New 12-speed Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 FINALLY launches | First ride review

Freda Walters

Shimano Dura-Ace 9200 is finally here, with the brand’s flagship road bike groupset going 12-speed, semi-wireless and electronic-only. Shimano Ultegra R8100, which shares many of the same features, has launched simultaneously (we’ve covered the new Shimano Ultegra R8100 groupset in a separate news story). Dura-Ace R9200 is available in rim […]

Shimano Dura-Ace 9200 is finally here, with the brand’s flagship road bike groupset going 12-speed, semi-wireless and electronic-only.

Shimano Ultegra R8100, which shares many of the same features, has launched simultaneously (we’ve covered the new Shimano Ultegra R8100 groupset in a separate news story).

Dura-Ace R9200 is available in rim brake and disc brake variants, with the disc version getting wireless levers. The rim brake groupset remains fully wired.

For the first time ever, there’s no mechanical shifting option. Yes, you read that right, mechanical Dura-Ace is dead.

As well as a sleek new look and an extra sprocket at the back, Dura-Ace R9200 features faster shifting, improved braking, tweaked gearing and a host of other refinements.

Surprisingly, it’s actually slightly heavier than its predecessor Dura-Ace R9100, according to Shimano’s own figures.

Along with the groupset, Shimano has launched new Dura-Ace wheelsets.

We’ve had a chance to try out R9200 on this extraordinary Pinarello Dogma F.
Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media

Exact pricing will depend on which configuration you choose, but a complete R9270 disc groupset without a power meter will set you back a little under £3,700 at full retail, and the groupset is expected to be available from October.

Keep reading for full details, including pricing, individual component weights and a first ride review. Shimano has set us up with a stunning Pinarello Dogma F test bike with a full R9200 disc groupset and Ultegra wheels.

Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 at a glance

  • 12-speed 2× road groupset
  • Electronic shifting with no mechanical option
  • Wireless levers (for disc groupset), with derailleurs and main battery wired-in
  • Charging port and wireless connectivity relocated to rear derailleur
  • Fastest, most precise shifting yet
  • Improved braking
  • Lowest ever gearing for Dura-Ace with a new 11-34 cassette option
  • Slight weight increase (35g!) over previous R9170 Di2 groupset
  • New dual-sided power meter
  • New wheelsets feature a new freehub, but groupset is backwards compatible

Semi-wireless Dura-Ace R9200 spells the end for Shimano’s pro-level mechanical groupsets

We speculated in our extensive Dura-Ace rumours feature as to whether Shimano would continue to produce its flagship groupset in four configurations, as it did for R9100 (mechanical and Di2, with both rim and disc brake variants). Well, the answer is no – the brand is ditching the mechanical side.

New Dura-Ace is referred to as R9200 series, and it comes in just two flavours:

  • R9270: Disc brake, electronic shifting
  • R9250: Rim brake, electronic shifting

R9270 is semi-wireless. The levers are wireless and powered by small coin cells, while the two derailleurs are wired directly into the central battery using new, thinner SD-300 wires.

Wireless communication takes place between the levers and the rear derailleur, with the latter always ‘on’ and listening for signals. The main battery is claimed to last for around 1,000km of riding, while the coin cells in the levers should manage 1.5 to 2 years.

With development of the new groupset focused primarily on road disc brakes, the rim brake R9250 levers are not wireless.

Despite this, there’s only one rear derailleur option for the groupset.

This incorporates wireless connectivity for third-party devices, doing away with the additional EW-WU111 wireless adaptor R9100 series Di2 required.

The R9250 rear derailleur can pair directly via Bluetooth with Shimano’s E-Tube app on a phone or tablet, for example, allowing for customisation of the groupset from the off.

It also incorporates the charging port and mode switch that were previously situated in a separate junction box.

Faster, smoother shifting and lower gearing

According to Shimano, Dura-Ace R9200’s rear shifting is 58 per cent faster than R9100’s, while the front sees a 45 per cent gain.

