Di2 - A technology too far?

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Brucey
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Re: A technology too far?

Postby Brucey » 29 May 2019, 11:07am

I agree Di2 is essentially an irrelevance to cycling in general.

Local to me most bike owners use their bikes as simple transport for journeys that are mostly between half a mile and four miles. There are many possibilities here including

- fix it yourself
- have the bike shop fix it
- obtain (buy/borrow/steal) another bike when your bike breaks
-ride it around until it genuinely won't move any more and then think about it.


Of course there are alternatives too such as taking the bus and/or walking. Folk do whatever they feel they are happiest with and anything that puts them off bicycles may cause them to walk or take the bus instead. IME very few people ride bikes regularly and manage to learn nothing about them.

cheers
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thelawnet
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Re: A technology too far?

Postby thelawnet » 29 May 2019, 11:29am

Brucey wrote:
thelawnet wrote: ….And as I said, there is certainly a group of people who'd be quite happy hooking their bike up to their computer, but would never touch a barrel adjuster.


yes, these people are mostly known as 'non-cyclists'.... :roll:


? My wife cycles to work every day. About 10 miles a day. Can't fix a puncture, never adjusted brakes, gearing. If something goes wrong I'll fix it, or she'll take it to Halfords or wherever.

She has a slow and heavy thing but it's still a bicycle by any definition. Her lack of maintenance ability is not really here nor there, since she can cycle along with one brake for quite a while, she doesn't put too much force through the pedals so worn chains and cassettes tend to last quite well, and punctures with cheap, heavy tyres don't really happen.

It doesn't matter how much electronic bullsquirt you add to a bicycle, it doesn't mean it isn't a mechanical device any more. If you have no mechanical aptitude whatsoever you are still going to have fairly massive and frequent bicycle problems with any 'posh' modern bike. Using electronic gear shifting just adds another layer of disparate complexity to the bicycle whilst offering very little in return.


I think you have missed my point. I meet people with very pricey bikes that they don't know how to maintain at all. They take it to the bike shop and fork out their £150 or whatever it costs. To these people whether or not the bike has another level of complexity is completely irrelevant because the bicycle is a black box to start with.

Outside of professionally maintained bikes used in high level competition, there are about a hundred different things I would do to improve bicycles before I'd bother with that.


This is hardly the point. As I mentioned, if you are spending £6k on a shiny new 'Sworks' or whatever, then I'd ask 'why'. It's quite an impractical thing. But clearly someone who has taken the decision to do so does not share many of your priorities, and they may perceive the bicycle as a status symbol or a piece of technology.

In that sense deep carbon rims, complicated shifting, or whatever is an end in themselves, no matter if they actually improve the bike in any sense. 'Improvement' is not all that relevant, because that is not the primary goal.

Actually it seems that electronic shifting does offer advantages in that there are no cables to stretch, so in real use they stay in tune a bit longer than the typical 'don't touch anything' cyclist would get with mechanical derailleurs. Obviously they can fail in complex ways, that may not be fixable on the roadside, but as I mentioned ANY kind of failure is excessively complex for some cyclists, so there isn't in reality a distinction between 'you could fix that with something out of your saddlebag' and 'that needs to be connected to a computer', if the cyclist has neither mechanical skill, nor spare parts.

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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: A technology too far?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 29 May 2019, 11:58am

If one uses good quality compression less cables then they won't "stretch" either, so that's not a problem anyone need endure...not that the very occasional twiddle of an adjuster barrel is in any way a problem.
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mig
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Re: A technology too far?

Postby mig » 29 May 2019, 12:54pm

i always see kit like this to be akin to F1 type technology in that field. some gizmo that makes the car corner half a degree flatter and saws off 0.003 secs per lap. hence it can be argued that it has a use as the gear change is 'X' better in circumstance 'Y.' it isn't going to get legions more bums on saddles every day.

have shimano ever said for how long they will support these systems?

pwa
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Re: A technology too far?

Postby pwa » 29 May 2019, 1:14pm

Lance Dopestrong wrote:If one uses good quality compression less cables then they won't "stretch" either, so that's not a problem anyone need endure...not that the very occasional twiddle of an adjuster barrel is in any way a problem.

You use the bike for one ride, adjust the barrel adjuster once or twice at most, and the thing settles down and stays good for ages. That's the process with a newly set up cable system. I can make the minor adjustment at the roadside in a few seconds. I have never bought the idea that the cables stretch. I think it is probably more a matter of the ends of the outers bedding into sockets a bit more.

peetee
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Re: A technology too far?

