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New Calfee - photos

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New Calfee - photos

Old 12-08-20, 04:01 AM
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PaulGrun
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New Calfee - photos

A few months ago I posted a lengthy description of the process of buying our new Calfee. The summary was that it was a wonderful experience. There were many requests for photos, so here they are. Some were taken in our backyard, and some were taken by Calfee before they shipped the bike to us. For the former photos, these are not the final saddles, which at the time we had not yet installed.






La Selva Beach, CA

La Selva Beach, CA

La Selva Beach, CA

La Selva Beach, CA

La Selva Beach, CA
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Old 12-08-20, 08:30 AM
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jim_pridx
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Very nice tandem!
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Old 12-08-20, 09:50 AM
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Looks like you went with a similar set-up as we did: Ultegra Di2 with rim brakes. Many have questioned why we didn't go with disc brakes. At the time I concluded that they were more expensive and heavier. We've had them for about 4 years now. We no longer do big, high speed descents so rim brakes work fine. I have no regrets about going with rim brakes.

However, we have struggled with using a 2 ring Di2 and trying to get the greatest range possible. After some experimentation, we have wound up with 52t x 34t up front and 40t x 11t in the rear. The downside is that the drop from the 52t to the 34t is huge and I try to avoid it. So we wind up riding the bike mostly in the big ring and use the 34t ring if I think we will be riding < 15mph for an extended period of time.

Most people who have adopted Di2 have gone with a smaller big ring so the drop isn't so big. The downside is losing the top end. We still enjoy doing a long descent in the 52 x 11 gear and watching singles trying to hang on.

Also, we have been riding the bike for quite some time in the full-synchro mode. It takes some getting used to and does have compromises but all things considered, we like it pretty well.

Beautiful bike. Great paint job. Let us know how you like it.
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Old 12-08-20, 05:32 PM
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Beautiful! I wish you many happy adventures on it!
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Old 12-08-20, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
Looks like you went with a similar set-up as we did: Ultegra Di2 with rim brakes. Many have questioned why we didn't go with disc brakes. At the time I concluded that they were more expensive and heavier. We've had them for about 4 years now. We no longer do big, high speed descents so rim brakes work fine. I have no regrets about going with rim brakes.

However, we have struggled with using a 2 ring Di2 and trying to get the greatest range possible. After some experimentation, we have wound up with 52t x 34t up front and 40t x 11t in the rear. The downside is that the drop from the 52t to the 34t is huge and I try to avoid it. So we wind up riding the bike mostly in the big ring and use the 34t ring if I think we will be riding < 15mph for an extended period of time.

Most people who have adopted Di2 have gone with a smaller big ring so the drop isn't so big. The downside is losing the top end. We still enjoy doing a long descent in the 52 x 11 gear and watching singles trying to hang on.

Also, we have been riding the bike for quite some time in the full-synchro mode. It takes some getting used to and does have compromises but all things considered, we like it pretty well.

Beautiful bike. Great paint job. Let us know how you like it.
Thanks for your insightful thoughts ... much appreciated! Like you, we chose to go with rim brakes based on our long experience with our last tandem (a Bilenky Sterling) which was outfitted with rim brakes. We had never come upon a circumstance where more was needed, so for this bike I deferred to the retro-dinosaur inside me and opted for rim brakes. But on Jason's advice, we did have the rear triangle built to accommodate a future disk brake if desired. And like you, I often get the question, "no disk brakes?" To each his/her own!

Gearing-wise, our bike is built with a 46/34 front and 11-46 rear. We wanted to prioritize a low climbing gear since we're not the strongest climbers who ever rode a bike, and are satisfied with sailing downhills at 45+mph. In retrospect, we're very happy with the gearing choice for us and our riding style. We tend to use the 34 front for the first third or so of the gear range and then shift onto the big ring and stay there. You're right though, that even though this setup gives us about the same range as our old 3x7 gearing on the Sterling, it definitely takes a little getting used to in having the two front rings. On the other hand, shifting the Sterling onto the small ring (barcon shifters) was always slightly problematic so we tended to avoid that unless we really needed 'tractor mode'.
So on balance, I'd say that I'm very happy with the DI-2 and like the gearing have. It just means that we have to work a little harder/spin a little faster on the downhills to watch the singles drop away. :-) (j/k!!)
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Old 12-09-20, 09:55 AM
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Our old bike was a 3x8 with barcon shifters and rim brakes. We had a 24x32 low end and a 54x11 top end. Sometimes we really needed that low end and when we had the opportunity to close in on a much younger, stronger single on a downhill, it always put a smile on my face to feel that drop from the 12t to the 11t in the rear.

