Is buying mechanical grouppo in 2013 wise...?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by Calnago

Like I said in my earlier post... "Psssft"...and it's gone. Like magic. Don't rule it out. Bikes are different than a lot of things where computers and electronics have changed things dramatically for the better. Much of that has been touched on in this thread. I know the arguments for and against. I've ridden both. The bottom line is, electric shifting does not add a single advantage to the experience of riding a bike, either at the most elite level of racing (maybe with the exception of time trialing solely due to having shifters in both positions). And arguably, it actually detracts from it as a lot of posters here have already said. I suspect this will be the year that manufacturers really try hard to increase market acceptance. And I suspect if it doesn't really start flying off the shelves in the next couple of years they just might shelve the whole experiment and be happy continuing to sell mechanical groups as their premier group sets. The pros ride largely what the sponsors tell them to ride in the vast majority of cases. Sometimes a rider may have a say but generally the sponsor dictates what will be used. It'll be interesting to watch who's having problems over the cobbles of Roubaix this year due to ghost shifting etc. But we likely wont be hearing much about it if they are. And of course the pros will publicly say they love the stuff that they're using, whatever that may be. That's what they're paid for. The SRAM commercials a few years back were laughable... "I'm so and so, and I choose SRAM". Those commercials were an insult to all but the most gullible of marketing targets. Then they switch teams and voila, they "choose" something else. And so it goes. It'll be interesting to see how it all plays out, for sure. In the meantime I don't really care one way or another if someone wants to go electric. But I know I'm very happy to choose mechanical for the time being. Anyway, have fun, regardless of what you ride. Shimano has definitely got all bases covered with what seems to be a phenomenal new mechanical group and an updated Di2 group. Either way they will be happy.
Colnago C64 - The Naked Build; Colnago C60 - PR99; Trek Koppenberg - Where Emonda and Domane Meet;
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by Weenie

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by Geoff

Ride what you like. Your enjoyment is what it is all about.

I love my Campagnolo friction-shifting groups. I don't care that slant-parallelogram product shifts better. Having said that, and notwithstanding what I would like to be the case, I am also not blind to simple reality: electric is plain better. Unfortunately, that is not debatable. I'm just thankful that EPS is better than Di2...

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by Calnago

@Geoff... Respect your opinion but I guess my reality is different than yours. I do not feel electric is better.
Colnago C64 - The Naked Build; Colnago C60 - PR99; Trek Koppenberg - Where Emonda and Domane Meet;
Unlinked Builds (searchable): Colnago C59 - 5 Years Later; Trek Emonda SL Campagnolo SR; Special Colnago EPQ

Phill P
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by Phill P

My thought is if I felt the mech groups didn't shift well enough then I'd have to consider the extra weight and cost of electric.

I've not have the chance to ride DA9000 but it is meant to finally be the improvement over 7800 that 7900 failed to deliver.

The only major advantage I see of electric is maintenance. The cables won't stretch and you don't have to retune or suffer that slight miss adjustment on hotter days before you do tweak it.

Additional advantage for TT bikes is cable management- and they don't care about the weight. But then does the bulk and shape of the FD and RD ruin the aero advantage of the cables??

When I get to buy another bike (too busy using my money to expand the store) I'll be getting DA9000 (with BB30/PF30/BB386-shame shimano cranks are still 24mm axles.

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by Casati

Just installed 11spd Chorus and never even seriously considered going for EPS. Why? Well, apart from the fact that fidgeting to get to correct adjustments is a real zen-moment for me, I think the electronic groups are:

- Ugly (although Campy has, as always, done a better design job than Shimano)
- Heavy
- Way too expensive.

That said, the shifting performance of EPS is perfect and very fast and I can completely understand why people enjoy that and the lack of maintenance work they have to do. But for me mechanical is still the way to go.

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by poppiholla

I use the new Sram Red at the moment and I love it. I would consider Campa SR EPS in the future when:
1: The price drops to a acceptable level
2: The ugly battery is out of sight
3: The bike can be slick without ugly wires and control box.
4: It would be much lighter.
(5: It is compatible with my (Ant+) cycle computer)?

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by Liggero

I hate having to trim the front derailleur. I think sram red 2013 is great cause there is no trim needed. Otherwise I would go with a electronic group.

Hope 105 Di2 arrives soon. 2015 I bet.
Happy Trails !!!

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by superb

I'll buy electric group when it will be cheaper, lighter and sufficiently widespread.

