Gravel Grinder News: New Ultegra 8000 Highlights- by Guitar Ted
Editor’s Note: These news posts used be titled “Fresh Gravel”, but in a nod to our past, and to use a more appropriate title, we are bringing back “Gravel Grinder News” as a way to share pertinent press releases and event news on Riding Gravel.
Shimano Ultegra 8000 Debuts: In a nod to the expanding “adventure/gravel” bike segments, Shimano has included a few tidbits in their newest Ultegra 8000 group that should be of interest to gravel road riders. Enhancements abound, as always, but specific details reveal some big changes in what Shimano is offering for gravel grinders everywhere.
The crank set is now designed to work more efficiently with 135OLD rear wheels and shorter chain stay lengths so that the chain will not hang up on the chain ring teeth. (Think cross chaining) There are also four chain ring combinations supported by one bolt circle diameter standard. 46/36, 50/34, 52/36, and the traditional 53/39 are available. But the big news in the drive train comes with what Shimano offers for cassettes and rear derailleurs in Ultegra 8000.
First, the wide range gearing needs of gravel road riders has been addressed by Shimano’s newest 11-34 cassette in this series. This cassette also will retrofit on to 10 speed wheels since Shimano used a dished last/largest cassette cog design. An 11-32 and 11-30 are also offered for those not needing such deep gearing.
Rear derailleurs are now offered in two versions in both Di2 and mechanical applications. “SS” cage Ultegra derailleurs work with cassettes from a 25T low and using up to a 30T low gear. “GS” Ultegra derailleurs work with the 32 and 34 tooth equipped Ultegra 8000 cassettes. Shadow profile and construction comes to Ultegra, but without any clutch options, which is to be lamented. Both the Di2 and mechanical rear derailleurs are now Shadow style derailleurs.
Front derailleurs continue with the “toggle” design which replaced the long arm type front derailleurs which required excessive cable tension to operate. Ergonomics and hand pressure to shift are said to both have been addressed with the new front derailleur and Ultegra 8000 levers.
The disc brake versions of Ultegra 8000 have also received enhancements with the most striking being the new rotors which are claimed to help dissipate heat even better than the previous version did.
Note: Information and images for this post were provided by Shimano