Shimano Dura-Ace FD-R9100 Front Derailleur
As great as Shimano's mechanical shifting systems have been over the years, the gap the competition has never come close to closing has been with front derailleur performance and front shifting. The Dura-Ace 9000 front derailleur was impressive in it's own right, with a longer lever for an easier, sharper shift. However the drawback of the body and lever shape was identified with the tighter frame clearances, shorter chainstays and the movement towards larger, higher volume tires. While clearance wasn't an issue with all frame designs, it became apparent to Shimano that the body and lever had to change, inspiring nearly a complete redesign for second generation 11-speed Dura-Ace 9100. Enter the sleek and trim design of the Dura-Ace FD-R9100 Front Derailleur, which not only eliminates the clearance issues, but also adds a new cable routing and fixing system, and has an integrated cable tension adjuster, managed with a 2mm Hex key, which eliminates the necessity of an inline adjuster. Shifting performance is again industry-leading, from a short link design that shares cable pull ratio with the 9000, 7800, and 5800 STI levers, meaning there is backward compatibility, so older series 11-speed users can upgrade to gain the clearance and performance of the new design.
Shimano's commitment to engineering science in service of the best bike components is exemplified by Dura-Ace, which drive the mechanical and technical performance of the entire road component line. System integration throughout every component ensures that every component, every length of cable, and every feature of the entire system has been optimized to deliver the best shifting performance possible. The new 9100 STI levers have shorter lever throws for both upshifts, and release (downshifts). As such the front derailleur development was mated to the concept. Much more compact, stiffer, and more efficient, this design features ten link bushings. The 9000 version had seven. The cable routing was changed to reduce the shift force, and the derailleur offers operation closer to the frame, a necessity because the inner chainring of the 9100 crankset was moved inboard to the frame by .4 millimeters to deliver a better chainline with wide ranging cassettes, wider frame spacing, and short chainstays.
The FD-R9100 Front Derailleur can still accommodate large chainrings from 46-55T options, and the max differential (large to small) of 16 teeth (i.e. 55-39, 50-34). The construction is largely shaped, stiff aluminum, with an aluminum chain guide, stainless steel cable fixing bolt, and painted and polished, as well as anodized finishes. The unit has a subtle appearance, but still manages to catch the eye, with its Near Black to pewter color and exceptional polish. The design is set up for down swing, with ability for top or bottom pull. Both braze-on and clamp-on options are available, with two clamp-on sizes: 34.9mm specific, or 28.6/31.6mm with shims for 28.6mm use. Of course the braze-on style can also be used with various size Shimano tube clamps as well.
For those looking to upgrade from 5800, 6800, and 9000 front derailleurs there is no better time than now to gain the tire and frame clearance, cable tension adjustment and overall performance afforded by the FD-R9100. A word of caution for those who may be piecing together systems. If you are running the 9100 crankset, in any of the available chainring configurations, you can only guarantee proper shifting by using the FD-R9100. Your 9000, 6800, 5800 front derailleur may not have enough inboard adjustment and clearance for the new .4mm inboard alignment of the inner chainring. Besides, the new derailleur is well worth the investment. The 9100 front derailleur not only improves on Dura-Ace's already incredible shifting performance, but adds features and functionality that improve the overall value of this premium 11-speed Dura-Ace groupset.
- Redesigned, compact 11-speed Shimano front derailleur with tire/frame clearance
- Stiff link plates and new cable routing ensure smoother, quicker shifting with 9100 STI
- 10 link bushings ease movement, reduce wear and ensure consistent shift path
- Integrated cable stop with cable tension adjustment with 2mm Hex key
- Tighter clearance to frame to allow 9100 inner chainring .4mm inboard alignment
- Limit screws moved to side, from top on older designs
- Removal of cable lever eliminates clearance issue with larger tires, wider rims
- 16T max chainring diferential, with large ring range from 46-55T
- Finishes either painted, anodized, or plated
- Color: Near Black, Pewter, Plated cage, all high-polish finished
- Options: Braze-on, 34.9mm clamp, or 28.2/31.6mm clamp (with shims for 28.6mm)
- Weight: 70g (braze-on), 85g (clamp-on)