Microshift's 11-Speed Electric Drivetrain - Taipei Show 2016

Mar 3, 2016
by Mike Levy  
Taipei Cycle Show header


A Sub-$600 Electric Drivetrain? Maybe.

It's been said that you shouldn't ever talk about sex, politics, or religion in polite company, and I feel like adding electric drivetrains to that list would make sense. It seems that batteries, wires, and the possibility of Skynet hacking into your bike are all things that mountain bikers are nervous about, and there are a few reasons why they should be, including how much current and future electric drivetrains cost. Shimano's Di2 XTR will run you about $2,800 USD for an entire two-by-eleven drivetrain, and there's a good chance that SRAM's electric group will be in the same ballpark when it's eventually released. Ouch. But there might be another option in the future.


Taipei 2016

And then there's Microshift's 11-speed electric eXCD drivetrain that, while admittedly still deep in the prototype stage of its life, might retail for around the same price as a $425 USD Shimano XT group. Even if the eventual production eXCD drivetrain ends up retailing for $600, you'd still be able to buy more than four groups for the price of a single Di2 XTR kit.

Will it work as well as a Di2 XTR drivetrain if and when it actually is released? I highly doubt it, especially given that the live display eXCD group that I tinkered with presented some questionable performance characteristics, but I can't deny that a relatively inexpensive electric group is pretty damn interesting.
eXCD Details:

• Wired, electric drivetrain
• 11-speed
• Front derailleur in development
• Lithium AA batteries in shifter
• Battery life display
• 6,000 shifts / 1,000+km battery life (claimed)
• 11 - 42 tooth cassette
• Clutch derailleur
• Weight: TBA
• MSRP: $TBA USD



Taipei 2016
  The eXCD rear derailleur features a clutch, and its motor is located in the large protrusion that hangs off its side.

eXCD Battery

Battery life and care are always pressing subjects in the comment section of any article about electric drivetrains, so let's get right to it. The eXCD rear derailleur is wired to the shifter, and it's all powered by two rechargeable AA lithium batteries that are located in the rather large shifter. That means there's no battery box or tube that needs to be attached to the outside or inside of the frame and that replacement batteries should be somewhat easy to find. Microshift is claiming that the batteries give the group around 6,000 shifts or around 1,000 kilometers of riding, which matches estimates from riders who've been using Di2 since its release. And, because the AA batteries are relatively small and inexpensive, it'd be easy to bring along a few spares when on a road trip if need be. If the batteries do expire during a ride, the derailleur will stay in whatever gear you were in at the time.

Microshift's battery life claims can't be verified until we get our own eXCD group, but the idea of locating the batteries in the shifter certainly does have some merits when it comes to packaging, even if it does result in a rather large shifter body.


eXCD Derailleur

The eXCD clutch derailleur is interesting. The motor protrudes quite a bit, although Microshift was quick to point out that it is a prototype that will evolve more before the group is ready for consumers, including an update to a slimmer profile that will increase clearance between it and large rocks that would like to tear it from your bike.

Also, the derailleur's parallelogram is not nearly as wide as what you can see on a traditional derailleur, with extremely short pivot pins and a narrow stance.
Taipei 2016
The eXCD derailleur will likely end up looking a bit different by the time if reaches production.

eXCD Shifter

Two buttons on the shifter regulate the derailleur's action, with each button moving the derailleur in a different direction. There didn't seem to be a multi-shift function that would allow riders to move the chain over a number of cogs at one go. Two smaller buttons control setup and power-saving modes, and a small LED indicator right next to those tell the rider how much juice is left. The shifter body itself is quite large, as it would be given that it's also home to two AA batteries, but it appears as though it won't interfere with any brake levers or dropper post remotes.


Taipei 2016
  The eXCD shifter is home to two lithium AA batteries that power the derailleur.



Shifting eXCD

How does did it feel on the display stand? First, this eXCD drivetrain is still a long way from production, despite being fours years into development, so it wouldn't be fair to come to any real conclusions here. Still, the fact that it's on display and people can walk up and push its buttons means that Microshift is confident enough to let people play with it. So I had to do exactly that.

The shift action is quite slow, to be honest, slow enough that the delay would be pretty noticeable on the trail, and the shifter buttons are laid out differently than I'd prefer. Instead of being beside each other, I'd like to seem them oriented vertically so a rider wouldn't accidently push the wrong one by mistake in the heat of the moment. The system does work, though, and the chain moves smoothly across the gears on the unloaded display.

Microshift said that the slow shift action is down to both the motor used for the prototype and the battery power required to drive it, one or both of which could change before the group becomes available at some point in 2017.
Taipei 2016
Shift action is much slower than a mechanical group.

Microshift clearly still has a lot of work to do, and it's doubtful that the eXCD group could ever come close to rivaling Di2 when it comes to straight-up performance, but there's something to be said for an electric group that costs under or around $600 USD. This is especially true if Microshift is able to sort out the slow shifting and show the group's reliability. If they can do both of those things, the next question is whether a consumer would want a proven mechanical drivetrain from Shimano or SRAM, or a possibly quirky electric group from Microshift. Which would you choose?




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214 Comments

  • + 351
 for f*cks sake some one in the gear box worlds get an OEM contract somewhere. please. stop this madness
  • + 60
 +1 on the gearbox
  • - 38
flag Manx (Mar 3, 2016 at 4:31) (Below Threshold)
 As long as the gear box drives a chain, I've been reading that belt drives are up to 34% less efficient.
  • + 15
 @Manx; Where are you reading that? There is no added friction, no strechng, less weight, less maintenance and quieter. Please, would you mind to explain it?
  • + 130
 I heard it was 33% less efficient- but apparently 88.2% of statistics are made up.
  • + 10
 @simooo You are not the first one who think it is great, but actually a lot of power loss in gearbox, that's why chain is the best, drive belt is best power efficient.
  • - 6
flag patrick2cents (Mar 3, 2016 at 5:04) (Below Threshold)
 Belts are less efficient... but chains are so ridiculously efficient that a small loss of efficiency won't make much of a difference (i.e. if a chain is 96% efficient, and a belt is 34% less efficient, that would still mean a belt would be over 94% efficient....).
  • + 6
 @simooo
I know somone who had effigear and after many reliability problems has given up. So, in theory this is awesome, in practice they have to improve quality.
  • + 13
 @lkubica Effigear, Pinion, all the same to me, I just want no derailleur (and more than 1 gear!)
  • + 19
 How long before you are pushing radio's to go with the other electric junk for bikes? Keep the electronics off my bike.
  • - 10
flag Alias530 (Mar 3, 2016 at 6:26) (Below Threshold)
 @patrick2cents - you are terrible at math... 96% reduced by 34% is 63.36%, not 94%
  • + 19
 www.bikeradar.com/us/road/news/article/chain-or-belt-drive-which-is-faster-36074

