High Voltage: The Inside Line on Electronic Shifting and Suspension

Sep 24, 2016 at 20:23
by Vernon Felton  
Views: 14,984    Faves: 20    Comments: 17

When Shimano rolled out electronic shifting in the form of XTR Di2 a couple years ago, it struck me as a bit...pointless. True, it shifts brilliantly, but cables already work pretty damn well and, really, who has three grand sitting around to blow on a drivetrain? Recently, however, a host of new battery-powered components (including a much-more-affordable Shimano XT Di2 drivetrain) have hit the market, and that has me wondering....

Why are companies cranking this stuff out? What are the benefits and the drawbacks? And do people want this stuff?

We took the opportunity at Interbike to ask those questions. We spoke to Shimano, SRAM, FSA, KS and Magura. We also talked to everyday riders. The end result was three hours of moving pictures. Yeah, damn. We cleaved 90 percent of the footage away, but this is still no quick-and-dirty "shredit". Conventional wisdom holds that no one will watch a video that runs longer than 3 or 4 minutes. Let's see if we can defy the norm.

My goal with this video isn't to say that electric shifting and suspension are "the future" or, conversely, "just a flash in the pan". The entire genre is still very much in its infancy; to proclaim anything would be premature. I'm hoping, instead, to spark a conversation about how we riders want to interact with our bikes.

Do you want to stick with cables and knobs or do you want to ditch them for batteries and apps?


Film by ThreeSixteen Films


MENTIONS: @shimano / @SramMedia / @Magura / @pivotcycles /




254 Comments

  • + 91
 I'm literally going to go crazy if I have to charge another item I'm my house ! Even if it's only once a month it's still once a month too many.
  • + 13
 Serialised components is what we need because it only takes one serial number to catch a thief or its a dead giveaway if there scratched off.
  • + 16
 Don't buy it?
  • - 4
flag chyu (Sep 25, 2016 at 16:15) (Below Threshold)
 I read Shimano and SRAM will launch powerbanks too.
  • + 14
 @hardtailrider2013: People made that argument towards 29ers and 650b. Now 26" bikes are becoming more and more rare. If all companies start to move this way and phase out mechanical drivetrains, what then? Then we have no choice. Will they? I severely doubt it. I think these will stay more niche products. But the possibility is still present.
  • + 1
 @Wesley-Swipes: I agree with you until you doubt electric taking over. I don't think it will be as quick, but I can't believe it wont happen...
  • + 4
 @VwHarman: it will never take over
  • + 1
 @markar: maybe not, but my guess is that it does. Got any reasoning why not or just opening?
  • + 8
 @VwHarman: "I have to charge my bike"....."oh wow, is it electric?"......"no, it's so I can change the gears"...........deadpansilence
  • - 4
flag abzillah (Sep 25, 2016 at 23:57) (Below Threshold)
 Stop buying vibrators then, and just get a dilldozer.
  • + 0
 @richard01: Google itsmybike briliant stuff, got my bike registered yesterday with computer chips spread around my bike by @ChilternBikeBarn
  • + 7
 For me - only mech.... Electricity is for nerdsWink
  • + 2
 @Wesley-Swipes: I ride 26" wheels (forever!!!!). But on the 27,5" frame. This combination is "gold" for my type of riding, weight, tall and that is why I am glad that (with the help of 27,5" standard) I have opportunity to have it. Also there are a lot of manufacturers who produce 26" wheel for DH and any kind of aggressive riding which I can buy. So anyway we always have choice.
  • + 2
 @Wesley-Swipes: Oh, sorry for bothering... Here is another fact about 26" wheels look: www.pinkbike.com/photo/13980925

So I think that mechanical derailleur will always exist. And electrical will be just as an option.
  • + 14
 I'm going to go hug a singlespeed hardtail now.
  • - 4
flag VwHarman (Sep 26, 2016 at 6:31) (Below Threshold)
 @ivankvkharkiv: good luck with your candlelight and fire cooking.
  • + 2
 @Kramz: I have to charge my light to ride my completely mechanical bike at night. Everyone who spouts off that electronic shifting is the devil doesn't have any tangible reason for why it's bad. Lots of people batching that the battery life must be terrible and you always have to charge. Yet anyone that has di2 says life is killer and charging is a seldom encountered hassle. You don't have to like the e shift craze, but at least form a sentence with a complete thought. That way we can talk and possibly both learn from each other. I might be too much of a hippy on my little island out here for forums and message boards...
  • + 2
 @VwHarman: well.. actually no, I know what it is look like but it is not like you've described. You think I am the one who don't like the progress and don't like to try something new but it is not true.
I like everything to be automatized - temperature control in my flat, money payments for my my mobile phone and my flat rent, payments on internet stuff and so on...
It makes my life easier.
I like to ride my bike without any maintain as long as it is possible. I have been riding my bike for two-three month without any maintaining (charging) at all.
It makes my life easier.
I can tell you even more... I am an engineer and I now a lot about technologies in different "parts of life". The whole truth is that we (people) have an opportunity to let us be free from work at all. There are a lot of agriculture machines that can raise any harvest we need there are a lot of machine tools that can produce anything we need. So I like things that makes our life easier!
But charging my derailleur does not makes my life easier...)))
But anyway I like new stuff, progress and I like to have choice!
  • + 6
 @ivankvkharkiv: I think empirically there is a lot of data to support charging time to be a moot point. Sure you have to charge it like, once a year or something. But compared to saving time not having to re-tune for "cable stretch" and degrading/corroding cables and housings, Di2 takes much less effort overall from the owner. Literally the definition of set-it-and-forget-it, which seems to be your metric of value.

Oh, I've setup and used Di2 and I'm an engineer too Wink
  • + 1
 True, but it is only a matter of time before batteries become more powerful, and devices use less power that you will rarely need to charge anything.

Manufactures are releasing electronic components because they know it is the future. Electronic shifting will cost less than mechanical shifting some day, be vastly easier to install, more reliable, faster, lighter, and integrated with your other components.

Think about the use model, think about setting your bike into climb mode with one click: 1) your shock locks out 2) your fork goes into low travel, becomes stiffer 3) tire PSI decreases 4) your BB height raises 5) seatpost raises fully 6) etc

I would not be at all surprised if all of this done automatically based on trail profiles and GPS, settings could be changed on the fly for every bump, jump, dip, and rut. Even differently per day depending on the weather.

Does this take some of the skill out of knowing and doing these things yourself? Sure it does, just like every other mechanical advantage discovered by humans does, but those who know the principals behind them will utilize them best. These things will offer a funner experience, in the end who cares what your geometry, compression, dampening, and PSI are? Messing with all of the technicalities takes away time from riding.
  • + 0
 @InsaNeil024: "Literally the definition of set-it-and-forget-it, which seems to be your metric of value." - awesome! And yes it is my "metric of value"...
It is nice to hear such a reasonable comment.
If you have already used and setup DI2 and you are an engineer. Then I believe you if you say that it worth an attention.
But as for the "re-tune for "cable stretch"" check this information I have wrote for some previous themes to answer people's questions:
www.pinkbike.com/photo/13948470
www.pinkbike.com/photo/13948469
www.pinkbike.com/photo/13948468
It might surprise you tooWink

Good Luck!
  • + 1
 @Wesley-Swipes: @Wesley-Swipes: Yep, if companies stop making 26" bikes it's because they are not selling well, everyone was shitting on 27.5 and 29 wheels when they first came out and now it's on every bike, and people like it. Now, I don't think e-bikes are going to take over soon because it is a much bigger change, but I don't see why people are so against it, it's just a fun bike, stop being affraid of change, if they do suck, no one is going to buy them, and they will stop selling them, that's how it goes.
  • + 2
 The future of electronic shifting!?
Maybe they will introduce us to the app that controls the shifter, drop post and the suspension, you will never know and we should comand it just by the voice. But are you really in need of that?
Voice commands:
Shifting Up, shifting down
Dropper post Hi, Medium,Low.
Suspension Climb, Trial, Soft.

Easy as that.
Welcome to the Future guys.
  • + 1
 @VwHarman: I don't know, growing up I was decent at biking, and rode a lot, and generally my main concern was just to keep the bike working (the derailleur broke off of the bike for a long time, and I had to shorten he chain and run just 1 gear on the cassette). I just don't want to have to deal with any more fragile expensive parts than needed.
  • + 1
 @InsaNeil024: I was kind of thinking the same thing. You won't have to deal with cable tension and all that other stuff. Just set it and forget it. And it will instantaneously shift on command. No skipping or any slack going from gear to gear. Seems like the way to go.

