Shimano Unveils Cyclocross R785 Hydraulic Disc Brakes, 11-Speed Ultegra 6870 Di2, Cyclocross Wheels and Cranksets – Updated

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IRVINE, CALIFORNIA –Shimano joins the hydraulic cyclocross and road disc brake movement today with its new Ultegra 6870 Di2 and R785 disc brake component launch.

Only months ago, the cyclocross world was buzzing over SRAM’s new Hydraulic Road / Cyclocross Disc Brakes and Red 22 group, along with TRP’s innovative with hydraulic disc braking, the HyRd brake. Now, Shimano has stepped up to the plate with their long-awaited hydraulic disc brake, and the surprising news is it will debut as an Ultegra-level component in the form of the new Ultegra grade R785 series Di2/hydraulic disc brake.

Shimano's new BR-R785 road / cyclocross disc brake with RT99-S IceTech Rotor

Shimano’s new BR-R785 road / cyclocross disc brake with RT99-S IceTech Rotor

According to the Japanese component company, “Two of Shimano’s marquee component technologies have combined to set the new standard in high performance road and cyclocross hydraulic disc brake and shifting systems.” Shimano’s now-proven Di2 electronic shifting and ICE Technologies hydraulic disc brake heat management systems enable the new Ultegra grade R785 series Di2/hydraulic disc brake system to “provide powerful, dependable performance that is tuneable for a variety of cycling uses and conditions.”

The company has also announced the release of their latest version of Di2 electronic shifting, the Ultegra 6870 Di2.

R785 series Di2/Hydraulic Disc Brake System

In the new R785 series Di2/hydraulic disc brake system, Shimano Di2 electronic shifting is utilized, while ICE Technologies hydraulic disc brake heat management systems integrate aluminum materials in disc brake rotors and disc brake pads to radiate out heat by up to 200 degrees to ensure “consistent, dependable braking performance regardless of conditions.” They can be used on the road or in the mud, and Shimano says that, “braking power is consistent no matter the conditions or the descent. For cyclocross, racers can brake later in the corners, with more power and better modulation in all conditions.”

Shimano’s Ultegra R785 Hydraulic Disc Brake System Weights:

    1. ST-R785 STI Shifters / Brake Levers: 515 grams
    2. BR-R785 Hydraulic Disc Brakes: 263 grams
    3. Brake Hose (BH59): 61.5 grams
    4. Mineral Oil: 21.5 grams
    5. RT99 Ice Tech Rotor (140mm): 205 grams


Total system: 1066 grams

The new Shimano hydraulic disc brake rotor has aluminum in order to cool faster. Photo courtes of Shimano

The new Shimano hydraulic disc brake rotor has aluminum in order to cool faster. Photo courtesy of Shimano

Shimano Di2 Precision: Rise of the Robots

The new Di2-enabled ST-R785 offers “unmatched shifting options, customization and personalization to meet the various needs of road and cyclocross riders.” When paired with new E-Tube enabled Ultegra 6870 Di2 or Dura-Ace 9070 Di2 drivetrains, various Shimano remote and accessory shifters and electronic components, riders have access to a fully customizable and programmable shifting system—including multi-shift speed and shift count—in addition to being upgradeable for new firmware updates over time.

With Di2 electronic shifting internals, “the svelte form factor of the ST-R785 hydraulic/shift lever is highly ergonomic to accommodate a variety of hand sizes, yet more comfortable,” and resembles a typical Shimano Di2 road shift/brake lever. The brake lever delivers more stopping power with less effort, especially from the hood position, and includes reach and free stroke adjustments in addition to a pad clearance auto adjustment at the caliper.

The Ultegra lever is desigined to provide the best power for the least amount of pull. Photo courtesy of Shimano

The Ultegra lever is desigined to provide the best power for the least amount of pull. Photo courtesy of Shimano

The hydraulic ST-R785 levers look very similar to the standard 6870 Di2 STI levers, but have a silver cap and taller profile, although not quite as obvious as we saw on the SRAM hydraulic DoubleTap levers. The ST-R785 levers bring hydraulic disc brakes to Di2 users, but as of now, a hydraulic disc brake STI lever for mechanical shifting is not planned.

ICE Technologies Braking System Advantages: Can Stop, Did Stop

Shimano ICE Technologies hydraulic disc brake systems include new advancements for 2014 that will give riders confident braking on long road descents in all weather conditions. The new BR-R785 hydraulic disc brake caliper features a two-piston design with mountain bike stopping power that is tuned for road use. Heat reduction in the caliper is further enhanced with ICE Technologies finned disc brake pads that reduce heat by 50 degrees. New SM-RT99 Center- Lock finned disc brake rotors further reduce heat in the braking system by 150 degrees compared to steel disc rotors creating a system advantage with the BR-R785 ICE Technologies- enabled disc brake caliper. The new SM-RT99 disc rotors are available in 140mm and 160mm sizes, allowing road riders to custom tune the braking performance according to ride conditions, terrain, and rider size.