@Alias530 this is the article that I think the 34% comes from... they are talking about 34.6% worse... which works out to about a watt. I may not have been clear, but my math is just fine.
  • + 11
 He was saying that chains have an efficiency loss of 4% and that a belt is 34% less efficient compared to a chains energy loss which comes out to an overall efficiency of 94%. I don't know if this is the right way to do it, but the math is three
  • + 5
 hey pb, hi have a quick math test for you. 2+2×2=?
  • + 13
 6, am i right am i right?
  • - 3
 Multiplication first. But regardless you can still run a chain and a tensioner top and bottom if you wanted. Plenty of options once the gearbox is in.
  • + 0
 Another fine example of polishing a turd!
  • - 3
 You could say that the DRIVETRAIN LOSS is 34% worse (like if you lose 3 watts from a chain and 4 watts from a belt), but you can't say that 96% reduced by 34% is 94%. The latter way of wording it is not correct. Nitpicky, but still.
  • + 9
 I read "large protrusion that hands off its side" and "slower than a mechanical", and...that's all I remember
  • + 7
 Love to meet up with you lot for a pint after work..."have you seen these drive power percentages numbers barnaby?"...
  • + 17
 Mouth dry from forum frothing? Don't worry! Our new electric water bottle will deliver 16 ounces of liquid relief at the simple push of a button ~ escape the pesky pulling, squeezing and grabbing that plagues all other designs.
  • + 16
 Just need one electric item on a bike for me.HEATED GRIPS.just give me some of these please.
  • + 12
 Sexpanther. 60% of the time it works every time
  • + 2
 Mrstamper, I have been pondering doing this for a while but it is starting to warm up around here... I am a snowmobiling fool as well as mountain biker and heated grips are a necessity/common item in that world.
www.denniskirk.com/moose/replacement-element-for-391957-m92-21014.p391958.prd/391958.sku
These are designed to go under any grip on any bar, and are variable voltage. Simple circuit with voltage regulators and a battery pack later, and there we go.
  • + 5
 @Alias530 @ProjectRC @patrick2cents @Manx It's true, belts aren't 100% efficient, but neither is a chain. Most of the efficiency data from the last 100 years of belts being compared to chains put's them (in a new and clean condition) within 5% of each other. That includes data from automotive, agriculture, energy, industrial, etc.

If you include a chain in dirty and/or worn conditions the belt will generally pull away by a large margin. That gain is also true of the input power in the system, the higher power applied to a drivetrain the more the belt will outperform a chain on efficiency since a belt does not stretch and a chain does. Chain stretch including wear over time or from input load, both of which degrade performance.

Belts, like many other bike components, have strengths and weaknesses. Where the belt can be applied it generally excels; townie bikes, IGH equipped bikes, and e-Bikes (sorry for saying eBike on a MTB site).

I am an engineer for Gates Carbon Drive, so I am biased but I also don't make unsubstantiated claims. I also realize I'm reading the comments and responding to them. But who wants to see bad info spread around. We're stoked to see gearboxes in the market, it will make belts more viable for bikes with gears that (hopefully) shred.

At the end of the day we just love riding bikes, regardless of their drivetrain.
  • - 2
 @cycling247 Thanks for the great info. I just want to clear up the chain stretch issue. Most people think the chain is stretched out on a used bike. When it is actually worn bearings. The bearings get sloppy due to wear. This is why it starts wearing out your gears. This is also why the chain gauge wear indicators were made. The bearings wearing is always the issue for me. So with that said do the links really stretch? (enough to make the chain unusable)
Gates makes the best belts on the planet.
  • - 3
 @cycling247 I think there's just some confusion with the math people are quoting.

Saying that a belt is 34% less efficient is like saying a truck gets 34% worse gas mileage than a car. These are HUGE differences (in this example, 30mpg vs 20mpg)

But if it's just the LOSS IN EFFICIENCY that is 34% worse, that's a different story. 3 watts lost becomes 4 watts lost, no big deal.
  • + 3
 Really.cosmic.
  • + 104
 If you break your cable rear mech in mountains, you just wrap it with tape or cable ties and continue having fun with your friends. Next day you buy new one. If you break $435 electric rear mech, you just stay on place and cry, and all your friends are getting around you with flowers and condolences. also you can dig a little grave and bury a couple of hudreds of your bucks with honors
  • + 9
 Hahahaha! Brilliant!
  • + 36
 X01/XX1 derailleurs are borderline cry-worthy if you break them too.
  • - 46
flag austinmason (Mar 3, 2016 at 6:55) (Below Threshold)
 If I break my di2 derailleur, I just buy a new one the same day.
  • + 73
 then the next day you can go back to cleaning teeth
  • - 24
flag austinmason (Mar 3, 2016 at 8:57) (Below Threshold)
 Ya from all your BS
  • + 7
 Shorten the chain significantly, take off the derailleur hanger, and run single speed on your favorite gear!
  • + 4
 @dancingwhale - Gotta pick a middle gear, not necessarily your favorite gear. It'll naturally shift there anyway once you pedal.
  • + 4
 Plz recycle
  • + 3
 I think anyone that buys a $435 derailleur will just use a hundred dollar bill to wipe away their tears
  • + 2
 Seriously, why are Sram rear derailleurs so expensive? I've never heard a good explanation. I mean a Saint rear derailleur is less than a Sram GX...why?
  • + 1
 The time consuming machining process of their high end cassettes (X01/XX1) at least makes sense but yeah the derailleurs do not make sense. If you have an X01/XX1 bike and break a derailleur, you'd be better off changing the shifter AND derailleur with XTR (cost-wise anyway).
  • + 1
 Yeah, I agree
  • + 53
 Unless an electronic system shifts (significantly) better than a mechanical one, I don't see the point...
  • + 10
 AND, is it impervious to rocks? yep, not so much.
  • + 4
 Agreed. This thing looks like a cheap alternative to expensive electronic drivetrains, but without the big guys' (plural, as by the time this comes out, SRAM will have joined Shimano) shift quality, it doesn't matter how cheap it is.