As for any potential problems on the trail, I suppose they could happen. I used to think, "Well, what if I'm out in the middle of nowhere, and I forgot to charge my battery?" Yeah, that's a potential pitfall, but then again, what if I'm out in the middle of nowhere and my derailleur cable snaps (which seems to happen to me at least once a season)? Same difference. Equipment can fail either way.
  • + 2
 Scenario: Hi can I please speak to the IT department. "Please Hold" ...10min later. Hi this is David (definitely outsourced individual) "How may I help you" "My shifter electronics are bad and I can't fix them" "Okay please hold - please send them in, we will send them back in 2-weeks". "We'll I'm in the backcountry / traveling / in a small town / don't have a mailing address / no LBS near me." "
  • + 1
 @ivankvkharkiv: That's cool! And I agree, cable quality is very overlooked in shifting performance.

@TheR: That's true. And maybe as price drops it will be more common for even smaller shops in the middle of no where to have parts.
  • + 1
 @ivankvkharkiv: what? 26" wheels on 27.5 frame? You running 165mm cranks to keep from strikes? To each his own.
  • + 2
 @garrettstories: That is a good question... Yes I have some problems while I ride but keeping my cranks horizontally when it is necessary prevents from strikes. It is not the best solution but after 1-2 weeks I used to it. So anyway except this imperfection everything else is perfect in this combination...
  • + 1
 @VwHarman @VwHarman It's already taken over road, why wouldn't it take over MTB?
  • + 1
 @dthomp325: it really hasn't, if you go to any national event here there are at most 3 bikes with di2, they all dont like it!
  • + 1
 @hardtailrider2013: You're an idiot. :s
  • + 1
 @VwHarman: because it's solving a problem that doesn't exist, the extra money and hassle involved with it turns me off
  • + 1
 @VwHarman: the reality is it solves a problem that doesn't exist, a complete waste of money
  • + 1
 @hardtailrider2013: I'm an idiot, I didn't realise that thanks
  • + 1
 @markar: I actually don't disagree with that at all. All I'm saying is that whether it is a needed change or not, it will take over. The technology in batteries and small servos will continue to allow the development of the tech, and more brands will integrate as time moves on. A lot of the advances we see aren't really needed, but the cost becomes irrelevant eventually.
  • + 2
 @hardtailrider2013: sorry but i don't think its that simple.....many manufacturers dropped 26" wheeled bikes from there catalog from one season to the next. And with all advertising focused on telling everyone why you would ride so much better on the new wheels they effectively destroyed the market for 26" wheels. Unfortunately the majority of people are buying with little knowledge and effectively only consider the plus points or by new for new's sake (the majority of bike buyers will always be the more casual market). The only half decent study that i have seen into the merits of wheel sizes between the three showed 29's best for a lot of riding but 26 was best for downhill orientated trails and although not terrible the 650b was behind these two sizes. i am not against change but i truly believe most companies would love to kill of mechanical shifting if they thought they could get away with it and move everyone to there new dearer system its just that most manufacturers don't have a system ready yet. heck right now some of the manufacturers interviewed here stated that mech shifting would be about but in a less competent cheaper form. In other words you can forget having bling like xtr, xxo type mechs with continuous development and incremental improvements and they will likely just stay the same year after year until they can be dropped altogether (they will be seen as being shimano alivio like components against electric shifting) and then fickle people will move away from them as they will not want to be seen riding such "poor" components and therefore speeding up mechanical obsoletion.
  • + 4
 @rabidmonkfish:

What I don't get is why people think a simple servo connected to a button is "complicated", especially when the mechanical alternative is an intricate ratchet mechanism in the shifter that needs to pull a precise amount of cable at the right leverage ratio to move the derailleur, and that leverage ratio has to be consistent throughout the entire range of the cassette.

Engineering-wise making the device small enough and durable enough is a challenge, but the basic concept of an electronic derailleur seems like a much less difficult problem than a mechanical system. If derailleurs didn't have 100 years of prior art, there's no way a modern engineer would pick a mechanical implementation for the task.
  • + 1
 @dthomp325: that may be the most eloquent bluer sion of what a lot of others have tried to say. You sir, nailed it.
  • + 1
 @VwHarman: I did? Wow awesome
  • + 2
 @markar: I think your argument is very analogous the resistance to indexed shifting. The pros 'didn't need it' and it faced a lot of initial criticism. No one technically NEEDS indexed shifting, but it has improved all of our riding experiences for the better. Also, there are many arguments as to why Di2 is more reliable than mechanical, like the fact that it's water proof. I'm not saying one way or the other, I'm just trying to make sure we have a practical conversation based on facts vs an emotional one based on fears of the unknown.
  • + 1
 @dthomp325: what about gripshift then. simpler than both but yet failed to find favour with the majority. I ran it for years and always thought it was a great setup but as my newer bikes came with x0 trigger shifters i left them on but the simplicity of gripshift beats out electric.

i will likely get maguras elctronic dropper post as i do not have god routing of one of my bikes and am currently using a lever under the saddle job at the mo. Yes there are advantages to be had in electric items but i would like to see both mechanical and electric do well and be available. I think when electronic shifting becomes wireless like srams road system then it will be more interesting. That wire on the di2 rear mech always looks a little vunurable to me but i guess it could be hidden out of the way easily enough.
  • + 70
 A man who buys something he doesnt need is stealing from himself.
  • + 15
 Man, that's deep. I like it. It's definitely going into my verbal rotation.
  • + 37
 A man who walks through a turnstyle sideways is going to Bangkok.
  • + 3
 @EricHarger: i say it to myself in my head whenever I look at new bike stuff.
  • + 6
 A man who fishes in another mans pond often catches crabs
  • + 7
 Man who scratches ass should not bite fingernails
  • + 4
 Man who go to sleep with itchy bum wake up with smelly fingers.
  • + 1
 Man who stand on toilet high on pot! Man who fart in church sit in own pew.
  • + 1
 @Monkeyass: man who piss in wind end up with wet crotch
  • + 39
 Stfu shimano and give us a gearbox
  • + 82
 Stop whining and buy a Pinion
  • - 6
flag chyu (Sep 25, 2016 at 14:59) (Below Threshold)
 That's what they say about 26 too.
  • - 7
flag Remmn (Sep 25, 2016 at 15:17) (Below Threshold)
 You really think that gearbox is gonna work. Prolly $250 service charge to even look at it
  • + 13
 @axleworthington: BUT GRIP SHIFTS
  • + 3
 @Remmn: service?
  • + 10
 @Lookinforit: grip shift at the moment but imo this is a perfect use case for electronic shifting. They could make shifters in any style they want then
  • + 4
 @unobtrusiveluke: I am already sold on gearboxes but I really just like my paddles. Electronics are cool, I don't really want them but I think they're cool.
Above all though, I just want something that shifts right every time. I'm tired of my current drivetrain being very finnicky. Some day everything will be perfect, and I can't wait for whenever that is and however we do it.
  • + 2
 @Lookinforit: gearbox is the future no doubt, current drivetrain is dumb, making it cost 3grand is extra dumb, only pros and dumb suckers with a ton $ buy this crap
  • + 5
 Gearbox and electronic shifting to get ride of the twist shift, make that affordable and I'm there!
  • + 1
 I agree!!!! But a Shimano gear box would mean millions of dollars lost in all the chains and cassettes we buy semi-annually. So Pinion it is for now I guess.....
  • + 1
 @Lookinforit: If you're really that into the gearbox then effigear gesrboxes are for you. They are still paddle sram style shifter compatible. Check out their website.
  • + 35
 "hasnt been cable-actuated stuff on your car for... 30 years"...... Yeah..... that is false
  • + 5
 Well, depends highly on the car and manufacturer. Ok, 30 years is maybe a *little* bit too much for other than high-end cars. But if you consider automatic transmissions, hydraulic brakes + electric parking brakes, electronic gas pedals - its all real and widespread on mid- and high-class cars. So the comparison to Shimano XT and higher equipped bikes is correct.
We're obviously still far away from Alivio Di2, and it might never happen - just like there will be cable operated gas pedals, manual transmissions and parking brakes for a long time on cheapter cars.
  • + 10
 @theobviousfaker: Yeah I agree, I just had to point out how inaccurate that guy's statement was. For example, the new Subaru WRX has a cable-actuated transmission. A ton of newer Porsches use cables as well, and they are anything but cheap.
  • + 7
 @shredjekyll: I think the point about cars being computerized is bang on. Talking about which mechanical components are still integrated in a machine which has 15-30 computers on board is splitting hairs. The real question is about service. Service Service Service. Is the move to electronics a money grab or not? All of this talk about user experience...let's talk end to end experience, including when you break it, how to replace it, charge it etc.
  • + 0
 It's been many years since a throttle cable was the norm. I remember when motorcycles started using fly by wire and people were freaking about that. With time those systems became much better, beating out traditional cable systems in many ways. Although perhaps exaggerated it's a sound comparison.
  • + 2
 @theobviousfaker: when would you ever want an electric parking brake??? What happens if your battery dies?
  • + 1
 edit; wrong comment tree
  • + 1
 @FlowMasterO: it's not held in place by battery powered fairies. It is electronically actuated. It still uses fairly conventional means to actually apply clamping forces and stay put.
  • + 6
 @VwHarman: but they are shit because when you want to do a handbrake turn, you flick the switch and it just bongs. Useless.
  • + 3
 I wish to god I still had cabled window winders on cars, manual winders FTW - sick of electric windows failing and having to pay fortune to et spares/repairs, sometimes old way is good way, plus all these little manual bits add up to some form of physical activity!!!
  • + 0
 @makdthed: What ? Pushing a button instead of pushing a button...
  • + 2
 @FlowMasterO: I have it on my VW Passat and it works just fine......stays locked on, and if your battery is flat, your not going anywhere....I also have the Magura dropper post.....barley needed to charge in in 3 months....Awesome......Bring it on....
  • + 0
 @DARKSTAR63: Same for "power windows", "power locks" and "power seats" on cars. Working over a decade ago on door design, it was cheaper, simpler and more functional to integrate electric only operating windows. Having to kludge in the mechanical equivalent to give an "option" to the consumer was grating from an engineering point of view - servos and controls could go where a) they provided the best leverage with the least binding or other variables leading to potential failure and b) the control could be where best actuated by the user vice where it had to be for the purpose of it just working. And yes, over time the electrical equivalent was far cheaper to the car company than the mechanical one, despite where it resided on the "option" sheet. It cost them money if you didn't go up to the model with power windows!

