Shimano Ultegra Glossy Grey groupset review£949.99

Shimano’s workhorse gets a colour makeover

BikeRadar score4/5

The combination of a compact chainset and a wide-ranging cassette isn’t the only choice for a climb-friendly gearing setup on your road bike: triples still have some advantages.

It’s not that they have a greater number of gears – out of a triple's nominal 30 gears, not all are usable and some are duplicated – but that they’re closer together, with smaller jumps between them.

The Shimano Ultegra groupset's 30-tooth inner chainring and 28t cassette sprocket give a 29in bottom gear that should be low enough for virtually all climbing needs, while its old-school 52t big ring offers a top gear of 128in.

The highlight of the new Glossy Grey version is undoubtedly the chainset (£239.99). At 816g, without bottom bracket, it’s heavier than a compact, but thanks to the combination of Hollowglide outer chainring and Hollowtech II cranks that it's inherited from Shimano's top-end Dura-Ace group, it’s exceptionally stiff and efficient. It’s available in four different crank lengths too, from 165-175mm.

As for the levers (£319.99), these have great ergonomics for a comfortable handhold, but at 452g there are lighter options available. Shifting is as quick and accurate as you’d hope for, from both the triple-specific front and rear derailleurs. Ultimately, whether you prefer a double or a triple is your call, but the Ultegra triple is a very high quality product worthy of serious consideration.

And soon Shimano will be the only road triple option out there. Campagnolo’s 10-speed Comp bows out after 2011. Shimano, though, show no sign of cutting production, and with Ultegra’s smooth, controlled gear changes and pedalling, a wall-climbing bottom gear and a crank-it-to-the-max top gear, you can see why.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.

Cycling Plus is the manual for the modern road cyclist. Whether you're cycling weekly, an occasional new rider or a Tour de France fan you’ll find everything you need.
  • Discipline: Road
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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