Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Shimano hydraulic Di2 reliability

Notices
Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

Shimano hydraulic Di2 reliability

Old 12-05-19, 09:19 PM
  #1  
pataspen
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 105
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Shimano hydraulic Di2 reliability

I recently found an amazing deal at our local second-hand sports shop. I purchased a complete Shimano road Di2 setup for a ridiculously low price of $200. It appears to be a take-off from a new bike and the pieces and parts look brand new. The combo includes R785 shift levers, XT hydraulic brakes, XT derailleur, cassette, chain, etc. Although I don't need a new groupset, I couldn't pass it up.


Unfortunately, the only road bike I have with disc brake mounts is my touring bike. I have this bike set up with mechanical disc, as I figured it would be easier to fix if I am somewhere in the middle of nowhere and the brakes go bad. (I have ridden from Alaska to the tip of South America, so I do spend a lot of time in the middle of nowhere.)


I've considered selling the Di2 groupset on eBay, but now I'm starting to think that it might be good on my touring bike. So my question to those of you with experience is whether or not the Road Di2 Hydraulic group is reliable and dependable enough to take on the road for long periods. Am I likely to screw up the electronic shifting and/or mess up the hydraulic discs? Am I better off sticking with normal shifting and mechanical discs?


My next trip is likely a 1000 mile bikepacking/gravel/offroad journey through California, Nevada and Utah. I will be a few days between towns, so reliability is a must. But the whole idea of hydraulic brakes and electronic shifting does sound pretty cool.


Thanks for your input!
pataspen is offline  
Old 12-05-19, 09:24 PM
  #2  
wgscott
Occam's Rotor
 
wgscott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,693
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 949 Times in 483 Posts
It is absolutely reliable. Mine has been problem-free since 2014, and I beat on it on a nearly daily basis.

If you decide you want to unload it, I'll take it. I am building up a touring bike, and wouldn't hesitate to put it on.
wgscott is offline  
Old 12-06-19, 05:16 PM
  #3  
pataspen
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 105
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks wgscott! I'll take your word for it and throw the group on my bike for this spring's ride. It should be a fun winter project modernizing the ol' touring bike
pataspen is offline  
Old 12-06-19, 06:23 PM
  #4  
big john
Senior Member
 
big john's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: In the foothills of Los Angeles County
Posts: 13,349
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 882 Post(s)
Liked 510 Times in 324 Posts
A little warm to the touch?
big john is online now  
Old 12-06-19, 06:34 PM
  #5  
Steve B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South shore, L.I., NY
Posts: 4,164

Bikes: Flyxii FR322, Cannondale Topstone, Miyata City Liner, Specialized Chisel

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1535 Post(s)
Liked 262 Times in 191 Posts
While it sounds like a great deal and fun to setup, there are a number of issues to deal with.

1) Battery location. Internal in the seat post or mounted externally on the bottle cage. Those are the 2 options, other than a stem that accommodates a battery and an h-bar drilled for the cables. Issues 1 & 2 both affect the wiring.

2) Wiring. On road and mt. bikes that are designed to accommodate Di2, they usually have provisions to run the wires internally in the bike frame, which means holes in the top of the downtube to get the cable to the B junction box, battery and derailers. OR you route cables externally. There are a lot of kits that help mount and protect external cables, check Amazon.

3) Charging. You can likely get 1000 miles out of the charge and not run out of shifting juice. If it's an older and used battery, that might be an issue. You cannot run a Di2 system on an external stick battery, they use a shore power charger so you need 120v. The charger can- in theory, run off the USB port on laptop battery but I've heard of folks killing their laptop while waiting for the Di2 system to charge and I'm pretty certain you cannot run a Di2 charger on a solar panel system as it needs more amperage input.

In short, if maintainability and reliability are stated goals, I wouldn't be converting a touring bike to Di2. Note that I have Di2, on a road bike and it's been problem free for 2 years (it's a great system and I love it), but it's a different set of problems to fix when something fails and I'm not sure that's a place to be in while crossing the desert on your trip.
Steve B. is online now  
Old 12-10-19, 04:13 PM
  #6  
FlashBazbo
Chases Dogs for Sport
 
FlashBazbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 4,287

Bikes: OPEN new U.P. Di2

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 980 Post(s)
Liked 133 Times in 88 Posts
Hydraulic disc Di2 sounds like the perfect setup for a touring bike. I've run it since its inception on both road and gravel bikes. In my experience, it's more reliable and requires less maintenance than cable actuated systems. You can ride it weeks, even a couple months, between charges. My only caution: When parked, don't lean the bike in such a way that a shift button is pressed. That's the easiest way to drain a battery prematurely. If you take that precaution, Di2/hydraulic should give you worry free service for a long time.
FlashBazbo is offline  
Likes For FlashBazbo:
Old 12-10-19, 05:58 PM
  #7  
Psimet2001 
I eat carbide.
 
