Wether it’s old news or you’ve just stumbled upon it, comfort plays a crucial role when it comes to cycling. If it’s empowered by very good ergonomics and matching shifting performance, than things hardly get better than that. If not, all Hell breaks loose. Luckly for us, carefully planned by Shimano, the new Dura-Ace 9000 dual-control levers find themselves in the first situation.
At first sight, it is rather hard to tell the difference between the Dura-Ace 9000 levers and Dura-Ace Di2 ones. After a couple of moments of confusion, the reason why Shimano opted for this shape becomes very clear. You just have to put your palm around the two components to figure it out. Placing your hands on the levers is an almost perfectly natural gesture, the texture of the hoods being well-picked, so as to ensure the amount of grip sufficient enough not to be considered rough. Edges are rounded, which makes these levers’ circumference smaller than that of the 7900-series’ one, therefore much easier to wrap your hand around them. Another bonus is that the manufacturer managed to keep their width even from one end to the other. So, once mounted, the upper parts of the levers make a single piece with the flat part of the handlebars, parallel to the ground and very comfortable.
The actual levers responsible for commanding the derailleurs now have a wider area in the zone designated to be pushed by the fingers. Ergonomics rules supreme especially if you hold the handlebar from the drops, because nothing is easier than actuating the dual-control levers, regardless of derailleur or command. I mustn’t forget the outer tilt of the two levers, it too being made in the name of almost efortless action. And speaking of efortless and quick action, it’s hard for me to think of a Dura-Ace series that let me down, no matter if the conditions were harsh or mild. The 9000-series levers abide this general rule, even raising the bar in this respect. The manufacturer claims that shifting is not 47% quicker thanks to the new cable routing, and I couldn’t argue with the fact that indeed they run smoother than before.
Shimano also gets a high score for aestethics, as the lever meant for the rear derailleur sits perfectly discreet behind the bigger one, which orders the brakes and front derailleur. Likewise, at a closer look you will see the almost obssesive care for details that defines top-end components.
A rose must have its thorns, and this goes for the Dura-Ace 9000 levers as well. Weight is not their strong point, as SRAM’s Red levers and Campagnolo’s Super Record ones stress the scale with 80, respectively 30 grams less.
Weight: 365 grams (pair)