Like with so many things, it's not so much that you get what you pay for, it's that you pay for what you get.
  • + 1
 You get what you pay for. Every. Time.
  • + 45
 If drivetrains are gonna be electronic, they might as well be wireless all the way. Like the eTap.
  • + 3
 ^ This ^
  • + 12
 except putting the batteries on the derailleurs has a pretty negative size & weight effect. What I wanna see is a centralized battery for everything with a servo(which might include your shock & seatpost too eventually, & I have no desire to charge 3+ batteries) & a wireless shifter, so I don't have to run anything up to the bars.
  • + 9
 THIS MAN RIGHT HERE.. GIVE EM A COOKIES!!

-Imagine your Handlebar is clean from any cable.. and can we make the brake wireless too? TAILWHIP on MTB!!
  • + 5
 I'll live with just brake hoses, hahaha. What I really want to see is this implemented in a gearbox. battery can live in the gearbox housing, & the two cable grip shift they use on those bikes can die & we can finally have thumb shifters on a gearbox.

I do expect to see some sort of electrical braking on ebikes, though: regenerative braking could increase their range hugely. Not that I'm really interested in ebikes, just pointing out the obvious benefit from an engineering standpoint.
  • + 1
 If you think the pace of change in the industry is annoying now, just wait until it becomes more like the tech industry. E-everything is opening the door.
  • + 1
 @groghunter totally agree. Batteries on the derailleur itself seems like it should have been dumped after the first prototype. Get the weight and bulk off their and at a minimum onto the chain or seat stay (protected, of course).
  • + 4
 You think it's a joke... Wireless brakes are totally possible and I wouldn't be surprised to see some prototypes thrown out In the next few years. The idea of fully hose/cable free bars sounds awesome!
  • + 1
 Wireless brakes are possible, but getting good modulation and feedback characteristics will be EXTREMELY difficult. FWIW, even Tesla is still using hydraulic brakes on their cars, but with electric boost rather than vacuum assist. I don't see electric braking coming to the bike industry anytime soon.
  • - 2
 Right. The way it would work in an e-bike (& does work in a Tesla) is that you get a boosted "engine brake" from the hub motor, in addition to your normal disk brake. The motor is essentially working as a generator during braking.
  • - 2
 I know the technology isn't quite there at a consumer level yet but I would say someone in the big companies is already thinking how to make that possible. Of course making it feel and act like our reliable mechs we have now is a whole different issue.

On that subject. Why don't these electronic shifters have the same ergonomics as a standard trigger shifter? I love the levers on. My XT shifters. Just adapt the internals to be electric but the hand motions shouldn't be any different than what we are already doing. None of this button mashing crap. Its not a video game.
  • + 0
 just FYI wireless brakes are working already ... www.bikeradar.com/news/article/worlds-first-wireless-electronic-bicycle-brake-32064 far away from production, but possible
  • + 32
 I may be missing something, but I don't understand all the hype about electronic drive trains. #cable4life
  • + 17
 If it's auto adjusting, meaning you never have to mess with cable tension and end screws and get perfect shifts every time, that sounds pretty great to me.
  • + 4
 But you still have to charge it/change the battery so it's not fit and forget. Doesn't seem worth bothering with.
  • + 11
 So you'd rather pay for and install a new cable every 6 months as opposed to pulling the battery and placing in on a charger for 4-6hours?
  • + 6
 I'd much rather charge a battery every 6 months than have to deal with cables, housings, cable drag, cable stretch, ghost shifting, and adjustments...
  • + 5
 Innovation . . . If nor for it you would still be driving a carbureted car with stick shift and manual choke!
  • + 8
 when did it become difficult to replace a derailleur cable in the first place
  • + 0
 @freedjdh, it became difficult when my twin boys came along. It's tough enough getting ride time never mind messing with my bikes (which I enjoy). I'm running di2 on my CX and MTB and do nothing but air up the tires, lube the chain and bleed my hydraulic brakes (every 2 yrs). Oh ya, and plug in the di2 batteries every 6 months.
  • + 0
 Bogey@ nice. I heard the same thing when fuel injection came to motocross bikes. It is one of the best improvements. . . . Electronics!
  • + 0
 @mx298 That's not a good analogy. It's like electric steering versus mechanical steering. I don't see the allure. Doesn't the derailer weigh more now? I'm definitely not a fan of unsprung weight. That's another issue with these 42 tooth rear cogs and what not. I get it you want a deeper gear, but at the cost of unsprung weight? Just add a 2x.
  • + 0
 AZRyder@ OK . . . My point is it's innovation. Do I use it or want too. Not now but it will get better and lighter. And there is more going on in EFI then you may think!
  • + 2
 @MX298 What's wrong with stick shift (by which I suppose you mean manual transmission)? I never got along with an automatic gearbox. They don't look ahead so they don't shift when I want them to. And for that misservice they also request more fuel. I'd just as well do the transmission myself. Imagine someone else would be in charge of shifting (blindfolded, only checking my cadence) while I was riding my bike. That would piss me off!
  • + 0
 I still do!
  • + 1
 Ya - we still love our "stick shift" ("manual" to us) in the UK and I don't see that changing too much any time soon. I much prefer feeling involved with my drive and the car than I have whenever I've driven automatic...still - probably not the best analogy really for the point MX298 was trying to make.....but there ya go Smile
  • + 0
 The manualnshift vs automatic is a bad analogy and so is the electric vs old school mech steering. You still need to shift with di2 shifting and mechanical shifting but it is easier, faster and more precise with di2. I liken it to paddle shift vs manual shift. Both are great and both work well but paddle shift is easier, faster and more precise.
  • + 1
 Agree with that 100% Smile
  • + 0
 Yes i would. I broke a derailler last year in whistler and i did not give a f. It was worth almost nothing. A 600$ elec shifting system is rediculous. When I was 18 with lots of money and NO responsibilities I might have got one. But when you grow up and realise what life is that price becomes crazy as f.
  • + 0
 @bogey I am also running the Di2 rear mech on my Knolly Chilcotin, it shifts way better than my "old" XTR M980 ever did. The battery life for me has been 9 months thus far BUT an insignificant crash (propped on a rock, couldn't unclip and fell over) now sees it go into protection mode every time I go over a jump/get a little rowdy downhill, because there's a small mark on the rear mech Shimano are not interested in warranty. The system works brilliantly, I believe it's a significant improvement over the old gear cable system but if a small crash means it's now a bin job then the people @shimano really need to make it a little tougher for MTB use. List price for the rear mech in Australia is $850 AUD, I can buy a new M9000 rear mech, cables and shifter for this price and still have money to go to the pub.
Will be keen to see how this system stacks up against Di2 when it gets released, hopefully it's a little tougher
  • + 1
 @mtnbykr05 considering how cheap cables are (free if you are remotely cool with your LBS) and how easy they are to replace, yes, yes I would rather. f*cking with a battery is a pain. You always have to remember it, it loses power in the cold, it can break, it gets old, etc etc etc. I have enough trouble keeping my phone charged enough to last a ride of music and strava, I'd rather not add some more electronics to my riding experience. Think about night riding, and what a pain keeping your lights functioning right can be. True, it's not terrible, but its one more thing. I'll take the the twenty minutes every few months and replace my cable.

