150 Words on Electronic Shifting

In this weekly series Wyatt and Jesse will give their opinion on various subjects. Please keep in mind that these opinions are solely theirs and do not represent the opinion of any of 613 Cycling’s sponsors or members. Last time we looked at the Garmin Edge 520. This week we’ll be looking at Electronic Shifting:


Wyatt’s Opinion on Electronic Shifting

Mechanical all the way. Di2 is awesome and has incredibly accurate shifting, but with minor mechanic skills (knowing how to do a basic barrel adjust), you can have your rear derailleur shifting equally as good as a di2 rear derailleur no problem. I will give a nod to Di2 for the front derailleur technology and accuracy. The Di2 front derailleur shift is bang on every time no matter the situation you are in and its ability to trim with the rear derailleur is extremely cool and useful. But on the other hand, if you are not ham handed and understand how to shift your bike properly (a minor slight at Jesse) than you should have no problem shifting a current Ultegra or Dura Ace front derailleur with accuracy. Last time I checked, the weight difference between the two is negligible, but the price of Di2 is significantly higher which is another negative. I also hated depending on having to plug your bike in whenever you need to make an adjustment to the shifting versus the ability to do simple mechanical fixes. Lastly, and this is personal, I like the feel of shifting your bike and feeling the mechanical cable pull of the components shifting the bike, versus just clicking a button like a mouse on your computer. I do like things like di2 sprinter shifters, climber shifters, and basebar shifters on TT bikes are crucial if you are a triathlete.

Jesse’s Opinion on Electronic Shifting

Some people don’t like electronic shifting. Those people are idiots*. In my opinion, it is the single best thing to happen to bicycles since the derailleur. What is so great about it? The big difference is front shifting. Not only does it shift perfectly either up or down the chain ring, but it does so perfectly even under load. Also awesome is that it emits a birdlike chirp with each shift of the front mech signaling to the other riders within earshot that your component group is superior. I sometimes shift my front derailleur a few extra times just to make sure everybody in the bunch has heard it. In all seriousness though, who doesn’t like perfect shifts, every time, regardless of force on the pedals.

What about the battery running out? Look, if you forget to charge your battery at some point over the 2000 kilometers you get on one charge then it’s your fault. I have forgotten to charge my battery and it ran out. This was unpleasant, even considering some features integrated to make it less unpleasant – such as how it disables your front derailleurs first then you have around 200 shifts of your rear. That is literally the one negative of owning electronic.

*Those people might not actually be idiots.

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