Shimano 6800 11 Speed Review

The long awaited Shimano 6800 11 speed groupo is now available and it is exactly what Shimano described. This trickle down version of the Shimano Dura Ace  9000 groupo has more similarities than less.  The ergonomics of the levers feel much more natural, especially compared to previous versions like the Shimano 6600 10 speed group. Shifting feels almost effortless with the reduced shifter ratios and shift cable that appear to defy friction.

6800 Ultegra

Shimano Ultegra Levers

On the first test ride, I immediately noticed the increased braking power as I squeezed the front brake; it was very reassuring having that much stopping power. Unfortunately, the kit I built up did not require the installation of the Shimano bottom bracket because I went with a Chris King bottom bracket instead. I believe that it is very difficult to top the quality and reliability of King products and plus, who doesn’t like a little extra bling?

11 Speed Ultegra Groupo

Shimano 6800 Ultegra Group

One feature I am sure that cyclists will like is the 11/28 cassette, with 11,12,13,14,15,17,19,21,23,25,28 individual cogs keeping ratios close. It is also available in other ratios ranging in several variations from 11/23 to 11/32. One of the most impressive aspects of this group is the 39/53 standard crank set with the four arm spider.  A multitude of chain ring options are available in 53-39,50-34,52-36,46-36 and best of all – they are all interchangeable. The large chain ring is massive and does not appear as if it would flex even under large amount of watts.

11/28 11Speed Cassette

11/28 Shimano Ultegra Cassette

The chain ring bolts screw directly in the chain ring, this means no more butter knife or silly chain ring tools. According to Shimano North America, the 6800 crank is supposed to be as stiff as the Dura Ace 9000 11 speed crank set. The Hollow Tech 2 designs allow cranks to be hollow internally yet incredibly stiff, without sacrificing structural rigidity. This technology seriously drops the weight and makes these cranks the benchmark for stiffness in the industry.