Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
Possibly timed to coincide with the start of the Tour de France, Shimano announced recently that they did what they said they would and have now made their former entry-level group 105 into a brand new electric group with their Di2 technology, the 105 R7100. Of note, it’s now their least expensive electric group.
I said “their former entry-level group,” because 105 R7100 won’t be seen as entry-level anymore with the price tag of $1,890. Consider that you can currently buy the latest mechanical 105 groupset for about $700. The huge price difference will mean that complete bikes with the electrified 105 will start at the low $3,000s, which again is hardly entry-level pricing.
Also changed is that there’s no rim brake option. If you want the new 105, you’ll need a bike ready for disc brakes. And the new group is 12-speed not 11 and there’s an 11-36 cassette (previously it maxed out at 34). The available cranksets are 53/36 and 50/34.
Shimano calls the group “wireless,” however in the fine print they use “semi-wireless.” Problem is there are still wires so it’s not actually wireless. If you want true wireless, go with SRAM’s eTap groups.
What’s the big deal about genuine wireless? For anyone who works on bikes, routing wires can be a huge hassle whereas wireless setup is as simple as pairing the levers to the derailleurs and installing the parts, no wire routing needed. Also, exposed wires are a potential failure point. Simply having someone tangle their bike up with yours could result in a non-shifting bike should they sever your Di2 wire moving their bike. Plus, hidden wires are failure points, too. A common Di2 assembly glitch is not fully connecting a wire.
Weird decision or great decision?
I’d like to hear what you think, but the move to drop all mechanical groups still strikes me as weird. I get the feeling even Shimano might feel this way. Watch their video about the new Di2 105 here. Notice the pains they take to sell the amazingly quiet and smooth shifts of Di2. Listen to how they suggest that mechanical shifting is difficult.
I’ve been riding Di2 since it came out and while I do love the shifting, when I go back to cable shifting I don’t feel like I’m struggling in any way to shift. I find it hard to accept that Shimano really believes mechanical shifting is bad.
Here’s the video:
The problems I have with Di2 as the only option
Here are 4 reasons I think that it’s a mistake for Shimano to only offer electric shifting road groups:
1. The high prices. Since e-groups showed up I’ve been trying to understand why they cost so much. I appreciate that the battery has to add cost, but it’s a tiny and seemingly simple one. Also and probably a bigger question, other electronics always drop in price after they’re established. Why is it that all that e-groups seem to do is stay expensive? The little motors and controllers can’t be all that expensive, can they?
2. Obsolescence. When my Dura-Ace Di2 front derailleur stopped shifting I reached out to Shimano and learned that the only fix was to replace it. When I asked if I could order a replacement I learned that they’re not made anymore. Why? Because the new derailleur isn’t compatible with the old. Just like the way computers and cellphones become useless when technology pulls the rug out from under your feet, that’s what happened with my Di2 derailleur.
3. Electric derailleurs wear out. Mechanical derailleurs last decades, which is what you expect from high-priced top-quality things. My Di2 derailleur wore out in years. If an electric drivetrain is going to wear out that fast, I would hope replacement parts would be readily available and cheap. But they’re not. Here’s the whole story of my failed derailleur:
4. Di2 has a basic operational problem or issue that mechanical shifting does not. It’s something that both SRAM and Campagnolo realized and addressed/avoided in designing their e-groups. The problem is that there are two small buttons (or “paddles” or “levers” if you prefer) on each Shimano shifter. These buttons are inline and as close together as possible. This means that you have to choose and push the correct button to hit the gear you want. It’s easy to mis-shift by unintentionally pressing the wrong button. It gets worse when wearing winter gloves. On Shimano STI mechanical shifters, there are two levers, too, but they’re large and different shapes so you’re far less likely to mis-shift.
Summing up, the thing that troubles me the most about this development is the eagerness to drop mechanical groupsets. The magnificent thing about bicycles is how easy they are to fix by almost anyone and with really basic tools. Yes some specialized tools are needed for some tasks but those aren’t that hard to come by or expensive.
