Electronic shifting. Why?

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Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby Johndec » Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:38 pm

Disclaimer. I've never ridden a bike with Di2 or the Campy equivalent so maybe I don't know what I'm missing. That said, why would an average rider want to take the cost and weight penalty to ride a bike equipped with electronic shifting?

I can understand why the pros use Di2, etc, as they don't cop a weight penalty as their bikes easily meet the UCI 15 pound limit even with it. But why would the weekend warrior cop the extra weight and expense for what seems to be minimal benefits? In a properly tuned mechanical bike, changing gears is little more than a tap on a button anyway. Sure you have to occasionally trim the FD, just another quick tap...

Also, I couldn't think of anything worse than not being able to go for a ride because I forgot to charge the friggin battery!! Actually I can. Having to ride 30km home in 34/25 because the battery went flat! :shock:

Please enlighten me.
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by BNA » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:03 pm

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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby avroncotton » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:03 pm

I have a mate in the UK who rides Di2 and he says he would never go back. Also I think the battery lasts 200 hrs. I'm sure the price will come down, not sure if the weight is an issue?
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby zephy » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:07 pm

I've had the same thoughts, though I still ride a bike with friction shift :oops:

To mind, and I'm no racer, trackman or even belong to a cycling club, I'd rather see roadies with disc brakes.... from a safety point of view, I love my MTB disc brakes :D


actually I recall now Phil Ligget saying on the TDU coverage that he thought similar until he had Stuart O'grady's green edge bike for a week and absolutely loved electronic shifting after that experience..... so from someone that obviously knows a little about cycling :lol: maybe it is a good thing :wink:
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Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby RonK » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:29 pm

It's dead easy - no derailleur adjustment required.
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby drubie » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:59 pm

RonK wrote:It's dead easy - no derailleur adjustment required.


I don't care either way really, but once a bike is set up you don't have to touch the adjustments on the derailleur unless something is wrong (i.e. the cable gets loose). I don't buy the "no maintenance" argument for the leccy groups.

I would give the campagnolo one a go but I am always broke and something about putting a battery on a bike that isn't in a light or a computer or my phone just feels wrong. Hang on a sec...
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Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby RonK » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:15 pm

drubie wrote:
RonK wrote:It's dead easy - no derailleur adjustment required.


I don't care either way really, but once a bike is set up you don't have to touch the adjustments on the derailleur unless something is wrong (i.e. the cable gets loose). I don't buy the "no maintenance" argument for the leccy groups.

You may not, but there are many out there who will.
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby sogood » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:18 pm

Johndec wrote:Disclaimer. I've never ridden a bike with Di2 or the Campy equivalent so maybe I don't know what I'm missing. That said, why would an average rider want to take the cost and weight penalty to ride a bike equipped with electronic shifting?

I understand top electronic group is lighter. No?

Irrespective. The reason people chose it is because it works, and works very well. In other words, it's a pleasure to use. So if one has play money, then why not?

I don't have it but will certainly seriously consider it when I wear out my current gruppo (by which time price would have dropped and technology matured).
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby Johndec » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:26 pm

RonK wrote:It's dead easy - no derailleur adjustment required.


Ron, please elaborate. I'm aware that Di2 and the campy system automatically adjust the front derailleur trim as you change gear but I wasn't aware that they also automatically compensate for gear wear and cable stretch/seating. If they do, that is indeed a selling point. If they don't, how is it different to a mechanical system maintenance wise?
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Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby toolonglegs » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:33 pm

I would be happy to never skip a gear again... Especially in a race... Be able to shift in a sprint. And come winter shift it all over to my cyclocross bike. After struggling with mud this season stuffing up gear changes I can really see the advantages there!.
Now that it is available in ultegra I am very tempted... Must be awesome on a tt rig as well!
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby Johndec » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:34 pm

sogood wrote:I understand top electronic group is lighter. No?



According to this link http://totalcycling.com/component-weights.html Dura Ace Di2 weighs in at 264g heavier than a mechanical Dura Ace setup. Possibly a small price to pay though if you've got the spare cash?
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby sogood » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:39 pm

Johndec wrote:According to this link http://totalcycling.com/component-weights.html Dura Ace Di2 weighs in at 264g heavier than a mechanical Dura Ace setup. Possibly a small price to pay though if you've got the spare cash?

Just checked, Campag's EPS also has a 200g penalty on Super Record. Well, if one is consider such an unit, I am sure the rest of the bike is already super light. 200g is nothing consider the extra bragging rights. ;)

I further read that Campag's Super Record EPS is lighter than Dura Ace mechanical. Whatever that means out in the market place.
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby Johndec » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:42 pm

sogood. I was just answering your question, not making any judgements or comparisons.
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby sogood » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:55 pm

Nor was I. All hypothetical thoughts in answer to OP's question.
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby ldrcycles » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:57 pm

'Electronic shifting, Why?'

