to 9000 either. I’ve got 4 bikes Dura Ace bikes to replace stuff on. Shimano, I love your stuff, but more is not better.

  8. Mike

    As a side note, I’ve read several comments about the front derailleur being ugly etc. I have to say, that’s the one weakness of 7800 and I’m glad it’s being addressed. Coupled with the hollow big chainring of 7900/9000 I expect front shifting to (finally) be almost as good as rear shifting has been for years.

    Strangely, I have an early 1970′s Schwinn Paramount with Campy Record. The front derailleur is some design I can’t even describe, but it’s entirely unlike the parallelogram design. Anyway, with downtube shifters, the shifting is fantastic. Seems like in 40 years, component designers could have solved the front derailleur problem.

  9. MCH

    I’m glad to see someone else is still riding 7800. I like the stuff and just don’t see any reason to replace it. I’m laughing to myself as I type this, as I used to be the guy that had to have all the latest and greatest. Somehow, I’ve become a bike component ludite.

  10. Jason

    Completely agree with Mike. I too have several bikes with 7800. Given the significant increase in cost vs. what I perceived to be marginal improvement from 7800, I never considered moving to 7900. The value just wasn’t there. The 7800 group has been just super as far as I’m concerned, and indeed was a real step up from 7700. A new group would need to have some really compelling performance upgrades to make me considered the leap, especially at the prices Shimano wants to charge. New looks, shaving a few grams and adding an extra gear…probably not going to do it. I mean, how much better can it be? For several grand?

  11. Peter Lin

    All of the comments got me thinking about 10 vs 11. On my compact 105, there are a few occasions where I thought “a lower gear would be nice right now”. In my case though, I try to find every significant hill in Central MA and climb them regularly. There aren’t any HC climbs in central MA, but I could see someone loving 11. The biggest climb in Central MA is up the north face of Wachusett mountain, which has a few sections that are over 20% grade for .5-.6 mile.

    I look forward to the full review.

  12. Chatterbox

    @Peter Lin

    Your comment got me thinking – it used to be that you could run an XTR derailleur (or other Shimano MTB derailleur) with Shimano road levers. I wonder if that’s still true. If so, you could always your cassette out for an 11/32.

  13. michael

    why purchase first gen shimano 11 speed when you can get the current campagnolo 11 speed with all the kinks already ironed out and out of this world shifting?

    i too was ont of those who ridiculed the need for 11 cogs out back…..until i tried it. i was bowled over in the space of 10 minutes.

    my legs are fresher over the course of long rides just from the added cog and shifting. the differences are minute, but you can feel the accumulation through the miles.

    wheel issues? nope, none so far for me, and I have rolled over 20000km on my 11 speed.

    i would never go back to 10 out back, there is no amount of money that would make me make the swtich back. my riding experience has improved, measureably.

    it is all subjective of course, but at the end of the day, that is all that matters to me. my fun factor is up and the grin muscles are getting a better work out.

    now about that campy electronic 11 speed…..WANT.

  14. Peter Lin

    @Catterbox

    That’s an idea. No clue if shimano would recommend it, but I’ll stick with my compact 105 with 11-28. I’m a glutton for painful hill climbs. One of the best century rides in western MA is the mount greylock route, which has 3 CAT 2 climbs. The total altitude gain is some where between 9,000-10,000 feet. http://www.berkshirecycling.org/rides/greylock_map.php

    Although the whimp in me is screaming pain, the glutton in me is smiling “joy”.

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