edit: didn't read "6 months" for the battery. I suppose 6 months would be fine, but I just don't see why I need that. Give me a damn gearbox already. As soon as I put my college degree to use, I will have a gearbox bike. Or two. Or three.
  • + 1
 All of you gearbox guys can buy some good gearboxes right now so why aren't you?! They're not going to get much better than they are right now. They'll get a bit lighter but that's it.

I'll pass because of the drag and weight that will never be overcome (especially the drag). I think we'll see them becoming more commonplace in DH bikes as they become lighter though. It takes mass off of the unsprung rear wheel, centralizes mass and pedaling isn't as important as we once thought compared to good suspension action.

I put XTR di2 on my RMB Thunderbolt MSL for a total of $750 by shopping carefully and buying a few parts used. Really not that bad for a complete 2X system. I do worry about knocking the RD off but there are di2 derailleurs out there that look like hell but still function perfectly. @Blackers, I think you got really unlucky with the hit that took out your RD.
  • + 0
 It's funny. When a fair while ago some fruit company would have introduced a 700 euro cellphone without a user replaceable battery I'd have laughed. Who's going to carry something that valuable yet vulnerable out on the streets? Quite a few people do nowadays, so I'm clearly no visionair and I don't mind being way behind in terms of popular technology. But my point here is that even though the majority may still be stunned by how expensive it is for how vulnerable it is, there will be people who appreciate the performance so much that they're willing to buy it anyway. And typically those who buy expensive stuff that they consider out of the ordinary look at it through their rose-tinted goggles and are more likely to defend their choice. So from a marketing point of view that's excellent. But don't just stare at the high price of the top of the line products. It is always going to be expensive there. Quite a lot of research went into these and they need that money back. Once the technology trickles down to their other groups it will be much cheaper. Electronics aren't particularly expensive anymore. I'm pretty sure that the Deore version of these will be cheaper yet outperform these from Microshift. It is pretty hard to beat Shimano. Also, Shimano can afford to fail. They can invest massively into Airlines and this rapid rise thing and then drop it when it doesn't catch on.

As for the internal gear boxes, is there already a standard? EFIgear and Pinion look similar to me, but I don't know if they fit the exact same slot. If there are standard dimensions, I don't see why frame manufacturers can just design their frames around that slot and buy one of the off the shelf products. The frame itself shouldn't be that much more expensive than a frame designed for a traditional derailleur. No doubt that if that is going to happen, Shimano and SRAM will jump on the bandwagon and release their own cartridge. They have many years experience with internal gear hubs (SRAM through SACHS) so it shouldn't be too hard. Heck, even Sun Race Sturmey-Archer could surprise us here and shake things up. I absolutely agree that excessive drag while coasting is unacceptable for mountainbiking, but nothing is stopping you from getting a freewheel at the rear hub.
  • + 0
 @vinay great point about the freehub. I would think it would be best to run one, regardless, until gearboxes see the integration of a highly efficient, low weight penalty clutch system, or something of the like.
  • + 18
 Even if scientists will invent endless batteries with weight 5-10 grams and even if it will work better than mechanical and cost cheaper then mechanical I will not buy them just because of my personality... It's just who I am. So thanks for all engineers who worked hard for this project and I hope you will find buyers to have your salaries. But I will not buy electr anyway. So good luck!
  • + 0
 і я так кажу)
  • + 3
 romich, Доброго дня, Земляче!) Дуже приємно чути рідну мову!)
  • + 6
 Ха, могу да разумем вас Украјинце. :Р
  • - 2
 cyka blyat davai davai
  • + 0
 Слава Україні хлопці!
  • + 0
 Съезд партии на просторах пинка что-ли?
  • + 13
 SO what happens when the battery is charged, you press a button, and nothing happens... All new drive train? I enjoy a mechanical solution, I deal with enough electronics in my dad to day. If a mechanical things stops working usually it's pretty easy to spot whats going on. If an electrical thing stops working.. Also, why doesn't my wireless printer just f-ing work. God I hate that thing..
  • + 3
 PC LOAD LETTER wtf does that mean?

