What is Di2 Gearing, and do I want it?
The short answer is YES, of course you want it!
Will the manual group set impede me?
No it wont, it is an economy feature designed to make cycling smoother for those of us who challenge ourselves.
Where do I start?
If you are like me, looking for a Di2 upgrade is a bit confusing with all the numbers and I hope to simplify it a bit. Your bike shop pro is a good place to start and there are lots of YouTube videos as well. If you are like me, a very simple breakdown can go a long way.
What is Di2?
It is the drive train and group set for your bike that has been developed by Shimano, to be semi-automated. Shimano were not the first company to come up with Di2 operation, but they were the first to get it right. There are Dura Ace and Ultegra versions. They operate in the same way, however, the difference is the weight and some construction material differences (titanium), to get the advantage. The weight advantage of Dura Ace to Ultegra would be about 500 grams, which is about the same as a drink bottle really. This also includes the wheels which can play a big part.
What does it include?
The set includes the levers, crank, sprocket set, rear group set and jockey, derailleurs and wheels
What series are there?
They started with 6000 and 7000 series numbers. They are now recognisable as 8000 series – Ultegra, and 9000 series – Dura Ace. The last digits represent the latest revision. At time of writing the revisions are 8070 and 9170. Between the first (7970) released 2009 and the R9070 version (2013), the big changes were weight reduction, the battery housed in the frame, device connectivity, multi shifting and PLC (Power Line Communication). The R9150 series saw modifications to the system. These included the crank, power meter, new cassette accommodations, hidden junction box, synchro shift and connectivity to 3rd party devices , such as Garmin.
How do they operate?
Basically, both types operate the same way. If you consider an 11-speed group set, 2 sprockets, (22 gears), the Di2 will operate within your most used 15 gears. As you shift up and down, the “synchronised shifting” feature will automatically switch between sprockets. This delivers a more efficient gear in order to maintain the smoothest cadence. The automated response is intended to prevent cross chaining and maintain smooth pedalling efficiency. When shifting from large to small rings, or visa versa, the computer will automatically adjust the rear derailleur to ensure a smooth transition.
The main operation is through tactile finger pads where you normally manipulate the gears. However, you can program these inputs to suit your riding style via the operation app downloaded to your device. You can jump gears for example, and therefore program to suit your riding style. You can program between full, or semi synchronised and manual modes.
One of the main design tasks has been to design the horns so they are basically the same shape and size, for the familiarity and comfort of the pilot. With all the additional requirements, this has been an achievement by the developers to maintain the feel and operation.
This feature in cycling makes your gear changing semi-automatic and allows for a smooth ride. While there will always be a place for manual manipulation of gears, this feature is a standout for your cycling.
While you are cycling, you are always protected and comfortable in Perfuro Gear.