Shimano Ultegra has always been the groupset of choice for riders who prefer bombproof durability over the latest in carbon. But, what those riders also know is that Ultegra is always privy to the latest advancements in the venerable Dura Ace group. The Ultegra 6800 is no exception. Taking its cues from the Dura Ace 9000, 11 speed group, the STI shifters see a significant leaning toward the engineering and aesthetic of its older sibling. The bulkiness of the old Ultegra shifters has been replaced with a slimmer, dual compound rubber composite hood and streamlined carbon fiber levers. This means improved grip on the hoods as well as more reliable shifting. Additionally, they now have 10mm of reach adjustment to ensure the perfect fit for most hand sizes. As far as the shifting, Ultegra has upped Shimano's Rider Tuned philosophy a notch. To begin with, the lever stroke has been shortened by almost 13%. This means that you won't have to push as far to make the gear change. Using its Vivid Index Technology, the effort to downshift is now as smooth as to move the gears up. This is done not only through careful design of the Ultegra 6800 STI mechanism itself, but also through the incorporation of Shimano's polymer coated shifter cables that reduce drag.