I work with computers and I feel the same way, my bike can be without the electronic drive train besides these trigger shifters are soo cool anyways!
  • + 1
 Reminds me of the Saskatchewan segment of Life Cycles. I too enjoy wrenching. I do not nearly as much enjoy charging and changing batteries. In things like cordless tools, they make a lot of sense. On things like bike drive trains, where I've torn 2 mechs off in the last 3 years? Not so much...
  • + 7
 I looks cheap and not very solid, I still have to use a cable, the shifting process is not faster or better compared to mechanical rear mechs and I will be in constant fear of my battery dying. Honestly, what a great invention
  • + 8
 '' while admittedly still deep in the prototype part of it's life...'' Missed that part did you? Or you might not have read the thing. So basically you can't judge on looks, especially not from a couple pictures you saw on the internet.

This constant fear of battery dying thing is also hilarious. Your phone, that every single one of us has, relies on a battery to do 100X more work and even bad ones still work for a full day. This would last much longer considering it only uses juice to move the derailleur then goes to sleep.

If you want to see the difference, try a DI2 system, it's freakin incredible. It shifts MUCH better and MUCH MUCH more reliably than a cable derailleur with the added convenience to auto adjust itself for chain wear and gear alignment without any user input. It's been around for years now and I didn't speak to anyone who tried it that didn't think it was brilliant.

Stop being scared of advancement and stop shitting on people who try to make things differently. They are the reason we are where we are now. If no one ever tried to makes things better, we'd still be driving Model T's and riding blimps and heating our homes with charcoal, dying of the common cold.

Get you head out of your asses.
  • + 2
 @MaxAlary - Agreed. My next road bike will have Di2, but I'll be holding off for a mountain bike until prices come down. I'm fine with the initial investment, but I break about 1 derailleur per year and that hurts a lot more when they're $600.
  • + 8
 @MaxAlary I tried XTR Di2, and don't get me wrong, it is good, but it isn't good or significant enough to compare it to the advancements of medicine or to tell someone to get his head out of his ass because of it.
  • + 2
 @MaxAlary Know plenty of road guys that swear by DI2 for their road bikes but will not run them on their mountain bike. for reasons mentioned here already. It does seem odd to me to tell someone to stop shitting on people who try to make advancements by essentially shitting on him for his opinion.
  • + 4
 Your right guys, exaggerated a bit sorry ridethree. But i still hold my point, I prefer seeing these kinds of prototypes than new paint colors or a carbon version of something we already have.
  • + 1
 I can agree with that. I do think the bike and electronics don't need to be together. Just one more thing I have to remember prior to riding. Did I charge my batteries did I remember to put the dam things in. There is a reason I have a spare helmet in my truck and its not because I a thinking of a fellow rider its because I have forgot my helmet more times that I can count.
  • + 7
 The only reason to not go Di2 is cost, and until you use it and really put it through it's paces you can't say a thing. It honestly solves every single problem that is associated with mechanical shifting systems that aren't related to physical chain/cassette wear. It works better in all conditions on all styles of bike, and it works consistanly.
  • + 3
 @D-Owen - yep, it's almost all about cost benefit. And that equation always depends on circumstances. If you're reasonably happy with 1x10 or 1x11 (because the range is sufficient for your use), the benefit of di2 is reduced compared to a 2x scenario. If your riding tends to come with lots of rear derailleur damage (lots of rock gardens, say) the cost expectation shoots up. And so forth.

Everyone's perception of value is different, too. So for some people, incremental improvements in shift quality would be far below other, more pressing investments they could make into their bikes, or their riding gear, or riding trips, or riding instruction, or other competing uses.

I'm stoked on DI2. Not because it applies to me right now (the cost benefit equation looks seriously marginal for my case), but because it can't help but push drivetrain development. Modern MTB drivetrains are remarkable in their efficiency, reliability, and resilience - and cost has come down, even as weight has dropped and range has increased. No front derailleur is huge in that regard, too. 'Good enough' (GX, X1, XT) today is way better than tip of the line a decade ago. Having more stuff happening electronically will benefit mechanical systems as well as the engineers learn more about how to make things work with smaller and smaller servos.
  • + 1
 ^^^This.
  • + 0
 It's also not helping that they have no product design skills whatsoever. It's ugly as hell. like an early 90s idea of high tech design. I would never put that contraption on my bike whether it were electronic or not.
  • + 8
 Which would I choose? None of the above when my setup is a lot cheaper. Setup right and there's nothing wrong with the system in place already.
  • - 18
flag Alias530 (Mar 3, 2016 at 6:30) (Below Threshold)
 Not everyone's goal in mountain biking is "the cheapest possible shit that'll work". Some of us went to college and can afford to pay for premium features.
  • + 18
 Cock
  • - 2
 Wow then you should pay you're self a brain transplant in that case Mr college lol
  • - 2
 @BTKMADDOG

"you're self"? Do you realize that means "you are self"?
  • + 2
 What's funny douche bag is that I didn't go to college, make a f@ck ton of money, and have a pretty sweet quiver.
  • + 1
 A wild troll appeared! What will you do?

Fight
Item
PKMN
Run

Run... You got away!