Postby peetee » 29 May 2019, 1:38pm

I am not sure DI2 adds anything to the cycling experience apart from pose-value. The shift on a well maintained high end mechanical system is so easy and effortless it is barely any different to electronic - especially to anyone who remembers the trials and tribulations of downtube friction shifts.
I have seen two instances of fractured cage plate bridges on DI2 front shifters, something I have never come across with mechanical. Add in the get-you-home fixability options on mechanical and that's where I'd lay my boots every time.
As for the written-in software program to stop cross-chaining, sounds like a good idea as I see it often in my job. Changing bike gears on the majority of mechanical systems is non-intuitive as the shift on one lever has the opposite effect as the same shift on the other lever. I do believe that a lot of 'weekend' cyclists struggle to predict the result of a shift and so what if the chain alignment is awful, if it makes pedalling easier that's enough involvement for them.
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Bmblbzzz
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Re: A technology too far?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 29 May 2019, 1:52pm

In the context of "a £6k Sworks" electronic shifting is almost certainly simpler than mechanical. Put the buttons wherever you find them most convenient, set them up to respond in various ways. Sram's system is probably even better than Di2, because it's wireless. You then have an easier-to-use system that will get you over the line 1 second faster on Sunday afternoon.

If you're riding for utility, touring or pottering along the lanes with a group of friends, then Di2 is irrelevant (unless you have specific problems like arthritic fingers).

scottg
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Re: A technology too far?

Postby scottg » 29 May 2019, 1:53pm

A friend with hand flexibility and strength issues, bought a new bike with Di2
and hydraulic discs. She can now ride 50 miles without hand pain.
So in this case Di2 and hydros are like raising your bars and putting
on lower gears.

So to update...
“Variable gears and electronic shifting are only for people over forty-five.
Isn’t it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles rather than by the artifice of electronics?
We are getting soft. Give me a fixed gear.”
–Henri Desgrange, 1903. Cyclist, first organizer of Tour de France.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Why not the best, buy Cyclo-Benelux.

mig
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Re: A technology too far?

Postby mig » 29 May 2019, 2:31pm

scottg wrote:A friend with hand flexibility and strength issues, bought a new bike with Di2
and hydraulic discs. She can now ride 50 miles without hand pain.
So in this case Di2 and hydros are like raising your bars and putting
on lower gears.

So to update...
“Variable gears and electronic shifting are only for people over forty-five.
Isn’t it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles rather than by the artifice of electronics?
We are getting soft. Give me a fixed gear.”
–Henri Desgrange, 1903. Cyclist, first organizer of Tour de France.


yes so a very specific set of circumstances relating to a rider.

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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: A technology too far?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 29 May 2019, 3:21pm

scottg wrote:A friend with hand flexibility and strength issues, bought a new bike with Di2
and hydraulic discs. She can now ride 50 miles without hand pain.
So in this case Di2 and hydros are like raising your bars and putting
on lower gears.


Whereas I have no feeling in two fingers and the lower portion of my thumb, so in that regard they're a bit of a hindrance for me. Having said that, they could easily be rewired to use different switches of a different size so there's a positive movement. Hell, micro switches could be built into to mechanical brifters.
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Brucey
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Re: A technology too far?

Postby Brucey » 29 May 2019, 3:50pm

thelawnet wrote:
Brucey wrote:
thelawnet wrote: ….And as I said, there is certainly a group of people who'd be quite happy hooking their bike up to their computer, but would never touch a barrel adjuster.


yes, these people are mostly known as 'non-cyclists'.... :roll:


? My wife cycles to work every day. About 10 miles a day. Can't fix a puncture, never adjusted brakes, gearing. If something goes wrong I'll fix it, or she'll take it to Halfords or wherever.


most people don't ride bikes at all and most people who do ride bikes have some mechanical aptitude rather than none. I don't think it is a big stretch to see that there are fewer cyclists in amongst those who have limited mechanical aptitude. Isolated counterexamples rather tend to support my point in that they wouldn't be isolated if it were more commonplace.


It doesn't matter how much electronic bullsquirt you add to a bicycle, it doesn't mean it isn't a mechanical device any more. If you have no mechanical aptitude whatsoever you are still going to have fairly massive and frequent bicycle problems with any 'posh' modern bike. Using electronic gear shifting just adds another layer of disparate complexity to the bicycle whilst offering very little in return.


