Here's Your OTHER 12-Speed Wireless Drivetrain - Taipei Cycle Show 2019

Mar 28, 2019 at 3:28
by Mike Levy  
Taipei Cycle Show 2019


Dreaming of a cable-less drivetrain but AXS' $2,000 USD entry price a bit much for you? If you don't mind taking a gamble on the unknown and possibly unproven, Wheel Top's wireless derailleur and shifter might be worth having a look at. I hadn't heard of Wheel Top, either, but the Google does bring up a handful of their relatively inexpensive components on AliExpress, an online retail seller based in China. So not exactly SRAM or Shimano, then, but let's be honest here: They had me at wireless.

Details on the parts are thin, and no one in the Wheel Top booth seemed too keen to talk about the stuff, but I was told that they're planning to offer both 11 and 12-speed versions.


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This is actually a third-generation prototype, I was told, and while the quality (and target price) is clearly lower than what we're used to seeing from better-known brands, the prototype that I tinkered with was fully functioningish. The shifter moved the derailleur when you went through the gears, but there was an awkward and inconsistent delay between clicking the paddle and getting some action at the derailleur.

There was no chain or cassette, either, so who knows how it'll perform when pedaling loads are a factor, but it seemed too sluggish for primetime.


Taipei Cycle Show 2019
Taipei Cycle Show 2019
The lithium-ion battery clips onto the back of the derailleur. Sure looks familiar, eh?

Taipei Cycle Show 2019
Taipei Cycle Show 2019
The wireless shifter sports a dual-action paddle.


The battery is a lithium-ion block that clips onto the back of the derailleur, kinda like how AXS does it. No word on battery life, though. The shifter uses a dual-sided paddle that's either pushed or pulled depending on which way you want to go, and it has a built-in angle adjustment as well. It's likely powered by a CR2032 battery.

How much? Wheel Top thinks that the set will cost just a few hundred dollars when they start production this coming May, but you'll probably only be able to find it on AliExpress. So, who's going to take a gamble on this one?


79 Comments

  • + 121
 I feel like this technology should have been sorted out a decade a go. I know nothing about electronics but why so expensive and difficult to get right? The RC cars I had as a kid with Servos and speed controls seemed just as complex and that was 30+ years back.
  • + 27
 Get this man a medal.
  • - 3
 I gues 3 decades or more. As usual bike industry charge a lot for ancient technology, they not invented absolutely nothing new, ever in the short time it's existed as industry. Always copycat tech from well mature industries as car, motorbikes, an so on.
  • + 44
 I've used to race RC cars, and fly RC helios, the servos never needed the same amount of torque that is needed to shift a chain on the cassette. Have you seen the size of the batteries and how long they last? Have you seen the size of any of the high torque servos?

This is the problem with people that don't know anything about a subject but assume it's all the same.
  • + 2
 Shifting by new bright
  • + 56
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: Great point but c*nty ending.
  • + 7
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: rc servos are generally geared to be relatively high speed. I made a test rig at work to cycle a bunch of large electrical twist switches, torque on those was probably equal to shifting force at the mech. Just used a bunch of cheap, but high torque (slower, maybe 90deg per second), rc type servos, I got 50k cycles out of most servos before they died. That's just some hack messing about with very little clue, drive properly the should be no reason why di2 standard of shifting shouldn't be achievable at lower cost?
  • + 15
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: Sram also couldn't get hi-torque servos, so they had to convert high speed output to higher torque using their new revolutionary invention - tiny metal gears. Certainly no one could have thought of that 30 years ago...
  • + 3
 The first iteration of Di2 was shown in 1990. Not quite 30 years ago but a start.
  • + 2
 Mavic did this in 1992 with the Zap shifter
  • + 6
 I believe it's not the fact that the technology hasn't been around, it's because it's taken them this long to get it to the point where it works better than cable actuated shifting that's why we're just now seeing it. The price is so high mostly due to the research and development they've put into it, along with the additional pieces to the shifter and derailleur.
  • - 7
flag TheOriginalTwoTone (Mar 28, 2019 at 8:51) (Below Threshold)
 @Ian713: yea well that's why I'll never work in the corp world- no time for peoples feelings.
  • + 1
 This is like the tvs,cellphones and computers technology, IT IS THERE !! They just dont give it to us, they first make us buy lots of stuff, releasing “new technology” every year. Like the tvs, sure they have ready the 8k or 16k but first we will have two buy lot of *#*% before.
Sram could had sell this e tech long time ago, but first we had to buy all the new 12 sp technology.
  • + 1
 You could say this about everything on a mountain bike. Why didn’t we get disc brakes sooner. They became mainstream on automobiles in the 50s. What about hydraulic dampers? The ford model A had hydraulic dampers in the 20s. At the end of the day it has to make money.