Shifting is said to be smoother, too. R9200 cassettes use ‘Hyperglide+’, a design debuted with Shimano’s top-spec mountain bike groupset, XTR M9100.

This is claimed to offer “shockless” shifting, with no need to ease up on the pedals as you change gear.

In the past, Dura-Ace has been quite narrowly focused on the needs of road racers, with hardcore gearing to match.

Despite the move to 12-speed, Shimano hasn’t radically shaken up its gearing in the way SRAM did when it launched its eTap AXS groupsets (SRAM paired smaller chainrings with a 10-tooth cassette sprocket), but it has chosen to offer a more everyman choice of cassettes, with 11-28t, 11-30t and 11-34t options available.

If big gears are your jam, the cranks are available in a 54/40t option, as well as standard compact (50/34t) and semi-compact (52/36t) versions.

Let’s take a look at each component in turn…

Dura-Ace R9200 levers and satellite shifters

Perhaps the most visually arresting part of the new groupset, the ST-R9270 hydraulic lever bodies are slightly larger than those of R9100, and the lever bodies curve inwards slightly.

The front upper section above the lever pivot is fully enclosed, an aesthetic departure from previous years.

Each lever is powered by a CR1632 coin cell, claimed to last around 1.5 to 2 years of riding. Riders can choose to run their levers wired if desired, which apparently has the side-effect of increasing battery life by around 50 per cent.

The Di2 shift buttons are more offset than previously and are designed to be easier to differentiate from one another when you’re wearing gloves. There’s still a ‘hidden’, user-assignable button on top of each lever hood.

Shimano says it’s reduced the amount of free stroke in the brake levers and they now benefit from Servo Wave, which makes the relationship between lever travel and pad travel non-linear.

When you brake, the pads initially move together quickly, before slowing and trading speed for modulation and braking power.

With the focus on the disc groupset, the Dura-Ace R9250 rim brake levers appear virtually unchanged compared to R9150, aside from subtly different texturing to the hoods and the move to skinnier wiring.

Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 Di2 climbing shifter on bar

Our test bike came fitted with climbing shifters on the tops of the bar.
Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media

As with the previous generation, optional sprint shifters (SW-R801) and climbing shifters (SW-R801-T) can be added to suit rider needs.

Shimano is also offering time-trial-specific shifters updated for the new SD-300 wiring, although these still carry an R9100 series model designation (ST-R9180).

  • R9270 levers claimed weight: 350g (+20g vs. R9170)

Dura-Ace R9200 rear derailleur

There’s only one version of the new RD-R9250 rear derailleur and it’s designed to accommodate all the cassettes on offer, up to a maximum 34-tooth large sprocket. The pulley cage has got noticeably longer as a result.

The rear derailleur houses functions previously handled by the Junction A box in Di2 systems. There’s a charging port, indicator LED, and a button used to switch shifting modes and put the system in adjustment mode.

It also incorporates the wireless brain that talks to the levers and any external paired devices.

  • RD-R9250 rear derailleur claimed weight: 215g (+18g vs. R9150)

Dura-Ace R9200 front derailleur

Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 front derailleur

The front derailleur has been slimmed down quite dramatically.
Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media

Shimano has slimmed down the FD-R9250 front derailleur quite significantly, reducing frontal area by 33 per cent and dropping a handful of grams in the process.

It’s designed to accommodate large chainrings from 50- to 55-tooth and, like the rear derailleur, it’s wired directly to the battery.

  • FD-R9250 front derailleur claimed weight: 96g (-8g vs. R9150)

Dura-Ace R9200 battery

R9200’s derailleurs are powered by a central battery that mounts internally in the frame or seatpost, and which charges via the port on the rear derailleur.

Shimano claims a battery life of around 1,000km between charges with typical usage.

  • E-Tube SEIS Di2 battery claimed weight: 53g (+3g vs. R9100)

Dura-Ace R9200 crank, power meter and bottom bracket

Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 crankset

The R9200 crank is more angular than its predecessor.
Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media

R9200’s cranks feature aggressive new styling and even less colour than previously – Shimano has ditched R9100’s fade design.

