First Impressions – Shimano’s New RS685 Hydraulic Disc Brake With Mechanical Shifting

Shimano's New RS685 Hydraulic Disc Brakes On Ceilo Road Racer Disc-1

About one year ago Shimano released their R785 hydraulic-Di2 controls, and everyone was excited – especially since Sram’s offering turned out to be a huge failure, leading to a full recall of their hydraulic road systems. Shimano’s hydraulic disc-road group has proven to be reliable and effective, but the Di2-specific format was a point of contention.

Here at Cyclepath, we love Di2 for its consistency and durability, but we realize some simply prefer the cable shifting. Plus, Shimano’s new 11s mechanical shifting feels pretty darn good! This new RS685 hydraulic/mechanical dual control setup has already made its way onto 2015 bikes from a few major bike brands, so when our Shimano Tech Rep brought his Cielo Road Racer Disc into the shop I immediately took it out for a test ride.

Shimano's New RS685 Hydraulic Disc Brakes On Ceilo Road Racer Disc-9The calipers are slightly redesigned and the controls are entirely new. The feel is nearly identical to Shimano’s R785 setup, and there is plenty of modulation for the available power. The lever throw is adjustable, and the bleed process is similar if not slightly better than the R785. Plus, the ergonomics are more similar to the mechanical road kits, not that the R785 was far of, but the bulge at the hood is definitely noticeable. This bulge housed the top mounted master cylinder, and some prefered the large nub as it offered a new hand position. Now, the design is revised and the master cylinder sits inside the shifter body. The little bit of silver plumbing, visible in the photos below, is the connecting line running from the bleed port to the relocated master cylinder.

This is a game changer for anyone running mechanical disc brakes and a Shimano 11s drivetrain! We are expecting out shipment within the next few weeks, so email me to reserve yours!

Posted by on November 10th 2014