Sunday, August 03, 2008

Gear Changing at the Push of a Finger - Cycling news - Shimano Introduces Electronic Dura-Ace Components With DI2 Technology
Shimano now introduces the highly anticipated electronic version of Dura-Ace with Di2 technology. Being launched as an addition to the new mechanical Dura-Ace 7900 series, the electronic Dura-Ace 7970 will deliver state-of-the-art technology that will give its users a brand new road riding experience. According to Shimano DI2 is short for “Digital Integrated Intelligence”.

This innovative shifting technology is still based on the Shimano index system that has proved its superior gear changing characteristics over the years. The big difference is that in this case, the shifting action is provided for by electronics instead of mechanics.

This truly looks like a revolutionary improvement in cycling technology. They certainly will need to make some modest improvements in the battery life and needle around the edges (wireless?), but that's relatively minor improvement. But the shift - get it SHIFT - from a clunky and inherently imprecise mechanical gearing system to a precise and electronically controlled gearing system will greatly improve the quality of riding. Its a game changing kind of technology. 

I expect that within 5 years this technology will trickle down to all riders. The folks who can afford huge sums of money for early adoption of the technology will install this system and will hopefully work out all the kinks for the rest of us who will only be able to afford them once the price comes down.

I expect we'll see this tech in the lower level groups in a couple years. It sounds like the hassle that is keeping a drivetrain in tune is a thing of the past. There are no cables to strech and no limit screws or barrel adjusters to adjust.

I'm looking forward to riding with these things soon - sadly unless the gov't starts paying the really big $$$ it'll be a while.

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