Psimet2001's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Elgin, IL
Posts: 20,798

Bikes: Lots. Van Dessel and Squid Dealer

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 744 Post(s)
Liked 198 Times in 106 Posts
I wouldn't even second guess it.
__________________
PSIMET Wheels, PSIMET Racing, PSIMET Neutral Race Support, and 11 Jackson Coffee
Podcast - YouTube Channel
Video about PSIMET Wheels

Psimet2001 is offline  
Likes For Psimet2001:
Old 12-10-19, 08:21 PM
  #8  
noodle soup
Senior Member
 
noodle soup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 7,811
Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3969 Post(s)
Liked 989 Times in 566 Posts
Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Hydraulic disc Di2 sounds like the perfect setup for a touring bike. I've run it since its inception on both road and gravel bikes. In my experience, it's more reliable and requires less maintenance than cable actuated systems. You can ride it weeks, even a couple months, between charges. My only caution: When parked, don't lean the bike in such a way that a shift button is pressed. That's the easiest way to drain a battery prematurely. If you take that precaution, Di2/hydraulic should give you worry free service for a long time.
Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
I wouldn't even second guess it.
I wouldn't want to use Di2 for touring in a 3rd world country, but for touring in the US I wouldn't hesitate.

Di2 and Shimano hydraulic brakes are very reliable.

If Tour Divide competitors are using it, it's probably good enough for your touring needs.
noodle soup is online now  
Old 12-11-19, 05:55 AM
  #9  
Steve B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South shore, L.I., NY
Posts: 4,164

Bikes: Flyxii FR322, Cannondale Topstone, Miyata City Liner, Specialized Chisel

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1535 Post(s)
Liked 262 Times in 191 Posts
For all of us who use and like Di2, recall that the OP is not talking about a new Di2 system, which is our experience, he's talking about a used system, whose battery usage history might be a question. Maybe it would be worth it to replace with a new battery, they typically last 3 years, though many of us go longer. In short, if the battery craps, it's not a hard replacement, but charging while somewhere where electrical power is questionable, might be an issue. If the battery craps, he's mostly dead in the water until FedEx can get him a new one.

Thing is with electronic is it's super reliable and all and when working works great. When it's not working it's hard to fix in the field. Where as any mechanical system is easy to fix, outside of a bent rear derailer hanger, but if you've built up a bike you likely have the skill set to fix most any mechanical issue in the field.
Steve B. is online now  
Likes For Steve B.:
Old 12-11-19, 11:57 AM
  #10  
FlashBazbo
Chases Dogs for Sport
 
FlashBazbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 4,287

Bikes: OPEN new U.P. Di2

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 980 Post(s)
Liked 133 Times in 88 Posts
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Thing is with electronic is it's super reliable and all and when working works great. When it's not working it's hard to fix in the field.
You keep bringing this up, but I've never had a problem with Di2 in the field and I have ridden it since the very beginning -- 10 years now. In fact, the only "problem" I've had with Di2 was self-induced. I leaned a shift button against a work bench and drained the battery overnight. I also don't know anyone else who has ever had a problem with Di2 in the field. Did you? What happened?
FlashBazbo is offline  
Old 12-11-19, 06:53 PM
  #11  
Steve B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South shore, L.I., NY
Posts: 4,164

Bikes: Flyxii FR322, Cannondale Topstone, Miyata City Liner, Specialized Chisel

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1535 Post(s)
Liked 262 Times in 191 Posts
Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
You keep bringing this up, but I've never had a problem with Di2 in the field and I have ridden it since the very beginning -- 10 years now. In fact, the only "problem" I've had with Di2 was self-induced. I leaned a shift button against a work bench and drained the battery overnight. I also don't know anyone else who has ever had a problem with Di2 in the field. Did you? What happened?
Your experience as well as mine are what is known as anecdotal. Ive had zero issues in 2 years (I think its 2 years). Not hard to find plenty of folks though that have had problems, usually a battery that has died. How do you deal with that when on a ride ?. Cant recall, think it stays in whatever gear your are in.

