I had also previously compared the Ultegra 6800 brake calipers against the 105 5800 brake calipers. This time, the Dura-Ace 9000 brake calipers will be compared against the Ultegra 6800 brake calipers. Let's find out what are the differences and similarities!
Dura-Ace 9000 brake calipers, only 298 grams per pair!
Ultegra 6800 brake calipers are heavier at 341 grams per pair
More similarities than differences, especially in terms of construction and design. The surface finishing is of course different.
Slightly different design of the center brake arm. The Dura-Ace design is slimmer.
Titanium pivot bolts on the Dura-Ace brake caliper, as compared to normal stainless steel on the Ultegra brake caliper
Different brake arm design. The Dura-Ace design has the bolt and connecting parts going through the middle of the brake arm, while the Ultegra design is reversed, with the connecting parts going around the outside of the brake arm.
Black finishing on the Dura-Ace main axle, and a different anti-loosening washer design.
The quick release lever for the Dura-Ace brake caliper is actually behind the brake arm, together with the cable fixing bolt, while the Ultegra design has the QR lever at the front.
Titanium cable fixing bolt and magnesium brake pad holders on the Dura-Ace brake caliper, as compared to stainless steel and aluminium on the Ultegra
Similar resin cable adjust bolt used
Design of the rivets and axles looks more high end on the Dura-Ace brake caliper
More standard looking bolt and axle design on the Ultegra brake caliper, but still looks better than the 105 brake caliper with external bolts and axles.
What I found is that there are actually more similarities than differences between these brake calipers. Most differences are cosmetic, and do not actually affect the function. The Dura-Ace brake caliper uses expensive titanium, magnesium and other specially designed hardware that are more costly, which is why it has a much higher price and also lower weight. The tire clearance is similar for both models.
The Dura-Ace brake calipers feels just a little bit smoother than the Ultegra brake calipers, but I am not sure if it is really the case, or is it just because the Dura-Ace brake caliper is newer than the Ultegra brake caliper. In any case, the difference in performance is very small. I would recommend the Ultegra brake caliper as the cost effective choice, as it is half the price of the Dura-Ace brake caliper, and yet has practically the full function of Dura-Ace.