I'm totally ready for shift by wire. The idea of having my current double but with only one shifter pod is something I look forward to on my next bike build.
  • + 30
 I think it's funny that Vernon is questioning who has 3 grand to drop on drivetrain components. Uh, the same people who are dropping 3 grand on a frameset and another 3 grand on a wheelset........
  • + 4
 Remember when enve first launch.
  • + 5
 Yeah, I am a bargain basment bike rider at this point. Didn't expect for prices to soar so much after the huge early 2000's hike.
  • + 25
 I don't like electronic shifting because I kinda hate electronic shit. I'm not against it but I just have enough with my laptop, the rest of the time I like to feel disconnected of the electronic stuff, that's why I spend my money on bike things and not in changing my old basic cellphone from 2012. Riding makes me feel more free, lost, aware, disconnected from the internet and the world, I feel that any electronic thing "soak up" what I feel while riding. I guess I could get used to it, but if I have the choice I rather have mechanical shifting.
  • + 26
 I like my bike because it is a mechanical machine.
  • + 6
 @panaphonic: yeah mate. I leave my phone at home because, like, getting away from all that shit is the whole point
  • + 2
 in the year 2000 i bought a canon camera, all mechanic: still working well.
in the year 2006 I bought a canon camera, all digital. doesn't work for 3 years, I don't even know how to fix it.
Same will be with detailers.
And when I go mountain biking, I never take any electronic devise, not even to listen to music, I only want to have a moment free from tech bullshit I must to deal with on everyday basis. I have never even took a picture on a trail because I never have any devise with me.
  • + 2
 @cfern: I hear that. I would like having photos of rides but not enough to actually do it
  • + 2
 @cfern: I still have a film Nikon FM2 - fully mechanical, no autofocus, nothing. It still takes great pictures, but I rarely use it. Because my 7 year old Nikon D300 (digital capture, battery powered) is a much more consistent photography device. Faffing around with film and development reminds me that sometimes new allows me to enjoy the experience more (more than 24 exposures before reloading, instant confirmation I didn't screw up the exposure/focus leading to less time behind the lens, much MUCH easier workflow in post). If an electronic shifting drivetrain lets me enjoy riding (one shifter, but I have two derailleurs), I'm all for it.
  • + 2
 @DMOS: you could try a 36 exposure film?
  • + 18
 When will these guys understand its reliability in currant products that we need not new stuff that will also fail. Having had 3 KS posts blow up seeing them putting loads of R&D into a electronic post when thier current stuff lasts 4 months before it becomes a pogo stick is really really frikin frustrating.
  • + 11
 I just see it as a useless great idea. A designer wet dream of bikes without cables. Maybe for racers at the top of their game looking for the slightest edge, otherwise i don't see the point.
  • + 8
 I have a mechanical dropper post on my singlespeed fatbike, friction shifters on my steel gravel bike. And i have as much fun on those bikes as I do on my superduper all mountain bike. With hydraulic brakes, suspension, seatpost and 10 cable actuated gears. We arent enjoying the sport because of more technology, its just making things easier, which is what mountain biking isnt supposed to be!
  • + 4
 There's many forms of mountain biking. I'm on a rigid SS right now and loving it. But I do miss my Bronson as it allowed me to enjoy different terrain. Just as challenging, but moving the challenge to a different part of the mountain. It's too varied a sport to say what it should or shouldn't be.
  • + 7
 @krisrayner: it should be mindless consumerism disguised as innovation.
  • + 9
 180° South
Do we really need to tap the grid even more just to go for a ride? Yes it works and it works well but do we really need it to enjoy our shrinking wilderness
  • + 2
 Dynamo hubs to charge it all. Although I guess it takes the grid to make the hubs......
  • + 1
 @Lugers: I mean I understand it takes a lot of the grid just to make a bike but why take even more when it's not really necessary? Besides when your battery dies two hours from the trailhead (because you don't have Dynamo hubs) or your shifting mechanism fails how do you ride out? It's easy enough with a cable system to adjust to a usable gear to get you out of a jam. Is Di2 easy enough to trouble shoot in the field?
  • + 12
 Less gears, more beers!
  • + 4
 ^this guy gets it!
  • + 9
 Just get out and ride your bike. Enjoy and cherish what you have... So simple and so hard to do.
  • + 5
 Di2 is the best thing I have used to date that gives me the desired range I like on my trail bike. I hear and understand why it is not for everyone. I think about my drivetrain far less with it, it has proven to be durable and has provided quicker and more precise shifting. It is also far more stupid proof that is given credit for. My 1X on my all mountain bike irks me every ride. It jumps gears when ratcheting over obstacles, lacks range (not Eagle) and is slow and awkward in comparison.
  • - 9
flag DirtyDee (Sep 25, 2016 at 14:33) (Below Threshold)
 You own a 'trail' bike and an 'all mountain' bike, you are the perfect candidate for Di2! I'm sure you can't wait to fit it to your Enduro, XC and fat bikes too.
  • + 2
 @dirty deep Who gives a shit if he makes more money than you and can afford more cool shit. Fking SJW. Your probably 15 years old...
  • + 9
 @Slavid666: You are* (I can't help it).
  • + 0
 @Slavid666: I think you just proved yourself the lesser half of that equation.
  • + 9
 @DirtyDee: I have a DH bike, a hard tail trail bike, and a full suspension trail bike. All three of my bikes individually cost more than my car. Does not make me rich, and definitely does not make me a candidate for electronic anything on my bike
  • + 3
 @weebleswobbles: I think, from a global perspective, it definitely makes you rich
  • + 2
 @Monkeyass: ok fair enough. I do agree, My statement was not to flaunt, it was more to make the point I don't have the latest and greatest and I have to work for what I do have, as I imagine most of us do. Thanks for the dose of humility
  • + 1
 @weebleswobbles: No worries :o) wasn't trying to be a dick...I'd just watched a news article about Syria.
  • + 1
 @Monkeyass: cheers I did not take it that way. I did step back and re read and realized my post sounded pretty spoiled. Thankful for what I have. Happy trails
  • + 5
 Interesting stuff. Even if not for everybody, every bike or every budget, electrical shifting (and more) is here as an option. Won't hit the masses yet with their current price, but it will go down.
But Vernon, I predict you will achieve your goal on pinkbike in no time:
"I'm hoping, instead, to spark a conversation..."
Now let's see how that goes. Will be fun.

