Shimano trickles down the electric with Ultegra Di2 group

Electric shifting comes to Shimano's Ultegra group

Shimano’s electronic trickle-down has begun. The component giant will be debuting an Ultegra-level electronic group for the 2012 model year, according to industry sources who requested anonymity due to the confidential nature of the information. The group will be dubbed Ultegra Di2 6770.

The price of the new group will be roughly equivalent to the current mechanical Dura-Ace 7900 group, which carries an MSRP of $2,690. The current Dura-Ace Di2 group retails for $4,680. The mechanical Ultegra 6700 group retails for $1,500.

When contacted by VeloNews last week, Shimano American’s PR man Devin Walton would not confirm the existence of the new group, noting only that “we have no official comments on this side,” adding that “details on any new group are not made available until all quality standards are passed.”

However, it appears that preliminary specifications for the new group have been in the hands of some industry manufacturers for some time. Manufacturers require such advanced notice in order to plan upcoming models and ensure drivetrain compatibility down the line.

Beyond price and availability, manufacturers are remaining tight-lipped.

Given the low price, it seems likely that the new Ultegra Di2 shifters and derailleurs will be matched with the current mechanical Ultegra 6700 group — cranks, brakes, cassette and chain remaining unchanged.

The 2012 model year release date comes with little surprise given Shimano’s historical product development timetables. Dura-Ace Di2 has been available for a few years now, but remains extremely pricey and thus unattainable for many consumers. The significantly lower price of Ultegra Di2 should bring electronic shifting to bikes under $4,000.

The release will likely coincide with the release of Campagnolo’s electronic shifting group, which has been in the prototype phase for some time now and will be adorning the Movistar-Pinarello ProTeam’s bikes this season.

The lower price point will put further pressure on rival SRAM to produce their own electronic group, something that SRAM’s Michael Zellman has denied is under development.

Nick Legan contributed to this report.