Dirvetrain preference : Mechanical vs electronic

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
photek
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:09 am

by photek

eTap :
No cables at all (ok, apart from the brakes)
Shifts lovely

I'm happy :)

RyanH
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by RyanH

I've had multiple sets of eTap, and 9150. Electronic drive trains are like paddle shifters in a car. Most mechanical groups are your standard gearbox while 9100 may be a sequential gearbox. It comes down to what you find more pleasing.

For me, I feel disconnected on electronic drive trains. I don't find my shifts as natural and I often find myself in the wrong gear more often. I don't know why but I just have to think about it more. I also prefer being able to change multiple gears at once.

by Weenie


2old4this
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:26 am

by 2old4this

All my bikes are now electronic except my "rain day bike", which gets used only 2 or 3 weeks a year.

Last Friday it was raining. That is when I realized the only thing where electronic cannot beat mechanical. It's a 10 years old bike. I've spent may be 10 mins checking this and that, and off I go.

Don't get me wrong, electronic ones are better in every other way for me. I am pretty sure I won't go back to mechanical. But yet, I know I cannot just spend 10 mins and ride them (they have to be charged.) And in a few years, they all will need to be replaced (if nothing else, I know I won't be able to find the replacement battery.)

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TonyM
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:11 pm

by TonyM

2old4this wrote:All my bikes are now electronic except my "rain day bike", which gets used only 2 or 3 weeks a year.

Last Friday it was raining. That is when I realized the only thing where electronic cannot beat mechanical. It's a 10 years old bike. I've spent may be 10 mins checking this and that, and off I go.

Different for me...

My winter/ rain bike get used at least 6 months per year and for rides up to 6 hours usually.

A few months ago I decided to get my new winter/ rain bike with Di2 (my first Di2!).

Yesterday for example 6 hours bike ride and 4 hours drizzle rain. Temperature of 2C to 6C. I have to admit that in such rainy weather, usually also with wind, I really prefer Di2 as I shift more often and it is easier with the rain/ winter gloves and the rain. With the mechanical I would have shifted less after 3-4 hours.


2old4this
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:26 am

by 2old4this

I think we are on the same page; electronic is better. I just can't justify the cost of electronic on a bike I ride only a few times a year.

Still, I think mechanical has its advantages...

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TonyM
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:11 pm

by TonyM

2old4this wrote:I think we are on the same page; electronic is better. I just can't justify the cost of electronic on a bike I ride only a few times a year.

Still, I think mechanical has its advantages...
Yep now I get your point. Sorry.

Johnnysmooth
Posts: 183
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 4:56 pm
Location: Beantown

by Johnnysmooth

I guess I'm old fashion running mechanical (Campy) on all bikes in the stable. I take comfort in never having to worry about charging and appreciate the shear simplicity of a mechanical drivetrain that I can take completely apart, replace individual parts and reassemble. Doing that with small servo motors, I don't think so.
It only hurts if you think.

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853guy
Posts: 160
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:48 pm

by 853guy

I'll be ordering a custom steel frame some time this year (i.e. when I can actually work out what I want), built up with a bunch of WW-approved bits and pieces.

It'll be fitted with a mechanical group set.

Why? I get there are many good reasons to go with electronic, but here's the thing...

I spend everyday in front of my Mac for work. I carry an iPhone everywhere. My kids (although their screen time is limited and vetted) have an iPad, Amazon Fires, a Nintendo DS and a Kano between them. We actually only recently got a TV, but, well, now we have one. We're pretty far from being a family consumed and overrun by technology (none of our kids have phones, and we don't have gaming consoles), but nevertheless, technology has a palpable presence in our household.

So when I get out on the bike, the last thing I want to do is to be interacting with electronics. If I'm going less than an hour from home, I don't even take my phone. For me, there's something really pure about changing gear and interacting with a bike mechanically. For a simple machine, it brings me an incredible amount of joy.

So no to electronic shifting for now. I say this as someone who recently purchased Valiska's On Pause on Bandcamp and ordered the vinyl edition. It did come with a free high-res download, but that was a bonus.

Best,

853guy

fordred
Posts: 86
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 4:22 pm

by fordred

Tried both Di2 and eTap on friends' bikes.
Di2 was impressive. Fast shifting, accurate, but the need to route wires and the big junction box seems redundant in this age.
eTap felt abit slower, probably not much difference when compared to mechanical.

However, I'm choosing to stay with mechanical. Have seen wires dropping out of shifters after a pothole, wires being clamped on and battery was draining to a point where he can't even complete a ride on it. Out of battery in the middle of the ride and had to borrow and swap a battery from another group in order to shift to a smaller chainring.

Yes, all these can be avoided with proper installation and maintenance/charging, but there's something reassuring about knowing your bike will work after 6 months in storage, and that it won't run flat in the middle of a climb. Already have enough electronics (fly6/12, additional lights, garmin) to charge and a drivetrain should not be one of them.
Also, battery degradation is a real thing which gives the electronic groupset a lifespan, kind of. don't like the thought of that.

dricked
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:57 pm

by dricked

The wires are easier to run than changing your shifter cables (and don’t need servicing) and if done properly won’t pull out of a connector. Also, if you throw the charger on your bike while you eat breakfast/get changed/fill your bottles, you aren’t going to have a dead one. I still understand wanting to stay mechanical (sort of) but these concerns aren’t really necessary if you plan an hour ahead. Personally I prefer the accuracy and crispness of just pushing a button.

AfromD
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:46 am

by AfromD

pdlpsher1 wrote: ↑
Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:58 pm
I also have the climbing switch and I cannot live without it. With it I can shift effortlessly without even moving my hand while climbing. I just use my right thumb for an instant gear change. People say this switch is big and ugly. But when you're going all out on a climb no button can be too big, haha.

One oddity I can never figure out is why did Shimano put the wire exit on the left side when 99% of the riders put the unit on the right side of the handlebar :noidea:

Image
What I actually used were cateye buttons with soldered on di2 plugs, which I connected to the sprinter switch ports on my DA brifters. They are below the handlebar on both sides, glued on where the bar tape ends. They are tiny and invisible. One disadvantage to that location is that you always grab there to handle the bike when not on it. But on the bike I can reach it with thumbs or index fingers.

@cable on the left side: Maybe Shimano was more thinking in terms of a setup where you would wire it to a 5-port junction box below the stem, not to a brifter.

AfromD
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:46 am

by AfromD

fordred wrote: ↑
Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:31 am
Also, battery degradation is a real thing which gives the electronic groupset a lifespan, kind of. don't like the thought of that.
I kwow what you are getting at, but I figure that even in 30 or 40 years there will still be compatible cells for DIY exchange. Bigger problem will be when you fry an IC. Same goes for any modern car BTW. Once the electronic parts are no longer available, all but the most valuable ones will be discarded.

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