Market: The experiences from 20.000 test kilometers culminate in the Synchro Shift-Function of the Shimano XTR Di2.
Japanese component giant Shimano today introduced the first electronic component group for mountain bikes, the XTR Di2 (M9050) before. The development is the result of an immensely extensive testing and development process. The XTR Di2 complements the recently introduced mechanical one XTR M9000. The essential and most obvious advantages of the Di2-Platform versus a mechanical shifting system are extremely precise, fast, consistent and powerful shifts in all imaginable conditions. Shifting requires significantly less effort and is literally at the touch of a button.
In addition, the XTR Di2 with the so-called Synchro Shift-Function equipped with fully programmable shift layout. It can also look good XTR Di2 to shine with its tidy appearance and is characterized by a minimum of maintenance effort due to the lack of mechanical trains.
The direct interface between the human and the switching system is naturally the corresponding control element - in the case of the XTR Di2 not a classic gear lever, but an electronic switch. In close cooperation with professionals, the developers at Shimano worked on the feel and ergonomics for a long time until an absolutely natural shifting feel was achieved. This is how the new one stands out Firebolt-Switch is characterized above all by short operating paths, compact dimensions, easy-to-reach buttons and excellent tactile feedback.
One of the main advantages of an electronic groupset is the programmability of the system. With the new one XTR Di2 the optimal switching logic can thus be implemented for every individual driving style and for all individual requirements. The XTR Di2 is based on the same E-Tube platform as Shimano's current one Di2-Road bike groups. This E-Tube cable system connects all Di2 components with a plug-and-play connection, routing both power and information to the individual components and thereby enabling the programming capability of the entire system.
In addition, thanks to E-Tube, the system can also be customized by specifically assigning different switching functions to the individual switch buttons. For example, the operation of the front derailleur can be moved from the left to the right switch and/or the rear derailleur to the left switch.
Of course, as with the racing bike groupset, the so-called multi-shift function can also be programmed, which becomes active when the switch is held down. Both the shifting speed and the number of gears shifted by Multishift - i.e. only one gear, two gears or the entire 11 gears - can be selected as desired.
Compared to conventional mechanical shift cables, the use of an electronic cable system also means that corrosion or functional impairments due to stretched cables are no longer an issue and maintenance is reduced to a minimum. Probably the outstanding function of XTR Di2 is the so-called Synchro Shift option. Over a whopping 20.000 kilometers of testing, the engineers acquired extensive knowledge of the most used and most efficient gear combinations under all conceivable conditions.
Based on this information, it was possible to program the system in such a way that the rear derailleur and front derailleur can be controlled with just one switch. The front derailleur permanently recognizes the position of the rear derailleur and automatically carries out the appropriate shifting processes at the front in order to constantly ensure the most efficient transmission and the ideal chain line.
Since he no longer has to worry about gear changes at the front or the corresponding compensating gear shifts at the rear, the driver is relieved and can devote his full attention to the route ahead.
The information that Shimano gained from the many test kilometers led to two pre-installed shift layouts for Synchro Shift, which are available by default in the system. Thanks to E-Tube, these synchro shift modes can be changed at any time, and you can also program your own shift layouts. During the journey can then at any time between these two Synchro Shiftmodes and the manual mode can be switched back and forth.
Responsible for the execution of the switching processes are XTR Di2-Rear derailleurs and front derailleurs. They ensure powerful, highly precise and consistent shifting. The Di2 front derailleur, for example, shifts twice as powerfully as the current M980 front derailleur, which guarantees reliable, fast and smooth front shifting even under high loads. And that - regardless of terrain or topography - simply by pressing a button. The rear derailleur comes with the new one Shadow+technology for Di2, in which the friction damper can not only be switched on or off with a toggle switch, but can also be adjusted with an Allen screw.
Both the rear derailleur and the front derailleur react immediately to the rider's commands and assume the correct position for the respective sprocket or chain ring in all gear combinations, for example thanks to the front derailleur's auto-trim function.
Cleane Optics and an expandable system
The brain of XTR Di2-Systems is the digital system display. This display shows important information such as battery charge level, gear position, shift mode (manual or synchro) or suspension mode. A selection button on the display housing makes it possible to select or change the desired shifting mode – synchro 1, synchro 2 or manual – while driving. In addition, the display unit serves as a charging connection and as a connection port for the E-Tube software and has three E-Tube slots for peripheral system components. E-Tube not only ensures order inside the frame, but also gives every mountain bike a chic, clean Optical.
In addition, thanks to the E-Tube, the Fox suspension system can also be integrated, which means that even fewer train and cable routings are required on the bike. The XTR Di2 M9050 from the same batteries as the road bike Di2 groupsets, the external model SM-BTR1 or the internal type SM-BTR2.
- Front derailleur: (FD-M9070 D-Type): 115 grams
- Rear Derailleur (RD-M9050-GS): 289 grams
- System Display (SC-M9050): 30 grams
- Switch (SW-M9050): 64 grams
The group should be commercially available from autumn 2014.