Because it's COOOOL 8) 8) 8) .
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby drubie » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:58 pm

toolonglegs wrote:Be able to shift in a sprint.


The company whose name starts with "C" and doesn't make fishing gear makes perfectly adequate shifters for sprinting. Using a button! and no battery required.
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby mianos » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:58 pm

You have to ride it. Simple as that. It feels great. If you don't care about the extra cash you would get it once you rode it. It feels much 'surer'. I agree you don't *need* it but it is nice. I don't have it on my bike but I'll probably get it on the next one in a few years time after riding it.
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby number21 » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:04 pm

Johndec wrote:
RonK wrote:It's dead easy - no derailleur adjustment required.


Ron, please elaborate. I'm aware that Di2 and the campy system automatically adjust the front derailleur trim as you change gear but I wasn't aware that they also automatically compensate for gear wear and cable stretch/seating. If they do, that is indeed a selling point. If they don't, how is it different to a mechanical system maintenance wise?


Better than cable adjustment, no cable at all! No more snapped shifting cables.
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby Red Rider » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:05 pm

Johndec wrote:
RonK wrote:It's dead easy - no derailleur adjustment required.


Ron, please elaborate. I'm aware that Di2 and the campy system automatically adjust the front derailleur trim as you change gear but I wasn't aware that they also automatically compensate for gear wear and cable stretch/seating. If they do, that is indeed a selling point. If they don't, how is it different to a mechanical system maintenance wise?

Apparently so:
But the real genius of their design is an integrated ultra-compact CPU in the front derailleur that ensures shifting precision for both the front and rear individually, as well as monitors the position of each. The front derailleur essentially tracks the chain and does automatic micro-trim adjustments so that the chain doesn’t rub. The derailleurs also calibrate themselves – gone are the days of having to fuss with cable tension to maintain shift quality as cables stretch and the chain and cogs wear.

http://www.spadout.com/a/are-electric-shifters-ready-to-roll/
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby open roader » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:08 pm

I scored a quick ride on a Di2 equipped bike in the USA last year - maybe 5 miles around the local park - no more than that so it really was only a 'play' session.

The shifting is very quick, very precise, super quiet and multiple shifts up and down in a screaming hurry are executed without fuss time and time again or at least as fast as I tried to confuse the system. It's like always having a truly perfectly tuned derailleur front and back and never stuffing up a rapid fire shift sequence. The feeling is very assured and automatic.......maybe safe........?

However, it's a button operation under the hoods and I was always searching for the feel of cable/spring resistance which irked me a bit but probably is instinctive and wears off with experience. Having ridden with Ultegra 6700 hoods the newer electric versions are def. better on smaller hands like mine.

I'm into aesthetics and the Di2 I rode was pretty ugly esp. cable tied battery unit onto the Trek Madone frame I got to ride. I expect Di2 specific frames will eliminate a bit of this but I still love the look of my Campagnolo carbon bitties compared to the Robocop look of Di2.

So to answer the O.P. I say electronic shifting would excel in the hustle and bustle of frantic competition and also may appeal to those early adopters who simply want the latest techno gear and prefer function over form. I could probably afford the new Campagnolo electric system when it finally arrives if I really wanted it, but for now mechanical shifting is my preference and the machinery that goes with it. I wonder if I'll still say this in 10 years time when e-gears are likely to be de rigeur.......?
Last edited by open roader on Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby Johndec » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:10 pm

Duh. My bad. Of course there is no cable issues if you don't have cables!! (Insert head butting smilie here) :oops:
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby Stoo » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:18 pm

i have di2.

Weight.

Negligible, Loose a few grams of body fat to compensate if its really an issue.
I understand that there are many who watch every gram of weight on the bike like a hawk but in the end the bike only represents a small portion of the total "bike and rider" package. I've weighed myself in the morning and in the evening and have at times noticed a weight difference of a few kilo's (well i do like my food) over a 12 hour period. A few grams doesn't seem to be a big issue if i can vary a few kilo's in such a short time.....plus id rather have the energy to ride rather then miss out on a meal before a ride just to shave a few grams

Running out of battery?

If you can do 2500km in one go then i can see running out of power being a problem. if you ride 2500km without even noticing the various warning that will illuminate on the system then perhaps you problems may extend beyond just being cheezed of with a dead battery. I, about once a month, give my bike a good clean and check over. i also use this time to charge the battery which so i hear take about 2 hours to charge from flat......really less time then many mobile phones. my di2 equipped bike is just a weekender so i know that i do not do 2500km on it in one month and a charge of an hour would be plenty to keep it topped up.....if you could did that 2500km figure is a short time then i would assume you may spend more time cleaning and checking you bike....i would also imagine that charging the battery would just form part of you routine of bike maintenance. So for this reason i say....running out of battery.....i simply can't understand how that could happen.

