Shimano Dura Ace 9000 STI ShiftersIt's impossible to pin down the one feature of the Shimano Dura-Ace ST-9000 11-Speed STI Shifters that makes them awesome. That's the problem. While most component groups burst onto the market touting one amazing, new technology, every piece of Dura-Ace 9000 has a complete redesign that makes it better than 7900. In the case of the levers, they've been built lighter, stronger, crisper, and more comfortable. The aesthetics are stunning, the feel is unparalleled, and even better, all of the new additions work symbiotically to achieve the perfect harmony between your body and the bike.
It's too easy to go on and on about ST-9000's 11-Speed shifting option, and while it adds a powerful advantage over the field, we know that the new Dura-Ace shifters can't be defined by one feature. In typical Shimano fashion, the 7900 levers went on a diet and came back into the fold 14 grams lighter under the title of ST-9000. However, while satisfying, weight savings are the least impressive of the improvements that encompass ST-9000. Starting with the shape of the levers and hoods themselves, Shimano introduced brand new designs to improve the touch-point experience. Knowing that you spend 95% of your time in contact with the hoods or levers, Shimano wanted to enhance the comfort, reach, and feel.
The hoods now feature a smaller and slimmer shape. Made from a dual-compound rubber composite, the low-volume hood design is reminiscent of Di2, and makes lever accessibility easy. The lever blades have also received a sleek redesign. Their outward curve and feel is more pronounced than in prior iterations, and make for a more positive interaction from either the hoods or drops. And when you're buried in the drops on long descents, you'll be happy to know that Shimano included 10mm of reach adjustment for the levers.
Dwarfing all other advancements to the ST-9000, however, is the shifting itself -- this is where Shimano's 'Rider-Tuned' philosophy really makes itself known. This is the title given to Shimano's campaign of providing you the best rider-experience of your life. Throughout the group, every component has been given little custom touches, but the levers have received several. To start, Shimano has shortened the lever stroke. In fact, it's reduced the stroke by around 30%. Obviously, the less distance that you have to push the lever, the faster your shift will move up or down the cassette. And during the act of shifting, the required effort has been lessened by around 47% for the rear derailleur and 43% for the front derailleur. In tandem with the reduced stroke, the shifting experience has been minimized to light touches that pit mechanical and Di2 shifting speed toe-to-toe against each other.
Not surprisingly, the mad scientists at Shimano weren't satisfied with simply making the smoothest mechanical shifting in their history. Instead, the bar was set even higher, and Shimano aimed to make the shifting effort seamless across every sprocket of the cassette. That's right, effort has been equalized, regardless of if you're moving across the bottom or moving across the top of the cassette. Even more obsessive, Shimano decided to also equalize the actual feeling of shift throughout the cassette. If you're familiar with Shimano, you'll know that in prior Dura-Ace generations, down-shifts felt more like 'dropping' the chain down the cassette, rather disproportionately in comparison to moving up it. No longer. Now, with Vivid Index Technology, down-shifting feels just as crisp, engaging, and as smooth as up-shifts. This is due in part to superior mechanics, but in the larger scheme of things, it's more attributable to something as simple as proprietary shift cables. ST-9000 uses Shimano's exclusive polymer-coated shifted cables. We know that it doesn't sound like a big deal, but the new cables play a key role in the near-elimination of mechanical drag, and they also provide a flawless shift performance.
The Shimano Dura-Ace ST-9000 11-Speed STI Shifters are available in one color and one size. Please note that these shifters are specifically designed for use with Dura-Ace 9000 components and Shimano's polymer-coated and PTFE cables.
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