|You Will Be Assimilated!|
So, the road guys seem to love this stuff, but it is crazy expensive. Even with the drop to the Ultegra level, you have to be pretty well heeled to get into a Di2 bike, since they don't hang these components on "cheap" frames......yet! I am sure somewhere that is happening, I just have not seen that yet. ( It seems that Bikes Direct hasn't gotten ahold of that stuff, which surprises me!) Anyway.......
So a question came up in a discussion on Facebook about this development and here's my personal take on electronically shifted mountain bikes:
First of all, the technology of Di2 is amazing. It works as advertised and yes- it is better than mechanically shifted anything from the aspect of shifting performance. Nothing comes close, and I am sure the XTR stuff will follow suit. The system obviously does away with cables and housings, which effectively eliminates the need to tune up the drive train. Replace wear related parts and keep the battery charged when either of those two things are necessary. That's it.
|Shifting a Di2 bike couldn't be easier.|
So, what's not to like, other than the price? Well, that's hard to say without coming off as an anti-tech, retro-grouch, but here goes nuthin'.....
The Di2 system runs off a battery. So do all of our current devices du jour, and you know what that means: Ya gotta have a charger, cable, and you need to maintain the battery to be able to shift your Di2 mtb rig. Now, I will say that charging a road Di2 doesn't have to happen all that often, but the demands and rigors of mountain biking may make battery life somewhat shorter for off roading types. At any rate, we've introduced the "device culture" into the very heart of our mountain biking experience, and that's kind of what turns me off to Di2.
Why? Because I ride to get away from that very stuff. It is hard to do, as well. I have a smart phone. I take it with me out of responsibility to my loved ones. However; instead of turning it off and only using it in an emergency, I take images, check my e-mails, get and send texts, and take the occasional phone call. It bothers me that I do that so much sometimes that I actually get mad and turn the damn thing off.
|You could always just go single speed!|
Again, maybe I have a unique outlook here, but the whole idea of Di2 just feels weird to me. And then there is the cost of entry, which catapults Di2 into a range that may only be attainable to an upper class of the citizenry. Somehow that just seems weird when you consider the roots of mountain biking and the sort of vibe the sport has had for over 30 years.
So, is Di2 cool? Yes.....very cool. You cannot argue the technology. It works and does everything well, excepting that most folks will find it hard to afford it. I'm not at odds with the technology so much as I am at odds with what that technology represents for riding a mountain bike and the very reasons why we do that. Maybe I'm just being overly romantic about the whole deal and really, it doesn't matter in the end.