Item # SHI00KD
Shimano Ultegra ST-R8020 STI Shifter - Set $490.00
Hydraulic disc brakes have been quite the revelation in cycling over recent years. First proven in the mountain bike world, the power, modulation, and all-weather performance all proved its superiority over rim brakes and now they are ubiquitous on almost all off-road bikes. Next came 'cross, a sport notorious for turning laps in the muck. The Euro pros were the last holdout, but even they couldn't ignore the performance benefits and succumbed to disc, breaking tradition. Now slowing down during CX races is consistent and pads last the entirety of the race even if you are without a pit crew and a B bike. Now we're witnessing a shifting tide in the road market, with the added benefit of moving rim calipers down to the chainstay and fork leg opens up spaces allowing frame designers the freedom for more tire clearance and wider rims. Big component brands are on board supplying several options and the perineal favorite from a performance to dollar standpoint is Shimano's Ultegra group, with its latest refinements making it a real winner. So if you're moving your 11-speed Shimano road group over to a disc frameset or you're looking at each individual component on a build from the ground up, we strongly urge you to have a gander at Shimano's Ultegra ST-R8020 STI Shifter Set.
This shifter/brake lever set comes ready to install and accommodates all Shimano 11-speed drivetrains, so if you already own perfectly good mechanical derailleurs and brake calipers, you're almost there. If you need calipers, post-mount versions and flat-mounts are available depending on how the calipers attach to your 'cross, gravel, and road framesets, so buy accordingly along with the necessary hose kit and fittings. Shimano also includes its dialed OT-SP41 housing, low-friction polymer shift cables, and all of the small parts like housing ends, crimps, etc. that's so smooth and crisp at shifting, it'll have you questioning the benefits of electronic groups.
As good as the RS685 mechanical shifter/hydro brake levers were, the R8020's represent a clear upgrade in performance now that Shimano has fully embraced road disc and slots them in under the Ultegra dedicated road series. Installation and maintenance are easy and typical of what we've come to expect from Shimano. The brakes are easy to bleed and rarely need it short of the initial install and an annual service. Shimano's choice of using paint and planet friendly mineral oil also gets bonus points from us. Shimano recommends using IceTech rotors (sold separately) with a stainless steel braking surface sandwiching an alloy core for the best performance and increased safety.
Most drop bar frames and forks will accommodate 140 or 160mm rotors with the calipers and adapters necessary to run them. For the many that have separated the wheat from the chaff of the internet forum jockey talk and actually used them, after running disc on the road it's hard to go back to rim brakes. We'd firmly put ourselves in that boat as there are some seriously good options out there now including this Ultegra ST-R8020 STI Shifter setup.
- Shimano Ultegra-level hydraulic disc brake and mechanical shifters
- Japanese precision updates hydraulic braking
- Race-worthy shift action from its most popular group
- Levers provide reach and stroke adjustment to dial in the feel
- Includes shifter cable and housing and endcaps