Electronic shifting is not a Shimano invention, but it’s Shimano who did it commercially viable. It all started with Shimano Dura Ace 7970 Di2 in 2009, for road bikes, then came the XTR version for MTB, GRX for gravel bikes, and Alfine Di2 for gear hubs. First Di2, Dura Ace 7970 Di2 and newer Di2 versions are totally incompatible: the 5 plug version is very simplistic: it’s just wires connected to switches and derailleurs across junction boxes. Newer Di2 versions though, use CAN bus for communication between components. CAN bus is known for its extensive use in all modern cars, and became the norm for even the cheapest ones in late 2000’s. But CAN bus, being a data communication protocol, can be used in anything, and it is, including machinery. Unlike Sram’s eTap, which is designed to be wireless… Continue Reading What is Shimano’s Di2 in detail, first successful electronic shifting systemContinue reading
Electronics in bicycles is an unavoidable topic, with e-bikes gaining popularity, data-hungry Strava to feed, and electronic drivetrains becoming more affordable.
I don’t have an e-bike yet, but I do use cycle computers and a smart trainer.
Electronics was my childhood hobby, but it progressed slowly due to a lack of space and time. We will continue to see electronics integrated into every component of a bike.
Contrary to popular belief, electronics is both safe and durable. EFI and ABS have proven to be extremely reliable in automotive, and EFI cars are almost maintenance free when compared to old carburetors, but bikes are a different story.
Electronics require good housing and protection in order to be reliable, which is a challenge with bikes because they must be lightweight and do not have much room to stuff electronic parts.
Another challenge is that a professional mechanic or a bike owner performing their own maintenance should have a basic understanding of electronics.
I also enjoy electronics, especially disassembling them to see what makes them tick!
I intend to write more in-depth reviews of electronic bike components such as bike computers and even drivetrains in order to make useful claims about whether they are hot or not, maintainable or just throwaway items.
We are in an economic downturn, and having throw-away items to protect nature, and thus our future, is not ideal, at best.
Mysterious disappearance of Chinese electronic rear derailleur, WheelTop EDS OX
I’m annoyed by electronic drivetrains, because of their vendor lock nature: you cannot use shifters from any other manufacturer, though it is perfectly OK to implement. But the most annoying part is, they are designed to make you spend more. There is no reason for an 11s electronic rear derailleur to mismatch with a 10s cassette. Anyone who knows a few about electronics already knows it’s very easy to make it work with ANY cassette. Jockey cogs will need replacement, but that’s a very easy obstacle to handle properly. WheelTop is the first manufacturer that came out with a decent design, that is advertised to work with 7 to 12-speed cassettes. Now, the product disappeared, even from the company website. I won’t be surprised to know they had troubles with Sram, maybe Shimano. Thing is, I’m sick of patent trolling.… Continue Reading Mysterious disappearance of Chinese electronic rear derailleur, WheelTop EDS OXContinue reading
Why electronic groupsets like Shimano Di2 are the future?
For years, many photographers insisted on DSLRs and ignored mirrorless cameras. Then, something very silly happened: camera makers started making mirrorless cameras with a DSLR “hunch”. Now, everybody is flocking to mirrorless cameras, selling their perfectly fine DSLRs for pocket money and grabbing mirrorless cameras at highly inflated prices. Why? People doesn’t like change. But when it’s unavoidable, or that change provides real opportunities, they follow the crowd. Electronic groupsets is good for ordinary people like you and me. The reason is not the groupset itself: they’re heavier and more expensive. Thing is, in Shimano-speak, they are capable of “syncro-shifting”. For those who don’t know what it is, it automatically adjusts gears so that each consecutive gear combination that is selected is the perfect combination. Let’s say you have hypothetical 3s chainrings, namely A,B,C; A being the biggest chainring. Then… Continue Reading Why electronic groupsets like Shimano Di2 are the future?Continue reading
In depth look to cheap Chinese cycling computer, XOSS G
I was on the lookout for a cheap, GPS cycling computer when I first saw XOSS G / G+. I used Strava with my smartphone for about 2 years. It was bulky, battery drain was too much because of GPS and huge screen, and not nice when you fall down, crash, or in any case of rainfall. Garmin or Polar units was nice, but needlessly expensive. Besides, no mapping functionality needed. XOSS came to life as a KickStarter project and mass production began in 2019, August. I’m not sure if XOSS was the first introduce sub-50$ GPS enabled unit (XOSS G is on sale now, currently 25$), but they democratised the access to GPS enabled cycling computers. It’s not sold in here, I didn’t want to wait AliExpress which may take up to 2 months, so I bought one second… Continue Reading In depth look to cheap Chinese cycling computer, XOSS GContinue reading