And one thing is necessary to think...
When you crash a part of the electric group the cost of purchasing new components will be very huge. For example, you can get right away new mechanical derailleur for few bucks, but electrical derailleur will be much more expensive and it will probably take more time to get it.

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by ldamelio

I believe we're in a transition period and electronic will evolve to be the standard for mid- and high end bikes. History repeats itself - we were having the same debates about integrated brake/shift levers vs. down tube shifters about 23 years ago. How many new DTS bikes do you see now ? In 2013, it's a question of whether you're an early adapter or not as the electronic and mechanical groups are pretty close in function. Me - I'll wait for wireless and lighter. It will come. YMMV.

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by CuccoMasala

As someone who has only been riding for 5 years, I can see why an electric gruppo is attractive. I think cost is the only thing prohibitive. If and when electric goes wireless, I'm sure they'll have a way to pair shifters to derailleurs, right? I'm thinking about cheap r/c cars in the 90's that didn't work on different channels, or hacking someone else's system and forcibly shifting them into their 53-12 on a 7% climb. :lol:

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by NCBikeGuy

I have also only been riding for about five years, but I typically get in about 5,000 miles a year now. I just received my Cannondale Evo with DA di2 and I have only ridden it the past two weekends. Also, my mileage has been limited to about 40 miles per weekend since I just started riding again due to suffering a broken ankle back in October. Regardless, here are my comments about di2 vs a six year old Look 555 with Ultegra.

* A lot of guys have posted about the elegance, simplicity, and connectivity of riding a mechanical gruppo. I get that, completely. Someone mentioned Ferraris with manual trannies. I was also lucky enough to have a Ferrari with a six speed and would never have a car with the F1 paddle shifting. I test drove a first generation F1 tranny in a 360 Modena, didn't like it at all. You can't blip the throttle between shifts, no interplay between the clutch, brake, shifter, and gas pedal that required some coordination, etc. This is actually a reasonably good parallel to the mechanical vs. electronic shifting debate going on here. However, unlike the 6-speed vs. F1 options on the Ferrari, the di2 is growing on me.

* Some of the things my Ultegra gruppo did tipped me off about things. When I hit the bottom of a hill and started downshifting, the FD would start ticking on the chain if I got down to the second or third cog without getting off of the big chainring. Maybe that should have been adjusted away, but I kind of liked it. Same thing when I was going downhill and moved out on the cassette, the FD would politely let me know when I got way out there on the cassette. Without that, I find myself cross chaining more with the di2 because the FD autotrims out of the way and takes away my auditory cues if I have been inattentive.

* Since the Evo has an 11/25 11-speed cassette and the Ultegra has an 11/28 10-speed, moving from the big to the small chainring means three cogs change up or down to keep the same cadence. On my Ultegra bike, it was two cogs and it simply required a full sweep of the lever when going from the small to the big ring or two quick clicks going the other way. Simple, quick, no precision needed. Just swing the whole lever full travel without thought. Di2 requires a bit more effort, for right now. Since there is a three cog difference, you hold down the button for about 2 seconds, but it keeps going if you don't lift. I am planning to check into reprogramming the di2 so that it automatically jumps three cogs and stops when I hold it down. I practically never need to jump more cogs than that at once. After I do that, I think I will like it more.

* Since I am still getting used to the di2, the tactile feel of the levers still feels just a little bit strange to my fingers. For Ultegra, as mentioned above, getting on the big chainring or downshifting the RD simply required your fingers to sweep the entire handle assembly. You didn't need to find a button. Di2 requires that you find the big button (or small) and press it. Now, Shimano have done a great job of providing an easy way to differentiate between the two buttons, don't get me wrong. I can even feel the difference with full fingered gloves on. I do wonder if I will still be able to do that when my fingers are numb, though. That being said, I have mishifted the Ultegra due to numbness before.

* I find it easier to shift up and down while in the drops with di2. This is because I can simply reach up to the appropriate lever with one finger and 'click', I have my new gear. Don't have to move my hands, just a finger. Maybe my Ultegra shifters weren't well adjusted for my smallish hands, but shifting in the drops required a lot more movement of my wrist and elbow joints to swing the lever through its travel. Once the weather warms up, I expect I will really like the di2 with regular cycling gloves since my fingertips will be resting right on the levers and the difference in the big and small buttons will be much more obvious.

* I can also understand those that don't like the battery hanging off of the frame. Aesthetically, not optimal, but not completely objectionable either. Nevertheless, for me, that's why I went with the DA di2 on my bike. Came with the seat post battery. Also liked the paint job for that particular Evo as well. Hey, you gotta' love your bike, right?