Batteries, applications, chargers, motors, controllers, wires and wireless tech is anything but user-friendly when things stop working. The Shimano and SRAM e-groups I’ve used and worked on have been reliable and worked well when properly set-up. But, when things really go wrong as with my failed derailleur, there’s no fixing it. In fact it wasn’t even made to be fixed.
Maybe the big companies can change that by making their electric components repairable. Even better would be if they were upgradeable to work with future electric, communication and software technologies.
Yet, a company as powerful as Apple can’t even make computers that aren’t obsolete in a few years. Maybe Shimano wants to be Apple, or like Apple? I can see how that might be appealing. That unfortunate pun aside, I have a hard time believing the bicycle industry can do better than Apple. Which is sad because Shimano was really, really good at making mechanical stuff.
I’ve had my say. What’s your take on this development?
I actually received a somewhat related comment from frequent contributor Kenneth Pierce. I’ll share what he wrote to start the conversation – he touches on reverse compatibility:
“Why are gears getting so low that us flatlanders can’t enjoy the ride? I just bought a new high end race bike and the rear cassette is an 11-36!!!! What is happening? My mountain bike gears aren’t even that low. And I bet the pros don’t use gears that low, and I bet the big S makes higher gearing for them. Why not pass it on to us?
And to top it off Shimano only makes two cassettes for their 12 speed, 11-34 and 11-36, arrrrr! I still use a 53×12 and rarely get into the lowest three cogs. And if I do I’m still in my big ring, the old fashioned 53T. I tried putting an 11-23 on my 11 speed Di2 but it won’t work. Frustrating. Thanks for letting me vent.”
Here are some links to more details on Shimano’s Di2 105:
Shimano’s overview: https://road.shimano.com/us/105di2/#components
Shimano’s page with more details: https://bike.shimano.com/en-US/product/component/shimano105.html
BikeRadar’s extensive report: https://www.bikeradar.com/news/shimano-105-di2-r7150/
GCN’s sponsored video – lots of riding shots: https://youtu.be/juGiU45tEAc
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s cycling streak ended in February 2022 with a total of 10,269 consecutive daily rides (28 years, 1 month and 11 days of never missing a ride). Click to read Jim’s full bio.
I agree with you Jim on the high price. Electronic shifting is becoming more prevalent and one would think that the prices would start decrease a bit.
I’m also with you on the obsolescence issue. IMO the derailleurs should last the lifetime of the frame unless damages in a crash. Shimano should also make sure that replacements or repairs are available or that new parts are backwards compatible. I could be wrong, but i believe that Campy does a good job at this.
I do like my electronic shifting, but the parts obsolescence issue could make me change my mind of I ever have a failure.
I don’t have any issues with the shifter paddles. I like that I can program them as I see fit. Mine are setup to mimic the paddles in my car…up shifts on the right and down shifts I the left. I admit to occasional mis-shifts when my brain and fingers get out of sync.
Another good reason to ride fixed gear bikes.
JAMES MCCLELLAN says
Yep! Not paying those guys money anymore. Go to singlespeed and you’ll have even more fun.
I had a single speed mountain bike that I liked going off road. I can’t remember why I got rid of it, but I wish I had not.
Maybe the only reason..
I’ve pretty much had it with the whole industry! It seems now everything is a system. No longer being able to mix-and-match components is bad enough. Now one can no longer upgrade, replace, or repair anything. What I love about my aging bicycles is they are just so simple, and it’s easy to work on. Unfortunately, beginning with the era of internal cable routing and continuing into integrated electronics, one piece fails and it seems the whole bike must be replaced.
Roger Levy says
These Trends make it more and more difficult to be a small bike shop. If you don’t repair a lot of these products than the fact that they change so rapidly means you never be able to sell half of the parts that you are stocking. So we don’t stock them, we would order them as needed. But they’re not available.
As to the issue of obsolescence, I spoke to a rep from Shimano at that a show many years ago and complained about the low end ATB rapid fire shifters. Whether they are used or not, customers find that they get a build up inside and are no longer clicking. (Yes I know how to fix them) but his answer was, “well what part of your computer lasts 15 years or more? ”
And then he just walked away.
We have to be better than computers.
