The Hidden Detail in Shimano’s New Road Groups that Proves Wireless XTR is Coming
Dura Ace and Ultegra Go Wireless ... Kinda
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No, we’re not going to review Shimano’s new top-end road groupsets. And we’re not going to break down everything that’s been changed, or list nitty gritty details like prices and weights. If you want that, you can head to Velo News, where the performance review is written up here, the details are broken down here and the prices and weights are covered here. We’re going to talk about what we’ve been waiting for from Shimano since SRAM AXS proved it was possible: Wireless.
Or, mostly wireless. The new Ultegra and Dura Ace groups have what Shimano is calling a “wireless cockpit.” The two derailleurs (yes, there are still two derailleurs) are physically wired to a seat-tube mounted battery. This makes charging easier, and the beefier frame-mounted battery is a good solution for battery-hungry front-derailleur shifts. There is no junction box or otherwise wired component up at the shifters.
Interestingly, the wireless receiver is not in the battery, relaying messages to the derailleurs. Nor is there a receiver in each derailleur. The receiver is actually only in the rear derailleur, and messages are sent to the front derailleur through the wires that connect to the battery. This makes sense not just for simplicity, but also it may have been done for development efficiency for when the inevitable wireless mountain group comes.
And no, we don’t know when that will be, but we probably wouldn’t tell you if we did.