Component of the Year Winner
Shimano XTR Di2 DrivetrainThis year's Product of the Year finalists included Schwalbe's ProCore system, 9Point8's new dropper post, and Shimano's XTR Di2 drivetrain. All of them help advance the sport in some way, whether by preventing flat tires, eliminating dropper post maintenance woes, or delivering perfect shifting every single time.
Of course, there can only be one winner, and that honor goes to Shimano for their introduction of electronic shifting to the mountain bike world. XTR Di2 takes the lessons that Shimano learned from their electronic road gruppo over the last six years and applies them to a drivetrain that can withstand the mud, water, and grit that accompany mountain biking, all without missing a shift.
Shimano Di2 XTR Drivetrain
The exorbitant price of the XTR Di2 drivetrain prevent it from truly disrupting the industry, but it's a sign of things to come, and it's not unreasonable to think that electronic shifting could someday be the norm at a certain pricepoint. As battery life has increased and the size of electronic components has decreased, it's becoming more and more feasible to integrate them into a mountain bike. Shimano's no stranger to alternative drivetrain technologies (anyone remember Airlines?), but electronic shifting looks like it's here to stay, especially since SRAM is rumored to be throwing their hat into the ring in the near future.
Our time on Di2 made it clear just how impressive the shifting performance of an electronic drivetrain can be, and Richard Cunningham put it best in his long term review
when he wrote,
|The bottom line is that Shimano's take on electric shifting will make you a better rider, and that is true whether you are a top pro or a rank amateur. No. You don't need it. Yes. You will want it.|
Precise shifting, even under load, and the ability to operate both a front and rear derailleur with one shifter make XTR Di2 an appealing choice for riders in search of drivetrain perfection, and for that it earns the title of Pinkbike's Component of the Year.