Shimano adds that the new R785 road and cyclocross disc braking system is ideally paired with new CX75 hub sets with Center-Lock simple disc rotor mounting. The new HB-CX75 rear hub is 11-speed compatible and can accommodate a 140mm size disc rotor. Also new for 2014 is the affordable 11-speed compatible WH-RX31 Center-Lock disc wheelset for road and cyclocross use. The WH-RX31 utilizes a wider rim (17c internal) that is more accommodating to wider tires.

Ultegra 6870 Di2 Drops Weight, Adopts Dura-Ace Features

Extending its WorldTour-proven next generation Di2 technology to “more riders and at more affordable prices,” Shimano has introduced its new Ultegra 6870 Di2 electronic shifting components as an option with Ultegra 6800 mechanical components. The new lighter weight and improved 11-speed Ultegra 6870 Di2 components feature enhanced, next generation E-Tube customizable, programmable shifting options for road, triathlon and, of course, cyclocross cyclists.

The new Shimano Ultegra 6870 Series group. Photo courtesy of Shimano

The new Shimano Ultegra 6870 Series group. Photo courtesy of Shimano

Like new Dura-Ace 9070 Di2, Ultegra 6870 Di2 offers “unmatched shifting options, customization and personalization to meet the various needs of road, triathlon, and cyclocross riders.” Ultegra 6870 Di2 series supports multiple shifter positions, including satellite and sprinter shifters. As stated earlier, these E-Tube enabled components are fully customizable and programmable—including multi-shift speed and shift count—in addition to being upgradeable for new firmware updates over time.

While increasing the gearing range, new non-disc Ultegra 6870 Di2 components have dropped 126 grams compared to previous generation Ultegra 6770 Di2. The components and features include:

  • ST-6870 – The new shift/brake lever has improved hood ergonomics for easier access to the shift buttons, which were also refined including a new contrast texture. New E- Tube wiring is cleaner and simplifies the addition of satellite shifters to bar tops while also being multi-shift program ready. Like the Dura Ace ST-9070, the new Ultegra ST- 6870, has a 3rd port for the use with the SW-R610 Sprinter shifters.
  • ST-6871 – The new Ultegra-level TT/Triathlon shift/brake lever offers quick multi-position shifting and braking with the same braking power as Dura-Ace ST-9071 levers. This shifter shares the same programmable, multi-shift E-Tube benefits and features.
  • FD-6870 – Ensuring fast, silent and accurate shifts, the new re-designed FD-6870 features a support bolt that creates a rigid platform and keeps correct alignment while moving the chain to the big chain ring. The new FD-6870 continues the automatic trimming function.
  • RD-6870 – More compact and lightweight, the new re-designed RD has a wide link design to reduce shifting deflection and now the mid-cage GS version accommodates up to a 32T cog. The E-Tube connection simplifies installation and provides all-weather protection for reliable shifting in trying conditions. The RD continues automatic crash protection features.


ComponentSTI LeversR DerF DerRd BrakesCassetteChainCrank/BBE-partsCableTotalCompared to 6770
New ULTEGRA 6870 w/Int Battery29525015533521225376593.72359-126g
New ULTEGRA 6870 w/Ext Battery1512416-69g
ULTEGRA 6800 Mechanical42519589335212253765942368-117g
Current Ultegra Di2 (6770)3132701673172092677911512485


Like Ultegra 6800 mechanical, Ultegra 6870 Di2 also offers wider gearing options for more riders, including supporting a 32T rear cog made possible by the new RD-6870 GS mid-cage rear derailleur. The new Ultegra 6800 crank features the same revolutionary four-arm spider and interchangeable chain rings pioneered on Dura-Ace, making the possibility of running 53- 39, 52-36, 50-34, and now 46-36 gearing for cyclocross, possible on the same crank.  The new crank, combined with the GS rear derailleur, give cyclocrossers, monster crossers and gravel racers plenty of low gearing options for adventures and single ring setups (although Cyclocross Magazine has had success using the Ultegra 6770 Di2 short cage rear derailleur with cogs up to 34t).

Ultegra 6870 Di2 and R785 will be available in November 2013, and as of now, no MSRPs have been made available. The Ultegra 11-speed mechanical components, including the 6800 crankset with cyclocross gearing, will be available this summer.

Which new component launch excites you most?

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Ultegra 6870 Di2 11-Speed and R785 Hydraulic Disc Brake Photo Gallery:




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Why not put the reservoir adjacent to the calipers with electronic actuation - wouldn't that be more durable and lighter? 


we need hydros for mechanical shifters!!!!

Anthony Ferradino
Anthony Ferradino

More with the inside the box thinking from Shimano! Buy the TRP's instead.

Mauricio Astacio
Mauricio Astacio

I would say this makes my year, but for November timeline..huh?

Brett Fisher
Brett Fisher

Now I just need to wait for November to put my cross bike together...

Stephen Cook
Stephen Cook

I hear your bank account groaning Steve Dance

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