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-   -   It seems Di2 is here to stay. (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1254341)

base2 06-30-22 12:39 AM

It seems Di2 is here to stay.
 
I tried Di2 on a friends bike a while ago. It seemed like a solution just looking for a problem.

Don't get me wrong. It worked flawlessly.
I think I just don't get it. It was like the Twitter or G+ of bicycles. Nice, but not worth the hype. I felt disconnected from the bike. It just wasn't there. No tactile feed back. No "being one with the machine." Just...nothing. Like a part of the cycling experience just wasn't there anymore. Touch, resistance change. Nothing more.

The thought actually crossed my mind: "This is why luxury car drivers & big vehicle SUV drivers drive so fast...just to feel something."

What's so wrong with plain ol' mechanical? Am I alone in my view that bicycles are the embodiment of efficiency? Cable shifting is the lowest energy state solution to the need for multiple ratios. Objectively then, from an engineering stand point that makes it best solution...Or does it? Why the need for batteries, stepper motors, circuit boards, connectors, radio, public spectrum allocation, protocols, proprietary IP, buttons, and all the other Rube Goldberg complications to move a chain ~5mm to the left or to the right?

I really, legitimately just don't get the attraction to the unnecessarily complicated or solutions to non-problems; The need to be removed from the experience. Even if it is in a field others usually consider me an ultra-enthusiast about.

Maybe the engineering fold in my otherwise smooth brain sees all the failure modes & dependencies as a liability to be avoided where others see "Oooh, shiny!" Magic is cool too, I guess. I'm just not sure what to do with that. (Not judge others, obviously.)

As an all-round bicycle enthusiast of the new & novel, I feel genuinely stupid. Like everyone else sees "it" but me. Seriously. What tangible, real world benefit does electronic shifting offer the end-user over well tuned mechanical? What design criteria or priority makes all the cost & complications of the system a fair trade? Or...is having part of the experience, the needs of the machine, the bicycle itself subtracted...Is that the benefit people seek?

Obviously what ever "it" is, it's mature enough to filter down to 105. That much I understand. All I see though is a big conceptual donut hole. Can someone please explain the "Why" of electronic shifting. Please?

jgwilliams 06-30-22 02:24 AM

I don't have it myself, but if I had the money I'd probably go for it. One of the advantages I can see is that you don't have to think about which chainring you're in, and it can be programmed to jump several steps at on the rear derailleur when you change the front one. That's obviously for a 2x setup. Having just got a mountain bike with a 1 x 12 setup, I actually found myself thinking the other day that the gear change was so slick that I couldn't see electronic shifting making a whole lot of difference.

I do find myself having to fiddle with the barrel adjuster on my road bike when the weather gets really cold; I presume the cable must shrink fractionally. Maybe I should spend more money on cables? Anyway, I guess you wouldn't have to do that with Di2 or Etap. That's a lot of money for a marginal gain, though.

Aardwolf 06-30-22 02:32 AM

I've got Suntour Power Shifters and a Suntour Cyclone Mk2 GT, they are very shiny and work perfectly (even does 8 speed).
I'm an old git and it works better than I do, I'll try a Di2 after I'm fitted with batteries.

AlgarveCycling 06-30-22 05:12 AM

I used to think the same; that electronic doesn't add much. I have SRAM Red eTap and Ultegra mech. I've done over 13600 miles on the electronic bike and over 17400 miles on the mech bike in the last 2.5 years. So I've had time to compare.

Firstly, I like both.

I like the simplicity and convenience of mech. I like the one-touch and speed of the electronic. In the beginning, I didn't see the electronic as being worth the extra cost. However, over time, it has grown on me and now I prefer it overall and would absolutely choose electronic in the future. But I ride competitively so it's not the same as someone who just wants to ride - which is the vast majority of cyclists.

