While our sport may be about singletrack, flow, being out in nature, and many other things to all of us, the technology that we employ to enjoy all of those things is also a big part of mountain biking for some people. There shouldn't be any shame in being a technophile, either; you're not a weirdo just because you got riled up about the V10 29er
or Cane Creek's new Helm fork
. But many of even the most enthusiastic gear dorks seem to doubt the idea of batteries and servo motors being put to use to make our bikes better.
If you're still arguing that electronics can't improve our steeds, you're dead wrong; Shimano's XTR and XT Di2 drivetrains offer an atomic clock-level of shifting consistency
that a cable operated drivetrain simply won't ever be able to match, even if the price, weight, and also the installation of the groups leave plenty of room to improve. Fox's Live Valve electronic suspension
is also showing that there's a place for computer-controlled action when it comes to your fork and shock. Sure, one could contend that the advantages don't yet outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to the above components—I'd agree that they certainly don't for most riders—but the performance of the latest battery-powered gear is enough to convince me that the benefits will soon become too great to ignore, especially when it comes to system integration.
Back in April of 2013, we ran a poll asking you how you felt about electronic components on your bike
. The result? Readers overwhelmingly voted against batteries, with only 829 votes out of 7,272 saying ''Yes. I want it all—electronic shifting, suspension, seat post. Bring it on.
'' That's just over 11-percent of you, which is less than I would have guessed. There were 3,383 readers, or nearly 53-percent, who said that electronics have no place on a mountain bike, and 2,610 readers (35.8-percent) were undecided.
Now, four years on, it's worth seeing if opinions on electronics have changed at all.