* This isn't so much a mechanical/electronic issue, but guys that live in hilly or mountainous areas will appreciate the 11-speed cassette on the new 90xx DA gruppos. The 11/25 11-speed really provides a nice gear selection that allows you to nail your desired cadence on the climbs.

* A couple of people talked about the electronic gruppo being heavier. Not really. The 9070 is slightly lighter than the 9000. However, I haven't seen any writeups, articles, or statements from Shimano to indicate if that comparison includes the battery . Regardless, my 52cm Evo came out of the box at 13.6 lbs. or so and 14.0 with some older Look (non-carbon) standard pedals. I have the compact chainrings installed and they sent it with 170 cranks. That weight includes the battery. My Look 555/Ultegra tips the scales at 18.8 lbs, although it has Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL wheels with a Powertap hub accounting for about 2 lbs. of the difference.

* When shifting, the FD can be heard. The little micromotor in there sounds a little like some sort of motorized gizmo from a science fiction movie. I suspect the riders in the immediate area can hear it too. That could bother some people, I suppose.

* As far as maintenance is concerned, the di2 is, maybe, a little trickier to initially set up than a mechanical group because most shops are simply more skilled working with mechanical system. I haven't had the di2 long enough to speak to the ongoing maintenance requirements, but I will say that I generally expected to replace the cables on my Ultegra bike about every two years or so if I wanted the shifting to stay nice and crisp. During that time, I'd usually have to give the barrel adjusters a quarter turn every once in a while as the cables stretched. Will not have to do that on the di2 bike.

All in all, I think that I will grow to like and probably prefer the electronic shifting option. Do you need it? No, not at all. Will it make my rides more enjoyable? I dunno'. Maybe, after a while. I can see why a lot of people like it already. I may have more insight after a couple of months and I do a ride on my Ultegra bike. I am sure the di2 'advantage', if there is one, will jump out at me then.

My rides:
2006 Look 555 Ultegra
2006 Felt B2 Dura Ace
2013 Cannondale Evo HiMod Dura Ace di2

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by tinozee

Great thread. I am on Sram red groups for a long time. What I like about them is that they are super light, cheap as hell nib on ebay, work well, can mix with old red, force, DA etc. (it helps in emergencies). I maintain four race bikes (mine and wife's) all with Red stuff and it's just great.

On the other hand the electronic groups seem neato. Maybe too expensive though and I would have zero back-up parts. Wireless versions would be awesome.

I like how frames like the new Parlee Z5i can handle both types of groups. I like mechanical for now though. Can't find any flaws with Sram Red besides the color red being on the parts (I like blue/white frames).

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by dadoflam08

WeightySteve wrote:In 3 years of Di2 ownership, not once have I missed arsing about with rear mech cable tensions and indexing that is ok on the top sprocket but not on the bottom (or vice versa), I've also never missed a cable that was so gummed up with sticky sugary deposits from the drink drips to the point that it would never reach the bottom sprocket because the friction of the sugar was greater than the tension of the cable. I fit it 3 years ago and its works exactly the same to this day.

So for me, once Di2 was proven (in 2009/10) it was never a wise choice anymore.

My experience is the same over same timeframe but I just don't like it - I'm selling my Di2 and replacing it with mechanical Super Record - beautifully sweet to use, if it is any slower than Di2 I can't tell (I personally believe SR is faster shifting at rear and equal at front) - and, critically - I really miss the side shifter buttons. Is there anything finer than cruising along on the hoods and shifting with your little finger?

To the retro grouches - just finished restoring my 70's Italian steed with NOS Nuovo Record - can wait to experience that bad shifting first hand!
'83 De Rosa Professional |'11 Baum Corretto |'08 BMC Pro Machine >6 |'86 Pinarello Team |'72 Cinelli SC |'58 Bianchi |'71 Cinelli SC |'78 Masi GC |'83 La Redoute Motobecane |'94 Banesto Pegoretti |'88 Bianchi X4 |'48 Super Elliott |'99 Look Kg281

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by eordman

I'm sure one day I'll have a bike with an electronic group. Whenever I ride Di2 I not only appreciate the novelty, but can see the appeal of quick front shifting and never adjusting. I'm a mechanic so the last thing I want to do at the end of a long day of working on bikes is work on my own.

Here's the thing, I'm more about trickle-down tech and value. I can't afford to get a new group every year. So I'm going to wait for 105 Di2, and 11 speed RED and Ui2 to come out next year. Looks like I'll stick to rival for now.

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