12 speed Di2 first ride

So our LBS had 2 of the new Ultegra Di2 groupsets in on demo bikes today (both Basso). I had about 20 minutes on one of them. Given some of the discussion about groupsets on here lately, I thought I’d set down a few of my thoughts.

Rear shifting: I can’t tell the difference between this and the previous version (and there isn’t much between it and AXS). It is maybe a little noisier/positive than previous Shimano equipment I’ve used (in a good way: a hint more Campag, if that makes sense) but that may be down to the demo bike having a brand new groupset.

Front shifting: very fast. I mean, remarkably fast. Maybe just a little less smooth than expected, though; it feels a tiny bit abrupt or harsh. Once more, though, this could be a new chain and ring bedding in. I couldn’t get it to misbehave, despite trying. Shifting to the big ring under full gas almost threw the chain, but the FD saved it.

Brakes: amazing. Tons of power, great feel. No rub whatsoever either. Couldn’t fault them. A1.

Other: great hood shape and feel - probably the best I’ve used. The app isn’t super intuitive, admittedly from a quick play rather than a thorough examination. Still a smidge robotic in feel IMO.

Overall: it feels like a subtle improvement on the outgoing version, rather than a radical upgrade, though tbf the previous incarnation was pretty damn good. The brakes are substantially better than the AXS I have on my Giant, and the front shifting is more reliable under pressure (albeit based on a brief test ride). It didn’t feel quite as refined as I might have hoped. All in all, it’s incredibly competent, but I don’t love it, somehow.

I’d have it without reservation, but if I had a good, reasonably modern groupset, I don’t think I’d pay the £2k+ to upgrade.


I own the new 12 Speed Dura Ace Di2 on one of my bikes, and I think it’s actually quite refined over the outgoing 11 speed.
I think it’s absolutely wonderful. Super fast shifting, brakes are quite an improvement, shifts with perfection (11 speed di2 did too), and is quiet and smooth as butter.
I think your 20 min assessment was a positive one I think… but having ridden on it for a couple months now, I think it’s definitely the best there is.
I have a bike with Red AXS Etap, and a bike with Ultegra 11 speed Di2, and both those groups are awesome…but the new 12 speed DA Di2 is definitely better.

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curious in what way are the brakes better? feel, less rub, more durable rotors, etc.?

The feel to me was more positive. One of the reasons why I’ve always been agnostic about discs is many I’ve used have quite a long lever throw/soft feel, which I don’t really like. These were firmer at the lever, and made contact at the pad more quickly, but the initial grab is quite gentle. The power comes on much harder as you pull the lever more (if that all makes sense).

I got no rub while riding, even after trying to heat them up a bit over a couple of short sharp rollers and then getting out of the saddle and moving the bike side to side.

I can’t comment on durability, unfortunately; I was only on the bike for about 20 minutes.

snappier/firmer is always better, imo. frankly, I fkn’ loathe long lever throws, add sponginess and I consider it to be a crap system.

IMO a long throw with hydraulic brakes is a sign of a poorly installed system. I’m the same as you and can’t stand a spongy feeling set up.

Bleed them properly and they’re lovely and snappy.

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