Shoot...
  • + 4
 Just keep the tech industry out of the bicycle industry, please.

Most greedy bunch of extortive bastards that modern capitalism has ever seen (talking about software shenanigans here). The ability to manipulate product functionality post sale is just too much for weasles to resist.
  • + 1
 Nailed it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 4
 Some marketing mumbo jumbo in there, but there are points being made. However, reliability! I was a mechanic for many years. Actually, I was a really good mechanic for years, but you can't raise a family on $12 an hour.

When I build a new personal bike from the ground up for myself or a family member (or upgrade to the next gear count) here is how it goes. I put it in the rack, do my magic with MY tricks and then I go for a short ride. I force shifts and run thru the gears like I have no clue what I'm doing. Then I turn the barrel adjuster a 1/4 turn, I'm good for 3-4 years so long as nothing gets bent, meets a stick or goes under water. I've ridden 8,000+ miles on the same parts and cable/housing (with new cassettes and chains every 1,500 miles) I literally don't worry. Anyone can jump on any of my bikes and just go. I also successfully run a 2x and a 3x system with no dropped chains or miss shifts.

The only hesitation I have with electric, charging, "riding out the ride" and price. You can't fashion a shifter out of a stick for a broken cable or mangled derailleur 7 miles from home with electric. And if you did wrap an E-derailleur, I wouldn't always be able to run out and buy a new. Even online, an XT on sale, $175 maybe? That's not cheap. You can buy 2, 11spd XT rear cable derailleurs at full price and still buy a 12 pack and a frozen pizza with the extra cash for $175. Hope electric is not forced on us... I'm really good with making old stuff work though, so I'll be underground, MadMax style. Wink
  • + 8
 Who knew that Zach Galifianakis worked for Shimano?
  • + 5
 But the SRAM guide is right on topic. Appreciate what seems to be a honest genuine opinion. Good? Yes!
Mandatory! Hell no!
You need one? YOU decide ( with veto power from your bank account, or loved half)
  • + 4
 To all the people saying that you don´t need it: the same was said about front suspension 25 years ago, the same was said about rear suspensions 20 years ago and the same was said about disc brakes 15 years ago. How many of you ride without suspension and disc brakes? Do you need it? NO, actually you don´t!! But it makes the ride a lot more fun AND safe.
  • + 22
 maybe I'm missing something here, but how does electronic shifting make riding more fun and safe than a standard mechanical drivetrain?
  • - 1
 Absolutely agree, I for one have been around when ceramic coated rims and xtr v-brakes where the $h!t. I ride a carbon everything bike now and love it. Personally it pains me to here the bike industry almost always apologizing for the advancements that they make, be it tire sizes, one by drive trains, dropper post, disc brakes, etc. Electronic shifting, suspension, bike!!!!! All these innovations are next gen stuff. Yes there are always haters, no you don't need them, yes they initially cost more. They will in time be at or near the price point for the masses to afford.
My next bike will be one that incorporates all the components in one cohesive package, Pivot is on the right track and more will follow.
I don't need it I just want it.
  • + 5
 @Raffe - you are tripping if comparing 2015 saint and 1998 cantilever, with 1998XT drivetrain with 2016 XT Di2. Really? What would you rather ride: a 1998 rigid bike with Di2 or 2016 Enduro bike with 1998 XT? I chose the latter. Putting equals between brakes and shifting is waaaaaaay off
  • + 2
 When you are used to something, you find all reasons in the world NOT to change it in a finger snap.
It takes some vision to find real new evolution (and not incremental improvement), and it takes balls to make it a reality.
Among all innovative ideas, a lot will not work, the other ones are called progress.

Haven't tried it, but I'm curious to. Though even if it gives fantastic shifting, no way I put $3k in that. I'll let the dentists pay off R&D costs.
  • + 5
 @Coyotecrash: What i can't understand is what easier shifting is supposed to add to a ride. I've ridden a lot, and I've never complained about the force needed to effectuate a shift. It never occurred to me.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: No WAKi of course not. I´m comparing it with the first RS´s, Manitous`s and Zochis. They felt like pogo stick because they had elastomer inside (to keep the weight down, duh!).
I´m comparing it with the first disc brakes. Remember those? Sorry buy they were not that great Smile They worked good when it was dry but when it was wet they were not much better then cantilever brakes. And they needed constant bleeding.
A few years down the line these products are great.
Electric gears shifting just feels great and give you a better shifting experience. Was the gain/feeling justifying the price a few years ago? No, not for me at least. But now when price are dropping it´s starts to be justifiable. And In 5-10 years I bet you we´ll all ask our selfs how the hell we could shift with wires Smile

PS And guys, remember you do not NEED 99.9% of the shit you own Wink
Specially not a bike. You WANT it because you want to have fun Smile
  • + 2
 @Raffe: I had the privilege to own HFX-9 and it was waaay better than the best V-brakes one could have at that moment (2003). I hear the "people were sceptical to disc brakes as well" argument every single time someone is sceptical towards some new thing. No, improvement in braking cannot be compared to improvement in shifting or making wheel a tiny bit bigger. Cockpit set up, Braking and suspension are the most crucial bike handling features. You could easily race EWS on Alivio shifter and rear mech, but you wouldn't do anything on Alivio disc brakes and Suntour XC fork.

SRAM XX1 has truly revolutionized MTB drivetrains not Di2, through large cassettes and Narrow wide chainrings. Shifting finesse is some third level of MTB related necessity and is also extremely personal. To me the best shifting experience ever has been delivered by 9 speed Sram X0. Kling! Klang! Klong! It was making noise, it was shaking the whole bike, you knew exactly how many gears the chain has jumped through. You were 100% sure that the gear is in. That was what I call a freaking feedback. Yes some people like it soft, be my guest. And yes I did ride Di2 Ultegra. Meh.
  • + 3
 @Raffe,

Your comparisons aren't correct. You are comparing true innovation against marketing. Front and rear suspenison ADDED something to the bike that wasn't there before. Disc brakes, same thing. Electronic shifting is a DIFFERENT way to do something existing on a bike.

A more valid comparison is something like a coil spring versus an air shock... Or more to the point the original non-disc hydraulic cantilever brake.

I think the real losers here are the brick and mortar bike shops. These new marketing gimmicks added a ton of money to the cost of already expensive bikes.

This makes an Internet ( canyon, yt, commencal) purchase a more attractive option, and introduces another level of near useless micro-standard "evolution."

These days, I vote with my wallet, think globally, act locally and try to keep my current bike , serviced, and maintained by my local bike shop as long as possible.
  • + 3
 I've been mtn biking for almost 30 years. I'm also an engineer in the bike industry designing and manufacturing some of the "elite" level equipment that gets made fun of on Pinkbike.

That being said, I don't want any f*cking electronics on my bike. I really love riding my bike, and not dicking around with electronics. I don't even like it when one of my stravafag friends has shit on his bike that beeps every time we pull over or something.

I really wish people enjoyed riding their bikes as much as they do jacking off their electronic gizmos.

Maybe I should move to the woods in BC?

cheers
  • + 3
 I think ( Options ) is key. As one ride rider stated if we are not moving forward we are not moving. There is something to be said about doing old school. Cantilever brakes, friction shifters and no suspension. But that same individual that wants to maybe occasionaly ride that most likley drives a car built in the last ten years. The one product i want electronic is my seatpost. Not just the elimanation of it being cable operated but motorized. Being able to program the positions I want it to stop at and the speed it travels. Think about being able to tap a button once your seat drops quickly to the first position, tap it twice it drops to the second position or if you press and hold th button it drops to the lowest postion all while the rider is standing. No need to drop your butt. Then to beable to raise it at a slower rate in the same manner. This is what I want to go totally electronic/motorized.
  • + 3
 I can't wait to get electronic shifting as it took me soooo long to learn how to commit to a shift mechanically, I was just in that 'shall I, shan't I' mode, finger hovering on the trigger, unsure of whether to go for it or not, this will be such a game changer. Honestly don't know how I've managed to persevere without this in my life.
  • + 2
 The comment regarding manual automotive transmissions versus automatic may not be directly applicable, but hits home for me. My wife and I both drive manual transmissions and prefer them. As a corollary, I prefer the feel and simplicity of 1X cable actuated bicycle drive trains. They are reliable and field serviceable without much effort. Having ridden road bikes with Dura Ace Di2 and MTB's with XTR Di2 I wasn't impressed and did not feel it added anything to the experience. I look forward to demoing a bike with eTap, but honestly I am quite pleased with my current mountain and road set ups (XO/Rival). Keep up the great work, Vernon.
  • + 2
 I'm all in on drive trains, specially wireless. For suspension or droppers, hell no for the simple reason that none of the bike suspension components are nearly reliable enough to be controlled electronically. I've tried the Fox IRD stuff and it felt and looked very much tacked on and just cumbersome. If a company is going to go with an electronically controlled suspension, then it needs to be designed that way from the ground up and not tacked on to an existing design.
  • + 2
 i can appreciate the electronic shift's technical superiority to a cable-operated system, but both are equally susceptible to failure which isn't unlikely in a sport like mountain biking - especially if you ride technical terrain or fairly aggressively. The cost of replacement of said damaged components will likely swing more than a few riders back to the old tried and true 'low-tech' derailleurs.
  • + 2
 Great stuff!
What happens when the rear derailleur blows up.
Its still prone it being hit by rocks, being pulled by chains and getting sticks and other things jammed it.
All of which has happened to me and was easily fixed with mechanical solutions.
So, what do you do in that case?
How about a true gear box in the rear hub, that sounds better to me!
But, I like the idea of it always being precise and changes gears with less effort!