In recreational and leisurely mode, the difference is 'meh' really. Sure, nice to just touch the lever rather than force a change but no big diffs. When pushing on, aiming for race speeds etc, electronic is hugely superior - it can mean the difference between winning a sprint and losing it, it can make breakaways faster to initiate - we're talking very fine margins here but anyone who races will know what I mean.

Like a lot in cycling, electronic was borne from the need for speed. It excels in that category. Outside of that, not sure I'd pay the difference, personally, but totally get someone wanting it even just for general cycling, it is smoother, it is nice.


https://cimg8.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...b2cb6cb027.png

CAT7RDR 06-30-22 05:46 AM

All my cars over 40 years have been manual sticks.
I think OP's analogy is spot on. Once you learn how to drive or ride as a conditioned learned experience, you do not have to think about it.
Even on hills, it becomes second nature in preparing to climb or descend. I enjoy that part of riding/driving, cornering, braking, accelerating and with cycling since I am the motor this experience is amplified.

Now, I have never had electronic shifting bikes so my opinion is muted in this respect.
I have seen what happens when you forget to recharge the battery with my brother's Di2 equipped Emonda.

ehcoplex 06-30-22 06:07 AM


Originally Posted by CAT7RDR (Post 22558876)
All my cars over 40 years have been manual sticks.
I think OP's analogy is spot on. Once you learn how to drive or ride as a conditioned learned experience, you do not have to think about it.

You don't have to consciously think about it, but you're definitely 'thinking' about it in some part of your brain- constantly monitoring inputs, conditions, etc, and making choices based on them. Though it may be mostly unconscious, I think that need to be more attentive to the operation of the machine brings with it a higher level of general awareness/less distraction. And then there's the simple pleasure of exercising a skill well.

freeranger 06-30-22 06:14 AM

I haven't ridden a Di2 equipped bike yet. For me, a mech. der. is fine and I can adjust or replace if needed. From hanging out here and reading the mech. section, sounds like riders like them so long as they are working, but if they misfunction it may be difficult to correct. Guess this senior is stuck in analog mode. Don't care for touch screens in cars either.

Polaris OBark 06-30-22 06:15 AM

I got it in 2014 because then, in order to get hydraulic shifting, I had to get it, as it was bundled when first released. I have zero regrets. I went from friction down-tube shifting (which I really liked) to Di2. I never owned a bike with mechanical "brifters." I do now (Campy on mine -- replaced the friction shifters, 105 on a couple of family bikes, etc), and I never really got used to the levers and find Di2 much more pleasant to use. The feedback is in the cadence, not making my hands hurt (this is hyperbole for me, but my wife has arthritic hands, so her new bike is going to have Di2).

The battery recharge is a non-issue. I let it run down intentionally when I first got it, just to see firsthand what would happen (stops shifting in the front first). I charge every 4 to 6 months, and haven't been caught out.

My only objection is vaguely philosophical: you shouldn't need to charge a battery to be able to ride a bike. But I got over it pretty quickly.

fishboat 06-30-22 06:27 AM

Did you actually think it was going anywhere?

While I don't disagree with your thoughts, to be honest, as we both know, this is a troll post.

:popcorn

...and here we go...

BobbyG 06-30-22 06:37 AM


Originally Posted by base2 (Post 22558773)
...No "being one with the machine." Just...nothing. Like a part of the cycling experience just wasn't there anymore.

I believe in the current self-centered zeitgeist, the goal is "being one with one's self".

Also, for non-enthusiasts, electronic shifting, paired with electrically assisted pedaling should yield a very good automatic transmission system. I think there are already some out there, one being based on the NuVinci CVT bicycle transmission.

Also, as with anything marketed and sold, there is "feature creep" where features are added to add the perception of advancement.

As for me, for now, I prefer un-assisted pedaling and nicely tuned, indexed, cable-actuated shifters, either by my hands, or on the down tube.

