Ultegra Di2 vs Dura-Ace Mechanical – Which one is more powerful?

Based on their functional system, pedals will produce different effects that are profound in the riding experience. While these two models look quite similar, their differences lie well hidden within their performance. So, which is more powerful?

Hello, I’m Jack and I have been cycling now for over 6 years. By this time in my cycling journey, I have come to appreciate all the parts of a bike that work to create my riding experience.

When I got to fully understand the role that pedals play in the function and performance of my bike, I got deeply involved in some research and I discovered quite a lot.

A powerful pedal according to me would be one that required less effort to push the bike forward. With a good system, pedals are able to control the technical parts of the bike to provide the user with the best experience.

What are the key differences between Ultegra Di2 and Dura-Ace Mechanical?

Ultegra Di2
Dura-Ace Mechanical
SPD-SL Clipless
No. of Cleats
Rotational Float degrees
6, 2 and zero degrees
6, 2 and zero degrees
295 grams
230 grams
Aluminum and steel
Carbon, aluminum, titanium

Ultegra Di2 vs Dura-Ace Mechanical – How they differ 


The biggest difference is seen in their material with Ultegra using the bulkier and less high-end material to keep production costs low. The Di2 shifters in both pedals are identical and they have carbon levers.

However, the Dura-Ace model weighs 230g per pair while the Ultegra weighs 295g owing to their heavier build. With Ultegra, users get more adjustment abilities in free stroke-making how they are set up a bit more comfortable for riders.

Hydraulic motors on Dura-Ace provide a cooling effect through the black coating which dissipates heat while the Ultegra models have aluminum rotor fins. The derailleurs of both models work the same in terms of shifting but Dura-Ace has an aluminum build while Ultegra features a steel body.

Ultegra pedals are great for a variety of riding styles and they accommodate 34t cassette compared to the 30t possible on the Dura-Ace models. They both possess the Hollowtech construction known across the Shimano brand with a two-piece installation.

Parts on Dura-Ace are made of carbon, steel, and titanium but Ultegra has a fully steel-built system. 


Setting up and operation of the Ultegra Di2 model is easier than the mechanical Dura-Ace. There should be no difficulty in aligning the derailleurs and inexperience, the ride is smooth and shifting is quick with no misses.

The derailleurs in the Ultegra model are resistant to grime and mud and while the build-up of these elements would slow down any other pedal type, the Di2 keeps on working regardless of the gunk.

The front shifts are more significant in that they are quicker and do not produce any rattle. They have a computer-controlled automatic trimming that prevents the chain from rubbing on the derailleur.

You have remote buttons and customization overall functions which makes it easier to shift gears even while heavily involved in a race and with only one hand to spare. A simple lever throw that pulls on a cable is the shifting system possible on the mechanical.

Shifting gears on the mechanical Dura-Ace pedals are sharper with a snap of the shift lever which is considerably loud. Brakes on both these models are good for 28mm tires such as those on a cyclocross bike.

Though gear shifting is crispier on the mechanical Dura-Ace pedals, the lever of the Ultegra Di2 is placed more conveniently within reach to facilitate adjustments while riding. 

Ultegra Di2 vs Dura-Ace Mechanical – A Comparison Overview 

Ultegra Di2 – Overview 

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These pedals are made of carbon and stainless steel. In following with their trickle-down structure for upgrades that Shimano likes to use, these pedals are like Dura-Ace models but cheaper and lighter.

In this model, they chose to reduce the stack height and increase the width which improves the power transferability and the foot stability at high speeds. The cleats on these pedals are three as is standard across all Shimano SPD-SL road pedals.

To get a distinction of their float angle, Shimano uses the same color coordination system across all its other models. Yellow-tipped pedals have a floating angle of 6-degrees, blue pedals float at 2-degrees and red-tipped pedals have no rotational float whatsoever.

To set your pedals tension, there is a tension spring fitted into these pedals that are activated by the use of a 2.5mm Allen key. You can expect these pedals to rest pointing downwards and to be only one-sided which means you have to get used to them.


  • Heavier in weight compared to 105 pedals
  • Made into durable pieces
  • Similar to Dura-Ace with better price


  • Expensive

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Dura-Ace Mechanical – Overview

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These pedals feature a bunch of similarities though there are some differences too. They are still made of carbon and stainless steel and the platform has grown considerably bigger again this time.

By chipping off bits of the pedals in designer style cuts have reduced the pedal in size and weight which is great for better more connected pedaling. With Dura-Ace being known for its 3-bearing setup, these pedals introduce a new innovation.

In place of the third bearing, the R9100 feature a roller bushing that Shimano says improves pedal durability and keeps them spinning for longer.

These pedals have an added benefit in their reaction to secure clipping or fitting which is a click sound. While using the unchanged low tension of the SPD-SL pedals, you can connect to other bikes and ride successfully.

The pedals rest with their rear pointing down making it easy for us to slip in the bolt attachment points to the pedal’s cleat system. Crank is still four-armed but has flatter and broader arms than previous versions.

The chainring is placed closer to the bike which provides a shorter wheelbase for more stable rides.


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


  • Plastic base wears off quickly

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Verdict: So, which is better, Ultegra Di2 or Dura-Ace Mechanical?

Owing to their versatility in shifting gears, the Ultegra Di2 pedals are the more powerful of this bunch. However, they are a bit heavier, bulkier, and have less precession in construction and performance.


Can I use my Ultegra shifters with Mountain Bike derailleurs?

Yes, of course. If you are on the Di2 system and you wish to run a 1x setup with no front derailleurs, this is a tried and tested valid option. All you need to know is the compatibility of your shifters and derailleurs.

How do you install SPD pedals on Bikes?

It is simple and it requires you to follow 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.

Is it possible to mix Ultegra and Dura-Ace hardware?

Yes, it is absolutely possible. However, there are some slight limitations and you would need to consult on the compatibility of the hardware parts you want to combine.