Is 8050 a noticeable upgrade from 6850
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  1. #1
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    Is 8050 a noticeable upgrade from 6850

    I'm riding Ultegra 6850 Di2, and I love the electronic shifting. The speed, accuracy, responsiveness, reliability. It's great.

    So, thinking about the next generation or even a new bike, has anyone ridden both side-by-side, or upgraded from one to the other? What are the noteworthy differences?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    tlg
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    I have 6870 (disc) and 9150 (rim).

    Both have great speed, accuracy, responsiveness. I wouldn't say there's a "huge" noticeable difference in that regard, but it's there.

    Noteworthy differences:
    The new RD is great. It's tucked in closer making it less susceptible to damage. And the new design allows the use of larger cassettes. IMO worth the upgrade alone.


    The FD servo motor is much smaller. Looks very sleek.

    The shifters have been ergonomically updated. They're thinner (personally I liked the old ones better as I like thicker shifters. I liked 6700 even more cause they were really wide). But I don't find them uncomfortable.
    The shift buttons are larger which is nice, especially in winter with gloves.
    The buttons have a more tactile/audible click. Some people really like that. I didn't mind the old version.
    There are auxiliary buttons on top of the hoods. VERY nice. You can program them as shift buttons or to control your Garmin. I use them all the time.

    The new bar end junction box is slick. It makes a very clean looking cockpit with just one wire exposed. I shrunk wrapped mine to the brake cable, so there's only two exposed cables on my bars.
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  3. #3
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    Is the bar end junction box compatible with most handlebars?

  4. #4
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiCoyote View Post
    Is the bar end junction box compatible with most handlebars?
    Technically.. no. Realistically... yes.

    You have to be willing to drill your handlebars. Sounds scary... it's not.

    This video shows how to do it. (although the hole he drills is WAY too big). I've done it on carbon bars. There's zero concern here, unless perhaps you could ride with your your hands on the 2" ends of your bar.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cON3w1IL_7k


    The wire routing in the above video is hokey. He re-did it better in these videos. This is the method I used.
    https://youtu.be/WCnsKwLf9F8?t=564

    https://youtu.be/In_uHMDBN4k?t=66
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    Those are good videos, and I like the bar-end box.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TiCoyote View Post
    I'm riding Ultegra 6850 Di2, and I love the electronic shifting. The speed, accuracy, responsiveness, reliability. It's great.

    So, thinking about the next generation or even a new bike, has anyone ridden both side-by-side, or upgraded from one to the other? What are the noteworthy differences?

    Thank you!
    The RD has extra nannyism (gear position control), and supports up to 34T cassettes officially... it is shadow tech, and has Shimano Direct Mount available (which is a great standard, that literally no roadie frame maker supports)...The R8000 brifters are more road sized as opposed to ZR685/R785 that are bigger.
    "Refreshingly Unconcerned With The Vulgar Exigencies Of Veracity "

  7. #7
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    The RD has extra nannyism (gear position control), and supports up to 34T cassettes officially... it is shadow tech, and has Shimano Direct Mount available (which is a great standard, that literally no roadie frame maker supports)....
    None, literally?
    Not that it matters, the derailleur comes with the adapter for standard frames.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    None, literally?
    Not that it matters, the derailleur comes with the adapter for standard frames.

    Honestly, that is literally the first photo of any road(ish) bike coming with direct-mount for the RD from anything considered a mainline brand...and DM has been around a very long time, although the roadie DM components have only been around 2 years. Most all the roadish bikes sold out there---they ship with shadowtech RDs setup for RD hanger frames. Still. I'll wager Shimano will give up on DM for road before too long--no one sells frames with it.

    Using Paragon slider drops on my groading rig, I've used DM since I went to an R8050 Di2 RD--much crisper shifting apples-apples compared to an RD-hanger.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    and supports up to 34T cassettes officially...
    And unofficially 36T (might be frame dependent).
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    The RD has extra nannyism (gear position control), and supports up to 34T cassettes officially... it is shadow tech, and has Shimano Direct Mount available (which is a great standard, that literally no roadie frame maker supports)...The R8000 brifters are more road sized as opposed to ZR685/R785 that are bigger.
    my friend is using the RD 6850 GS on a Dogma F8, and he's able to use a 36t cassette. Yup Shimano has always been conservative with their specs.

    Now ff this was Sram and they say 32t max, good luck trying to stuff a 34t in

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Honestly, that is literally the first photo of any road(ish) bike coming with direct-mount for the RD from anything considered a mainline brand...and DM has been around a very long time, although the roadie DM components have only been around 2 years. Most all the roadish bikes sold out there---they ship with shadowtech RDs setup for RD hanger frames. Still. I'll wager Shimano will give up on DM for road before too long--no one sells frames with it.

