Shimano 105 goes electronic with a Di2 overhaul that brings the same lightning-fast semi-wireless shifting, 12-speed drivetrain, and upgraded disc brakes as Dura-Ace Di2, but now at a price level less than half of the top-tier R9200 group. It’s even almost 1/3 cheaper than Ultegra Di2, with a scant few hundred extra grams penalty to show for the savings to your wallet…
Shimano 105 Di2 makes electronic shifting more affordable
On the 40th anniversary of 105’s original debut, Shimano gives their popular affordable performance road groupset a massive trickle-down electronic upgrade in this new R7100 105 Di2 series. The same concept of wireless electronic shifters, fast and reliable electronic front & rear derailleurs wired to a single smart seatpost battery, and an upgrade to 12-speed out back… just like Dura-Ace/Ultegra Di2.
Is it really affordable?
The hallmark of 105 has always been its cost:performance ratio, making it the solid entry-level choice of performance road bikes for much of those 40 years. So, is 105 Di2 really affordable?
It’s not exactly cheap at $1887 for the complete suite of individual components. That’s a full 78% increase vs. the previous $1061 mechanical 11sp 105 R7000 generation, although that pricing is based on when it was introduced 4 years ago when everything was cheaper.
But compare 105 Di2’s $1887 build pricing to last summer’s Dura-Ace Di2 R9200 at $4312 or Ultegra Di2 R8100 at $2643, and you are looking at cost savings of 56% & 29%, respectively.
On the other hand, SRAM Red AXS is listed at $3648, Force AXS at $2678 & Rival AXS $1420 for a similar 2x disc setup. Gold $4636 for Campagnolo Super Record EPS.
So by comparison of electronic groups, 105 Di2 is much more affordable than other Di2 or EPS. And it’s in between SRAM’s two lower AXS offerings.
(Comparisons include: front & rear derailleurs, cassette, chain, crankset, BB, shifter sets with brake calipers, rotors, batteries & wires.)
Now that you have a good idea of how affordable or not upgrading 105 to Di2 is, let’s look at the details..
Digital Integrated Intelligence (Di2) has been delivering fast, electronic-actuated shifts since 2009. It’s since evolved to a wireless cockpit that’s easier to set up, and a wired derailleur pairing that stays charged longer, running smoothly & precisely for years. The wireless communication also means it’s easy to tweak your setup, simply from your smartphone and the E-Tube Project app.
105 Di2 still gives you tuning & customization options like shift speed, multi-shift function, or even semi-automated Syncro shifting. It also pairs with 3rd-party GPS devices like Garmin & Wahoo to monitor shifts & remaining battery (but no longer Hammerhead).
Brifter hood & body ergonomics look almost identical to Ultegra, including the same 16.4mm of lever reach adjust. Interestingly, each of the shifters feature two CR1632 batteries vs. the single one in the other new Di2 groups. Shimano already describes their semi-wireless solution as offering “faster shift speeds and longer battery life” but perhaps now 105 Di2 will require less frequent shifter battery replacement.
There’s also the small LED indicator to let you know how much life is remaining.
Unlike Dura-Ace & Ultegra, 105 Di2 does not get extra control buttons on the top of its hoods.
The shift to 12-speed gives 105 the wide overall gearing spread, but smoother more natural steps in between. Chainring combos are offered in mid-compact 52/36 & compact 50/34 combined with 11-34T or so on 11-36T cassettes, for the options of lower than 1:1 ratios.
Like the previous Di2 12sp, cassettes are backwards compatible with standard HG 11sp freehub bodies on existing wheels.
The new Shimano 105 Di2 RD-R7150 rear derailleur features a low-profile Shadow layout, coming in just one long cage length to max out at a 36T cassette cog.
It also gets the easy-to-access charging port for the internal battery, and its own D-Fly wireless connectivity.
Brakes get better too, just like Dura-Ace & Ultegra. The new brakes are said to be “quieter, easier to maintain, more controlled, and more powerful”. The real upgrade which we saw firsthand in our Dura-Ace review is the better braking experience. Shimano sped up the initial contact point of pads-to-rotor while increasing the clearance when the brakes are retracted by 10%.
It’s a relatively small change considering how tight this area is. But 105 Di2 getting the same upgrade means this groupset should be getting the best road disc brake experience on the market, and at less than 1/2 cost of Dura-Ace.
Pro & Amateur mechanics alike will also appreciate easier brake bleeding than the previous generation, too.
Shimano 105 Di2 12sp vs. 105 11sp – Availability
Here comes the tough questions… when can you get a new electronic 105 groupset and what about mechanical 105? Well, we don’t really know. Shimano hasn’t given us any concrete timeline of when the new 105 Di2 groupsets will actually be available to consumers, but we do expect it to start showing up as OEM on complete bikes later this summer, at least in limited numbers.
update: Some bike companies say they already have select 105 Di2 bikes in stock, like Ribble for example.
105 has always been a huge seller as original equipment on complete bikes, and manufacturers have been begging for more affordable electronic groupsets to build up their latest bikes… especially all of those new aero bikes with fully internal cable routing that works best (or only) with electronic shifting.
As for mechanical 105…it doesn’t get a 12-speed upgrade. For now R7000 isn’t gone yet. But it likely will be soon, perhaps getting trickled down to the next Tiagra 11-speed upgrade.