Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 Groupset Review
It's hard not to be blinded when you get the new Dogma 65.1 Think 2 equipped with 11 Speed Dura Ace as a demo bike. It's all smiles ear to ear and everything is just fantastic. Fortunately my daily rider is equipped with the 7900 group so the differences between the two groups become immediately apparent. Other than an extra 11th cog just how much better is the 9000 group?
Dura Ace 9000 is a complete new group with every part redesigned and for the most part no cross compatibility with the older 10 speed Shimano groups. There are however a few things about the new 9000 that make it a real standout when pitted against the two other component manufacturers.
Weight: it's now under the psychological 2000g mark and loses no stiffness in the crank or performance in shifting or braking
Compatibility: The 11 speed cassette is causing some issues and at this point can only be used with Mavic or new Shimano wheels. Chris King and DT Swiss have new freehubs expected very soon but some manufacturers are going to have to shuffle to catch up and many of us wanting to get this group are going to have to reconsider our wheel selection. Given the marked performance improvement of the front shifter it's going to be interesting to find out if the new 9000 will work with older 7900 and Ultegra 6700 shifters. I will come back on this as soon as I get to test it. Bottom bracket remains the same standard Shimano threaded outboard bearing and 24mm axle but the crank get's a redesign.
Semi Compact = Brilliant! Shimano will be offering the cranks in a 52/36 x 11 ratio and this we feel is a deal-maker and one of the best things about the group. Almost everyone of our clients could benefit from this. The 52 is a excellent gear for rolling hills and when combined with the a 11 you have to be really strong to need more gear. The 36 is move versatile than the 34 of a compact and offer better all round ratios.
Down to the meat and potatoes. How does it ride?
Rear Shifting: Much the same as 7900 and no noticeable draw back to the 11th gear. ie the chain still finds it's cog perfectly.
Front Shifting: Best I have ever ridden by miles. This might be the single biggest thing Shimano have learned from the development of Di2 and now brought to their mechanical groups. The new SRAM not even close. It was an exhilarating feeling when I did the first up shift. Smooth and flawless I could make front shifts out of the saddle. Was surprised it still has the trim function but at least it's a little easier to use than before.
Cross Chaining: Smooth and silent even when using 53 and 25 "top cog on cassette"
Braking: Was expecting more, it's maybe better than the 7900 "which was super solid" and might even be a little spongy. No noticeable improvement and maybe the extra power a wash with the spongy feeling.
Crank stiffness and chain smoothness: same.
Ergonomics: Shifters feel marvelous, this is a nice improvement on the 7900 and Di2 levers and the dual compound rubber is a nice touch.
Overall: It's typical Shimano. understated yet flawless. Personally I am all in - sign me up for a group. If you want one go no further than here Shimano Dura-Ace 9000