Not only fragile, Shimano has the break it replace it mind set. Banged my left 8020 shifter and it stopped working. Lousy 2 position derailleur. Took it all apart and could replace the non working part but shitmano doesn’t sell repair parts. Like to ask Shimano why my components don’t last as long as my computer.
Ya; DITTO to all that, Jim..! I’ve never had any use for electric shifting; there seems to be no advantage (‘faster’. really??? How long does it take to shift gears actually? and if that were the case, then Shimano could have come up with multiple up/down shifts that Campy has had from the beginning.!) And all the downsides you mentioned and many more will keep me away from this to the end of my cycling career. Just another costly finicky gizmo to fatten the wallets of the manufacturers, IMO.
Gary Turney says
Jim, I agree completely with all the points you make in your article. However, some clarification on the cost is needed. You and the BikeRadar article quote a total 105 group cost of $1,890. BikeRadar also lists individual component costs, which add up to about $2,300 if purchased separately (presumably there’s a price break for buying a set, which makes sense), But this group cost appears to include $1,049 for a “mid-level” carbon wheel set, which means all the remaining components run about $1,250. Or maybe even under $1,000 if backing out the wheel set from the total group cost of $1,890. Given that the mechanical 105 group cost is currently $700 (presumably without carbon wheels), I calculate the premium for the DI2 105 group is only about $300-500 – not too bad as I see it. Or am I missing something in the pricing?
Jim Langley says
Thanks for the comment and question, Gary. I will see if I can find a confirmation on the group price only from Shimano.
Hope I can find it or it will show up soon on their docs,
Dave Minden says
What’s interesting is that I hear electronic shift folks saying you like your system, not that it’s necessary or breakthrough it vital. While you can accuse me of ignorance for not using that system, I’m not unhappy with my Ultegra mechanical system. It makes Shimano s decision to do away with mechanical shifting look purely like marketing, as a popular product should be kept if they truly want to help consumers.
Michael Williams says
Another device that has to be charged… and “crash mode” . Two things that keep me from ever wanting this on a cleverly simple (and all mechanical) piece of machinery. I’m surprised given the number of units they must sell that they can’t continue with mechanical shift and rim brakes.
It’s a real “spot of bother,” Jim. I’m totally mechanical. I don’t think shifting is a problem. If i were going up a few Alps for 21 days i might feel different. But i have thought about disc brake benefits for descending. I like that i can fix my bike myself.
Jim Bailey says
The bike industry turned a corner away from the qualities of ease of use and durability to planned obsolescence and hype when Shimano launched STI. IMO, the proposed benefits of the new technology sell products, that’s all. They do nothing to improve the quality of the experience. Shimano’s move toward total electronic shifting in their upper road groups, and the resulting cost increases, is evidence of their abandonment of the recreational (and financially challenged) rider. Their vision of the cycling future is occupied only by the wealthy, sponsored racers and racer wannabees.
Those who value the quality of their cycling experiences eventually realize that chasing the technological rabbit does nothing to expand their personal limits – strength, endurance, bike handling skills, etc. – or their enjoyment of riding. I’m hedging against planned obsolescence by setting aside high quality manually operated parts. Call me a luddite.
Bruce Gilbert says
All of your points are right on target. Cycling is rapidly transitioning into a sport for the very wealthy. Here we all thought that the only elite in cycling were UCI pros! Tragically, it may go the way of polo. I hate to see cycling morph into an irrelevant activity for the 2 Ferrari family to enjoy. Try to find a bike to get a junior affordably into racing, or even riding in general. I have always seen 105 as the entry level equipment package. I don’t see how the sport is going to effectively replace all of the the baby boomers going geriatric. There has to be recruitment and participation from the youth for the whole thing to be viable in the future.
The gear choices for the Shimano groupsets are equally insane. With a 50/34 chainring setup, having a cassette range up to 34 or 36 in the back is pretty useless. Are the new groupsets targeted toward obese Americans, the handicapped, or people who regularly climb 20% grades?
If electronic shifting is going to be the future for all of us, so be it. But, these manufacturers should not be going for the jugular with every bike that gets sold. I truly fear for the future of the industry and sport.
