So good it's scary.
Shimano's Ultegra is often thought of as a budget racer's group or one that was worthy to put on a top tier frame helping to bring the total price down. This latest version performs so flawlessly that unless you are just dead-set on Dura-Ace, you should seriously consider the Ultegra 8000 group. Because it's a serious drivetrain for serious cyclists. The Ultegra ST-R8000 STI Shifters have enough DNA from the new 9100 shifters—themselves perhaps the pinnacle of mechanical shifting—that you will have a hard time separating them as twins.
An all new look, larger gear range, and smoother, more precise shifting are the hallmarks of the redesigned Ultegra group. We've always felt like the control levers on a road bike are akin to the central nervous system and must perform complex and precise tasks such as firing off shifts with proper indexing to provide just enough cable tension or slack to initiate a clean shift or pulling the right ratio of cable for controlled braking and rider feedback. This group is damn good at both. A group is only as good as the sum of its parts; however we've put enough miles on this new Ultegra group to realize that it is the best version we've ridden,. The improved ergonomics and super-light-shift and brake action make these Ultegra ST-R8000 STI shifters a perfect perch for Tuesday night worlds or a weekend double century.
Shimano's mastery of shift indexing allows it to create shifting action that is more positive yet feels lighter and requires less effort. The new 8000 group is backward-compatible with Ultegra 6800, but to reap the most benefits of the new control levers, we recommend pairing them with the new series derailleurs and brake calipers. Most of the 8000 control levers share material makeup with the 9100 group. A slight increase in weight and a few bearings substituted for bushings are the most notable exceptions. We would place some heavy bets that most riders wouldn't be able to distinguish between the two in back-to-back rides.
The lever body is made from Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP), like the 9100, but the main lever blade is also CFRP rather than the carbon fiber found on 9100. On the scale and in your wallet, you're looking at a 73g and $200 increase. Despite the different materials, the brake reach adjustment has still been increased to fit more hand sizes. Included in that price of admission is the excellent SP41 cable housing and polymer-coated stainless steel cables. The new hoods are also a direct descendant from 9100 and the texture and rubber compound make them an enjoyable hand-hold with or without gloves and during any season.
- Road race shift levers that tackle gravel and training miles
- Lighter, more precise action than predecessors
- Shorter lever stroke requires less effort and pressure
- Improved ergonomics provide easier braking from the hoods
- Includes SP41 housing and polymer coated cables
- Great value controls that are reliable for many miles