Have you looked into (or used) the Di2 sychro mode? We seem to be one of the few who use it. When we first got Di2 I found myself confused and often shifting up when I meant to shift down. Don't know why. So many years of mechanical shifting without even thinking about it I couldn't re-train my brain to the electronics of Di2.

Basically with synchro you just shift the right (rear) derailleur. When you approach a predetermined cross-chain point (you select this when you program the system), the controller beeps just before the shift. At the next shift, the front derailleur shifts to the other ring and the rear derailleur makes a compensating shift to minimize the huge jump from one ring to the other. The problem we have is in the fraction of a second where the chain is not engaged with the cassette, the chain goes momentarily slack. If I fail to inform my stoker, she isn't happy and lets me know it. Shifting from the small ring to the big seems seamless. Shifting from the big ring to the small isn't. We have to let up on the pedals to allow the shift to happen. If not the cranks go from max resistance to momentarily zero. That's why it's important to let the stoker know.

I would like to hear from others who have tried syncho and what their opinions are.

Have fun with your beautiful new toy. Where do you live?
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Old 12-09-20, 01:44 PM
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Synchro Shifting thoughts

Regarding Synchro Shifting from shimano:
I have similar set up and subsequent problems with the timing and compensation shifting. it would catch me out about 50% of the time. Once you are used to the warning, your brain will just ignore it. I found it to be far more irritating than helpful. I can see the benefit in mountain biking or with close ratio chainrings.

I have XTR drivetrain with str785 shifters. I reprogrammed the whole thing like eTap. large right paddle is rear der down cog, large left paddle is rear der up cog and so forth. I run this in manual mode. As long as the chain can go to the 52x42, I can't break it (and the standard long chain from SRAM works out of the box). In addition, the XTR system will not allow the small ring to go into the 11/13/15 cogs, so slack chain problems are avoided.

this setup is more intuitive and any gear changes are my decision, not the machine.

I do find that the proximity of the small and large paddles are too close and (I) will occasionally cause the wrong shift, so I might add "sprint" shifters and reprogram the front derailleur to these only (like campy thumb shifters), leaving the brifter paddles to only shift the rear derailleur.

so eventually I will have a road/mountain Di2_eTap_Ergopower 3x11 monster drivetrain.
MG
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Old 12-09-20, 02:41 PM
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When we first went to Di2 I found that I would often shift up instead of down or down instead of up - especially on the rear. I've ridden many different types of mechanical shift systems (downtube road, STI, mountain and bar-end) and never had this problem. Somehow my brain adapted to: "pulling cable moves the chain to a larger cog" and "releasing cable moves the chain to a smaller cog". Even though this results in an opposite gearchange front & rear, my brain trained itself to do this without thinking. Now, with pushbuttons, I would often do the opposite shift - even when I thought about it. That's how synchro helps simplify this situation for me.

Also, I substituted the XTR junction box for the road one supplied. It has a gear display and shows the battery status.
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Old 12-09-20, 06:13 PM
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Beautiful bike. As you have couplers I assume you will travel with it. We have traveled extensively with ours for over 12 years. Lightening cranks that you have have proprietary BB bearings that are only available from Lightning. I might suggest you get a set of bearings and the tool and carry in your spare parts kit for travel. We had one fail on a trip and fortunately had the spares Not a hard repair but can be a trip stopper if you are out of the US on a trip. They are great cranks , just a heads up. Your placement of the couplers makes packing the bike easy, we take the fork off and everything fits nicely. Make covers for all the tubes and label them making for faster packing. Cover material is available from S&S. Enjoy your new ride.
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Old 12-10-20, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
When we first went to Di2 I found that I would often shift up instead of down or down instead of up - especially on the rear. I've ridden many different types of mechanical shift systems (downtube road, STI, mountain and bar-end) and never had this problem. Somehow my brain adapted to: "pulling cable moves the chain to a larger cog" and "releasing cable moves the chain to a smaller cog". Even though this results in an opposite gearchange front & rear, my brain trained itself to do this without thinking. Now, with pushbuttons, I would often do the opposite shift - even when I thought about it. That's how synchro helps simplify this situation for me.