Comfort

The hoods are a lot narrower then my Ultergra equipped bike....it may seem silly but riding on the hoods of my Di2 feels better then ridding on the ultergra. Also the button positions are located rights at the tips of where my fingers naturally fall, there's no fiddling around for the buttons (for me anyway....someone with meat-mits for hands may have a wee bit of trouble). Another handy thing is the whole breaking and changing gears at the same time on the same leaver becomes second nature....no effort at all.

Also I'm sure many would agree that the mech. dura-ace is a smooth system. i find the gear changes to be precise, quiet and efficient......now imagine all that with the effort of a mouse click. It really is that simple. Also the system can take a beating.....if you fanging hard up hill and you need to change gear....press that button, you won't miss a beat, it will do every thing for you.

Maintenance

It has crash protection where it will disengages the rear derailleurs servo to avoid serious damage should you take a fall. without knowing it all i believe this means it will kill the ability of the servo to hold a gear to let the rear derailleur arm move to absorb the impact as apposed to resist it(i imagine someone else can fill me in on this ). it also has a "reset" which will return the rear derailleurs servo to the last known settings / position before the fall. Handy providing you have not bent the jocky wheel arm......However you can also adjust your rear derailleur position on the fly with x15 0.3mm increments....takes a bit of practice but handy if you really need to move that chain 0.3mm to the left or right.

Auto trimming. Do i need to elaborate?

No cables, sure there's insulated wire but its not under constant tension so there's not need to adjust them to ensure smooth shifting.

Cost

I agree its costly but is not a throw away item. The way i look at it, i have a good group set that i can transfer from my current frame to another frame should i want to upgrade to a different bike.

General

When i started looking for a weekender i was not keen on the di2 as i though it would be just another thing to go wrong....however after ridding on the bike for the last 12 months i really would not want to go back to buying a bike with a mech setup. I plan to buy another bike, possibly next year and it will most likely have the ultegra Di2 setup because i really like it.

So to sum up of why Di2...because i want too.....i really need no other reason then that.
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby grimbo » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:23 pm

I have it. I picked it mainly because of the reduced need for maintenance and the lack of skips and slips - it's very assured shifting. And of course because it's shiny and new and fun.

Additional bonuses I found once in use are being able to shift just as easily on the drops, being able to shift better under pressure (ie, up hills) and being able to use the big-big and small-small gear combos that the auto trimming lets you get away with. I don't do that on purpose, but it happens. I would guess that these things would probably benefit ordinary riders like myself more than good or experienced riders.

The main downside (at least on di2) is not being able to dump multiple gears at a go. Instead, you have to stab at the button multiple times. It just doesn't feel as controlled.

The battery charging isn't a big deal. You hold the shift button for two seconds and the light tells the charge status (green, flashing green, orange, red, flashing red). I check it after each ride, and charge it when it's orange. Takes an hour every 1000ks.
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby sumgy » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:29 pm

SRAM seems to agree with the why question (at least for the moment).
Broken shifter cables? What are you doing to them?
Less adjustment needed? Less than what? Trying to remember the last time I needed to adjust mine. Definitely more than a couple of thousand km ago.

Yet to find a good reason to go electric.
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby RonK » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:31 pm

Johndec wrote:
RonK wrote:It's dead easy - no derailleur adjustment required.


Ron, please elaborate. I'm aware that Di2 and the campy system automatically adjust the front derailleur trim as you change gear but I wasn't aware that they also automatically compensate for gear wear and cable stretch/seating. If they do, that is indeed a selling point. If they don't, how is it different to a mechanical system maintenance wise?


Here's a quote from CyclingNews report on the introduction of EPS:
Just like Di2, however, EPS should also need no adjustments whatsoever after the initial setup. Unlike with conventional cables and housing whose performance can change over time, EPS's digital signals will remain consistent for more predictable performance and reduced maintenance.


And just as Campy owners expect:
But EPS will also uniquely offer riders a lever feel that more closely mimics mechanical systems for genuine tactile – and audible – feedback

So if you don't like the Di2 button feel, now there is an alternative.
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Re: Electronic shifting. Why?

Postby drubie » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:27 pm

number21 wrote:Better than cable adjustment, no cable at all! No more snapped shifting cables.


I'd be interested to hear from anybody who ever snapped a shifter cable. Even a rusted one.
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