Shimano has stuck with its signature Hollowtech II design, with cranks made from hollow, bonded aluminium, and a 24mm spindle that plays nicely with all bottom bracket standards.

Left-hand crank and bottom bracket

Shimano has stuck with its standard bottom bracket, seen here in lesser-spotted Italian flavour.
Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media

While it’s perhaps less relevant to those of us with amateur power outputs, Shimano’s biggest crank option is now a 54/40t rather than a standard 53/39t, a rebuke of sorts to the trend for smaller cogs at the cassette, as favoured by the likes of SRAM and Campagnolo.

Shimano can justifiably point to the fact that, all else being equal, larger cogs and chainrings are more efficient than smaller ones.

Shimano is offering an impressive range of crank lengths, from 160mm to 177.5mm.

Dura-Ace R9200-P power meter crank

Shimano is naturally offering a power meter version of the crank.
Shimano

Naturally, there’s a new power meter variant, too.

The FC-R9200-P is a double-sided power meter with full Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity, a claimed 300 hours battery life, and 1.5 per cent strain gauge accuracy according to Shimano.

  • Dura-Ace FC-R9200 (non-power meter) claimed weight (52/36 170mm): 690g (+66g vs. R9100)

Dura-Ace R9200 cassette, chain and freehub

Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 cassette

R9200 offers 12 speeds and bigger cassettes than ever.
Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media

Dura-Ace R9200’s 12-speed cassettes will come in two ratios of 11-30t and 11-34t initially, with an 11-28t option to follow.

While the numbers are familiar, Shimano has tweaked the ratios in the middle of the cassette, offering smaller jumps in the most-used gears. The ratios are as follows:

  • 11-28: 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-24-28
  • 11-30: 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-24-27-30
  • 11-34: 11-12-13-14-15-17-19-21-24-27-30-34

The Hyperglide+ design is claimed to offer ‘shockless’ shifting via ramps that guide the chain both up and down the cassette, with no need to ease up on the pedals as you change gear.

Shimano is debuting a new 12-speed-only freehub design with its new groupsets – and no, it’s not Micro Spline – but the new cassettes are backwards compatible with existing 11-speed freehubs, so your old wheels will work with R9200 and R8100.

New Dura-Ace doesn’t get its own chain, instead it shares the 12-speed XTR M9100 one.

  • R9200 cassette claimed weight 11-30: 223g (+12g vs. R9100)
  • XTR M9100 / Dura-Ace chain claimed weight: 242g (-4g vs. R9100)

Dura-Ace R9200 brakes and rotors

Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 rear brake caliper

The revamped caliper design should make for easier maintenance.
Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media

Dura-Ace’s BR-R9270 flat-mount hydraulic disc calipers feature pad clearance that’s been increased by 10 per cent.

While this sounds like quite a small change, every little helps here, and it should mean fewer irritating noises when filth gets into the brake, or if you have a rotor that’s slightly out of true.

A bleed port that’s been relocated to the side of the caliper and a separate bleed valve screw aim to make maintenance easier, with no need to remove the rear caliper from the frame.

Shimano says it’s also designed a new bleed funnel and piston spacer for the purpose, details of which we’ve not yet seen.

As with the chain, R9200 borrows from the mountain bike side for its rotors, adopting the MT900 Ice-Tech Freeza rotors from XTR.

R9200 rim brake caliper

The rim brake calipers are essentially unchanged.
Shimano

It doesn’t look like much has changed on the rim brake side. There’s still a choice of standard single-bolt calipers or direct-mount versions.

  • BR-R9270 flat-mount calipers claimed weight (pair): 229g (-21g vs. R9100)
  • RT-M900 rotors claimed weight (pair): 212g (-22g vs. R9100)

Dura-Ace R9200 weights

Shimano has provided claimed weights for every component in the disc groupset, along with a comparison to an equivalent R9170 Di2 groupset.

As you can see, some components have lost weight, others have gained a little, and in total the new groupset is claimed to be 35g heavier than its predecessor.