For the suspension I have mixed emotions as I like to tune and retune my sus to match my ride.
But I have met way too many riders riding bikes right out of the store without any tuning as they are aimless on how to set things up. So, if one day there was a push a button and it automatically sets your sag, rebound and compression based on the riders weight and style, then ya its pretty cool for many! The only way to get there is to keep innovating!

RideOn!
  • + 1
 @nikoniko I have been riding Di2 this year and as far as chains, sticks and small rocks go the derailleur actually has load sensors in it to avoid damage to the derailleur. you can see it when you put it into the stand and shift through the gears with out peddling, it will only go two gears before there is too much side load and it waits for that to decrease before it moves further. Same thing when small sticks get jammed into the chain and cassette it will automatically move and get ride of that side load. I have had this happen.

Saying that I still managed to break my rear mech during a 24 hour race when i kicked up a pretty large branch (about 3" diameter) on a downhill section and it cracked the outer carbon plate which the same thing would have happened to a mechanical derailleur. I replaced the broken plate and without any other adjustments the bike was shifting perfect again and I have not had to touch it since.

Battery life once a year charging!! I am pretty sure that if you take care of your bike in the winter you can remember to bring the bike in to charge once though the season.
  • + 1
 @jrastories: WOW thats super cool, that answers a lot of questions right there! Yes, I always get sticks and other things stuck in between the chain and derailleur, so knowing it has some sort of sensor makes lots of sense! Yes, that too has happened to me, I guess if the load is strong enough and the stick is big enough it will still break.
But with a mechanical derailleur you would have to readjust everything!

Once a year charging, thats awesome! Thats something they should be talking about more, don't you think!
Even if you charge it every 6 months to be safe you will never run out of life!
Thank you for the good information buddy!
Its sounding better and better!
  • + 2
 I like the interview. The industry is like, "we've made it for those who are into it and for those who aren't (or those for whom it is too expensive) we've still got the mechanically actuated alternative". And most of the customers interviewed are like "it might be nice but I haven't had enough time on one to form a proper opinion". I like that. If the industry feels like developing something new, you can't stop that. If the customers find out it is not for them, they'll tell. But is good to be open minded.

Personally I don't think it is for me. But that's more due to my own limitiations. I may be fairly capable with mechanical stuff, but not so much with electronics and computer based stuff. So working on an all mechanical bike seems less stressful to me, which is important. As these electronic systems are so much more complex hence expensive than their mechanical counterparts (as the friendly SRAM guy wholeheartedly admitted) they won't completely blow the alternative away. It won't happen like it did with the wheel size. After all, a 27.5" rim probably isn't so much more expensive to produce compared to a 26" wheel. As for those saying the industry killed 26" I'd say nonsense. If you really want 26" then buy 26" stuff and it will remain big. Look at what Shimano did in 2003-2005. They introduced rapid rise shifing. People didn't want that and went for SRAM (causing it to rise quickly). Next generation Shimano turned it back to normal again. Shimano had their axle mounted rear mechs for Saint and Hone. I thought it was good (still running the non rapid rise axle mounted Saint mech from 2007 or 2008 or so) but many thought otherwise so they ditched that as well. Same for the oversized Saint centerlock interface. I never gave Shimano Airlines (pneumatic shifting) much thought, but apparently it did't appeal to enough to actually buy it. The whole statement that the industry is shoving new stuff up our throat is nonsense. Just because it is being presented doesn't mean you have to munch.
  • + 2
 IF a manufacture put the proper amount of R&D in, to me, the ultimate setup would be a lightwieght 10 or 11 spd gearbox style hub that was wirelessly shifted thus eliminating broken/bent derailleurs and cables. The battery on said system should be powerful enough to last a minimum of two weeks worth of hard riding everyday or a month+ with less riding.
2 cents
  • + 1
 It's crazy how many people have an opinion on every new technology that comes out. Should companies (especially the big ones) be researching/developing new ideas: yes. Does it matter if that is electronic/mechanical, aluminium/carbon, makes pedalling easier/makes descending easier, red/blue: no. We only have the option once the options exist. As long as we're not forced to change (can keep getting parts that fit any bike), it's all good.
  • + 1
 I loved my XTR Di2 Setup. The shifting is on another level. The thing that I greatly disliked about it was the fact if I broke something, I am out quite a bit of money but if you can afford Di2, that shouldn't be an issue. But lets face it. Nobody likes to break anything expensive. I will try XT Di2 if my next frame is Di2 compatible. Still, even with the Di2, theres something about the cheap XT cable drivetrain that makes you feel good. Its probably the fact you can get a whole setup for less than the price of the XTR Di2 Rear Derailleur. Either way, I am for innovation, even if I cannot afford it so long as it delivers great performance and Di2 does.
  • + 1
 as a wireless i'm all for it, as electronic with cables as is di2 i see no point since you still have to put those cables somewhere so waiting to see who's going wireless shifting for mtb, as for dropper posts revolution is going to come when it can go down without any pressure on it
  • + 1
 I don't like charging every ride I dont like charging diff batteries. When suspension is electronic and all the things use one single charging port total, and it doesnt cost 2 grands, and it lasts more than a ride - then i will be fully onboard with electronic. Til then cables for me
  • + 1
 The DI 2 batteries go a long time between charges. I charged my cross bike when I got it and again a few months later even though the charge indicator was green because I thought I should. Eight months later and lots of rides it still shows green. If I had cables I would have likely changed them a couple times by now. That takes longer than pushing both buttons, seeing yellow and plugging in a charger overnight.
  • + 1
 The motorcycle world is going thru a similar change. Motorcycles with computer controlled damping/spring rates, traction control, 6-axis anti-lock/skid, etc, show up on the more expensive bikes, and really do make for a better riding/performing motorcycle. It's also trickling down to many lower priced bikes where you see ride-by-wire, instead of a traditional throttle cable. Many in the motorcycling world look to this technology as a double edge sword - namely, who is going to know how to fix this stuff, or even get parts, to get a 15 year old wunderbike on the road again? It's something older 'analog' motorcycles don't have to deal with. But, it's all heading this way, because bike component makers don't want to get left behind in the tech, since it does deliver the goods performance wise, we'll be seeing more and more of it.....Just wait, electronic tire pressure adjust for your mtb.....
  • + 1
 Step one is electric shifting, step two will be automatic shifting. Once a rider can cover the same ground quicker on a automated shift equipped bike the market for then will grow, volume will increase and cost will come down.
  • + 1
 Nobody has ever went: "Hi customers, should we make an E-shifting group?" They just made it and sell it to people. Like dropper posts, like disc brakes, like boost. So sorry nothing to see here. "Hello young man, my name is Shean how about a PLUSh tyre? A fatter vershion of your favorite tyre shat is not a fat tyre? Would you buy one from your daddy? If you shay yesh and be a good boy I may make you one, yeeeesh, uhm-aaaahm..." Is electronic shifting an improvement? - yea. It solves a genuine first world problem.

And that label "Early adopters" - Jesus Christ, do they give a medal for being one? Because it sounds as dorky as it probably gets. Everytime I hear "Early 650B adopter" I see a 45 year old dude on Comic con meeting his Babylon 5 buddies. The only time being an early adopter sounds cool is when you are a teenager being into vaginal sex.