This is what happened in 1989.
www.google.com/amp/s/www.buzzfeed.com/amphtml/taylorswiftincrediblethings/13-incredible-things-that-happened-in-1989

Most importantly Taylor Swift was born then. No body uses the internet.
  • + 1
 Why, just last night I was watching this : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zGkaPEJ-K8
First item up, :30sec in.....electric(even micro adjustable via App)..."only" 120gr...$400us
I haven't looked further into it as I don't really care...but have always wondered if this had been done and if not, why not
  • + 3
 On that same note, Fox Live Valve is ANCIENT technology in the world of active damping.
  • + 22
 What was the problem with cable actuated again. Oh that’s right...nothing.
  • + 5
 Yeah, I really don't see how electronic would be an upgrade in the slightest.
  • + 2
 @natemeyer: I mean, I don't ride it but you just have to try it to see the difference. You're like "Oh Yeah, this is great! but I will never pay for this"
  • - 1
 @natemeyer: There are benefits. You can shift under load is probably the stand out one.
  • + 2
 Cables stretch, housing gets dirty, slop and friction needs adjusting and replacement. Im all for not having to deal with cables.
  • + 1
 I totally see the advantages to this. If a wireless/cabeless shifter/derailuer came about for $300 I'd totally take that plunge. Never having to worry about cables, the ability to swap derailleurs between bikes and frames quickly, the cleanliness of not having to route cables. You could also potentially use the same shifter for different gear sets, so if you had a 10spd cassette laying around, you could run that, then upgrade to 12spd later on with a shifter option change. No more worrying about pull ratios.

The problem is, this stuff can't get cheap enough fast enough. I highly doubt there will be an NX Level AXS. So long as it's $1000, or even $800, or even $500, it'll be worth dealing with cables and housing.
  • + 3
 @lognar: and pressing a button is easier when you are tired.
I also just "upgraded" to 2x11 26/36 xx1 10-42 using syncro shift function automatically shift to small front ring under full load seamlessly (setup has to be dialed for this)
586% range little heavier but all on bb.
  • + 2
 @reverend27: u got a link for product or photo? Sounds interesting
  • + 1
 @Robbyc1979 How many times have you ridden the electronic drivetrains?
  • + 14
 I feel like calling someone through whatsapp.. That Annoying delay sometimes tho !
  • + 10
 "fully functioningish" you had me laughing at this one Levy.
  • - 1
 This "word" should cause some confusion amongst non north american readers. Made me laugh though.
  • + 6
 There are plenty of options no one in the west has on scope so far. for example "sensah" has a few neat looking mtb parts as well.... and as this guys come from sram, they might know what they are doing. might give them a try later in the season.
  • + 5
 Been riding since I'm 8 (BMX) then DH racer in the late 90's/2000's, to Trail/Enduro in my later life. With all the mud last season I bought a gravel bike and really enjoyed it. Just upgraded to the SYNAPSE HI-MOD DISC RED ETAP and it is incredible!!! No cables, wireless charge last forever and the most crisp shifting you have ever experienced.
  • + 1
 Electronic on the road / Groad is basically the high-end ($4000+) standard these days. Be it Etap or Di2 the shifting is just too dam good to look away from. If you think etap is crisp it just means you haven't tried Dura ace Di2..... I'm not saying its a massive improvement but rather just a subtle bit faster and crisper
  • + 0
 Congrats on the disposable income
  • + 4
 I think this is a market issue and not a technology issue. If you asked a mountain biker 5 years ago, "would you buy eShifting?" The answer might have been, "make this bike climb and descend better!". And so that's where we are, the bike's geo changes are starting to settle down, kinda like motocross bikes in the '90s. So now the market is wanting better components.

