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Showing posts with label 11 Speed. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 11 Speed. Show all posts

2014 Ultegra 6800 - Dura Ace Tech Trickles Down!

As expected, some a lot of the new features introduced in Shimano's Dura Ace 9000 series will trickle down to the 6800 series Ultegra group, which will be released sometime 2014. As we'll see, it's more than just going 11-speed.

Highlights, in a nutshell: 

  • Crankset (FC-6800) - Will feature a four arm spider resembling the Dura Ace's FC-9000. This will save some weight off the outgoing FC-6700 cranks while offering a standardized crankarm for use with standard, compact and mid-compact chainrings. 
  • Shifters (ST-6800) - Mimics the ergonomics of the Dura Ace ST-9000 in that it's thinner, therefore easier to grip. These will also feature the same light shift effort and shorter lever throw of the Dura Ace STI's. How much so is the question. 

  • Front Derailleur (FD-6800) - Again we see a direct trickle down of Dura Ace technology in the upcoming Ultegra's FD. The long arm, promises the same, light shift effort of the FD-9000. 

  • Brakes (BR-6800) - Symmetrical Dual Pivot design also inherited from the Dura Ace BR-9000. Shimano claims a 10% increase in braking power over the BR-6700. 

  • Rear Derailleur (RD-6800) - One ups the Dura Ace RD-9000 in that a long cage option is available. You'll need this if you want to run the 6800's new 38T large sprockets. 


  • Cassette (CS-6800) - available in 11-23, 11-25, 11-28 and now in 11-32! You'll need a long cage RD-6800 to accommodate the 32T gear though. Having 11 speeds now means having back  one additional 'missing' gear in the middle of the range, or suddenly having a 32T bailout gear for the toughest of climbs. Depends on your point of view. 
  • Chain (CN-6800) - Same as the DA-9000 chain, the inner dimensions are maintained while size reduction only applies to the outer dimensions. The 6800 chain gets a PTFE (Teflon) coating as well. These are not directional which means you can mount it either way. These don't get the CN-9000's hollow pins though.

  • Cables - Also get the Polymer coating used in the 9000 series. 
Everything about the 6800 looks good on paper. Specs and features are up there in terms of mid-level groups and it looks like we just have to suffer some good ol' added weight with the 6800 series. This is, of course, to give the flagship Dura Ace 9000 a halo effect.

As can be observed with the previous Dura Ace 7900 and the Ultegra 6700 series, it's not beyond reason to expect that the Ultegra 6800 will perform very much like the 9000.

Given that the 6800 will set you back almost half of what the 9000 does, the added 200 or so grams is a penalty which we predict a lot of people will gladly bear.

Expected release date is September 2013. Asian release is typically a few months before. 

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Review: KMC X11SL Silver on Dura Ace 9000

For no particular reason, we decided to go monochrome on the Foil and replace the KMC X11SL Gold links on my bike to the more more color-appropriate X11SL Silver. To no one's surprise, the Silver chains performed exactly like the Golds.

Features

Feature wise, the Silver version X11SLs is exactly equal to the Gold, except that instead of the Titanium Nitrate coating, we have a less highfalutin coat made from plain old Nickel. That said, we felt no difference whatsoever between Silver and Gold. Both of which feel smoother and are quieter that the stock Shimano links.

Full featureset and corresponding advantages as follows:


  • Hollow Pins - Reduced weight compared to Solid Pins
  • Mushroomed Riveting - Increased Pin strength vs. Straight Pins
  • Inner and Outer Plate Chamfering - Smoother shift action
  • Bushingless Construction - Lighter weight, Greater durability
  • Noise Reduction - self explanatory
  • Double X Stamped Outer Plate - Faster Shifting 

Cut down to 105 links, the chain weighs 218 grams. 1 gram heavier than the X11SL Gold we had installed. We wouldn't make too big of a deal of this as that single gram difference falls within an acceptable 0.5% margin of error.   


Master Link

Supplied with the kit is a color matched KMC Missing Link 11 master link. Unlike the 10-speed version, this is a one-time use item. Measured weight is 2 grams. 



Installation

Apart from a chain breaker to cut the chain to the proper link count, installation may be performed without any specialized tools. Both ends of the chain should expose 'inner' links as the Missing Link is an outer link. Simply route the chain through the proper channels along the crank, jockey wheels,cogs and back, insert the halves of the Missing Link to the opposite sides then align the pins properly. Once aligned, we have to lock the pins in place by putting on the brakes and giving the cranks a good whack! A strong click sound would indicate that the pins have properly seated in the groove. 

The chains are well lubricated from the factory so your'e all set! 

However, while fairly easy to install, they're quite hard to take off. Unlike our past experience with 10 speed Missing Links, these were not hand-removable. We had to get specialized tools in order to properly uninstall the Missing Link on the Gold chain we were replacing. No issues for us since the pliers were inexpensive. 

Once removed, the old chain was cleaned with some Cylion branded chain degreaser (which worked particularly well), lubed and stored for future action. 



On the Road

As previously mentioned, we found no perceptible difference between these Silver X11s and their blingier brothers, the Golds. Shifting action is smooth and the chain is very quiet. 


Verdict

Top performers! Smoother, Quieter and 7 grams lighter than stock. Slightly cheaper than the Gold version.  


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