Cool video anyways! Big Grin
  • + 1
 If electric shifting will become the shit to have! Everyone will get it or it will be on their list to get it! Road or MTB is not a must, it's a hobby.. we buy this stuff for our own reason, but 9 of 10 we want the best what's available despite if it actually works.
  • + 1
 in the year 2000 i bought a canon camera, all mechanic: still working well.
in the year 2006 I bought a canon camera, all digital. doesn't work for 3 years, I don't even know how to fix it.
Same will be with detailers and other components.
  • + 1
 Im not for or against electronic shifting, I just think its completely unnecessary and "perfect" shifting adds very little to "great" shifting. I would only consider it if it was around the same price as a normal component set.
  • + 1
 Electronic suspension control is what I was hoping to see more of. Forget the shifting - which works regardless. More info on Fox's Live Valve, Magura's eLect (full bike), Lapierre/Rockshox e.i.Auto.... These are things that should really improve the ride quality. I'd like to see them tested and reported on!
  • + 1
 "do people want this stuff" - lol, no, they don't know they want it but they will buy it when presented with it

End of the day these companies have the stats to look at, they know what and how much people will spend, so yes, people will buy them, you only have to go into the local LBS and see what people are dropping on new bikes to see that there is money and buyers all ready to part with their cash and strap there new shiny toys atop their new shiny Audi!!
  • + 1
 Great bit of work here, Vernon + PB!

My biggest issue is the consistent "well, for people who don't want to think" sentiment.

Yes, you should be thinking about it. Dumbing folks down with smart technology never ended well for anyone.
  • + 2
 I have no problem spending $$$ for the best cabled group right now, either xtr or xx1. If electronic ever comes down to a similar price point then I'll go that route. It just hasn't happened yet though.
  • + 1
 Personally, I'm happy about all this new stuff coming out as it makes the perfectly good mechanical 10sp stuff so much cheaper. XT 10sp is fit and forget. I don't have a qualm with electronics or more gears but I see little in the way of performance benefits to warrant the extra expense.
  • + 1
 I want to know if repairing the electric drivetrain will cost more or less...replacing sure looks costly...

Battery life..battery materials used are still not the best,and certainly won't be amazing in bikes for a while...I care about reliability and even more so,durability and being able to fix shit on the fly out riding...shops need to put them on demo/rental bikes
  • + 1
 I just don't think it makes sense to put electronic parts on my bike.

I tried a Di2 once in my life and it worked perfect. But so did the electronic suspension system on the Lapierre Spicy until water came in.

Electronic parts just make bikes more vulnerable to the elements. The advantage is really small.

Why is Sram and Shimano not willing to change the whole market. Just look at the Zerode and the Pinion gearbox. It is possible to build a working gearbox and the bikes would be a lot more durable. Suspension would work a lot better too. I think they just earn to much with broken or outworn parts. When riding Enduro or Downhill my rear derailleur gets hitten by rocks frequently. How good is a torn Di2? Its good for Shimano because it costs so much. Why not get rid of it?

Gearbox would be the better option by far. But somehow they don't want this.
  • + 1
 It's a great idea and I am all for smooth and thoughtless shifting but the industry needs to do more with getting the derailleur out of harms way for mountain bikes. If I am going to drop this much money on a derailleur, i better not have a rock punch it off. I like mechanical shifting because i can buy a cheap derailleur when i break it. Disc brakes somehow miraculously avoid damage but who hasn't wrecked a derailleur? I'd drop the money if i wasn't scared of getting it ripped off by a rock/branch/squirrel/etc. With 1x becoming the standard, the long cages hang out even more. 1x's are popular because there is less to worry about, less to rattle around, and less to break. I love my 1x but the derailleur is becoming too exposed.

My final word, push forward with electronics (smooth and thoughtless shifting) but get that derailleur out of harms way!
  • + 1
 30 Years without any cable actuated components in a car, what is this guy from the future? My car's from 2004 and it has the following components cable actuated: Trunk, Hood,Gas Tank lid, E-brake,Gas Pedal,Cruise Control,clutch.....I find it more economical replacing a 10 dollar cable over a 100$ electronic switch that does the same job as a cable, But if you have the money for it why not. The only difference between cheap components and expensive components is price they bot do the same job at the end of the day. !CHOOSE YOUR CONVENIENCE!
  • + 1
 it is like the arrival of the quartz watch that took over the mechanical ones But in the case of mtb electronic will gain popularity only if the price goes down My honest opinion we need to keep it mechanical I just cant see myself trying to fix a circuit board instead of replacing my cables and housing
  • + 1
 Thanks Vern, but I can do without a 17 minute bullshit buffet about another mindless MTB industry fvck up.

All the wasted R&D that went into this could've been put towards further improving gearboxes, establishing standards & moving the industry in the right direction. Vern, why are they cranking this crap out? $$$ & that's the ONLY reason.

The only advantage to sticking an even more expensive & complex stick/boulder hook on the back of your bike for the end user would be to be able to spin the bars on a geared bike with no cables or hoses. We all know that most of you fvck wits that would willingly by this worthless junk ain't doin' no barspins or tailwhips, so it's fvcking stupid. It's even further made stupid by the fact that the issue could be addressed & solved hydraulically.

The right thing to be doing is working on hydraulically actuated gearboxes, but we won't be seeing anything like that from $hitmano or $CAM unless a smaller but better company is tenacious enough to fight back & cut through all this bogus crap.
  • + 1
 Hey Mike Vernon,

thanks for the really interesting video at first.

Regarding Di2: I've ridden a road bike with Dura Ace Di2 - best shifting ever, no question. You can pedal as hard and slow as you want to, try everything to ruin the shift, and even if you shift front and rear at the same time in those situations the derailleurs don't even complain. It just works flawlessly every frickin time, no matter how hard you try to wreck it.

Second thing is: The independence of the big, clunky shifters. It never occurred to me that they were big and clunky.. but seeing how perfectly it works, thinking about just pressing a button which i could theoretically position anywhere I want .. why not?
Look into the past: Shift and brake levers sometimes got into each others way. Some combinations were impossible to setup nicely. Then the manufacturer worked hard to optimize the ergonomics. And I'm not just talking about MatchMakers and I-Specs - newer brake and shift levers are generally designed to be able to position them more ergonomically, even when using shifters and brakes from different companies. So why not take the leap and have even better ergonomics with electronic shifting?

In the end, we're probably going to see a lot of shifting pushed through the OEM market and ultimately those bikes will be sold second hand. More people will start loving it. Will it replace mechanics? Probably not. Just as much, as 1-by-drivetrains will probably never completely replace double rings (especially because you only need one shifter for a dual setup with electronics!).
  • + 7
 Mike Vernon?
  • + 1
 If money for electronic shifting and suspension were not an issue or consideration ... and on par, or at lease close in cost with a traditional mechanical system I would say a definite yes please.

What excites me about it is the flexibility you have by being able to program either your suspension or drive train.

Suspension .... easy adjustment of how you want your fork or shock to feel / react .... could it get to the point where your suspension could add or subtract air pressure too. I don't see why not.

It just promises so much more for a rider who like and appreciates tuning options on their bikes.
  • + 1
 Run time on a system/battery life?
Ruggedness....like if the derailer nails a rock and the inners get shook?? Or constant jarring, like what happens when you mountain bike....
Will they include a cable back-up option if there is failure in the electronics??
  • + 1
 As an electrical engineer that's spent time programming automotive transmissions, I can't deny that I want electronics on my bike. That said, my 1x11 drivetrain works pretty awesome already. I'm unlikely to spend extra cash on my next drivetrain for better shift indexing alone.

For me, electronics just have a little more development needed. The two main areas that need more development for me to buy in are system integration, and suspension functionality.

With cluttered cockpits, and endless cable routing headaches (both cable rub on frame and components, and compromised performance), moving to integrated drivetrain, suspension, and dropper post controls would make a massive improvement. This would reduce the number of cables and their bending radius at a minimum, and with the inclusion of wireless systems, could make bikes cleaner than internal cable routing with less maintenance hassle than external routing. Win, win! Then there's all the data logging and analysis potential when connected to your phone. You could see what gears you used on a particular Strava segment, or in combination with a power meter, find out if you're using the most efficient gear. Better yet, why not let your bike shift for you? It is smarter than you after all.

Of course this is all easier said than done because it would require all the different components to be designed to a certain set of communication and power standards and all share a common power and control system. For this reason, I expect that SRAM will be the first company to produce such a system because they are the only company in the world that produces all 3 systems.