    Using Paragon slider drops on my groading rig, I've used DM since I went to an R8050 Di2 RD--much crisper shifting apples-apples compared to an RD-hanger.
    Direct mount? No thank you. I thought only budget bikes had this. Isn't the purpose of a derailleur hanger a sacrificial item to save the frame?
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Direct mount? No thank you. I thought only budget bikes had this. Isn't the purpose of a derailleur hanger a sacrificial item to save the frame?


    Direct Mounting is sacrificial as well. But...DM gives a lighter, yet stiffer connection for the RD, making RD shifting more precise--but it will still bend under load in the event of a fallover. Also DM is an attempt to actually standardize where the RD ends up...because with RD hangers there is a ton of variation with where the RD pulleys actually end up WRT the axle and freehub between hangers and frame brands. Seriously, RD hangers are not wonderful things-they're worse than BBs are WRT non-standard-standardization--which is why it is a nightmare to get a replacement RD hanger when the frame OEM goes belly-up or stops selling them.

    Apple/apples comparison on my groading rig, an RD hanger plate with B-link installed below and a DM above. Note how far off the RD mounting bolt for R8000 varies. Both sliders are made by Paragon Machine Works and are within spec--I asked them about it and this is normal.

    Our Direct-mount hanger specs are taken directly from Shimano's
    standards. The difference in position you're seeing is probably a
    result of where the conventional hanger is located. Standards for
    conventional hangers are not as well defined, and typically have a lot
    of leeway, sometimes as much as 6 mm total tolerance, depending on which
    standard is being used.

    True, it is a longer lever arm, but it's probably still stronger than
    the link that Shimano supplies, and DM eliminates the link and extra
    bolt for what could be considered a stouter hanger.
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  13. #13
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Direct mount? No thank you. I thought only budget bikes had this. Isn't the purpose of a derailleur hanger a sacrificial item to save the frame?
    "Direct mount" is kinda a misnomer. It's not direct mounting to the frame. It's more for frames with thru axles where the derailleur "direct mounts" to the axle. Which is a more substantial interface. There is still a sacrificial hanger.

    This is direct mount. The hanger is secured with the thru axle.


    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/Shiman...railleurs.html
    Direct mount did not need a push from Shimano to initiate. Much of the impetus for a stronger derailleur interface came from frame designers who had begun to move away from the open rear dropout and towards through axles, or grown tired of compromising the drive-side dropout by machining it thin to accept a flimsy replaceable derailleur hanger. The Direct Mount concept simply encourages frame makers to design a link that connects the frame with the upper derailleur pivot.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    "Direct mount" is kinda a misnomer.
    Ummm, yeah, I'll say. Looking more carefully, it looks like my TA gravel bike has one of these.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    Technically.. no. Realistically... yes.

    You have to be willing to drill your handlebars. Sounds scary... it's not.

    This video shows how to do it. (although the hole he drills is WAY too big). I've done it on carbon bars. There's zero concern here, unless perhaps you could ride with your your hands on the 2" ends of your bar.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cON3w1IL_7k


    The wire routing in the above video is hokey. He re-did it better in these videos. This is the method I used.
    https://youtu.be/WCnsKwLf9F8?t=564

    https://youtu.be/In_uHMDBN4k?t=66
    What's the difference in wiring routing between the two videos?

  16. #16
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiCoyote View Post
    What's the difference in wiring routing between the two videos?
    In the old video, he drills one hole. Runs the cables external to connect the shifters. Then adds a "dummy" cable on the outside of the bar to match the shape/feel.

    On the new video, he drills two holes and runs the connecting wire internal. Cleaner look and no need for the "dummy" cable.

    Black wire comes from the frame, runs external to right shifter.
    Red wire from right shifter runs under bar tape thru hole.
    Green Wire runs inside handlebar, thru hole on left side, under bar tape and into left shifter.
    Di2 Wiring.jpg
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    The groupset I got came with 2-350mm wires, but it seems like I need a 1200mm to go from one shifter, to the end of the bar, and then to the other end of the bar. Does that seem right?

  18. #18
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiCoyote View Post
    The groupset I got came with 2-350mm wires, but it seems like I need a 1200mm to go from one shifter, to the end of the bar, and then to the other end of the bar. Does that seem right?
    Yea, it's not a 'normal' setup so you wouldn't get it with a stock kit. You need one pretty long wire through the bar.
    I spec'd out all the wire lengths when I ordered my groupset. My two long wires were 1000mm and a 1200mm. But I can't remember which I used through the bar.
    I took a piece of string and ran it along the path around the bar then measured the length and added a little extra to be safe.

    If you're curious, the wires weigh 0.01gram/mm
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