Also, I substituted the XTR junction box for the road one supplied. It has a gear display and shows the battery status.
My brain is trained the same way yours is. The default programming for the switches felt counterintuitive to me.
So I reprogrammed the various switches on the DI-2 to mimic what I'm used to. So for me, the large paddle on both the right and left shifter pulls in the 'cable' and moves the chain uphill from a smaller cog or ring to a larger one. The small paddles do the opposite. Since then, I've had little trouble shifting ... it's as close to second nature as possible.

I also replaced the stock junction box with the Shimano Information Display, which shows current gearing and battery level. With our 3x7 tandem, I never needed to know which gear I was in - I could easily intuit by looking at the relative position of the barcon shifter. But this thing has so many damned gears that I'd be lost without the info display.

I see you're from Lafayette. We used to live in Boulder, and then Niwot. We moved to the Pacific Northwest 25 years ago. We're planning a road trip to Boulder in February to visit old friends and pick up a new teardrop trailer.
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Old 12-10-20, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Msteven View Post

I do find that the proximity of the small and large paddles are too close and (I) will occasionally cause the wrong shift, so I might add "sprint" shifters and reprogram the front derailleur to these only (like campy thumb shifters), leaving the brifter paddles to only shift the rear derailleur.

so eventually I will have a road/mountain Di2_eTap_Ergopower 3x11 monster drivetrain.
MG
Are you aware that there is actually a third button integrated into each side? There is the large paddle and the small paddle, and there's another hidden button on the top of the brake hood. You can't see it, and wouldn't know it was there unless you somehow stumbled on it. I discovered these hidden buttons when fussing around with the switch programming using the e-tube program. They are intended to be used to control e.g. Garmin menus, but you can program them for anything you want.
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Old 12-10-20, 08:08 AM
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Very nice. How is the Veer Belt working for you? Ours is skipping. Veer thinks it may be a defect in the rings and are sending us new rings.
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Old 12-10-20, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulGrun View Post
Are you aware that there is actually a third button integrated into each side? There is the large paddle and the small paddle, and there's another hidden button on the top of the brake hood. You can't see it, and wouldn't know it was there unless you somehow stumbled on it. I discovered these hidden buttons when fussing around with the switch programming using the e-tube program. They are intended to be used to control e.g. Garmin menus, but you can program them for anything you want.
I had no idea that additional switches were there. Not sure how I would program them, I considered re-assigning the levers but then it would operate differently from my single bike with STI shifters.
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Old 12-10-20, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
I had no idea that additional switches were there. Not sure how I would program them, I considered re-assigning the levers but then it would operate differently from my single bike with STI shifters.
It's a bit intimidating getting started, but once set up, e-tube is well worthwhile. It gives you a portal into the DI2 system on your bike and allows you customize the system to your desire. The best example is what we were talking about above - you can change the function of each of the six switches that are available to you.

To get started, you download the application to your cell phone and/or a laptop. In general, there's no real reason to run it on your laptop, with one exception: for some strange reason, you can only update the DI2 firmware on your bike using the laptop. For all other purposes, cell phone works best. For 95% of what you and I would do, you'll use the application on your cell phone.

To find and download the software, go to https://bike.shimano.com/en-EU/e-tube/project.html (or just google 'etube'). Once there, you can download the application for Apple or Android.

Once you have the application running on your cellphone, you use bluetooth to link to your bike. I can help walk you through the steps if that would help. I'm no expert, except that I've been through the process.

The application gives you a graphic representation of all the DI2 components on your bike (switches, derailleurs, batteries, and so on) and lets you decide what function you want each switch to perform. That's how I discovered the existence of the two extra switches.
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Old 12-10-20, 03:34 PM
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Very nice. I wish you many happy years with it. What is the fork made of, and is it disc-brake-ready?
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Old 12-10-20, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulGrun View Post
It's a bit intimidating getting started, but once set up, e-tube is well worthwhile. It gives you a portal into the DI2 system on your bike and allows you customize the system to your desire. The best example is what we were talking about above - you can change the function of each of the six switches that are available to you.

To get started, you download the application to your cell phone and/or a laptop. In general, there's no real reason to run it on your laptop, with one exception: for some strange reason, you can only update the DI2 firmware on your bike using the laptop. For all other purposes, cell phone works best. For 95% of what you and I would do, you'll use the application on your cell phone.

To find and download the software, go to https://bike.shimano.com/en-EU/e-tube/project.html (or just google 'etube'). Once there, you can download the application for Apple or Android.