Suspension functionality, the other area for improvement would be an even harder sell for me. To date, even the most advanced prototypes (Fox Live Valve) still only digitally open and close the low speed compression. I haven't tried a system like this, but I've read it actually works really well. But is that really all we're ever going to get? Just an automatic climb switch? That's pretty rudimentary control over for such a complex component. If manufacturers could develop products with analog control over high and low speed compression, and at least 1 rebound circuit, we could tune suspension to different types of trails. One setting for flow trails, and at the push of a button, another setting for rocks and roots, and a Cane Creek style climb setting that modifies both compression and rebound. Add in some accelerometers, and you'll have Fox Live Valve, only with better feel over a wider variety of terrain. Add a wheel speed sensor, and the tune could automatically adapt to get the best tune at that speed. (Gwin's tune would start to make a lot more sense if you could go as fast as him) That's just scratching the surface though. Precise control and accelerometers (or other sensors) for feedback could be used to assist the user in dialing in the perfect tune and detect degraded performance much like the Shockwiz product that SRAM just purchased. Better yet, put accelerometers on the frame and axles, and the suspension would be able to react differently when the rider pushes down on the bike compared to a bump pushing it up. The front and rear suspension could even work together as a system to help keep the bike balanced. Of course, now we're talking about full blown semi-active suspension, and the limitation here will be the rate at which the hydraulic circuits can be controlled.

As with before, I suspect SRAM will be a frontrunner in this aspect. Fox may have the more advanced prototypes at the moment, but I'll take the Shockwiz tuner over a full time Live Valve any day. After all what's the point in spending thousands of dollars on suspension components if they're set up wrong. The correct tune is going to beat the incorrectly tuned high tech suspension every time.
  • + 1
 Great content, good discussion, asking the right questions, speaking to interesting people, whats not to like... Personally I haven't the money for electronic shifting or suspension, but if i had, sure I would buy it. It's evolution, and I ride a rigid monstercross bike, mostly so wtf do I know...
  • + 1
 As a mechanic I take offence in being referred to as a "monkey" when it comes to ability to tune a cable actuated derailleur. I fix poorly tuned derailleurs at least twice daily. I must be a pretty smart monkey.

re: the charging of electronics.....if it goes dead while you're riding you're about as smart as a 16 year old with a Bugatti Veyron you're not in that league.
  • + 2
 This should be a staple show for pinkbike. Approaching the principal trends in the cycling industry with a neutral perspective and just seeing what the experts and laypeople have to say. I thought this was good.
  • + 1
 It was a masterstroke to get Vernon into PB. Well done everyone involved; not least Monsieur Felton.
  • + 1
 IMO might as well be an E-MTB when using electric solutions other than GPS, cameras and lights! There is already too much of a technology war going on in the MTB industry and it all adds to not only price but confusion over what is best for the sport.
  • + 1
 being on a fixed income, I would stay with what I have. 2012 575 Yeti XT. If I had the cash I would go with E shifting. but would probably wait to see how they are working out. Yeah I still have 26 and they work great; )
  • + 1
 I gotta give props to Duncan Riffle for having such a convincing argument. His responses were the most well thought out and actually got me excited about it. I'd give electronic shifting a shot.
  • + 1
 I get it especially for 2x drive trains where you can then have 1 shifter and auto trim the front one as you go across the cassette. For 1x transmissions I think the argument is far less compelling
  • + 0
 Electronic shifting is great and all but while Shimano has been messing around pushing something nobody wants SRAM has been eating their lunch and pushing them out of the OEM market with single ring setups people actually want.

SRAM is going to beat them to market with 12 speed electric that is truly wireless and Shimano will respond with a second generation of a crappy dropper post. Shimano can't even do brakes properly now. (XT M8000 problems) and Saint hasn't been updated in five years with nothing on the Horizon.

People are going to look back at electronci shifting as when Shimano really lost it.
  • + 1
 Servos need to be reusable to get the replacement cost close to mechanical derailleur replacement. If the cost to replace a busted derailleur was withing 20% of a mechanical group I would consider it.
  • + 0
 My cross bike has Ultegra DI2 and it works very very well. I would say marginally better than the XTR 1 X 11 on my mountain bike. Electric advantages are that you'll never suffer from a dirty cable. It always shifts the same. But it costs more so if you damage derailleurs a lot it might not be such a good idea. While I like my DI 2 on the cross bike a lot, I'm not about to go electric on the mountain bike. I don't find the shifting that much better.

Electric suspension? No. Because I usually ride rough trails so my shocks are wide open most of the time. If your bike bobs it's probably a shitty suspension design or you need a coach. While I do occasionally select trail settings it's mostly because I can and think I should but then I usually forget and ride in descend mode. I don't find that it hampers my ability to ride on pavement t on my way to the trails at all.
  • + 1
 I'm completely sold over Di2 for road use, where power ratios and stuff are crucial. For mtb when you stop spinning on the way down I just can't justify the price/weight/assle penalty of electronic.
  • + 2
 Leaving a smoke trail in the Alps, those guys looked to be having a good time! Good one Vernon, great article/video. I'll stick to cables my self.
  • + 1
 There was a time when shifter cables were new-fangled... www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIZhSNdO_Zo

I am not very excited about electronic shifting, but it will happen, and I'm sure I'll eventually accept it.
  • + 1
 Have to say, I'm a buyer at any price if it has no wires, it's lighter and it can take a beating in the bike park/shore winter. I've ridden the Ulteggra Di2 on road and the shifts are crisp. It's an awesome new product.
  • + 1
 Cool video but electrnics sucks... it s just bout marketing cuz really who care about that.And what people gonna do with uses battery...... it s at least not very nice for the nature....... more and more garbage
  • + 0
 Electronic drivetrains and suspension is the future. Just look at the auto industry. Electronics are continually being integrated into the engine, suspension, interior, exterior, etc. Virtually everything. It makes driving easier, more efficient, faster, and safer. Having your suspension know what's going on with your drivetrain and vice versa can allow the bike to adjust and predict condition. No more needs for lock outs buttons cluttering the handlebar, lighter weight so you can focus on riding and enjoying.

From a maintenance standpoint, it's basically set it and forget it. Once it's set up, no real need to adjust it. There's nothing to stretch or corrode or fray. If you ride a lot or in bad conditions, each time you change cables it's at least $50 for the cables themselves and labor to adjust. Rinse and repeat 2-3 times a year and it starts adding up. If your only excuse is that you have to charge something, put down your cell phone and go back to the rotary telephone.

I think SRAM nailed it with eTap. Wireless is the way to go. No cables to run. The frame no longer has to accommodate cable and engineers are free to make major design leaps. Can't wait for their MTB version. I think if SRAM has invested in R&D for eTap it's pretty much a lock to come to mountain. Just needs to be sealed better and increase durability. Should be out in next couple years especially now that Shimano released XT Di2 and lowered the price point of electronic shifting.

Basically, I'm all for it.
  • + 11
 and is your car ready for an adventure? I doubt it. and what do cars that are used for adventures have in common? they don't have useless electronic gimmicks. since cars have that much integrated electronics they are, from a maintenance and longevity standpoint, crap.
  • + 11
 Electronics in cars are awesome when the car is new or if you want to cheat an emissions test. Not so good when you get a dirty sensor and you can't drive the car, and when you call AA to fix it their computer isn't compatible because Ford want you to pay them to fix it, and you also have to pay someone to tow it to the ford garage, and you miss your daughter's sports day because of it. I'm never going electronic.
  • + 2
 If you're paying 50$ for a cable you might want to find a new shop. I just dropped a whole 10$ to replace and adjust the cable on my xo1 1x11. Keep pulling off the grid so you can have the newest "greatest" while leaving your grand children with a world of shrinking wilderness in order to support your current electronic accessories.
  • + 1
 @jzPV: adventure vehicles don't use electronic gimmicks. Gimmicks maybe not, but name an adventure-minded auto from the last 10 years without computers and electronics all over it. I love when people spout about cars with such little knowledge of autos...
  • + 1
 @VwHarman: that's why people keep their old land cruisers and defenders working...and drool over the ridiculous expensive and basic g class professional. or would you drive around the world in a modern range rover?
  • + 2
 @jzPV: you could try, but as soon as you parked it up for the night in the Balkans, someone would steal it using their laptop!
  • + 1
 @jzPV: honestly I think landys and old defenders are a pretty small percentage of vehicles, and still a very small percentage of adventure vehicles. I fall into the keep the old shit running camp as well, I just think all these people acting like something new is the devil need to Give their heads a shake.
  • + 3
 @VwHarman: good point. but blindly following innovation that only is dumbing down our lives and solves problems we never really had is equally as head turning for me Wink longevity instead should be mandatory for everything we do.
  • + 1
 I for one welcome our new robotic overlords. Skynet is real! I see the benefits in suspension but the drivetrain side. Not so much. It's cool. And, Duncan strikes me as the kind of guy who rides a fixie.
  • + 2
 > I see the benefits in suspension but the drivetrain side. Not so much.

