Paul Andrews

Electronic Gear Shifting: Good idea?

In Bicycle Commuting on February 14, 2009 at 9:57 am

The New York Times takes a look at the latest electronic shifting iteration, from Shimano. Couple of interesting points: Time trialists can shift without changing position on the bars. But there is no manual override if the system fails.

The article does not discuss weight or crash-worthiness, but Wired had this from an unidentified source: “According to the company, Di2 will be 67 grams lighter than the current Dura-Ace 7800 and only 68 grams heavier than Dura-Ace 7900, the snazzy forthcoming 2009 suite of parts.” Not a huge weight differential, except in racing. But the drawbacks of e-shifting, including battery failure, may keep most of us away, especially given the premium ($4,000).

Also no comment on crashing. E-thingies tend to be a lot more fragile than their mech counterparts. That may not be so much a factor in racing, but for real-life use it could be make or break (so to speak!). As far as Bike Intelligencer‘s first love, mountain biking goes, um, let’s just say an e-future isn’t in the cards any time soon.

It’ll be fun to try the system at some of the upcoming bike shows.

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