Seth H. Shaw says
FYI, I run a SRAM 11-36 cassette with my 50/34 Shimano chainrings and hardly find it useless. I’m not obese, handicapped or climbing 20% grades. I am old (76) and have been cycling for over 20 years. Since you have the choice of many different cassette set-ups — more than ever — why the statement?
Steve Castellano says
I’ve been cycling for 45 years. Transcontinental USA experience. Randonneuring up to 200 miles per day. I’m no racer, ,but I am hardly out of shape. Current rides are a single speed 48 x 18 for flatland training and a road bike with oval 46-30 rings up front and a 32-11 in back. Those gears are as low as I can go using ULTEGRA, wish I could go lower, especially on days where I climb 9000 feet plus.
Bruce, your comments seem stronger than they need to be. Shimano road setups seem primarily focused on the race crowd. There’s plenty of folks who need lower gears (see the trend in “gravel gearing.”. For my part, I might have to find a why to set up a classic triple crank arrangement to get the range I want. DI2 will not be a part of that picture.
Paul Ahart says
Reading the many comments regarding Shimano dropping mechanical shifting and rim brakes from all their upper groups, I completely agree with these writers. I am now in my 70’s, am semi-retired after 30+ years in the business, and ride for my own pleasure and fitness. I’ve got two personal road bikes, all with mechanical shifting: one with Deore XT rear/CX50 front, downtube shifters; the other (a triple front) with 1990s XTR front/XTR rear, downtube shifters.
Both bikes have 9spd rear, are (barring accidents) totally reliable and trouble free. Anything that happens can be repaired on the road with a 5mm hex wrench or a multi-tool.
I’m not anti-technology, but bicycles should be elegant and simple; they used to be. I would not want to have to visit a shifting technology specialist every time something is out of adjustment, or wears out after only a few high-mileage years of use.
Sam Joslin says
The problem isn’t necessarily one company’s move toward electric shifting, higher prices and rapid obsolescence. Each of those developments should represent an opportunity for another company to fill the gap—as long as it can maneuver the patent thicket designed to thwart market entrants. The problem may be an industry facing fewer customers for the parts it makes. If more butts on bikes isn’t working, you have to get more money per transaction—and sell more stuff to the same riders—if you want to stay in the bicycle business. The question is one of sustainability: if you aren’t seeing new customers coming in the door, how old do you think your current customers will get before they stop spending all together?
A great opportunity for other manufacturers like microshift. I just purchased a new bike as my old one got destroyed on my hitch rack when I got rear ended. It is a high end bike but I made sure it does NOT have electronic shifting and an integrated headset.
I like my DT shifter setup. Can use any derailer and cassette I want. If anything goes wrong, easy and cheap to replace parts myself.
I think it’s fine if Shimano wants to do what they want but please leave us a quality mechanical option and rim brakes option.
If they do away with all mechanical I think they will only hurt their own business. Because if you are talking about 3kUS$+ entry level prices, only the top 10% of earners are able to be your customer. How many 10% earners are into cycling? I don’t know, but that will be their only customers. Or, someone with very serious cycling priorities.
Bruce Gilbert says
“I don’t know, but that will be their only customers. Or, someone with very serious cycling priorities.”
Like I said, the 2 Ferrari family is the cycling customer of the future. If it keeps to the current pricing direction, cycling will be the new polo…
Hey all; go Campagnolo – after all, they were the ones who invented gears on bikes in the first place ! Besides, they are re-buildable and work like a dream, shift up or down 5 gears in one swipe if needed, none of this click, click, click, click to address a change in terrain, and were never in business to fleece the customer by adding a gear every year or two just to make you buy more new crap. When they upgrade, it is a serious and very noticeable engineering improvement, but at the same time, never obsolesces any previous compatibilities – I can still use my wheels from 20 years ago, even if I go to 11 or 12-speed cassettes, for example. Sure, Campy also make electric shifters, but I doubt they will ever delete the mechanical versions, for those of us who have the ‘strength’ to pull a cable..
I have used electric shifting and simply do not like it,. I find it lacks tactile ‘feel’ and acts more like a computer mouse than a derailleur activation. And as someone pointed out, if there is a problem out on the road, good luck to you.. More than once have I seen a colleague have to call for a taxi when his Di crapped out for some reason..
