It’s six years since Shimano Dura-Ace added an eleventh sprocket and four since 105 followed suit. Since then flagship Dura-Ace has been updated – as its four-year cycle dictates – to add not yet another sprocket but instead wider cassette options, better disc brake technology, more sophisticated electronics as well as a striking overhaul of its aesthetics.
Shimano Ultegra followed suit last year with R8000 and now it’s the turn of 105, the Japanese firm’s third-tier and entry-level 11-speed groupset, to relaunch with trickled-down tech.
As expected, 105 R7000 now looks much more like its more expensive stablemates. The focal point is always the chainset, and at a glance 105 R7000 is indistinguishable from Ultegra. It shares the same angular aesthetic and even the stealthy matt/gloss black finish.
However, the biggest news for new 105 is the addition of its own 105-branded disc brakes. Previously RS505 hydraulics had been regarded as “105 level” and sold with 5800 but weren’t strictly part of the groupset.
New flat-mount BR-R7070 calipers are compatible with ICE Tech pads and UCI-compliant non-90° SM-RT70 rotors including a new 140mm size to offer greater cooling efficiency.
There are also new ergonomically shaped hydraulic dual-control levers (ST-R7020) that look identical in design to Ultegra levers with a greater range of reach adjustment for different hand sizes.
The customisability doesn’t stop there: 105 R7000 offers a separate version of the hydraulic brake/gear lever (ST-R7025) specifically for smaller hands, which is angled closer to the bar with more of an outboard position to avoid interference with the drops during operation. There is no separate smaller version for the rim-braking 105 STI.
Gear shifts from both rim and disc STIs have been redesigned for faster and lighter shifts thanks to a shorter stroke than the previous Shimano 105 5800 series. The optional long cage rear derailleur (RD-R7000-GS) can accommodate up to an 11-34T cassette and, like the latest Dura-Ace and Ultegra models, has a low-profile Shimano Shadow mtb-inspired design to tuck it out of harm’s way below the cassette and chainstay.
For the drivetrain, based on a chainset very similar to Ultegra’s, there’s a mid-compact 52/36 as well as 50/34 and 53/39 plus a new 11-30 and 10-speed compatible 11-34 cassette options to better suit gravel, adventure or CX riding. In addition, the inner chainring has been positioned to reduce the effects of cross chaining or chain drop, with disc brake criterium bikes in mind.
The front derailleur has a compact toggle (pivot) design, better tyre clearance and an integrated cable tension adjustment port (requiring a 2mm Allen key) removing the need for an in-line barrel adjuster.
However, Shimano says Di2 will not be trickling down to this iteration of 105: increasingly advanced electronic shifting and smarter connectivity has been a big part of the launches of the latest Dura-Ace and Ultegra groupsets, but it seems for the time being that 105 will remain the top mechanical-only ‘dumb’ groupset.
New Shimano 105 R7000 will be available by June in a matt/gloss black colourway and a silver option to match more traditional-looking bikes.
Shimano 105 R7000: What they say
Tim Gerrits, product manager at Shimano Europe “Increased control and reaction were two points we concentrated developments on, combined with what people have always expected from 105 – great versatility and value for riders. With 105’s suitability for a large portion of today’s diverse road bike styles we hope to unlock the potential of where and what it’s possible to ride on a road bike.”
We don’t have any information on weights yet, but 105 traditionally offers the tech of the more expensive Shimano groupsets for a fraction of the price but is a bit heavier and less durable. 105 R7000 definitely has the look and we’re looking forward to finding out if it has the performance too.
Prices and availability
105 chainset FC-7000 £129.99
105 shifters ST-7000 £194.99
105 front derailleur FD-7000 £34.99
105 rear derailleur RD-7000 £47.99 (GS)/£44.99 (SS)
105 brakes BR-7000 £41.99 (front)/£37.99 (rear)
105 cassette CS-7000 11-28 £42.99, 11-30 £42.99, 11-32 £47.99, 12-25 £42.99, 11-34 £47.99
RS505 hydro shifters and calipers £524.99 a pair vs £469.98
Disc rotors SM-RT70 £27.99
An initial glance suggests R7000 is priced very close to 5800 with some components, such as the new STIs, chainset, rear derailleur and rim brake calipers, even cheaper. Go to www.madison.co.uk for more details.