Ultegra 6800 vs Dura-Ace 9000 – Which model rules?

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Ultegra 6800 vs Dura-Ace 9000

The introduction of clipless pedals transformed the cycling industry and their compatibility with most outdoor bikes makes them a must-have. Ultegra and Dura-Ace are the top two collections in the Shimano brand but which model rules?

I’m currently in the market for new pedals. This isn’t my first pedal change so I know my way around. I also understand how jarring it can be for a beginner so I started creating short summaries every time I had to choose between two models.

Great pedals have to be light in weight, easily adjustable, and have great traction or secure fitting. This is the nature of most SPD-SL pedals that Shimano creates. With Ultegra having been built using some Dura-Ace blueprint, they are sort of similar.

These reasons are why I love Shimano because you can always find a great model of a previous version that is just as good but only with a reduced price. Let’s see what we’ve got.

What are the key differences between Ultegra 6800 and Dura-Ace 9000?

 
Ultegra 6800
PD-R9000
Type
SPD-SL Clipless
SPD-SL Clipless
No. of Cleats
3
3
Rotational Float degrees
6, 2 and zero degrees
6, 2 and zero degrees
Weight
248 grams
247 grams
Material
Carbon
Carbon
Price

Ultegra 6800 vs Dura-Ace 9000 – How they compare

Design 

Both these pedals feature the four-arm design providing almost equal stiffness and lighter weight. Circle diameter where bolts for chainrings should be is the same for both and means that all chainring sizes are compatible.

These chain sets are built with unequal spacing to minimize the stress it endures when you pedal. With a bolt diameter fit for working with a standard or compact chainring, swapping one for another is easy with the same cranks.

They both offer the same range in chain sets and crank lengths.

Both Ultegra 6800 and Dura-Ace9000 could give 11 speeds and you may get up to five different options in the cassette range. The sprocket widths are the same as on a 10-speed system but they are a little closer.

For both, you will need to add a freehub to ensure that they work compatibly with your wheels. This means you can use an 11-speed cassette on a 10-speed hub with no problems at all.

These Shimano pedals both have carbon bodies and stainless-steel plates with three bearing axles which all work to improve durability. 

Performance

The Ultegra 6800 have Vivid Shifting and the Dura-Ace 9000 have the SIS indexed shifting. Dura-Ace has polymer-coated cables that are sensitive and highly responsive to shift commands and this lower shifting effort by a whopping 47% compared to Ultegra.

A lever is used to control the shifts in Ultegra 6800 and gives reassuring feedback when engaged correctly. As accurate as the shifting is, it is possible to miss a downshift. These pedals feature a support bolt that adds to their stability.

To minimize the effort needed to shift, they have been fitted with a longer activation arm. This guarantees lighter front shifts and great pick-up capabilities from the chain and ramps. The Ultegra 6800 use symmetrical pivots attached to the carrier which is mounted onto the frame in the place of brake bolts.

Rear derailleurs on both pedals have been altered to reduce sliding resistance which in turn facilitates for better shifting.

For both pedals types brakes featured are dual pivoted in a symmetrical style which is meant to lower the friction and reduce flex? 

Ultegra 6800 vs Dura-Ace 9000 – A Comparison Overview 

Ultegra 6800 – Overview

Sale
Shimano Ultegra R8000 Cassette 11 Speed 11-28T, 11/28
  • Cog Sizes: 11 x 25t, 11 x 28t, 11 x 30t, 11 x 32t, 12 x 25t, 14 x 28t
  • Cog Material: nickle-plated steel

These pedals are 11-speed, they use four-arm crankset, dual-pivot brakes, and redesigned derailleurs. Shifting mechanisms have been designed in a way that provides for Vivid Shifting which means that the power shift from 24 to 28 feels the same with a shift from 11-12 on the cassettes.

A lever is used to control the shifts and gives reassuring feedback when engaged correctly. As accurate as the shifting is, it is possible to miss a downshift. These pedals feature a support bolt that adds to their stability.

To minimize the effort needed to shift, they have been fitted with a longer activation arm. This guarantees lighter front shifts and great pick-up capabilities from the chain and ramps. The Ultegra 6800 use symmetrical pivots attached to the carrier which is mounted onto the frame in the place of brake bolts.

The outer chainring of these pedals consists of two alloy plates put together with a caved center which makes it stiffer and capable of filling the gap between arms two and three.

A number of combinations are possible on this set of pedals because the spider is compatible with all Shimano offerings. You have an option between the 50-/34, 52/36, and the 53/39 all with similar bolt spacing. This makes swapping from compact to standard easier by changing the rings only.

Pros 

  • Great connection to SPD-SL
  • Cleats have bindings that keep them clear of dirt and grime
  • 2-degrees of float to either side.

Cons

  • Plastic base wears off quickly

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Dura-Ace 9000 – Overview 

These are the lightest most technology savvy Shimano pedals ever produced and not only do they save on weight but they also influence the possible speed a rider can go because they encourage the rider to propel harder and faster.

Ideally used and designed or road bikes, these pedals feature a large pedal with a slimmer shaft making the pedals highly receptive to power transfer. The wider platform is bets for long use comfort and for better weight disposition.

Shifting has been made easy and very responsive on these pedals by the use of a release lever. Brakes have been strengthened with the pivot set further away from the bar and the brake lever extended for easier manipulation.

They are made of wear-resistant and durable carbon material and the tension adjustment can be done by aligning tension settings.

These pedals feature SM-SH12 type cleats which means that they offer a 2-degree left or right angular float.

Pros

  • Great connection to SPD-SL
  • Cleats have bindings that keep them clear of dirt and grime
  • 2-degrees of float to either side.

Cons

  • Plastic cleats damage easily

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Verdict: So, which is better, Ultegra 6800 or Dura-Ace 9000?

The two models from Shimano’s collection stand out from the rest. Because of Shimano’s trickle-down technology, the Ultegra has been built off of Dura-Ace technology.

However slightly, Dura-Ace 9000 outdoes the Ultegra 6800 in technology and weight. Aside from all the other things they may have in common, the R9000 pedals have much lesser resistance in their shifting and they work with a greater range of cassettes.

How do you install SPD pedals on Bikes?

It is simple and it required a three-step process. First, clean out your pedals with a wiper. Then apply anti-seize on the thread. Finally, put the right and left pedals through the crank and twist in the clockwise direction until you achieve a firm grip.

Can you put SPD Cleats on Road shoes?

Yes, you can. SPD cleats connect to the sole of the running shoes allowing you to point your foot in the right toe-in toe-out direction which gives a more comfortable fit. 

What is the difference between SPD and SPD SL?

These two pedals have more differences than similarities in their functional settings and features. However, the main contrast between the two that is a bit obvious is that the SPD pedals have two bolts while the SPD SL has three bolts to facilitate attachment of shoe cleats. 

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