Do you want electronics replacing cables on your bike?
If the question of this week's poll sounds familiar to some of you with long memories, that could be because we asked a similar question back in 2013
, and then again in 2017
. Far from telling the same old story, what's striking about those two polls is how much attitudes changed.
In the first poll, only 11% said they wanted electronics on their bike; in the second, the number of electrophiles jumped up to 27%. The most popular answer in that 2017 poll was "Maybe. Ask me again in another four years." Well, we're a little late but here we go.
The most significant change since we last asked this question is the arrival of SRAM AXS
in 2019. (More recently, SRAM also released Flight Attendant
to control suspension electronically, but I think
that's likely to remain more niche than electronic shifting.) Whereas Shimano's Di2 system made installation trickier, AXS introduced a huge advantage: it's wireless. That means you can say goodbye to coaxing derailleur/dropper cables through the frame; just bolt on the shifter and derailleur, set them up using an app and you're off. And according to Kazimer's review of the GX version of AXS, "the wireless components take the win [compared to mechanical GX] when it comes to the speed and ease with which the shifts occur." I haven't put a huge amount of time into any one AXS drivetrain, but I'm inclined to agree.
When it comes to wireless dropper posts (a concept we've seen before with Magura's Vyron
), it became possible to share one dropper between multiple bikes or fit a dropper to a DH bike that lacks internal routing for a dropper.
But on the other hand, you'll still have to recharge the batteries every few rides (an AXS drivetrain has a battery life of about twenty hours) and replace the coin cell battery in the shifter/remote once per year or so. Plus setup and adjustment require you to get your phone out, open an app and connect to your bike via Bluetooth. That isn't everyone's idea of a good time on the bike.
So, how keen are you on electronics now?