I think eShifting is just a stop on the road to better gearboxes.
  • + 5
 The shifter sure looks like a bell. Maybe that'll change once they are closer to production.
  • + 3
 There's quite an obvious random latency for now... if improved they might worth the look or even try. Why not.
@mikelevy still same question about wifi derailleurs, any info about a DH 7sp setting (actual 11 with stopper)?
  • + 2
 If they haven't managed to remove that lag in 2019, I doubt they'll ever be successful in making anything even remotely worth taking a look at.
  • + 5
 You have to pre-order any gear change as it takes forever. Weird flex but OK then...
  • + 2
 i'm not kidding-this is the future, and i kinda like it. think about how far esk8 has come in 5 years. the meepo/wowgo/koowheel boards are pretty functional for under $400. 5 years ago? not so much...
  • + 1
 Tapered steerer tubes, 650B/27.5", boost spacing... All stuff that the hordes said they don't want or need when it was new. I guess it'll eventually be the same with electronic shifting, but it will take time... And i'll continue to enjoy my cables until they become EOL.
  • + 3
 Sensah's stuff looks like they literally stole parts out of Shimano tooling ! sensahtech.com/srx
  • + 2
 XTR SHIFTER COVER MOLDS FOR SALE
  • + 2
 "SRX" Well, at least they're only one letter off
  • + 0
 Engineers are closing in on not being able to improve the functionality of bikes without doing stupid crap like electronic everything and eventually automatic everything. In 50 years bikes may come with lane assist. Maybe eventually the rider will just be a hamster in a wheel. Not me, I'll stick to manual and mechanical, thanks.
  • + 3
 One among many "almost but not really good enough" products sold on aliexpress.
  • + 1
 There aren't many gadgets that come onto the market in a perfect form. The winners are the ones that are first. Think of the first mobile phones and computers. It was the first ones that made the money and became established.
  • + 1
 We can make you 12-speed that is 75% as good as SRAM and Shimano for 25% of the price. We just copy what we make for you....so it win win for us! The wonders of the modern world!
  • + 3
 Al I can say is:
DELAYYYY
  • + 1
 Well they probably aren't charging too much, but I see a big potential for this to go off the rails.
  • + 1
 Id rather buy this 300$ Wireless kit that will work with ANY derailleur

youtu.be/-zGkaPEJ-K8
  • + 2
 Can you speed up the rebound on the lever. Must be cold in the room.
  • + 1
 Its insanely great it's got a 28.8 bps modem! Yeah? Display? Active Matrix man an million psychedelic colours.
  • + 1
 It will be taken up by the eBike riders and then after it improves it will trickle down to MTBs.
  • + 2
 Nice looking rear mech, not so sure about the bike its fitted too though?
  • + 3
 Well that looks crap.
  • + 2
 Which side of the wheel is the top?
  • + 2
 Functioningish......awesome. That is all.
  • + 1
 Levy, you gonna get one??
  • + 1
 It probably doesn't exist in the real world.
  • + 1
 The new and most awesome "magic shine wireless shifter" Smile
  • + 1
 Electric, batteries- problems As well as looking terrible
  • + 1
 Hi tech display they have set up for the show.
  • + 2
 That's called functional and no BS. Gotta love PBers, moaning about marketing all day long, yet when there is 0 marketing, still manage to moan that display isn't pretty enough lmao
  • + 1
 "So, who's going to take a gamble on this one?" No way Big Grin
  • + 1
 Tiso had 12 speed wireless road group in 2012...
  • + 1
 Can someone explain to me why you would want electric shifting?
  • + 1
 I tried them. They feel nice and clean. The bike shop said they're easy to tune. But I don't personally own them.
  • + 1
 Hmm, looks like it might have a little delay?
  • + 1
 Electrifying news!
  • + 1
 Feeling wired over this.
  • - 1
 Stop covering stupid copy from AliExpress.... EVERYTHING that came from there is pure shit...
  • + 1
 I once bought a dress shirt from Ali. Got the XXXXL. Could not get my forearms through the sleeves. Co-worker got a good deal. True story. #shoppingonali
  • - 2
 the battery placing is really dumb, would rather strap it onto frame and use a cable again...
  • + 3
 Why do you say that? Genuinely curious, especially given that AXS puts the battery in the same spot.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: It looks few times bigger/heavier than AXS bat (24g), but of course I may be wrong, I haven´t touch that. It just looks really awkward and easy to lose, honestly if I would be about to bring something simmilar, I would look for a way how to hide the battery safely into chainstay guard.

Also, what is the round trip delay in the remote signal?
  • + 4
 and then you could use the chain slap hits to charge the battery
  • - 3
 Somewhere in an underground bunker, the lawyersuits from SCAM are sharpening their pencils and checking their calculator batteries...
  • + 9
 Might be hard to enforce this one, though...
  • + 2
 To do what ? China doesn't recognize patent en copyright so they can copy everything as much as it pleases them. That's what happens when you decide to go produce your good over there to make more profit on the short term, few years later the Chinese have learned how your stuff work, reproduce it and sell it for a third of the price, few years later their product is seasoned, whatever is fixed and it is still cheap, now it's gonna be tough to keep selling your entry level.
  • + 2
 Sadly China doesn't give a hoot about anyone elses intellectual property.

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