Shimano Ultegra vs 105

Shimano stands as a towering figure in the cycling world, celebrated for its premium drivetrains and groupsets. Among its most acclaimed products are the Ultegra and 105 groupsets, particularly their latest 12-speed electronic versions.

Both systems are engineered for electronic shifting, offering cyclists seamless and exact gear transitions. However, despite their similarities, they are designed to meet the varied needs and performance aspirations of different cyclists, thanks to several distinguishing features. 


The most apparent difference between the Ultegra R8170 and the 105 R7170 is their position in Shimano's road groupset hierarchy. The Ultegra series sits above the 105 series in terms of performance, offering higher precision, lighter weight, and often more advanced features. As a result, the Ultegra Di2 is regarded as a higher-end option compared to the 105 Di2. However, as you can see from the table below, 105 is the first groupset in the more performance-orientated tier with just Ultegra and Dura-Ace


Material and Weight: 

Typically, Ultegra components are constructed using lighter and more advanced materials compared to their 105 counterparts. This translates to a weight advantage for the Ultegra Di2 groupset. While the exact weight difference may vary depending on specific components, the Ultegra Di2 is lighter overall, appealing to riders who prioritise weight savings for improved performance. 

Total system weights for both options may seem small effectively another full water bottle. However, as you're conquering that notorious mountain pass or pushing for your next QOM/KOM, there might just be that little whisper in the back of your mind. You know, the one that playfully pokes at you, wondering if you should have gone for just that slightly lighter option. Would I have been faster? Would this of been easier? 

Finish and Aesthetics:
Another aspect where Ultegra often distinguishes itself is in its finish and aesthetics. Ultegra components tend to feature sleeker designs and more refined finishes compared to 105 components, which may have a more utilitarian appearance. While this doesn't directly affect performance, it can be a factor for cyclists who value the visual appeal of their bike components. Admittedly both options are great-looking groupsets however personally the Ultegra still has the edge



Now, let's talk about the elephant in the room: cost. Upgrading to Ultegra from 105 is a bit like choosing between a standard and a first-class ticket. Both will get you to your destination, but one does it with a bit more flair and comfort. If your wallet is feeling heavy and you fancy those little luxuries, Ultegra might just be your ticket to ride.

Otherwise, 105 offers incredible value, proving that you don't need to spend a fortune to enjoy the journey​​. You can see get the benefits of electronic shifting but at a more affordable price point. 

Performance and Features:
While both the Ultegra R8170 and the 105 R7170 offer electronic shifting with the same number of gears (12-speed), there may be differences in performance and features between the two. Ultegra components often incorporate technologies and innovations trickled down from Shimano's top-tier Dura-Ace groupset, resulting in smoother shifting, faster response times, and overall superior performance compared to 105 components.

Additionally, the Ultegra Di2 may offer more customisation options advanced programming features and satellite buttons for fine-tuning the shifting experience to individual preferences. Which can be especially beneficial in a

Forge 105 Carbon



  • Target Audience: Enthusiast cyclists seeking high performance without the premium price tag.
  • Key Features: Reliable shifting, durability, and slightly heavier than Ultegra.
  • Benefits: Offers a balance between performance and value, making it ideal for those who enjoy cycling recreationally or competitively on a budget.


  • Target Audience: Serious and competitive cyclists looking for higher performance and lighter weight.
  • Key Features: Lighter than 105 with more refined shifting mechanics and marginally better durability.
  • Benefits: Provides a near-professional level of performance with a focus on weight reduction and efficiency, suitable for racing
    105 vs Ultegra

In summary, while both the Shimano Ultegra R8170 Di2 and the 105 R7170 Di2 offer electronic shifting technology with 12-speed gearing, there are notable differences between the two groupsets in terms of performance, weight, aesthetics, price, and features.

The Ultegra Di2 stands out as the higher-end option, offering superior performance, lighter weight, and more advanced features, albeit at a higher price point. On the other hand, the 105 Di2 provides a more budget-friendly alternative without compromising on the benefits of electronic shifting technology, making it an attractive choice for cost-conscious cyclists or those seeking excellent value for money.

 Read next: Dura-Ace vs Ultegra.

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