We’ve also added a comparison between Ultegra and Dura-Ace. The new Ultegra R8100 groupset has gained a little weight over the outgoing R8000 setup – and, as ever, there’s not a huge amount of difference between second-tier Ultegra and top-tier Dura-Ace.

Shimano Dura-Ace 9200 vs Dura-Ace 9100 vs Ultegra R8100 vs Ultegra R8000 weight comparison

Dura-Ace R9200 wheels

New Dura-Ace R9200 wheels

Shimano’s new wheel line-up looks genuinely promising.
Shimano

Shimano has launched a full range of carbon road bike wheels to accompany the new groupsets, with specs that are a good bit more appealing than previous, more conservative offerings.

The Dura-Ace range comprises rim depths of 36mm, 50mm and 60mm, in a choice of tubeless-ready disc brake, tubular disc brake and tubular rim brake variants.

Shimano claims some aero gains and weight savings here.

The WH-R9270-C50-TL (tubeless-ready, 50mm deep) wheelset is said to be 5.1 watts faster (at an unspecified speed) and 161g lighter than the old WH-R9100 C40-TL, and 1-watt faster than the WH-R9100-C60-TL.

Dura-Ace C60 wheel

Rim widths for the tubeless-ready clinchers are quite progressive.
Irmo Keizer / Shimano

The tubeless-ready options are the interesting ones for most of us, and these feature fairly progressive internal rim widths of 21mm and external widths of 28mm – numbers that match up well to the most popular sizes of the best road bike tyres, i.e. 25mm and 28mm.

The new wheels are built on what Shimano calls ‘direct engagement’ hubs. These work on a principle similar to DT Swiss’s star ratchet, with toothed ratchet rings that engage with one another to provide drive, and slide past each other to freewheel. The new design saves a claimed 45g at the freehub.

Dura-Ace R9200 and Ultegra R8100 wheel weights

Dura-Ace R9200 riding impressions | Lightning-fast shifting

Riding new Pinarello Dogma F with Dura-Ace

Dura-Ace R9200 is, as expected, showing signs of being an exceptionally good groupset.
Max Wilman / Immediate Media

It would be a surprise if Dura-Ace was anything less than brilliant, and first impressions of R9200 are overwhelmingly positive.

While the addition of an extra sprocket gives you bragging rights and brings Shimano in line with SRAM and Campagnolo’s road groupsets, it doesn’t radically impact the everyday riding experience.

More noticeable is the shifting speed. While the bigger gains are supposed to be at the rear, it’s the front shifting that really impresses.

The way the front derailleur fires the chain from small ring to big is delightful. R9100-series Di2 was already phenomenally competent, and R9200 is just that little bit better.

In normal riding, the shifting seems to be impossible to fluster. You can crash through gears if you’re an absolute savage about dumping multiple gears at very low cadence, but by and large, the groupset lives up to its claimed ability to shift under hard pedalling loads.

Like previous-generation Di2, there’s the option to run synchronised shifting (where the system takes care of front shifting) or semi-synchronised shifting (where the system shifts the rear a couple of sprockets to compensate for front shifts and give a more natural gear progression), and you can easily switch between modes on the fly.

While many riders will still prefer to keep things fully manual, the overall improvements to the shift make these options much more appealing – I’ve found I quite like the semi-synchro mode for general riding.

R9200’s disc brakes are outstanding too, with minimal wasted lever travel, loads of power and great modulation.

Riding Shimano Dura-Ace R9200

New Dura-Ace is quite conservative in its design but works brilliantly.
Max Wilman / Immediate Media

My Pinarello Dogma F test bike came directly from Shimano’s European press camp and so its brakes were set up right-rear (the opposite to a standard UK arrangement), and I had to make a very conscious effort to be restrained because there’s so much stopping power available at your fingertips.

I wasn’t sure I’d like the new, larger hoods as the old ones were delightfully svelte, but in use they’re very comfortable and don’t feel overly bulbous.

