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Description

A revolution in lever design from Shimano.

No detail about the Shimano Dura-Ace ST-7900 STI Shifters stirs us more than its silhouette. Set it up just so on a shallow drop bar and we swoon... we really do. Sure, aesthetics can seem like a throwaway thing in comparison to the complex engineering and the sparkling functionality of the ST-7900. But for all of its mechanical crispness, the thing about these levers that appeal to us unlike any of the generations that proceeded it is its ergonomics.

Ergonomics is a big deal. For years and years when customers would ask us "Campy or Shimano?" and later on "Campy or SRAM or Shimano?", the answer oftentimes came down to one simple reality: Campy Record and SRAM Red and Shimano Dura-Ace all shift and brake pretty darn sweetly; they all cost roughly the same; they all weigh within a handful of grams of each other. And regardless which of these systems you choose, you'll spend 80% of your riding time with your hands in the brake hoods. If your hands don't lovingly melt into those hoods, you'll never be happy -- no matter how many other details of your bike are dialed. The #1 concern in choosing a component gruppo is shift lever ergonomics. Find the brake hoods you like best -- and choose that component group.

Historically, Campy hoods are super-flat. By contrast, Shimano hoods always had a plunging hook to them. The contrast between them was dramatic. (We've often wondered if SRAM Doubletap levers enjoyed such quick acceptance in the marketplace because they nicely blend Campy and Shimano brake hood shapes.) And no version of Dura-Ace STI was more curvaceous than the ST-7800 -- the generation that immediately preceded ST-7900. Shimano presented us with a love-it-or-hate-it proposition with ST-7800. And while plenty of people did just fine with it, the shape turned off many others.

The front-page news here is this: For the first time since they unveiled the inaugural STI lever (the ST-7400, back when Johan Museeuw was still racing as a junior), Shimano has revamped more than the innards of their STI levers. With the Dura-Ace ST-7900 you get a total rethinking of STI ergonomics, and the result is impressive. Gone is the deep, long hook along the hoods. Gone is the bulbous peak at the top of it. Rather, you get a lever that melds to your palms and fingers without requiring psychological counseling. It's more reminiscent of Shimano's elegant pre-STI brake lever than any STI lever that came before it.

Ergonomics aside, the Dura-Ace ST-7900 is a breakthrough component for other reasons. It's the first STI lever manufactured from carbon fiber instead of forged aluminum. The unidirectional carbon blades look sinister, and combined with the titanium clamp and fixing bolt they save you 40g over the ST-7800 without sacrificing a whit of durability.

Shimano shift quality has always been phenomenal, but with the Dura-Ace ST-7900 you'll get quicker shifts due to a rear shifter stroke reduction of 20%. You'll experience Shimano's signature shifting crispness, but a shift takes less force than ever before. One other excellent performance improvement comes in terms of braking modulation -- the revised brake cable pivot location means better braking too.

The Dura-Ace ST-7900 is the first-ever STI lever that offers 100% under-the-tape cable routing, which additionally improves aesthetics. It also has an integrated reach adjuster -- a big plus for women, for juniors, or for small-handed climbers. You can adjust the lever reach so you won't get hand cramps grabbing for the brakes.

It is wireless FlightDeck-ready with built-in buttons. It comes with a complete Dura-Ace cable kit.

One final note on compatibility: Shimano states that the Dura-Ace ST-7900 STI Shifters are compatible with both the Dura-Ace RD-7900 and RD-7800 rear derailleurs. The Dura-Ace ST-7900 is also compatible with both the Dura-Ace BR-7900 and BR-7800 brake calipers. However, it is only compatible with the Dura-Ace FD-7900 front derailleur, and not with the FD-7800 front derailleur.

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Here's what others have to say...

Unanswered Question

how can you tell 2010 st-7900 sti levers...

Posted on

how can you tell 2010 st-7900 sti levers from 2012 7900 leavers

5 5

Great Shifters

The newer 7900 series shifters all have a great feel in your hand and shift great!

Could these levers be used with DA 7700...

Posted on

Could these levers be used with DA 7700 components? (brakes/derailleurs)

Responded on

Shimano reccommends not, the cable pull ratios are different. You can make the brakes work but derailleurs, especially the front, are quite different. Its worth upgrading to the full grouppo if you can swing it.

4 5

BUZZZZZZz

Excellent Levers, except that they buzz in some conditions... There is a fix on line, but there shouldn't be problems at this price point.

5 5

Awesome Shifters

Great and easy way to shift gears! Light weight, comfortable, great on both TT bikes and road bikes!

5 5

Great Shifters

These shifts are the best shifters I have ever owned! Shift so crisp and fast in any condition. Also they have the best feel in your hands and are comfortable for all rides no matter how long.

I would recommend these shifters for any road or cross bike. You will not be disappointed.

5 5

Not a problem

When you're riding, dirt and grime doesn't really tend to get up that high. You'd probably collect more dust in the opening from the time you aren't riding, than from dirt off the road.

Why did Shimano expose the gears inside...

Posted on

Why did Shimano expose the gears inside the lever? Isn't this a big issue road dirt and grim messing up the internals?

Responded on

I can't venture to see the rational behind the design but I believe it will negatively affect the life of the shifters especially if you ride cross. According to shimano not much dirt gets up to the shifters and the mechanics are protected by the brake lever, but in real life when I do a group ride in drizzle or rain I get water, grime, sand, and dirt everywhere.

Responded on

I haven't had that issue with mine. I've ridden them for over a year in all weather conditions, alone and with others, and they still work like new. I even crashed and shredded my left hood exposing more of the internals, but never replaced the hood and still haven't had a problem with dirt in the shifter.

I have not, however, used them for cyclocross.