If you, like a few of us old souls around the Competitive offices, are holding fast to your belief in the soul of mechanical shifting, Shimano hasn't abandoned you. Though the world may very well be moving towards 100% electronic drivetrains someday in the future, mechanical still makes a hell of a case for itself. With smooth lines, elegant finishing, and functionality beyond reproach, the redesigned mechanical Dura-Ace drivetrain calmly holds its own in this brave new world of wires, batteries, and display screens. It's fitting then, that the Dura-Ace FC-R9100 11-Speed Crankset also comes with the double chainrings that many roadies are loathe to abandon just yet. Call upon your granny gear when needed with this lighter, stronger version of a top-end classic, and embrace tried-and-true tradition of cables. Of course, in the even that you do decide to run electro-shifting, the crank's ring profile plays just as nicely with Di2 derailleurs.
Shimano didn't introduce any drastic changes to its proven four-arm design, but it did make a few subtle, deliberate changes to bring it up to the most modern compatibility standards. By widening the crank arm, Shimano was able to move the chainline 0.5mm outboard; this barely perceptible repositioning was just enough to give the crankset broader compatibility with shorter chainstays and the growing number of road bikes built for disc brakes.
The gram counters will be happy to learn that beefing up the crank arm didn't result in a change in weight. Instead, Shimano was able to carefully remove internal material where it wasn't needed, strengthening only the most crucial areas of the crank arms and actually reducing weight by around a claimed 7g over the previous generation. The Japanese brand calls this process Hollowtech II, but it could very well be sorcery for all we know. In addition, Shimano also slightly reshaped the chainrings' gear teeth profile to adapt it to the gearing on disc brake-equipped race bikes.
As always, the spider is great to look at. But like with any proprietary tech, Shimano's top-secret BCD may inspire a healthy dose of skepticism. Rest assured that Shimano has its reasons. With the Dura-Ace 9100 crankset, you can run anything from a 50-34 combo to a 55-42 just by swapping chainrings, chain, and repositioning your derailleur. No need for a spider swap or an entirely new set of crank arms. Effectively, this means your bike can be a TT missile one weekend, a hill climb champ the next, and versatile all-rounder for the time in between. If you’re a privateer racer, or a self-sponsored athlete, it makes a whole lot of sense.
- A top-of-the-line classic continues to keep up with the times
- Redesigned crank arm accommodates disc brake frames
- Chainline and tooth profile adapted to gearing on disc race bikes
- Reduction in weight without a sacrifice in strength
- Allows for huge range of gearing options with a single crank
- Shimano proves there's still a place for aluminum crank arms at cycling's most elite levels
- Q & A
I have Cervelo R5 di2 dura ace with a rotor crankset with a Bottom bracket Bbright. Do you think I change to a crankset Dura ace ?
ugly duckling that grows on you
When R9100 was first announced, I thought it was by far the ugliest group set on the market. Most people still think this, but the wide arm design has grown on me. In line with the rest of the group, its not really much of a revolution as just a small evolution. As always, the chainrings on the crank really are the shining star. Cold forged and filled with injection molded carbon fibers, they are both ridiculously stiff yet super light. They did change the spacing of the rings slightly, but they are realistically compatible with any 11 speed groupset.
My current setup is DA9000. In order to utilize the 34x30 option with 9100, do I just upgrade my crank set and derailleur to 9100? Will the 9000 brake/shift levers be OK with that mix?
Stiffer Without Sacrifices
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Using these on my new Time and happy with the results so far. Stiffer and more adaptable to new frame designs (disc and shorter chainstays) and delivers power transfer and crisp shifting.