Once you have the application running on your cellphone, you use bluetooth to link to your bike. I can help walk you through the steps if that would help. I'm no expert, except that I've been through the process.

The application gives you a graphic representation of all the DI2 components on your bike (switches, derailleurs, batteries, and so on) and lets you decide what function you want each switch to perform. That's how I discovered the existence of the two extra switches.
I have been through the E Tube software many times on a Windows laptop. I haven't touched it for years and I'd probably have to re-learn it all over again. I was amazed how user-unfriendly the software was. As I recall it would only allow one to have the front derailleur shift up (or down?) at one specific set point. However one had some latitude on where they could do the opposite change. The synchro shift mode seemed to make it significantly more complicated. I never tried to do the programming from my iPhone.
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Old 12-10-20, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Very nice. How is the Veer Belt working for you? Ours is skipping. Veer thinks it may be a defect in the rings and are sending us new rings.
So far we've had no problems with it, although when I first set it up I did get some skipping, but I attributed that to insufficient belt tension. Since tightening the belt, we've had no problems with the Veer belts whatsoever.
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Old 12-10-20, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Very nice. I wish you many happy years with it. What is the fork made of, and is it disc-brake-ready?
Thank you for the kind wishes - I expect we will. We owned our last tandem for nearly 25 years (still have it), so I'm hoping for a similar lifetime from this one.
The forks are carbon fiber, and are not disk-brake ready. The rear triangle, however, is. If we ever felt the need to add a disk in front, I suppose we could replace the fork.
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Old 12-10-20, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by akexpress View Post
Beautiful bike. As you have couplers I assume you will travel with it. We have traveled extensively with ours for over 12 years. Lightening cranks that you have have proprietary BB bearings that are only available from Lightning. I might suggest you get a set of bearings and the tool and carry in your spare parts kit for travel. We had one fail on a trip and fortunately had the spares Not a hard repair but can be a trip stopper if you are out of the US on a trip. They are great cranks , just a heads up. Your placement of the couplers makes packing the bike easy, we take the fork off and everything fits nicely. Make covers for all the tubes and label them making for faster packing. Cover material is available from S&S. Enjoy your new ride.
Yep, travels are in our future! A key reason for building a brand new bike was to get couplers ... we had traveled internationally a number of times with our marvelous Sterling tandem but had grown weary of the potential difficulties and stress ("will they take it this time? how much are they going to charge us?") associated with traveling with a full-sized uncoupled tandem. (Our particular horror story occurred in the Prague airport, checking in to a Lufthansa flight.)
Thank you very much for the pointer on the BB bearings ... I did not realize that. Since I tend to the paranoid side, I will take your advice and order a set of spares.
Fortunately, the bike came to us from Calfee packed in two S&S cases, with every single tiny part wrapped in its own custom cover. Calfee did a magnificent job of prepping the bike for travel. We probably spent a good 45 minutes just unwrapping parts. My only concern is when it comes time to pack it back in the cases. (j/k - I'm pretty confident we'll be able to get it packed up again, when the time comes.)
Thanks so much for your thoughts.
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Old 12-11-20, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulGrun View Post
Yep, travels are in our future! A key reason for building a brand new bike was to get couplers ... we had traveled internationally a number of times with our marvelous Sterling tandem but had grown weary of the potential difficulties and stress ("will they take it this time? how much are they going to charge us?") associated with traveling with a full-sized uncoupled tandem. (Our particular horror story occurred in the Prague airport, checking in to a Lufthansa flight.)
Thank you very much for the pointer on the BB bearings ... I did not realize that. Since I tend to the paranoid side, I will take your advice and order a set of spares.
Fortunately, the bike came to us from Calfee packed in two S&S cases, with every single tiny part wrapped in its own custom cover. Calfee did a magnificent job of prepping the bike for travel. We probably spent a good 45 minutes just unwrapping parts. My only concern is when it comes time to pack it back in the cases. (j/k - I'm pretty confident we'll be able to get it packed up again, when the time comes.)
Thanks so much for your thoughts.
In our experience Calfee takes a lot of pride in their bikes and it shows in the attention to detail. You will be the envy on many on group rides. We have had our bikes in the cases at least 30-40 times all over the world and I don't think we pack it exactly the same way every time. I just basically put each half of the frame in each case and one wheel in each case and pack the parts around it. One thing to make reassembly easier it to have a separate etube wire in the boom tube with a connector on each end. I use a dab of silicone to hold each end in place with some extra length so it is easy to connect at assembly. Otherwise you have to fish the tube wire through the boom tube every time. Again a beautiful bike, enjoy the ride.
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Old 12-11-20, 07:31 PM
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etap for a calfee tetra tandem

