Yesterday Shimano announced what was a fairly poorly kept secret in that they have a new “mid-range” electronic groupset for the 2012 model year. People have been talking about this for sometime now so I knew it was coming but it’s great to see it officially announced. The main reason I think it’s exciting is that it brings electronic shifting to the “masses” and I use those quotation marks deliberately and here’s why: The original and Current Dura Ace Di2 can be bought if you shop around for about £2,300 for the groupset (painfully and prohibitively expensive for most of us). A mechanical Dura Ace Groupset can be bought for around £1,100 so it’s been a massive early premium for those with lots of disposable income or a burning desire to be on the bleeding edge.The suggestions about pricing are that Ultegra Di2 will be released at around the same price as mechanical Dura Ace – so about the £1100 mark – halving the entry price of going electronic. This will make it quite a bit cheaper than Campagnolo Super Record (but then everything apart from Dura Ace Di2 is quite a bit cheaper than Super Record), cheaper than Record and similar price to SRAM Red as well as mechanical Dura Ace. So it will be up against some really great groupsets but it will have an appeal that as yet none of those others can offer.
It’s already making me wonder if I can and should consider selling my Dura Ace groupset and going to Ultegra Di2 – it’s pretty tempting I have to say. Automatically adjusting electronic shifting is quite a tempting proposition. Shimano have learnt lots of developmental lessons in the time they have been running Dura Ace Di2 and we’ll see a lot of this appear in the new Ultegra version. This will include things like simpler wiring looms and thus thinner wires that will make for easier installation.I also believe this announcment is going to have some rub off on the normal mechanical Ultegra which is already an excellent groupset. I believe Ultegra Di2 will also help Shimano sell more mechanical Ultegra groupsets as people look again at it’s price and think that it offers fantastic value for money in a well engineered and reliable package. If you’d like to read more, please click on the links below and as I find pictures I’ll update this post: http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/shimano-ultegra-di2-first-look-30616