Shimano has announced a new version of its existing Ultegra R8020 hydraulic levers for riders with smaller hands. Called the R8025, the new levers bring Ultegra R8000 in line with 105 R7000, which already offers a short-reach option.
Ultegra gets the small hands treatment
R7000 was the first of the latest generation of Shimano groupsets to include hydraulic levers specifically designed for smaller hands. In addition to the standard R7020 model, Shimano offers the R7025 which is subtly reshaped to bring the lever contact point closer to the bar without compromising on function.
Viewed in isolation, this just looks like a regular Ultegra shifter Shimano
Now Shimano has done the same for Ultegra, with the R8025 lever bringing the effective reach 4mm closer to the bar.
We can expect to see these levers fitted as standard on some 2020 bikes, and we can imagine they’ll be popular for custom builds, particularly for smaller-handed and younger riders.
When trickle-down is trickle-up
As a general rule, Shimano tends to trickle features down from the top of its range. A new look gets debuted with Dura-Ace and then the lower tier groupsets are upgraded over the following years.
Dura-Ace grabs the headlines with shiny new tech, but sometimes more everyman features are debuted lower down the hierarchy Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
That’s how we’ve ended up with 105 R7000, a groupset that strongly resembles Ultegra R8000, which in turn draws heavily on Dura-Ace R9100.
Sometimes, however, it’s not that simple and lower-tier groupsets get features that the top-end stuff lacks. An example is gearing. Dura-Ace has always been the pro-level race groupset and it’s tended not to offer as generous a range of cassettes.
For instance, you can currently buy an Ultegra R8000 cassette with a 32t big cog (or 34t if you count the non-series HG800 option), while Dura-Ace R9100 stops at 30t.
Shimano Ultegra R8025 pricing and availability
Pricing and availability is still to be confirmed, but we expect these levers to cost roughly the same as the standard R8020s.
We should to see them on 2020 model year bikes and they’ll be available separately around June this year.