Shimano Ultegra R8000 is the new and highly anticipated groupset from the Japanese component giant

The new Shimano Ultegra R8000 and R8050 have arrived, the latest iterations of Shimano’s hugely popular second-tier groupset.

>>> Shimano Ultegra R8000 series vs Ultegra 6800 series: key differences

It looks more like an evolution than a revolution, and one that most people expected.

However, it’s a move that brings the groupset well and truly in line with the latest Shimano Dura-Ace R9000 series. For now, at least, it also distances Shimano Ultegra from Shimano 105, making that decision for customers that little bit easier.

Shimano Ultegra R8000

There’s no escaping Shimano’s total overhaul of the chainset’s aesthetics. The new Ultegra model now mirrors flagship Dura-Ace with the dark colour scheme and chunky crank that’s far fatter than the now seemingly skinny old Ultegra model.

Shimano Ultegra R8000

Spitting image: Dura-Ace 9100 trickle-down has begun

Interestingly, the four-arm Hollowtech II spider certainly looks like it should house Shimano’s new power meter, like the Dura-Ace model can. This would confirm that Shimano wants to be able to use its power meter across its chainset range.

Up front, the design of the hoods has changed, adding an element of grip where once there was just smooth rubber. The levers have also evolved, with the kink at the top exaggerated slightly for improved ergonomics – something we love on the latest Dura-Ace.

Shimano Ultegra R8000

Rear derailleur cage similar to that of off-road counterparts

Meanwhile, chainrings will be available in 46/36, 50/34, 52/36 and 53/39 set-ups. On the rear there’s an equally wide spread of ratios, with cassettes available from 11-25t, 11-28t, 11-30t, 11-32t, 12-25t and 12-28t.

The longer cage (‘medium’) version of the rear derailleur is capable of accommodating a 11-34t cassette.

The new rear derailleur also incorporates Shimano’s Shadow RD technology, imported from mountain biking to facilitate slicker cable routing and shifting, which means less cable friction. Equally, it also allows the rear mech to be tucked closer to the frame and further out of harm’s way.

The front derailleur is designed to handle quick and smooth shifting under high pedalling torque and has been remodelled so that it’s smaller with more efficient cable actuation. Shimano says it has been redesigned so it can accommodate wider tyres as well as a wider gear pitch without sacrificing shifting.

Shimano Ultegra R8000

Hood shape and ergonomics have been improved

If you expected a lighter groupset then don’t look at the comparisons below. As with the new Dura-Ace, Shimano has made it clear that its priority is to make the groupset work better rather than stripping it back and making it as light as possible.

Shimano Ultegra 6800 weights

Levers                      425g (pair)
Front/rear mech   104g/195g
Chainset                  676g
Front/rear wheels 705g/944g
Pedals                      248g

Shimano Ultegra R8000 weights

Levers                       438g (pair)
Front/rear mech    106g/200g
Chainset                   674g
Front/rear wheels  625g/943g
Pedals                       248g

Shimano Ultegra R8050 Di2 weights

Levers                       295g (pair)
Front/rear mech    132g/242g
Chainset                   674g
Front/rear wheels  625g/943g
Pedals                       248g

Shimano Ultegra R8050 Di2

Ultegra R8050 now looks to be far more in line with Shimano’s E-Tube software than ever before.

Synchro Shift is carried across to Ultegra R8050 meaning both front and rear mechs communicate allowing for semi auto shifting and multi-shift options. The hoods are given control over third-party cycling computers, meaning you can now change data screens remotely rather than having to take your hands off the bars.

Shimano also says there has been a slight improvement in ergonomics, having increased the spacing between the Di2 levers.

Shimano Ultegra R8000 mechanical rim-brake components will start to arrive in Europe from June, while Di2 and disc brake components will start to arrive from August.

Shimano Ultegra R8000 pricing

Levers                        319.99 (pair)
Front/rear mech     £52.99/£84.99 (£89.99 medium cage)
Chainset                    £249.99
Cassette                     11×25,28 and 12×25 £74.99 / 11×30,32 and 14×28 £79.99 / 11×34 £84.99
Front / rear Brakes £69.99 (£79.99 direct mount)
Wheels                       £749.98 (rim brake pair)
Pedals                        £149.99

Shimano Ultegra R8050 Di2 pricing

Levers                       £299.99 (pair)
Front/rear mech    £209.99/£244.99 (£249.99 medium cage)