Roger Levy says
A customer came into my shop on a busy day to ask me to use my smartphone to update his firmware or change his shifting sequence or some b******* I don’t remember. He doesn’t carry his smartphone because he doesn’t want any weight in his jersey pocket. I asked him what is firmware. I told him I don’t have a smartphone. He asked me how can I be in business and I replied, I don’t even have a f****** driver’s license. I guess he felt a little silly. But I did get a smartphone eventually. I have to text the young people when their repairs are done because they don’t answer their phone.
Higher volume spreads one-time R&D and manufacturing setup costs over more parts, enabling manufacturers to reduce the prices on their custom components. It also helps manufacturers afford the cost of inventorying spare parts. Third, more parts in service helps manufacturers track and understand real-world failure rates and improve the longevity of their parts. Shifting more componentry to Di2 theoretically increases volumes and benefits Shimano and its customers.
I have mechanical Ultegra groupsets on both my bikes. Maybe 105 Di2 will get me to make the jump to electronic.
Did you miss the part where the Di2 groupset is twice the price of mechanical? If they were offering Di2 at a 10% uplift on the outgoing mech group then i think you (and shimano) would have a case; but no.
Helps manufacturers afford the cost of stocking spare parts? Shimano doesn’t stock or sell spare parts. It’s replace only.
Seth H. Shaw says
Arrogance. That’s the descriptor used for 20 years to describe Shimano’s attitude toward consumers, not by me, but some industry insiders who know or work for them. Indifference to consumers, obsolescence of its products well before their time and a strategy to tell the industry what it wants, not necessarily needs, are the hallmarks of this company.
A new CEO was installed last year and he’s taking no prisoners. In a petty move a few months ago, it forced Hammerhead to remove just about all Di2 functionality from its Karoo2 computer because HH is now owned by SRAM. They did it because they could, with no benefit to its business. Arrogant, indeed.
Could be shortsighted too, if, as the 800lb gorilla, it is seen as anticompetitive by the U.S. Justice Dept. I have no idea if that will happen.
Now that it’s clear mechanical drive trains will disappear from Shimano’s product line, it’s a great business opportunity for SRAM. Go get ’em!
Shular Scudamore says
I agree with Jim. I recently saw an article titled something like “Stop Call Racing Bikes Road Bikes”. The industry is being pushed by racing at a time when most riders don’t race. I am not a racer nor a wanna be. I like brifters and I hate little buttons. I don’t need more than 10 cogs and I don’t want disc brakes on my road bike. I love the ride on my old steel frame. My frame is old enough to fit 28mm tires. I just want high quality, durable components when the time comes for replacement.
I have researched carbon fiber over the last two years. It doesn’t provide any real benefit for me. Plus the very real danger of breaking a frame or handlebar, don’t make sense for guys like me that want a bicycle to last 30 years. So I am not a candidate for a new bike from the major manufactures. Maybe I need to build an inventory now of components that will be wearing out.
JAMES MCCLELLAN says
My ultimate suggestion is to not buy Shimano groupsets. You don’t have to buy Shimano any longer anyways. There are now Taiwanese and Chinese groupsets that are in many ways beginning to surpass the Shimano mechanical groupsets. What you all are ultimately mad about is the brand named King wants to be Apple and Mercedes Benz and Armani. They aren’t for the people anymore. They are for the rich. They will stagnate eventually. As their only clientele will be the rich. These Taiwanese, Chinese, Korean and the rest of Southeast Asians will replace the Market that Shimano Campy and SRAM are abandoning. They’ll even try to buy some of them out to protect themselves. And in about 20 years we won’t be talking about Shimano any longer. They’ll be bankrupt and will fall to the wayside. My suggestion to all of you is to start supporting these brands who are trying to give you what you want and stop supporting the brands who are trying to force you into what they want.
I had Ultegra Di2 for a while. It didn’t really shift any better than a mech group (apart from shifting into big ring in a sprint but it’s not like you’re doing that every ride). I got rid of it when, one day, bike propped up against a wall, it fell over. Rear mech never worked again. Bought the interface kit, wouldn’t even recognise the mech (and no it wasn’t in crash mode). New mech £250. Yeah no.