Good thing too because it's the Internet and playing a game of wallet and Dick showing is pointless!
  • + 1
 @milohead a little sensitive you couldn't get in to college?
  • + 2
 Sensitive I didn't overpay for a scrap of paper? Yeah you got me. Don't be a hateful troll cause your 2 year certification in cosmotology has got you turning tricks on Haight St.
I voice an opinion and you responded like a bitch
  • + 1
 @milohead - Your first comment about cheapness being the goal obviously means you don't have a lot of disposable income. You saying you didn't go to college only further affirms that. If you DO make "a shit load of money" without a degree, I'm assuming you do some kind of crappy manual labor that'll wreck your body before you're 50 while I'll still be sitting in a comfortable office making more money with not even 1% the effort.
  • + 5
 While I certailny won't be investing in MTB electronics anytime soon, I am always happy to see people pushing the boundaries of what modern tech is capable of. Don't like it? Don't buy it. But there's no point in hating on progress even if it isn't alway in the right direction. Any time someone makes a more competitive electric drivetrain it pushes manufacturers to improve pricing, weight, and performance of comparable mechanical equipment.
  • + 6
 So it's slower than a cable activated derailleur, not very ergonomic and is begging to get taken out by a rock strike...what's not to like???
  • + 2
 It's also a prototype that isn't close to being for sale yet, so, judging it's speed and ergonomics now, especially when the article mentions a few times that it will be completely different by the time it comes out, seems a bit pointless really.
  • + 2
 Then why show it now? It is worse to create negative speculation than to not show it at all.
  • + 1
 It isn't creating negative speculation. It only does that if you read the article and ignore the many parts where it says it is a prototype. By it's very nature it is an unfinished product still in development. If we never saw or heard of prototypes for any other products, then we would never know what was going to be released ever.
  • + 1
 Would Shimano or Sram ever show an early stage proto-type at a show that was nearly as half-assed as this? Is Microshift creating buzz by putting this out there?
If you are not that close to production, then you fall into the vapor-ware bucket...ala Speedplay Syzr. Those pedals were promised so long ago that when they finally did release, no one gave a sh!t.
So if it does come out completely different, and they are a long way from production, showing it now is pointless.
  • + 1
 That is utter nonsense. It only becomes vapour-ware if it never comes out, so that accusation is completely irrelevant especially as it is a tentative 2017 release. And yes, showing off an early prototype does create some buzz. You bothered to read the article . . . Well, I say 'read' but you wilfully ignored the repeated mentions of it being a prototype still. But you still clicked on it, and commented even. So job done. If they didn't show a prototype off, you wouldn't know about it at all. So again, their work is done in that sense. And pinkbike repoerted on it, so again, yess, the word that this exists is out there. Just because you personally disagree with that, does not make it less of a fact.

Also, yes, comparing the prototype showing abilities of sram/shimano to a company like microshift is a totally fair comparison. They obviously have the same production and marketing budgets clearly.
  • + 1
 'a first or preliminary version of a device or vehicle from which other forms are developed.' The very definition of prototype. So..... Exactly what this is.
  • + 0
 So the release of an early proto-type with clear short comings has got you excited for this?
Buzz means excitment or anticipation...neither apply here. The forums will not be filled with posts about it...no one saw this and though they need to get this when it's released (and yes, I get it will almost certainly look different when it does; irrelevant).
I've put more thought into responding to comments than the actual article. Maybe they will come through with a low-cost electric shifting system to rival Sram and Shimano in 2017. But based on this, I am willing to wager you.
  • + 1
 'The release of an early prototype' . . . . Dear god man, 'release'?! It is not released. It has been shown. Do you not understand what a prototype is yet?! I put the dictionary definition up there for you to see and read. You are labouring under some idiotic belief that they simply have to show off a fully working 100% perfectly ready for retail item. And you are massively wrong because of that belief.

Again, read the definition of prototype. It isn't meant to be perfect. It isn't meant to be ready for sale. It is a proof of concept effectively. And yes, I am more excited about a much more affordable option in electric gearing than what shimano charge and what sram will charge too. As always, more choice is a better thing for consumers. Especially when that choice covers much more price points.

Why do you keep on saying they have to make a unit to 'rival' sram and shimano? They are planning to sell for 1/3 of their price. So if you think it then has to be a genuine rival to their performance then you again are wrong. You are trying to compare the two biggest companies in gearing who have all the market to themselves, to a small company with no market share trying to bring a cheaper solution to people who can't afford the pricier gear. But no, a slight delay in a prototypes shifting means it is totally pointless doesn't it . . .
  • + 1
 I got the definition of proto-type...perhaps my bad for using 'release'...perhaps 'shown', 'displayed' would be a better word choice. Thanks though.
And I agree, choice/competition/options within the marker place is good thing.
However, when you say a 1/3 of the price, are you comparing it to XTR Di2, or the eventual XT Di2, which I would speculate could happen by the time Microshift release this.
Lets set the bar at current XT performance, that can be had from Chainreaction for half of it's price. Does this still have you excited?
  • + 3
 Never have I once changed gear on my bike and thought dam I wish this shifting was electric....
My 11 speed Sram stuff has not missed a gear once or required any real maintenance in the last 6 months and I just feel that they are trying to find a solution to a problem that really doesn't exist??! Electric dropper maybe but gears just seem a bit unnecessary in my eyes.
  • + 2
 If electric gears were the norm though, you wouldn't ever shift gear and think 'man, this would be better with a cable' either. Because you are used to the one option. It isn't a bad thing to have more options. Nobody is forcing anyone to use them anyway.
  • + 7
 Why go electric when you still have to install a cable?
  • + 3
 But wait till all your mates have electric and they start changing each other's gears wirelessly for fun!!!!! Utter crap!
  • + 4
 @squarewheel to address that question specifically: when was the last time you changed out wiring in your house, or car, because it go corroded & stopped turning the lights on?
  • - 5
flag squarewheel (Mar 3, 2016 at 7:46) (Below Threshold)
 When did i have to change a cable on my bike? I can't remember.
  • + 1
 @squarewheel that's what most people who don't perform adequate bike maintenance say... or maybe you need to shift more!
  • + 8
 hello rocks!!!!
  • + 3
 There was a time when mountain biking was about fighting your weaknesses and getting there. Now it seems that i's about how fucking lazy you can be with electric power. I don't like that.
  • + 6
 Yes, because nothing says fighting your weaknesses like cable shifters. "Wow, that guy has cable shifting, what a strong badass!"
  • + 1
 Pedro has it right! Seriously, must burn at least 6 calories over a very long ride those extra few cm of lever movement! Some folk will just find any stupid little thing to try and belittle stuff.
  • + 1
 @Pedro404 I was referring mostly to fact that you start with electric shifter and then ending with electric motor bolted to your frame.
  • + 5
 I did realize you tried to make a connection between electric shifters and e-bikes, but the comparison is ridiculous. Electric shifting is not a gateway drug to e-bikes, just as using a GPS or any other type of electronic device on your bike ride isn't.
  • + 1
 But don't our muscles contact because of an electric impulse, essentially making us electric powered?
  • + 0
 @Pedro404 I think it is actually. GPS etc. are auxiliary but changing gear is essential. Remember my words: you start with electronic shifting and you end up on a-bike which you have to plug in for several hours after every ride.

