Shimano has finally lifted the curtains on its long-awaited 105 RD-R7100 12-speed mechanical groupset, albeit with hydraulic disc brakes only. Sorry squeezer-brake loyalists, but a rim brake version remains off the menu.
“With the introduction of the 105 R7100 Mechanical 12-speed groupset, Shimano brings the pure joy of self-powered adventure to the massive community of cycling enthusiasts looking for reliable, easy-to-maintain componentry at an affordable price. The new, lightweight Shimano 105 Mechanical groupset offers premium mechanical shifting, which means riders can capture that natural riding feeling without worrying about battery levels – while still enjoying the comfort and range of a premium 12-speed groupset,” says Shimano.
Similar to the previous 11-speed groupset, the new RD-R7100 rear derailleur uses Shimano’s Shadow RD technology, which limits the outboard motion of the derailleur in an effort to prevent it from hitting the chainstay during rough riding conditions, as well as the Japanese component giant’s toggle-link construction.
However, the biggest difference lies in the increased gear range. Whereas the 11-speed Shimano 105 medium cage rear derailleur could handle a cassette with a maximum sprocket size of 34T, the new RD-R7100 rear derailleur can work with an 11-36T cassette.
“With the jump to 12-speed, Shimano 105 R7100 Mechanical delivers the high and low gearing that riders want, along with an intelligent progression of gear steps in between.This is the result of optimized drivetrain components, including 11-34T and 11-36T cassette options, while the FC-R7100 Hollowtech II 12-speed cranksets have 50-34T and 52-36T chainring options. Using 50-34T chainrings with an 11-34T, or even an 11-36T cassette means riders can climb any mountain while keeping their cadence efficient and manageable up those long, steady climbs. Additionally, Shimano 105 Mechanical’s semi-compact 52-36T setup will reduce the chance of spinning out mid-descent or when sprinting on the flats,” boasts Shimano.
Elsewhere, the new RD-R7100 gets the trickle-down effect from its Di2 counterpart with respect to cranksets; namely it’s treated to Shimano’s Hollowtech II construction with a 4-bolt 110mm BCD, something that was previously found on only the premium Dura-Ace and Ultegra lineups, while the shifters have been updated to work with hydraulic disc brakes, as well as a new front derailleur that’s designed to work with 50-34 and 52-36t crankset combinations.
Other bits and bobs such as the hydraulic brakes, cassette options and chain all transfer over from the latest Di2 105 version.
All in, Shimano says the new RD-R7100 groupset tips the scales at 2,845g, 105 grams lighter than the previous 11-speed generation, which sells for roughly $1000.
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