But I just turned 60, and at some point in the not too distant future my knees and hands may demand assisted shifting and pedaling (and possibly a third wheel for balance). I hope not, but if that's what it takes to keep riding, then that's what I'll do.

Polaris OBark 06-30-22 06:51 AM

Conflating e-bike pedal-assist with electronic shifting is a bit disingenuous.

PeteHski 06-30-22 06:51 AM


Originally Posted by base2 (Post 22558773)

Maybe the engineering fold in my otherwise smooth brain sees all the failure modes & dependencies as a liability to be avoided where others see "Oooh, shiny!" Magic is cool too, I guess. I'm just not sure what to do with that. (Not judge others, obviously.)

Both systems have their own unique failure modes and both are generally reliable enough not to really care. Mechanical brifters are not exactly my favourite piece of engineering and I don't particularly enjoy cable maintenance, so was more than happy to see them both superseded. I have one road bike with mechanical (105 R7000) and one electronic (eTap Force AXS) and I much prefer the latter. My mtb has mechanical (SRAM Eagle X01) which works pretty well, but I would go electronic next time and lose those cables.

Di2 bugs me a bit that it still has wires to route. So I prefer the SRAM wireless system.

PeteHski 06-30-22 07:05 AM


Originally Posted by base2 (Post 22558773)

What's so wrong with plain ol' mechanical?

Nothing really, it's just a bit clunky and slow. Cable maintenance can be a bit of a faff too.

smd4 06-30-22 07:15 AM


Originally Posted by base2 (Post 22558773)

What's so wrong with plain ol' mechanical? Am I alone in my view that bicycles are the embodiment of efficiency? Cable shifting is the lowest energy state solution to the need for multiple ratios. Objectively then, from an engineering stand point that makes it best solution...Or does it? Why the need for batteries, stepper motors, circuit boards, connectors, radio, public spectrum allocation, protocols, proprietary IP, buttons, and all the other Rube Goldberg complications to move a chain ~5mm to the left or to the right?

I get it. I've got a 1909 Hamilton 992 mechanical railroad watch that I use regularly. It keeps great time. I can get it serviced today for a reasonable price, using repro or NOS parts. It's 113 years old. There are thousands, if not tens of thousands of these watches still out there, operating flawlessly.

The oldest digital watches are about 50 years old. I found two operating ones on eBay. Once they die, they not not serviceable, that I know of, unless you replace the entire module. I doubt any at all will be operating in the next 63 years.

Thankfully I don't need to say the same for my Hamilton or my down tube shifter-equipped Cinelli.

cb400bill 06-30-22 08:09 AM

I have a bike with 2x11 speed Shimano 105 brifters and I love it.
I have a bike with 2x11 Shimano GRX brifters and I love it.
I have a bike with 2x5 speed Shimano Crane down tube shifting and I love it.
I had a bike with 2x9 speed Campagnolo brifters and I loved it. Soon to buy another.
I have a bike with 2x11 Shimano Ultegra Di2 and I love it.
I have a bike with 2x7 Shimano 105 down tube shifting and I love it.

Iride01 06-30-22 08:12 AM

Not sure what "feel" it is that you are losing with Di2 or any electronic shifter. It's not really so much that they shift better if at all. It's that they don't require as much ongoing maintenance as do cable pulled components.

With my cable pulled Shimano 105 I didn't need to feel anything. I just moved the lever or paddle and the DR shifted up or down. It's not like I started to shift and then paused for the exact moment when all the cogs and planets were in perfect alignment.

We'll continue to see electronic shifting go to lower and lower tier bikes. But likely not before these threads bemoaning the loss of cables take up a significant amount of terabytes in the servers.