Went back to Campag. Still works perfect (and is more ergonomic) despite being from 2014 and used regularly in all weather. Oh, and that bike has fallen over a number of times since and just shrugs it off.
I’m with you Keiron; I will continue to use and support Campagnolo – ergonomically beautiful, perfectly functional, easily repairable, and hey – they invented gearing on a bike ! Some of my groupsets have lasted over 20 years too ! They also only make changes or improvements that are for the user, not the shareholders.. Whenever I ride a Shimano or SRAM loaded bike I am amazed at how clunky and inefficient they seem. It’s no wonder they are inventing all sorts of gizmos (electric shifters) in order to overcome their crappy functionality.
Ollie Jones says
I have a couple of vintage bikes. One, a 25-year-old winterbeater Bianchi, has an old Campy 7-speed triple. It’s serviceable. The freehub completely broke down, and the LBS was able to give me a wheel some other customer left behind and sell me a new cassette. Total cost $40 and I’m riding through puddles and slush again.
Another, a lovely 14-year-old Peter Mooney, has Ultegra 10 speed stuff. It was RIDICULOUSLY hard to find replacement parts for that thing. E-bay, new old stock, mix-and-match, you get the picture. Shimano 10-speed is for fossils, I guess. Anyhow, it’s renovated. But next time — there probably won’t be a next time.
I think I’m done with Shimano. Companies who make durable transportation goods (bikes, cars) should commit to parts availability for at least a few decades. But Shimano has lost sight of that. SRAM looks better on that score, at least to me.
Jim Langley says
Thanks for all the great comments, everyone, much appreciated!!
C Tomps says
Let’s set things straight…105 isn’t entry level. Claris is entry level. Sora is entry level plus a gear. Tiagra 4700 is firmly mid level now with it’s excellent performance and hydraulic option. It’s mechanical 105 with one less gear.
When Tiagra goes 11 speed it will essentially be identical to 105 R7000. So don’t fret. A near identical 11 speed mechanical option will come in the future.
Also anyone who doesn’t appreciate an 11-34 cassette either doesn’t climb often, doesn’t climb gradients above 10% or just grinds up grades like they’re Jan Ulrich. The people buying bikes at this spec are recreational riders and they like a wide range of gears.
Road Bike Rider says
This is a good point. I’ve ridden a bike with a Tiagra rear derailleur and I thought to myself that it shifted as well or better than Ultegra from 10 or 15 years ago.
That’s a pretty good argument that they’re improving the low end gruppos so much that they just decided to rebrand the way they describe them, so that all of the “high end” gruppos are electronic now, and the lower end gruppos are still mechanical and you just have to be willing to have a different name on your derailleur if you don’t want electronic.
Over the years I have gone from loving Shimano and lusting after a 9s XTR groupset in my youth to absolutely loathing the company. 30 years ago, when I started riding, you got an updated group every couple of years, now we are at the car manufacturer level, were every year has to have a new big release. Worst of all, the disappearance of backward compatibility or, to that point, ANY compatibility at all. For me, one of the many nails in the coffin was the introduction of flat mount brakes, a solution to an inexistent problem. Now the switch to electric drivetrains and the programmed obsolescence of previous shifting systems has just done it.
I’m stuck at 11s for my road bikes, as I find the shifting to be reliable, parts are interchangeable and I’m not going to update three bikes to whatever the luminaries at Shimano try to jam down our throat.
What I have done is source a Campy H11 shifter set for my all road bike and am selling my Ultegra as I’m not dropping a penny more in Shimano s pockets – no spares from them, no new parts from them. KMC chains, FSA chainrings, campy grupos and miche cassettes.
What I’m trying to say with all this ranting is that Shimano, I believe, is pushing established customers away and focusing in OEM sales, which can only work for so long. Once the market reaches saturation they will find that maybe not everyone is willing to change their whole groupset if they just broke their RD, and that having to rely in software for something as simple as changing gears is overcomplicating the sport. To finish off, I would say that if there are more people like me out there, this new policy is a disaster from an aftermarket sales perspective: now that I can afford to buy a Dura Ace or an XTR, being middle aged and not an impoverished teen, I wouldn’t touch any Shimano branded product (or PRO, for that matter) with a ten foot pole.