Being more serious for a moment: for me mountain biking was always about simplicity of used solutions. Changing gears with cable has been working fine for very long time. It's easy, cheap and you can repair it in minutes. Why would you want to switch to unproven and still very expensive electric version? At same point I'm sure that I'll have occasion to test that solution but I'm still not convinced that this is essential. If a person can't set up drivetrain with cable operated derailleur one won't do it properly with electric one too Smile

Are we, as a mountain biking community, have reached a point when "clean look" is more important than robust durability?
  • + 1
 @EnduroriderPL
"Why would you want to switch to unproven and still very expensive electric version?" I wouldn't. I would however switch to it when it's been on the market for a while and is way cheaper, which can't happen without it actually getting to the market first.
"...I'm still not convinced that this is essential" It's not. Just like any kind of shifting in general, or a suspension fork.
  • + 1
 @Pedro404 "It's not Just like any kind of shifting in general, or a suspension fork." - I won't agree on this one. For me reliable shifting and working suspension are essential while mountain biking. Of course I'm aware of single speed movement and rigid forks (I used to ride like that years ago Smile but I like to keep my knees and wrists in good shape.
  • + 5
 They don't call it micro shit for nothing
  • + 5
 Oh crap. Forgot to charge it. Can't ride. Perfect for slacker.
  • + 3
 Replaceable double A's. Takes away one excuse.
  • + 3
 Yep, those AA batteries are real uncommon things to find anywhere at all.
  • + 1
 I still don't understand why derailleur manufacturers haven't focused on placing the indexing mechanism within the derailleur followed by the shifter only being used as a lever to activate the mechanism. In otherwords, all your shifting gets done at the shifter, you rely on a cable to maintain its length in order to hold that gear. If the "Shifter" was build into the derailleur, you wouldn't rely on the cable to hold your gear and as a result you would get a more consistent shift unaffected by cable friction, cable housing bending and flex, cable stretch.
  • + 1
 Rohloff hub gears do this and, personally, I find it makes the shifting feel horrible. With the indexing at the shifter end you can click a gear and the system will shift when there is a low enough force on the pedals, with the Rohloff you can't move the shifter until you back of the pedal force so it feels awkward although, admittedly I don't have enough miles on one to get used to it.
  • + 2
 Shimano's first indexed system (Positron) was like this. It needed two cables to push and pull the derailleur between clicks. Second version used a 'piano wire' rather than a cable to to the same job.
  • + 0
 you could use a single cable and a cam. Use overall length of pull to judge direction of shift.
  • + 1
 And what about the weight? It seems to me that it is not going to be a feather!

For me the next step could be graphene based paintings, our bike could feed the system with the energy required. For wireless we only need time...
  • + 1
 The thing is, non electric drive trains, even mid level groups era these days work pretty darn good. I feel like these electronic drive trains will have to do something really special to get any significant amount of regular riders to buy in.
  • + 1
 Technology will win. Maybe not this paticular product, but something like it will. For years the top motorcycle experts hated anti lock braking. 1) To expensive 2) impossible to fix 3) not as good as an experienced rider properly modulating the brakes. Now the go fast guys wouldn't ride without them.
  • + 1
 I helped a friend put Di2 on his Tri bike. All I can say is that it would be perfect for mountainbiking. Perfect shifting every time. Everything was hidden inside the frame (a PIA to install) but once the high and low limits were set, that was it. Hell I have to charge my phone twice a day, I've got a Garmin that needs charging occasionally. I'm sure I could cope with charging a battery on my bike.
Hell the amount of stuff I take on rides now is ridiculous anyway. No more gritty cables, great for clutch derailleurs I'd imagine. My Zee is a beast to shift compared to non clutch 10speed stuff I have on other bikes.
  • + 4
 I would snap that thing like a raw spaghetti noodle before I even made to the trail head....
  • + 6
 Damn that looks cheap!
  • + 2
 I can't see the rear derailleur because of the DT Swiss shock obscuring it. Yeah, that was a cheap shot but, hey, I'm cheap.
  • + 3
 looks pretty good just needs some polish, although i'd be holding out for XT DI2.
  • + 2
 We just need a wireless bike where you don't even need to leave your couch you just put on a headset and drive the bike around.
  • + 1
 Me - "HEY! lets get a ride in before the rain comes through."
Friend - "No can do, I forgot to charge my drive-train battery after our last ride."
Me - :Spits in face and deletes telephone number:
  • + 4
 Yes, because nobody anywhere can find super rare AA batteries to use can they . . . .
  • + 4
 Next time, we need a biking robot ...
  • + 3
 ABS and TRC and system with braking force distribtion. and ESC too, of course.
  • + 1
 And a ctr,alt,del and win keys and reset button, on handlebar Big Grin
  • + 4
 KILL IT!!! Before he lay eggs !!!!!
  • + 3
 One benefit to electric shift systems would be for folks that have manual dexterity issues, some sort of disability.
  • + 2
 Also, with the small shift button type systems like the Di2 time trial stuff you have a lot of options for mounting on more unusual handlebar configurations. TT bikes, recumbents, tourers etc.
  • + 0
 I wish they had spent 4 years working on a gearbox than something we already have that is quality...di2. Imagine the game changing gearbox you could make with decent funding and 4 years....#justsaying
  • + 1
 But gear boxes have been worked on for ages now. AMD with all the ebike stuff in Europe, you can bet there's a lot of money being poured into investigating if those will create enough of an advantage. Problem is, traditional, mechanical drive trains are pretty good. Yes, a gear box could be better, but it will have a hard time being soooo much better that it blows the current standard out of the water. Especially since the current standard is still improving.
  • + 0
 Don't get me wrong they are good but they could be better and to me an efficient similar weight gearbox would be better. Think reliability, protection, and longevity. I suppose the one thing holding it back is frame builders jumping on the band wagon. Hopefully shimano are busy perfecting it, forget boost, longer and longer frames and adding cogs to casettes those are all incremental tiptoes forward a proper gearbox would be a leap forward and a game changer.
  • + 1
 Yes, they could be better. But on the volume end of performance MTB (what the magazines call mid-range bikes now, never mind that all our non-MTB friends think we're crazy spending this much money on a bike), you have USD 400 complete drivetrains. It will be a long time until gear boxes are at a point where you can get anywhere close to that on the weight/reliability/performance/price tradeoffs. As long as bike manufacturers can improve current bikes year over year with incremental tweaks (a bit of suspension tuning, a bit of geometry tuning, slight changes made possible by better tires, or better wheels, etc.), there's no real incentive for them to invest in the massive redo needed to make a gear box work - at least not unless they can come up with something that in its first iteration is competitive with what they have now.

