Shimano 105 vs. Ultegra vs. Dura-Ace (Di2): A Comprehensive Guide

Shimano 105 vs. Ultegra vs. Dura-Ace - every groupset takes one third of the screen.

When choosing a road bike, Shimano groupsets are among the most popular choices.

In this article, I will compare the weights, performance, and prices of current Shimano 105, Ultegra, and Dura-Ace (Di2) 12-speed groupsets.

I also share my experience, add my perspective, and suggest a few questions you should think about before you decide to pay extra for a better groupset.

Quick summary:
Choose Shimano 105 Di2 if you are on a tight budget, Ultegra Di2 as a golden mean, and Dura-Ace Di2 if you want the best and money is no object. They differ mainly in weight, material, and price. Their performance is similar.

Please, remember that this article only covers the latest Shimano groupsets. You can still find road bikes with older generations of these groupsets.

Shimano Road Groupsets Hierarchy

According to this estimate, Shimano has about 70 % market share. And my research confirmed this number as well. It’s the go-to choice of most manufacturers and cyclists. Its competitors, like SRAM (26.3%) and Campagnolo (3.4%), are less popular.

See the following table that summarizes the Shimano road bike groupsets hierarchy.

Mid-range105 Di2Electronic
ProUltegra Di2Electronic
ProDura-Ace Di2Electronic
Shimano road groupsets hierarchy (from entry-level to pro) with the info about their type.

The truth is that the first three groupsets (Claris, Sora, and Tiagra) can be found on low-end road bikes suitable for beginners. These groupsets are mechanical and also the most affordable.

However, if you are an avid roadie, I recommend a bike with Shimano 105, Ultegra, or Dura-Ace.

Eventually, you can buy a bike with one of the SRAM eTap AXS groupsets (Rival, Force, or RED).

Naming and Generations

Each of these groupsets is already several generations old. The product cycle for Shimano groupsets is approximately 4-5 years.

The name of each groupset is specified by a number (e.g., R7000). If the name contains ‘Di2‘ (Digital Integrated Intelligence), it is an electronic groupset.

Below are a few previous generations and the latest ones:

  • Shimano 105 (5700, 5800, R7000) [11spd], Shimano 105 R7100 [12spd], Shimano 105 R7150 Di2 [12spd]
  • Shimano Ultegra (6800/6870, R8000/R8050) [11spd], Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8150 [12spd]
  • Shimano Dura-Ace (9000, 9070, R9100/9150) [11spd], Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9200 [12spd]

Sources: Shimano 105 history, Shimano Ultegra history, Shimano Dura-Ace history

Shimano 105, Ultegra, and Dura-Ace last 3 generation cranksets compared (3 rows, 3 columns).
Shimano 105, Ultegra, and Dura-Ace cranksets compared

With the introduction of the electronic 105 series in 2022, all three series are electronic and have 12 gears. However, Shimano introduced mechanical 105 12spd in August 2023.

TIP: Check out this Shimano vs. SRAM groupsets comparison.


If you’ve done any research, you’ll have noticed that the lower-end road bikes with 105 are significantly cheaper than those with the high-end Dura-Ace.

That’s no surprise, especially considering the retail prices of each groupset. Dura-Ace exceeds $4000!

105 (R7100)~$1190
105 Di2 (R7150)~$1900
Ultegra Di2 (R8100)~$2500
Dura-Ace Di2 (R9200)~$4500
Shimano 105, Ultegra, and Dura-Ace prices.

I know what you’re probably thinking. The whole Dura-Ace groupset costs as much as the budget for your new road bike!

In general, road bikes under about $3000 usually have a Shimano 105 or 105 Di2 groupsets. For road bikes under $5000, you can already find Ultegra Di2. Dura-Ace is generally only on high-end road bikes priced from about $7000 and easily exceeding $10,000.

Given the increase in bicycle prices after 2020, this information may quickly become outdated if this trend continues.

By the way, I recommend reading my article How Much to Spend on a Bike, where I explain the different price ranges and components to expect. You might also be interested in my road bike prices research, where I explain the diminishing returns of expensive road bikes.

The question is, are these price differences worth it?
Well, as always, it depends…

Overall Weight

The overall weight of the individual groupsets depends on multiple factors. Mainly on whether it’s a rim brake or disc brake version, the cassette/chainring size, and the inclusion of a power meter.

The following table shows the claimed weights of each component.

105 Di2
Ultegra Di2
Dura-Ace Di2
Shifting/brake levers612g423g391g350g
Front derailleur96g142g110g96g
Rear derailleur249g302g262g215g
Disc brake calipers267g246g246g194g
Disc brake rotors254g121+133g96+114g96+114g
Bottom bracket77g77g77g65g
The comparison of the claimed weights of the Shimano 105 vs. Ultegra vs. Dura-Ace Di2 components.
NOTE: The weight differs between rim vs. disc brake groupsets and groupsets with/without a power meter.
The lowest claimed weights are used.
Data source: Shimano

Is the price-weight difference justifiable? Only you decide. If you are a weight weenie with money to spend, then probably yes. But as my road bike weights research showed, you will pay a premium.