The test bike was set up with climbing shifters on the bar tops. I like these a lot in principle, but the rear-facing buttons didn’t seem ideally placed for my thumbs, and shifting with the heels of my hands was actually easier. I’d choose to point the buttons forwards and operate them with my fingers instead.

BikeRadar’s take: Dura-Ace R9200 isn’t radical or surprising, but early signs are very promising

Much teased and occasionally leaked, Dura-Ace R9200 has been a long time coming. 

In some ways it’s almost an anti-climax – the new groupset ticks a whole lot of boxes and includes the kind of refinements we’ve come to expect from Shimano product launches, but doesn’t do much that’s genuinely surprising. 

We expected it to be at least partly wireless, and it is. We were sure it would be 12-speed, and it is. 

Perhaps the one real surprise is the freehub design. With Micro Spline already established as a standard, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Shimano would adopt it for the road too, but it hasn’t. 

This is good news if you want to upgrade your groupset but keep your existing wheels. While there is a new freehub spline pattern, the new cassettes are backwards compatible with existing 11-speed freehubs.

That mechanical Dura-Ace is no more will be a blow to purists, and I can’t help feeling a little wistful. 

The reality is that there’s no demand for mechanical from the pros who race on Dura-Ace, and it’s certainly waning on the consumer side too. 

Keeping it as an option would be more about prestige than good business sense and, aside from adding an extra sprocket, it’s hard to see how Shimano could have meaningfully improved on R9100 mechanical’s shifting. 

My experience so far suggests R9200 is a fantastic groupset. Stay tuned for a full, scored review.

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9200 pricing

UK pricing is as follows for the disc brake iteration of Shimano’s new Dura-Ace groupset.

Shifters

  • ST-R9270 (with BR-R9270 flat-mount brake caliper): £599.99 each
  • ST-R9270 (shifter only): £429.99 each

Brakes

  • BR-R9270 flat-mount brake caliper: £134.99 each
  • RT-MT900 rotor (140mm or 160mm): £59.99 each

Rear derailleur

Front derailleur

Chainsets

  • FC-R9200 (54/40, 52/36 and 50/34 chainring options): £549.99
  • FC-R9200-P (with power meter, 54/40, 52/36, 50/34 chainring options): £1,199.99

Cassettes

  • CS-R9250 (11-28, 11-30t, 11-34 options): £329.99

Chain

Battery and wires

  • Battery: £174.99
  • EW-SD300 wire (550mm): £26.99
  • EW-SD300 (850mm): £28.99
  • Charger: £44.99

Wheels

Tubular rim brake

  • Dura-Ace R9200-C60-HR-TU front: £824.99
  • Dura-Ace R9200-C60-HR-TU rear: £974.99
  • Dura-Ace R9200-C50-HR-TU front: £824.99
  • Dura-Ace R9200-C50-HR-TU rear: £974.99
  • Dura-Ace R9200-C36-HR-TU front: £824.99
  • Dura-Ace R9200-C36-HR-TU rear: £974.99

Tubular disc brake

  • Dura-Ace R9270-C60-HR-TU-F12 front: £824.99
  • Dura-Ace R9270-C60-HR-TU-F12 rear: £974.99
  • Dura-Ace R9270-C50-HR-TU-F12 front: £824.99
  • Dura-Ace R9270-C50-HR-TU-F12 rear: £974.99
  • Dura-Ace R9270-C36-HR-TU-F12 front: £824.99
  • Dura-Ace R9270-C36-HR-TU-F12 rear: £974.99

Tubeless-ready disc brake

  • Dura-Ace R9270-C60-HR-TL-F12 front: £824.99
  • Dura-Ace R9270-C60-HR-TL-F12: £974.99
  • Dura-Ace R9270-C50-HR-TL-F12 front: £824.99
  • Dura-Ace R9270-C50-HR-TL-F12: £974.99
  • Dura-Ace R9270-C36-HR-TL-F12 front: £824.99
  • Dura-Ace R9270-C36-HR-TL-F12: £974.99
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