I have heard a lot of speculation about why there is no 8000 series Dura Ace. It seems like the natural progression… 7800, 7900, then 8000, right? Not so fast, the 2013 Group is actually going to be 9000 series. I think the reason for this may be that there is already a Shimano 8000 series that most of us cyclists never noticed, it’s fishing gear.
I have been a fan of Shimano forever, from my youth riding BMX bikes to current road and mountain bikes, I have never been disappointed with the quality of Shimano’s offerings as they compare with comparably priced options. When I am not at the bike shop, I have another life in the advertising and marketing field and it has always amazed me how Shimano is able to appeal to such a wide audience. It is really a feat of marketing prowess. If you go to Target or Walmart you will find bikes that proudly feature Shimano components and on the other end of the spectrum you see Dura Ace coveted on the top of the line road bikes. Try to think of another company that has this broad of an audience, it’s rare.
So, I digress, back to the new Dura Ace. I have to admit, I am in the group that is a little disappointed about the 11 speeds… I mean really, this is an insignificant improvement to say the least and it makes the 9000 series incompatible with all of the old wheelsets, shifters, cassettes etc. The reason I bought the Dura Ace C24 wheel set earlier this year is that I planned to use them way past the current bike and components… but not now. I need to go get a new wheel set just to upgrade to the new Dura Ace? Seems like this will slow down the adoption of the new standard?
Other than that, the new gruppo looks awesome! I always thought the 7800 was better looking and in many ways outperformed the 7900 and I guess Shimano noticed this too. The new lighter touch and smaller hoods is a welcome change for the better. I think the new Crankset is probably the single biggest improvement, the lack of a BB30 option in 7900 has really been an obvious hole in the Shimano line up and the 7900 crank was just not that good looking, the 9000 series seems to have fixed both issues.
We will be the first ones in Granbury to try the new gruppo, look for more posts on them once we have a set in for demo.