They say the third times a charm and Shimano continues to bring Di2 to the masses with the much-refined gen 3 Ultegra Di2 ST-R8050 11-Speed Shifters. Exceptional electronic shifting and powerful braking, when operating the firm's SLR calipers, is at your fingertips and the value and performance of this group are simply remarkable. Borrowing heavily from the top-tier Dura Ace levers, the R8050's are redesigned with improved ergonomics in mind. Because much less space is needed to house electronic buttons versus mechanical bits, the hoods are much more compact, lighter, and the lower profile feels great, perfect because that is where we spend most of our time while riding. Shimano even went so far as to create a new rubber compound and tread for the hoods that is designed to reduce vibration and improve grip. Gloves or no gloves, the tactile grip is amazing and our hands refused to slip even climbing out of the saddle on the hottest of rides. Befitting riders with bigger and smaller hands alike, a screw reach adjustment places the brake levers just where you need them for comfort and maximum control.
The shift buttons are easy to reach both from the hoods and in the drops and, again trickled down from Dura Ace, have a more positive click and are more distinguishable between upshift and downshift than previous versions. What we love most about Di2 is that shifting feels akin to clicking a mouse, only requiring 2mm of movement. This requires much less focus and effort, especially for front shifting, so you can concentrate on riding and is much appreciated on the battlefield. Remote sprinter and climbing satellite shifters are available separately that plug into these shifters, allowing further customization.
The Ultegra Di2 STI levers are compatible with Shimano E-Tube components and accessories including derailleurs, battery, junction boxes and wires. The E-Tube software allows you to fully customize the group including shifting speed, number of shifts per click or hold, and control over what the buttons do.