I think you have missed my point. I meet people with very pricey bikes that they don't know how to maintain at all. They take it to the bike shop and fork out their £150 or whatever it costs. To these people whether or not the bike has another level of complexity is completely irrelevant because the bicycle is a black box to start with.


I think you missed my point which is that whilst there are rare exceptions, at best these things are usually an irrelevance, and are liable to cost more (in time, money and aggro) over their lifetime than equivalent mechanical systems. You don't need to have any mechanical aptitude to see that.

cheers
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reohn2
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Re: A technology too far?

Postby reohn2 » 29 May 2019, 4:17pm

pwa wrote:
Lance Dopestrong wrote:If one uses good quality compression less cables then they won't "stretch" either, so that's not a problem anyone need endure...not that the very occasional twiddle of an adjuster barrel is in any way a problem.

You use the bike for one ride, adjust the barrel adjuster once or twice at most, and the thing settles down and stays good for ages. That's the process with a newly set up cable system. I can make the minor adjustment at the roadside in a few seconds. I have never bought the idea that the cables stretch. I think it is probably more a matter of the ends of the outers bedding into sockets a bit more.

+1
There's a lot been written on here about the advantages of compressionless outers,IME there ain't a lot of difference between them and quality spiral wound ordinary outers with a PTFE(?) Inner sheath.
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reohn2
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Re: A technology too far?

Postby reohn2 » 29 May 2019, 4:21pm

peetee wrote:I am not sure DI2 adds anything to the cycling experience apart from pose-value. The shift on a well maintained high end mechanical system is so easy and effortless it is barely any different to electronic - especially to anyone who remembers the trials and tribulations of downtube friction shifts.
I have seen two instances of fractured cage plate bridges on DI2 front shifters, something I have never come across with mechanical. Add in the get-you-home fixability options on mechanical and that's where I'd lay my boots every time.
As for the written-in software program to stop cross-chaining, sounds like a good idea as I see it often in my job. Changing bike gears on the majority of mechanical systems is non-intuitive as the shift on one lever has the opposite effect as the same shift on the other lever. I do believe that a lot of 'weekend' cyclists struggle to predict the result of a shift and so what if the chain alignment is awful, if it makes pedalling easier that's enough involvement for them.

You haven't seen my SinL's old bike now in the w/shop Deore outer cageplate worn through :shock:
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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: A technology too far?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 29 May 2019, 4:38pm

There's a lot been written on here about the advantages of compressionless outers,IME there ain't a lot of difference between them and quality spiral wound ordinary outers with a PTFE(?) Inner sheath.


My own experience is, respectfully, somewhat at odds with that. Back in the day running a fleet of 15 otherwise identical bikes at work it was easy to note the differences that different types of cable, brake pads and tyres made, because I always had several untouched control samples to compare too. That removed any of the ambiguity from making suck and see changes on a single bike.

PTFE sheaths are a different pot of marmite altogether.
https://themediocrecyclist.home.blog
Self employed MIAS L5.B Instructor.
Warwickshire Lowland Rescue Bike lead.
IPMBA certified member.
Cyctech C2 hammer and crowbar bodger.
Lapsed CTC Ride Leader, amateur hour stuff from the fun old days.

reohn2
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Re: A technology too far?

Postby reohn2 » 29 May 2019, 5:03pm

Lance Dopestrong wrote:
My own experience is, respectfully, somewhat at odds with that. Back in the day running a fleet of 15 otherwise identical bikes at work it was easy to note the differences that different types of cable, brake pads and tyres made, because I always had several untouched control samples to compare too. That removed any of the ambiguity from making suck and see changes on a single bike.

PTFE sheaths are a different pot of marmite altogether.

I've tried both compressionless and quality spiral wound both with PTFE* inner sheaths on the same bike fitted with BB7 disc brakes and same levers same s/s inners,so the only change was outers,there is a difference but it ain't a lot.
Both set ups have very good modulation and both wheels can be easily locked up.
In fact when I built up my first BB7 equiped disc bike I hadn't even heard of compressionless outers but was very impressed with the braking,once I read about them on this forum,I fitted them expecting even better performance but whilst there was a difference I concluded it wasn't worth the effort :(

*I'm assuming inner plastic sheathing is PTFE but stand to be corrected if not.
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