Now lets recall that the OP stated 1000 mile bikepacking/gravel/offroad journey through California, Nevada and Utah. ​​. He also stated I recently found an amazing deal at our local second-hand sports shop. I purchased a complete Shimano road Di2 setup for a ridiculously low price of $200, so obviously a used group. Probably the single biggest issue folks using Di2 over a few years is going to be a battery dies.

How does the OP deal with that when on gravel roads somewhere in Calif. ?. Would it be a easier to deal with a bent derailer hanger ?, broken brake cable ?. What xtra parts does anybody carry on a long distance off road tour ?, maybe a question for the touring forum, but easy to carry a spare brake and shift cable. Easy to fix mechanical also. Bent derailers are why a lot of tourers have barcons as you can put it in friction.

This all comes down to the particular set of circumstances the OP described. Would I use this system as he described ?, No. Would I use a new system with a known OK or new battery on a cross country credit card tour ?, yes.
Steve B. is online now  
Old 12-11-19, 06:58 PM
  #12  
wgscott
Occam's Rotor
 
wgscott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,693
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 949 Times in 483 Posts
Given how many bikes and other stuff @FlashBazbo breaks, I'd say it qualifies as a carefully-controlled experiment.


However, given that the whole thing cost $200, it would be prudent to test everything thoroughly beforehand, and maybe a new battery would be a wise investment.
wgscott is offline  
Old 12-11-19, 07:08 PM
  #13  
noodle soup
Senior Member
 
noodle soup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 7,811
Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3969 Post(s)
Liked 989 Times in 566 Posts
@Steve B , Are you familiar with the Tour Divide race? Di2 works well in those conditions, so I suspect it'll work fine for the OP.

I would replace the battery though..
noodle soup is online now  
Old 12-11-19, 08:25 PM
  #14  
Steve B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South shore, L.I., NY
Posts: 4,164

Bikes: Flyxii FR322, Cannondale Topstone, Miyata City Liner, Specialized Chisel

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1535 Post(s)
Liked 262 Times in 191 Posts
Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
@Steve B , Are you familiar with the Tour Divide race? Di2 works well in those conditions, so I suspect it'll work fine for the OP.

I would replace the battery though..
Well heres the article about the nearly 80 bikes used. I looked at them all, seems like 2 maybe 3 are on Di2. Remainder are mechanical, lots of SRAM. Some single speeds, go figure.

So 2 out of 70 something. What does that tell you ?, other than folks find Di2 expensive with a lot of orders using stock bikes.

https://bikepacking.com/bikes/tour-divide-rigs-2019/
Steve B. is online now  
Old 12-11-19, 08:50 PM
  #15  
wgscott
Occam's Rotor
 
wgscott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,693
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 949 Times in 483 Posts
I wouldn't risk riding a SRAM drivetrain, let alone brakes, to commute to work. Much more so for a tour.

Last edited by wgscott; 12-12-19 at 09:40 AM. Reason: clarity
wgscott is offline  
Likes For wgscott:
Old 12-12-19, 06:46 AM
  #16  
noodle soup
Senior Member
 
noodle soup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 7,811
Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3969 Post(s)
Liked 989 Times in 566 Posts
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Well heres the article about the nearly 80 bikes used. I looked at them all, seems like 2 maybe 3 are on Di2. Remainder are mechanical, lots of SRAM. Some single speeds, go figure.

So 2 out of 70 something. What does that tell you ?,

https://bikepacking.com/bikes/tour-divide-rigs-2019/
Did those 2 or 3 have mechanical issues that stranded them in the wilderness? No, It worked fine for the riders that used it on the Tour Divide(which is what I already knew).
noodle soup is online now  
Old 12-12-19, 08:55 AM
  #17  
Steve B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South shore, L.I., NY
Posts: 4,164

Bikes: Flyxii FR322, Cannondale Topstone, Miyata City Liner, Specialized Chisel

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1535 Post(s)
Liked 262 Times in 191 Posts
Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
Did those 2 or 3 have mechanical issues that stranded them in the wilderness? No, It worked fine for the riders that used it on the Tour Divide(which is what I already knew).
This is becoming one of those winter "we have nothing better to do than argue on the forum" discussions.