just curious, why not an sram etap drivetrain? A second generation electronic derailleur stem with no wires, no external battery, and an intuitive shift pattern.
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Old 12-12-20, 10:58 AM
  #22  
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Your Calfee paint job looks quite similar to my snowboard. It turned out a bit more purple than I intended but I really like it. My new favorite toy!
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Old 12-12-20, 01:17 PM
  #23  
merlinextraligh
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Originally Posted by quickrelease5 View Post
just curious, why not an sram etap drivetrain? A second generation electronic derailleur stem with no wires, no external battery, and an intuitive shift pattern.
We first wanted SRAM staples when we spec’d our new Calfee. However, Jason at Calfee recommended against it given the gear range we wanted. Retap wasn’t going to give us both the top end we wanted for the road, and the low end we wanted for climbing off road.

Also to me the benefit of wireless is pretty nominal once you set the bike up the first time.
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Old 12-13-20, 04:39 AM
  #24  
PaulGrun
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Originally Posted by quickrelease5 View Post
just curious, why not an sram etap drivetrain? A second generation electronic derailleur stem with no wires, no external battery, and an intuitive shift pattern.
There were a couple of reasons, primary one being that we were much more limited in our choice of gear ratios. There were a couple of other reasons as well, but I've forgotten what they were. I was initially attracted to etap because of the wirelessness, but after investigating further, Jason recommended against it.
As far as the intuitive shift pattern goes, I overcame that problem once I learned how to program the DI2 for the shift pattern I that made sense to me. I agree that the default shift pattern for DI2 makes no sense, as a couple of others have mentioned on here as well.
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Old 12-13-20, 07:43 AM
  #25  
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I'm assuming that the posters who find the default shift pattern for Di2 road levers to not be intuitive haven't ridden Shimano mechanical road STI, because they work exactly the same, and Shimano road STI levers have been set up that way since they were introduced in the early 1990's. On mechanical systems pushing inwards on the brake lever, which is in the same place as the large/front button on Di2 pulls cable. Pushing the smaller lever behind the brake lever releases cable. The default setup for Di2 mimics that setup.

Having said that, I also modified the Di2 button function, but my reason for doing so was that my primary single bike has ETap (with sequential shift active) and I like the simplicity of 'left hand easier, right hand harder - front shifts automatic'. The tandem has XTR Di2 with effective chainrings of 26/42/56 and an 11-40 cassette. In our local terrain (and when we're in reasonable shape) we rarely need the smallest ring, but we have lots of ups and downs so there are frequent shifts between the two larger ones. Syncro shifting means that I generally don't have to think about the chainrings at all. I set the smaller/rear shifting button to shift easier on the left and harder on the right just like ETap, and set the larger/front button to shift the chain rings the same way (easier left, harder right) for when I do need to execute a manual chainring shift.

Like others I've found that I occasionally hit the wrong button causing a ring shift when I don't intend it. I have the older BR785 shift levers that don't have the hidden buttons on top, so those aren't an option for me. I just purchased a Di2 climbing button control and as soon as the 4-port junction box that I just ordered arrives I'm going to add the climbing switch on the bar top near the stem for manual chainring control and reprogram the large buttons to either control my Garmin or possibly to duplicate the smaller buttons so either button on the left is easier, either button on the right is harder.

Side note: with the SRAM AXS app on my phone all of my rides get uploaded to SRAM's AXS site with shifting data attached. Since my Di2 communicates with my Garmin, even the rides with a Di2 bike show the shifting data. As an example a recent 20 mile ride showed: Front Derailleur Shifts - 32 | FD Shifts/Mile - 1.57/Mile | Rear Derailleur Shifts: 585 | RD Shifts/Mile: 28.61/Mile. Sometimes the front shifting data is clearly wrong, as with yesterday's 35 mile ride that showed 16 front shifts per mile, but the rest of the data seems to be correct. The site can show time or distance per ring/cog and can plot gear ratio vs. time overlaid on a terrain profile. I don't currently see any feature to show total use across multiple rides which would be good for tracking component lifetime, but hopefully they'll add that feature in the future. It' more data than anyone needs, but it's interesting to look at it sometimes.
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