I really don't care which I have on my bike but I'll lean towards electronic shifting since I've now experienced it. My 105 5800 shifted every bit as good or better than my Ultegra 8050 group. My Ultegra 8050 has needed no adjustment since new over 2 years ago.

seypat 06-30-22 08:20 AM


Originally Posted by cb400bill (Post 22559007)
I have a bike with 2x11 speed Shimano 105 brifters and I love it.
I have a bike with 2x11 Shimano GRX brifters and I love it.
I have a bike with 2x5 speed Shimano Crane down tube shifting and I love it.
I had a bike with 2x9 speed Campagnolo brifters and I loved it. Soon to buy another.
I have a bike with 2x11 Shimano Ultegra Di2 and I love it.
I have a bike with 2x7 Shimano 105 down tube shifting and I love it.

No barcons? :(

tomato coupe 06-30-22 08:22 AM

Another I dont get it thread. Yawn.

Koyote 06-30-22 08:23 AM


Originally Posted by cb400bill (Post 22559007)
I have a bike with 2x11 speed Shimano 105 brifters and I love it.
I have a bike with 2x11 Shimano GRX brifters and I love it.
I have a bike with 2x5 speed Shimano Crane down tube shifting and I love it.
I had a bike with 2x9 speed Campagnolo brifters and I loved it. Soon to buy another.
I have a bike with 2x11 Shimano Ultegra Di2 and I love it.
I have a bike with 2x7 Shimano 105 down tube shifting and I love it.

Thus proving the old adage that variety is the spice of life!

All of this kvetching over the relative performance of Di2 vs mechanical misses the entire point -- which is that capitalism must continually generate new (and more profitable) things for us to purchase.

cb400bill 06-30-22 08:31 AM


Originally Posted by seypat (Post 22559021)
No barcons? :(

I've never had the pleasure of trying them.

Never tried any SRAM either. Although Mrs400's Raleigh Granada has Sachs-Huret Rival on it.

prj71 06-30-22 09:40 AM

Not sure what you mean by feeling disconnected from the bike. Push a button or shifter and it shifts. My shifting is smooth on all my bikes (shimano slightly smoother than SRAM) but changing it over to electronic would not change how it feels.

With that said, I'm not planning to go to electronic shifting anytime soon. Maybe I'll change my mind later. On friends bikes-e shifting I have already seen batteries die and software/electronics malfunctions already for those that have it and then they can't switch gears. Plus it's one more battery that I need to worry about charging up. I already have cell phones, chainsaws, bike lights, watches, weed whackers and bike computers to charge up. I don't want one more item to worry about when cables work just fine.

Maybe I'll change my mind in the future. IDK.

Rolla 06-30-22 10:39 AM


Originally Posted by base2 (Post 22558773)
I think I just don't get it.
I really, legitimately just don't get the attraction
Can someone please explain

Since you seem quite confident and comfortable with your reasons for rejecting it, why do you feel the need to "get" it?
It's not for you; maybe just leave it at that.

icemilkcoffee 06-30-22 10:46 AM

Since nobody has answered the OP's question, I'll answer it. It's the trimming. Trimming is the biggest annoyance in riding a mechanical shifting bike. Especially bad when you get to the wider cassettes like the 11 and 12 speed cassettes.

To be fair, SRAM did conquer this problem with the Yaw technology which changes the angle of the FD slightly in each chain ring.

To be extra fair, Shimano also conquered this problem back when they made the RSX brifters with no trim function- the narrow 7 speed cassette didn't need trimming in most instances (You just have to avoid big-big IIRC)

To be extra, extra fair, Suntour also conquered this problem even earlier back when they introduced the 'Symmetry' top mount shifters. As you (friction) shift the rear shifter, the shifter mount will move the pivot for the front shifter, and adjust the FD slightly to compensate.

Polaris OBark 06-30-22 11:10 AM


Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee (Post 22559211)
Since nobody has answered the OP's question, I'll answer it. It's the trimming.

It is a nice feature, but zero explanatory power for 1X Di2 systems.

tomato coupe 06-30-22 11:24 AM


Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee (Post 22559211)
Since nobody has answered the OP's question, I'll answer it.

I don't think he was actually looking for an answer.


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