Other way around for me. Wanna make shifting a touch easier, OK. Don't make the bike behave differently without my consent, though. Good shock and linkage tuning makes those levers redundant anyway.
  • + 2
 Think is 2nd place overall finish and 1st place DH finish in Downieville says otherwise
  • + 1
 @krisrayner: Yes no doubt about that. Set myself up for that one
  • + 1
 @NormanPerez: End of the day though, which is more fun? Is an automatic bike fun? I've ridden Di2 road bikes and after 30minutes you forget it's not the same as the other shimano bikes you've ridden. It's not a real change.

Going back to that mention of brakes above, well I've ridden plenty of v-brakes well adjusted that just ran out of power, or rubber. And discs, even crap ones at the very least, will not eat pads just because it's raining. That's a solid difference.
  • + 1
 @NormanPerez: He's a ex WC DH pro right? I bet he's the mtb hipster who thought gold was 'cool' on the new eagle. Cute shirt though....
  • + 1
 @nicolai12: I currently have a gold chain on my bike too. Dammit! Im a bloody hipster! Why didn't anyone tell me!
  • + 1
 @NormanPerez: That's just ghetto...no idea who thought gold was good idea. Kashima maybe...gold bling is just weak unless your bike is black. Maybe they want the OG look...who knows. Shame they can't just let the product sell itself. It's like the little crap kid in class who just wants attention. 1x12 is dope but gold chain and cassette, give me a break.
  • + 1
 The issue of electronic technology on mountain bikes is often one of cost. Manufacturers can make it and make it work well, but it's another component that adds expense to a bike. A fr
  • + 4
 don't care I want this T shirt pb
  • + 1
 Lighter lever action. While I don't want something else to change, I will deal with it to get a lighter lever action and less stress on my finger joints due to injuries.
  • + 2
 Di2 is an inside job! Its so the government can track all the mtbers off the grid.... Darn commies :-)
  • + 2
 Wow. The Shimano Product Managers really need to practice their on-screen pitch. So awkward.
  • + 0
 Manufacturers are always going to be trying to create better products so they can sell more of them. If the consumers buy electronic stuff then we'll see more of it and vice versa.
  • + 1
 "better"
  • + 3
 Keep innovating, but ill stay with cable and manual fork/shock adj.
  • - 1
 Just a good one Vernon ! We don't need it , but like e-bikes, they`ll be here so we can test it and maybe if they become really good and not so pricier, we would buy them. Let's be realistic, why do you change your phone or your car ? probably n 60% they still work , but it's the need of something new, inovative .
  • + 1
 ill stick with cables thanks.at least then when our leaders have nuked us almost to extinction my gears will still work without needing to be charged
  • + 2
 I made it all the way to 1:38. What do I win?
  • + 1
 Hey I made it to 10.13, then I saw the guy with the full 'body art' and that was it for me, once the whole self-image thing appears I'm gone. Oh, and I FF'd a few times, if I'm honest.
  • + 1
 @davidsimons: Honesty is always the best policy. It is, I know, a long video. I generally make them about a third as long, but I wanted to give as broad a picture as possible. If I could make a recommendation, though, I'd suggest listening to the man with the tattoos (that'd be ex-pro downhiller, Duncan Riffle) because I think he gives a very honest and balanced view of things and, of course, because after he shows up in the video, we get to the riders' perspectives, which I think help balance the conversation. But, yeah, having said that, I realize I'm asking a lot of people to sit down and watch that much of any kind of video. Thanks again for being candid. I'm listening. Cheers.
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: No, you're not asking a lot of people to watch a video of that length. Don't get me wrong, I like informative videos, I just don't have much time for bike electronics; my choice. Your content is always well worth time spent digesting; my opinion. And the" full tattoo/this is my identity" thing just looks weird to me, it doesn't to other people so that's ok: My age. Feel free to critique my appearance, anyone: My secure personality.
  • + 1
 As much as Duncan gives an honest and balanced view of things, his interruptions about how amazing SRAM is for being wireless need to be responded to with: "Mektronic...1999"
  • + 3
 Mavic ZAP
  • + 1
 does the use of electricity increase a biker's carbon footprint? just wondering.
  • + 3
 Yes
  • + 1
 Buy it if you like it... Don't buy if you don't like it... Seems simple enough to me! Wink
  • + 1
 Sorry bro, I can't ride now, my drivetrain is downloading a software update...
  • + 1
 I hope it charges with a cord that doesnt match any of my other cords!! I need more cords in my life....
  • + 2
 Duncan needs more tattoos
  • + 2
 Nicely done Vernon-- straight to the point with the questions.
  • + 2
 Where's my 13 Speed Bear drivetrain?
  • + 1
 All your shifter are belong to us!
  • + 1
 Excellent coverage Vernon! Nothing has been missed and very comprehensive.
  • + 1
 What about electronic brakes?
  • + 0
 Electromagnets to push the pistons? It could work (if you don't care about stopping power).
  • + 0
 @micahaalders3: Or small motors? Let the engineers figure it out. My comment was also meant to be ironic. I'm aware of the technical challenge of electronic solutions and that this challenging charakter is pushing technology forward, but it's not always an improvement in terms of functionality and prakticality.
  • + 1
 I love my di2 E bike, I can drink coffee and text now!
  • + 0
 I'll buy it so long as I don't have to buy a smartphone in order to adjust it! Hint xshifter...
  • - 1
 Bring it on. E-shifting with a electronically steered shox and a E-dropper post without the delay Magura is having. This would be my choice for my 2017 bike.
  • + 1
 my lapierre zesty IE is awesome.
  • + 2
 nice video pb, thanks.
  • + 1
 Totally CHARGED for this review!
  • + 2
 I was shocked
  • + 3
 A very current topic
  • + 5
 I'm pretty Amped...
  • + 3
 Electricity ?
  • + 3
 Electrifying stuff,guys.
  • + 4
 What's up with all the down votes? Where is all this resistance coming from?
  • + 6
 Ohm my, this the most buried pun thread ever
  • + 3
 There seems to be an equal amount of positive and negative comments.
  • + 2
 @metaam: so hard to stay Positive with all these Negative props !
  • + 1
 @squagles: Yes, when I was watching the live feed I was just trying to stay down to earth and keep my opinion neutral.
  • + 1
 @metaam: What I see is a lot of negative comments by mostly people who have not tried it. I find that opinions of people who refuse to try new things are normally negative.

Expensive- XTR yes, XT not so much. I was one of the first adopters and tried it early on as soon as it was released, and I simply cannot bring myself to go back to steel cables. I am hoping Shimano goes to wireless soon, as this just cuts out the chance of a cable cut, cleans up the looks, and the small hassle with internal battery/cable routing (which is rather simple). My riding partner has XX1 and we both agree Di2 is better overall.

It is progress, and progress is good if you can afford it. If not, then don't hate on progress, just save your money and wait a bit longer if you want the best. I am under the impression YOLO....

Is it reliable? Hell yes. If it was not, would I trust it in locations where there are no shops, mountain bikes or support period. Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Leh Ladakh and who knows where next...I just take an extra electric cable as a backup in case one gets damaged, which is very, very unlikely with the internal routing.
  • + 1
 if you don't like it nobodies make you buy it.. don't bitch just to bitch
  • - 1
 I think Id rather have ABS than any of these road solutions. I think shifting makes since on the road but off road I don't get it.
  • + 1
 I like it and i want it.
I just cannot afford it (at the momentWink )
  • + 1
 Fuck off. With your pauses. For dramatic. Effect.
  • + 1
 STICK YOUR ELECTRONIC BIKE BS WHERE THE SUN DONT SHINE.
  • + 1
 "Next week on PinkbikeTV...."
  • + 1
 Vote with your dollars, people.
  • + 1
 Vernon's facial expressions are all-time.
  • + 1
 Cables.
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.136353
Mobile Version of Website