Shimano Ultegra 6800 Front Derailleur $59.95
Actuating predictable shifts.
By mirroring the design of Dura-Ace 9000's mechanical front derailleur, Shimano's revamped Ultegra 6800 front mechanism now provides that same smooth and accurate shifting that has made Shimano's marquee group so revered. It's a welcome upgrade from the previous version of Ultegra, as the longer pull arm and revised actuation ratio deliver precise shifting, with much less effort.
Shortly after the well-received introduction of its Di2 front derailleur, Shimano knew it needed to make some big revisions to the design of its FD-9000, which have now found their way to the new Ultegra 6800 mech. To start, we should explain Ultegra 6800's shifting goal -- easier action with a shorter stroke at the lever. To achieve this, a multi-part strategy had to be developed. First, Shimano had to revise the actuation ratio -- easier said than done. By standard, Shimano has operated on a variable ratio. This means that the ratio between a unit of shifted cable and its measured movement of a derailleur is varied throughout the gear range. As Shimano sees it, every gear jump is different, and requires a variance in actuation. However, to minimize the stroke effort, the variable ratio had to be lessened. This required a replacement of the leverage points on the front derailleur's body. You'll notice that FD-6800 borrows from Dura-Ace heavily here, as it now has a heightened profile with the leverage point at the top of the body. The enlarged pull arm creates more leverage, and this strengthens the pull, eases the actuation, and thus lessens the shift stroke.
Shimano claims that the new derailleur system creates a 35% reduction in shifting effort over 6700 at the lever. And to round things off in the efficiency department, the FD-6800 is pulled by Shimano's proprietary, polymer-coated shift cable. Shimano's new cable nearly eliminates mechanical drag, and further enhances shift accuracy. Altogether, the minimization of stroke and required effort creates a shifting experience on-par with the accuracy found in Di2 systems. Additionally, Shimano reintroduced its micro-trim system. In this version, it works opposite to prior generations, in that the trim moves outward for wide-open, cross-chain use.
The Shimano Ultegra FD-68000 11-Speed Front Derailleur is available in one color and as either a braze-on or clamp. New for the Ultegra 6800 is a support bolt, like Di2, that comes in contact with the frame for added stiffness in brazed-on applications. The clamp is offered in both a 31.8mm/28.6mm or 34.9mm clamp diameter. Please note that the FD-6800 is intended for use with the complete Ultegra 6800 component group.
Reviews & Community
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I can't speak as to the engineering changes from the Ultegra 6700 series to this new Ultegra 6800 series, but I can say it works great. I have the full Ultegra 6800 11 speed drivetrain with Shimano's polymer coated cables and the combination is as good as Dura Ace a couple of years ago. Chainring shifts are always awkward but with this setup it is a short throw and change is smooth. Another excellent system from Shimano.
Requires a tension adjuster
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Turns out this derailleur requires a tension adjuster. Maybe there's one built-in to your your frame, but if you have a modern frame you probably don't have one. For whatever reason, the description here doesn't mention this requirement. Maybe it's because Competitive Cyclist doesn't stock barrel adjusters.
Once you get the barrel adjuster installed, you'll be able to get enough tension in the cable for reliable, crisp shifts. Until then, you'll be wondering how the thing could possibly work.
Can this be used with the 6700 shifter? I...
Can this be used with the 6700 shifter? I know shimano has some requirements with their newer sets.
Nope. It's an 11 speed cassette and your shifter only works for 10.
The 6700 and 6800 front shifter both are 2 speed so I thought that FD6800 should also work on 6700 parts in the back unless FD6800 front shifter uses a different cable or has a different gear shifting design than the 6700 model. Any thought?
It should "work". The new 6800 FD has a cable tension pin that can be adjusted on the FD its self. Depending on your bike and angle of the cable you need to set the pin properly. There is a wicked amount of tension in the cable with the 6800 FD. I am sure Shimano knows this when they designed their 6800 shifter. So while it will work, might not be 110% like we are used to with Shimano components.