Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 vs R9100: Crankset

With the new Dura-Ace R9100 crankset, it retains the iconic 4 arm design that was first introduced in Dura-Ace 9000. When the 4 arm design was first introduced in 2013, I did not really like it as I still preferred the 5 arm design. However, over these few years the design has become much more common, even in other brands such as FSA or Campagnolo. I have now gotten used to seeing this design and it now looks fine.

On the Canyon Endurace, I have decided to change the groupset from Ultegra 6870 hydraulic Di2 to the latest Dura-Ace R9170 hydraulic Di2 groupset. With that, all the components will be changed, in order to maintain a full Dura-Ace groupset.

As highlighted in another post, the new Dura-Ace R9100 has some distinctive features that is new. However, it is mostly similar to the previous Dura-Ace 9000 crankset. Let's take a closer look and make a comparison between these two cranksets.

Dura-Ace 9000 crankset, with the silver and black anodized series colour.

New Dura-Ace R9100 crankset is mostly black, fading out to grey at the edges of the chainring.

Dura-Ace 9000 chainring is 50/34T, with a silver outer ring ending in the silver coloured teeth.

New chainring is light grey in colour, ending with the teeth that is also grey in colour. The colour on the teeth will quickly wear off and reveal the silver material colour once it is used.

Inner chainring on 9000 crankset is quite ordinary, and the outer chainring also does not have many shifting ramps even though the shifting performance is good.

Inner chainring on new R9100 crankset looks very similar to the 9000 chainring

Previous generation 9000 right crank arm (170mm) is 306 grams

New R9100 right crankarm (165mm) is slightly lighter at 303 grams. It is much chunkier but also slightly shorter in length.

Comparing the chainrings side by side. Both are 50/34T chainrings.

Slightly different positioning of the shifting ramps and pins

9000 series Hollowglide 50T outer chainring is 102 grams

New R9100 series Hollowglide 50T outer chainring is 100 grams

I wondered if the old chainring can fit onto the new crankarm, but found that it will not fit due to the different 4 arm profile. Rather interesting appearance though.

Old crankarm has sharper edges at the back of the crankarm

New crankarm has chamfering at the back of the crankarm to minimize any sharp edges

9000 series left crankarm (170mm) is 176 grams inclusive of the crank arm fixing bolt

New R9100 series left crankarm weighs 175 grams, almost the same even though it is slightly shorter.

Right side crankarm plus chainrings on the 9000 series weighs 440 grams

New R9100 setup is slightly lighter at 434 grams

Full Dura-Ace 9000 crankset (50/34T, 170mm length) is 615 grams

New Dura-Ace R9100 crankset (50/34T, 165mm length) is 610 grams

The new crankset is very slightly lighter in weight, probably due to the shorter 165mm length. However, the stiffness is reportedly improved on the right side due to the chunky 4 arm design that minimizes any flex. For me, I will not be able to produce that much power to induce any flex, so it probably does not make a difference to me.

In summary, the R9100 crankset is more of an incremental improvement on the already excellent 9000 crankset. With the stiffer right crankarm, the stiffness is improved while the weight is maintained. All other aspects are mostly unchanged as far as I can see. The new all black colour should be able to better match most bike frames, as compared to the 9000 series colour which did not match some bike frames in terms of colour.

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