I'm sure a proper gearbox could open up some interesting options for bike design. But it also introduces a bunch of new constraints - and does so in a central part of the bike, right where suspension components are fighting for space. Sure, not having a chain ring opens up some stuff for bike design in terms of clearance - but we're already pretty constrained as to clearance by pedal strikes, and for most riders chainrings hanging up (especially with the smaller rings used in 1x drivetrains) is not a big deal. Sure, having the weight of the drivetrain around the middle of the bike rather than a big derailleur and cassette hanging out at the back would make for better weight distribution and might benefit suspension performance - but then you also add a bit of weight in total. And then there's the efficiency thing (more friction loss than a well-maintained traditional drivetrain).
  • + 1
 Just a thought on something I read in another review on the pinion gearbox, it has 600% range compared to SRAMs 420%. Perhaps matching SRAMs range would make it smaller and lower the weight making it more competitive especially if people think 420% is plenty. Also they have a trigger shifter in the works aswell which may be a lot better than the twist shifter. I think that would shrink the size of the gearbox aswell making frame designers more likely to be prepared to use one.
  • + 2
 I see my self with a solder iron in the woods trying to fix that stuff, NOT.
  • + 2
 If your going to make shifting electronic. Make it wireless otherwise whats the benefit?
  • + 2
 Even then I don't really see the point myself. It literally brings no meaningful benefit.
  • + 4
 It does if you can throw barspins on your trail bike Big Grin
  • + 5
 @KertM As soon as you install those sweet wireless brakes you have heard so much about.
  • + 3
 O yeah I forgot about that....we will have to get rid of brakes
  • + 4
 Who needs brakes anyway? They only slow you down.
  • + 4
 I choose... Mech!
  • + 3
 A solution to a problem that doesn't exist
  • + 1
 Why make the batteries big enough to last 1k kms? Charging batteries isn't exactly hard these days. Small run times = smaller/lighter batteries..
  • + 4
 Why make the batteries big at all if it is very simple to do the charge mechanism on the wheel. Just place two little magnets on spokes (two for symmetry) and one very very little solenoid on frame on the same level as the magnet (in front of them) and place a thin little wire to the battery. And that is all. If it is done by manufacturers it could be very miniature and light and you could even don't see them. And here we go - endless battery until it become not rechargeable... So if for you the only problem in battery you will soon have it endless!))) Hope they will pay me something for the idea)))
  • + 2
 Ivan, why don't you do it? start sketching it man, it seems that you have the know how, a lot of people have proposed similar ideas for a long time but nothing has been made, the only thing I've seen is the big old cumbersome dynamos for powering lights.
  • + 1
 Thanks for nice words Narro2, but I work at a full time job as an electrical schematic designer and I don't have time to do this project right now... Also in spite of that fact that I am electrical engineer I have some ideas about mechanical bike parts ;-)... And I will definitely manufacture them later!
  • + 1
 Well never though id see the day department stores get 11 Speed bikes, and now they can get 11 speed Electronic! Sorry was that mean of me to say?
  • + 1
 Theoretically speaking of course, don't we already have electronic shifting on some level because bodies are essentially electric?
  • + 2
 You should avoid excesive shifting so it can hold for bit longer.
  • + 1
 Okey I understand who this works... when I post everybody from the other side of the planet is sleeping! Hahaha
  • + 1
 the day i get electrocuted helping someone trail side or in a shop is the day i stop working on bikes....
  • + 2
 I thought that said microsoft
  • + 2
 I need electric leg braces please
  • + 1
 And still this will come to market before Box components sells a single piece
  • + 1
 Sweet if it happens. Options are good, but I'll be keeping my cables until Di2 trickles down to XT though.
  • + 1
 The MTB has never costed too expensive to believe it has become a sport for the elite...
  • + 1
 At a first glance the article looked like it said Microsoft's 11 speed electric drivetrain, I was like what!?
  • + 1
 @simooo I just want no derailleur (and more than 1 gear!)

AUTOMATIX ^^
  • + 1
 Your derailleur has malware I suggest you take your bike to geek squad.
  • + 1
 I almost saw Microsoft, thank god!
  • + 2
 Microshift = Sramano
  • + 2
 ...or Sham
  • + 1
 sram wireless is the thing i want on mtb
  • + 1
 Sorry for bothering you, but is it really exist or you just want it as a wish? I just haven't see it in sram's details so give me the link if it exists. Thanks.
  • + 2
 It exists on the road already.
  • + 2
 Mountain kit is likely to be coming down the pipe.

www.sram.com/stories/introducing-sram-red-etap
  • + 1
 Thanks for information chezotron! Currently watching it....
  • + 0
 Now I need electronic disk brakes and a dropper post that will raise my the seat with me sitting on it.
  • + 1
 WOW but but is it waterproof and solar emp resistant
  • + 1
 Weight: TBA, in other words, seems to be FAT, very FAT like me...
  • + 1
 Why the wire?
  • + 1
 Kinda cheap looking.
  • + 1
 Sale!! XTR ^.^
  • + 1
 SINGLESPEEDS FOREVER!!!
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