Weights in the hundreds of grams are easy to lose, which comes out many times cheaper. It can help in high mountains, but you should underestimate aerodynamics, as I explain in the effects of aerodynamics on the average speed.

Also available at and

Ride Feel

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to try all generations of Shimano groupsets. I have ridden the 105 and Ultegra Di2 11spd, and 12spd Ultegra Di2.

I have read many reviews and talked with many cyclists. The truth is that the differences between the previous generations, e.g., 105 and Dura-Ace, were noticeable.

Given Shimano’s strategy of bringing the better technology from Dura-Ace into cheaper groupsets, we’ve reached a point where the differences are negligible.

Shifting speed, accuracy, and reliability is on par with all of these groupsets. Even the ergonomics of the shifters are becoming more similar.

Shimano 105, Ultegra, and Dura-Ace shift levers compared.
Shimano 105 vs. Ultegra vs. Dura-Ace shift levers compared

When I tried the 12spd and 11spd Ultegra Di2, I noticed that the 12spd was slightly faster, but if I didn’t have both bikes side by side, I wouldn’t have noticed the difference.

So the main difference is more likely to be if you’re switching from a mechanical groupset to an electronic one.

Electronic Shifting (Di2)

I had no choice with my first road bike due to budget limitations, so I bought a bike with the mechanical 105.

With my second bike, I already knew I wanted the Ultegra, but I was considering whether to stay with the mechanical one or pay extra for the electronic one. In the end, I paid extra. And it was the right decision.

The shifting is faster, more accurate, and, most importantly, more reliable. There is no need to adjust the stops due to pulled cables and shift clearances. The only thing to watch out for is a charged battery.

As I mentioned above, the latest 105, Ultegra, and Dura-Ace are electronic only. You can even set how they behave because they have multiple modes (learn more).

I consider the hidden buttons in the hoods and the ability to add satellite shifters to be additional benefits.

The hidden buttons are perfect for shifting in an aero position, and satellite shifters are convenient for shifting while climbing.

Detail on the top of the left Shimano Ultegra hood with the hidden button.
Shimano Ultegra hidden button on the top of the shifter

Shimano 105 vs. Ultegra vs. Dura-Ace Di2: Summary

The following table compares the key features of these groupsets:

Feature105105 Di2Ultegra Di2Dura-Ace Di2
Latest generationR7100R7150R8100R9200
Rim brakeNoNoYesYes
Disc brakeYesYesYesYes
Semi-wireless shiftingNoYesYesYes
Satellite shifters compatibilityNoNoYesYes
Power meter crankset availableNoNoYesYes
Groupset weight~2850g~2992g~2716g~2438g
LaunchedAugust 2023July 2022August 2021August 2021
The summary of Shimano 105 vs. Ultegra vs. Dura-Ace groupsets.
The price depends on the exact specification of the groupset and whether or not you buy it with a power meter.

Besides weight and price, there’s not much difference between them, right? So, let’s finally answer the question:

Shimano 105, Ultegra or Dura-Ace Di2? Which One Should You Choose?

At this point, it becomes clear that the choice depends mainly on money and your preferences.

Performance-wise, all three groupsets are pretty much the same. The only difference is in their weight and appearance.

I am sure the road bikes with the Shimano 105 Di2 provide a great riding (shifting) experience.

The question is whether you mind the social talk of others and your friends saying, “105? That’s an entry-level groupset! You should have at least bought an Ultegra!”

Yes, I feel with you. It’s a ridiculous argument. But that’s the time we live in—the pressures of consumerism and others.

The important thing is to enjoy cycling and not let the often elitist opinions of others spoil it for you.

Shimano Road Bike Groupsets FAQ


While the Shimano 105 vs. Ultegra vs. Dura-Ace debate may seem never-ending, it’s important to remember that all three groupsets provide almost the same experience.

If you’re a beginner to intermediate cyclist looking for an affordable and reliable groupset, the Shimano 105 mechanical or Di2 are great choices. Unfortunately, the mechanical version is not as affordable as it used to be.

Shimano Ultegra Di2 is the golden mean for passionate riders who want to maximize the value they get for their money. Even some pro teams use Ultegra because it’s much more affordable than Dura-Ace.

Dura-Ace Di2 will give you only marginal gains for a lot of money. Regular people often buy it just to boost their social status. Having a Shimano 105 Di2 or Dura-Ace Di2 is not what will win or lose you in a race.

Don’t feel bad just because you have a cheaper bike. That’s not the point! Cycling is about enjoying the moment, exploring new places, meeting new friends, staying fit, etc., not about comparing who has a bigger wallet.

Do you agree with my conclusions? And what groupsets do you consider for your road bike? Comment below.

Also available at and

About The Author

2 thoughts on “Shimano 105 vs. Ultegra vs. Dura-Ace (Di2): A Comprehensive Guide”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top