Or I might be an outlier and what everyone wants is a neural interface to be able to shift with a wink of an eye, I’ve beed wrong before.
The future will bring subscription service for your shifters. If you don’t pay you can’t use it or some features will be disabled. Imagine that you will need to pay $15/month to be able to use your shifters (maybe limited to 8 speed when you don’t pay and full 13 speed if you pay). Bmw has this for heated steering wheel and the like already…. Obsolescence is also good for vendors. It breaks you can fix it so you need to buy it again. ….
Donald William Gillies says
Looks like Shimano may be trying to turn the bike-parts market into the scam that is the cellphone & laptop market. Obsolescence every 3y, except for Apple. Shimano is trying to make entire bikes throwaway items …
Di2 9070 front derailleur failed on my Felt TT bike today: 7.25 years, 15,165 miles. Mine also makes the grinding sound but will not shift to the smaller chainring. At least I can still buy a new 9150 series which is compatible.
I take that back. Disconnected and cleaned it. It is now operating again. But I bought a new 9150 as a replacement to keep in storage as I imagine these parts will be hard to find in a few years as Shimano moves to 12-speed.
Agree 100%, Jim, that Shimano going all Di2 with 105 is a big mistake. It will add about US$1,000 to the price on an ‘entry level’ 105 bike, or over 1/3rd more expensive. Most riders with that kind of $$$ will buy Ultegra instead for the extra features (hidden button) at a (relatively) marginal cost difference. And surely there will be lost sales among the marginal buyer who will be keeping their old bikes longer (better to be seen riding their old mechanical 105 than a brand new lower-name groupset bike within their budget).
From my observations/experience, the overall advantage to e-shifting is marginal at best. Most of the guys I ride with these days (20+mph ‘spirited rides’) are on e-shifting bikes and I see no better/quicker shifting than I get from my R8000 (mech Ultegra). To claim e-shifting never goes ‘out of true’ just ain’t true in real world riding (wheel swaps, marked cassette wear). And even experienced e-shift riders DO periodically miss shift (hit wrong shift button, or unintentionally hit a shift button), or have a low (no FD shifting) or dead battery (forgot to recharge, battery drain issues-well reported on line).
It’s great that e-shifting is now widely available, but fact is that lots of riders not having the $$ or desire to make the shift (pun intended) from mechanicals will not buy the new 105.
Richard Paul Handler says
I have set up 3 road bikes with Ultegra Di2 and am about to convert another to 105 Di2. Why? For reliability.
The most common mechanical on the zillions of group rides I’ve led has been a broken shift cable, almost always the FD cable. Both of my carbon frame road bikes with internal cable routing have been FD cable eaters. I’ve had a cable break in 3 weeks / 1500 miles, though usually they will last months. Having a cable break on a long tour or an epic ride is very troublesome. Never had this issue on my older titanium and steel bikes with external cable routing.
So my experience is that internal cable routing has been detrimental to mechanical shifting. This has held true for both Shimano and SRAM
My Di2 bikes have been 100% reliable. I’ll take electronic shifting over mechanical on any modern bike which routes mechanical shift cables internally.
In my 20+ years of ‘serious’ cycling, I can truly say that I have never broken a cable – shift nor brake. I’ve seen it happen to others, but not my bikes. Maybe it’s because I nearly always have used Campagnolo and they are simply superior products, although I have some aftermarket cables from Yokozuna as well. Your point is well made that if the cables are stressed by the routing system through the frame, there may be justification for the nearly $2000 ! additional cost to have little motors do the shifting, but… I’ll still stick with my ‘analog’ version which is easily repairable on or off road and will not cost a fortune to replace when they fail ..
Begs the question once more: why not use Campagnolo ??? None of these ridiculous problems exist with these faithful, honest and fantastically functional mechanical bits.! I suppose you will just go ahead and buy Shimano replacements though.. It reminds me of the crappy HP printers that seem like such a good bargain, until you have gone through 3 or 4 of them breaking down in a year and finally buy from another maker.. Some of us learn from experience
105 ‘entry level’… What about tiagra and Sora.