Thursday, March 7, 2013

Shimano Di2 Upgrades: A Chief Mechanic's Perspective

This bike Don is working on at the Medina Bike Fair does NOT have electronic shifting.
Century Cycles Medina Service Manager Don Barnett is prepped and ready to teach the "ABCs of Di2 Electronic Shifting" Clinic a week from today, on Thursday, March 14, and is looking forward to sharing his extensive personal and professional experience. Don is certified in Shimano Di2 technology, has built new bikes with Di2, upgraded bikes to Di2, and even now rides his own bike with Di2. Here are a few of his thoughts in advance of the clinic:

With our shop seeing and selling more DI2 bikes, we got an SM-PCE1 in. This is a computer interface that allows you to connect a DI2 system to Shimano's E-tube Project website. Not only is this great as a diagnostic tool, it allows you to upgrade the DI2 firmware (Shimano's term) to the latest 2.2.0 version. The best part of this upgrade is that you can customize the rear derailleur to shift multiple gears when pressing the shift buttons (thanks to our customer Rick Mace for the head's up tip that we can upgrade our DI2 bikes from the factory setting to this multi gear shifting).

You can choose a 2, 3, or no limit gear option as well as choose the shifting speed in five options from very slow to very fast. You could also customize how the shift buttons work (reverse the up and down or swap them right to left) the derailleurs. We upgraded the floor bikes in the shop as well as our own.

I chose the no limit, very fast option. It works awesome! It shifts flawlessly through the entire range, up or down, simply by holding the button down. We were concerned that single gear shifting might be affected, but that is not the case. Shifting one gear at a time still works and feels like the original. When shifting through multiple gears, you can feel the individual shifts and with a little practice, stop at the exact gear you want. The good thing is, if you don't like it, it can be changed to another option or set back to the original settings.
When we did our first customer conversion, his initial reaction after his first shift on his test ride was, "Holy S***, this is great!"
DI2 seems like it's here to stay and Shimano looks to be committed to keeping it cutting edge. Did I mention that on the E-tube Project website they are showing DI2 mountain suspension and DI2 internal hub? What will they think up next?

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