@the OP, lets us know how this works out. Pay attention to what Flash experienced and what I've read about, don't lean the shifters against anything that can press the buttons. It makes the derailers try to shift. With no movement of the chain, the derailer motors keep trying to do their thing and that kills the battery. Outside of the battery failing, or a cable coming unplugged (you don't read of that much - if ever), nothing really goes wrong.
Steve B. is online now  
Old 12-12-19, 09:41 AM
  #18  
wgscott
Occam's Rotor
 
wgscott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,693
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 949 Times in 483 Posts
I'm thinking about doing this now, too. This would be for a steel frame with no option for internal cable routing, which means mounting the battery (likely adjacent to a water bottle cage) where it is potentially exposed to rain and thieves. So this is giving me second thoughts.

Any suggestions?
wgscott is offline  
Old 12-12-19, 09:59 AM
  #19  
noodle soup
Senior Member
 
noodle soup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 7,811
Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3969 Post(s)
Liked 989 Times in 566 Posts
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
This is becoming one of those winter "we have nothing better to do than argue on the forum" discussions.
You are the only one arguing against Di2 here.
noodle soup is online now  
Old 12-12-19, 10:51 AM
  #20  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,413
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 752 Post(s)
Liked 499 Times in 282 Posts
OP states that the groupset was probably a takeoff from a new bike, so the battery is presumably new. And on my nearly-new (2500 miles so far) Di2 setup, I can easily get >1,000 miles on a full charge -- and I live in a very hilly area (= lots of shifting) and my bike has the Bluetooth adaptor, which likely uses a bit more energy.

OP, as long as you can set up your non-Di2 frame with the system, it's probably fine. Though you might want to experiment first to make sure you will get through your trip without re-charging, or develop a plan to re-charge along the way.
Koyote is offline  
Old 12-12-19, 11:05 AM
  #21  
wgscott
Occam's Rotor
 
wgscott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,693
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 949 Times in 483 Posts
After almost six years of heavy-shifting, I don't have any evidence of deterioration of battery life. My only concern is that there might be something wrong with the OP's system if it is being pruchased for so little money. I would definitely want to get it checked for peace of mind, but then I am sub-clinically paranoid.
wgscott is offline  
Old 12-12-19, 11:52 AM
  #22  
CarloM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 494

Bikes: 2019 TCR Advanced SL1 Disc; 2018 Cervelo S3 SRAM eTap HRD; 2020 Giant Revolt Advanced

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 211 Post(s)
Liked 118 Times in 96 Posts
Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
After almost six years of heavy-shifting, I don't have any evidence of deterioration of battery life. My only concern is that there might be something wrong with the OP's system if it is being pruchased for so little money. I would definitely want to get it checked for peace of mind, but then I am sub-clinically paranoid.
My thoughts exactly. $200 is a steal. But as they say "if it seems too good to be true..."
CarloM is offline  
Old 12-12-19, 12:05 PM
  #23  
Steve B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South shore, L.I., NY
Posts: 4,164

Bikes: Flyxii FR322, Cannondale Topstone, Miyata City Liner, Specialized Chisel

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1535 Post(s)
Liked 262 Times in 191 Posts
Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
You are the only one arguing against Di2 here.
I'll agree that I'm being a luddite.
Steve B. is online now  
Likes For Steve B.:
Old 12-12-19, 12:54 PM
  #24  
noodle soup
Senior Member
 
noodle soup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 7,811
Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3969 Post(s)
Liked 989 Times in 566 Posts
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I'll agree that I'm being a luddite.
Using an unknown age battery would be a concern, but its easily fixed with a new battery.
noodle soup is online now  
Old 12-13-19, 03:46 PM
  #25  
Psimet2001 
I eat carbide.
 
Psimet2001's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Elgin, IL
Posts: 20,798

Bikes: Lots. Van Dessel and Squid Dealer

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 744 Post(s)
Liked 198 Times in 106 Posts
Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
Using an unknown age battery would be a concern, but its easily fixed with a new battery.
Agreed. New battery is relatively cheap peace of mind.
__________________
PSIMET Wheels, PSIMET Racing, PSIMET Neutral Race Support, and 11 Jackson Coffee
Podcast - YouTube Channel
Video about PSIMET Wheels

Psimet2001 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.