Shimano Introduces Electronic Dura-Ace Components With DI2 Technology
A first look at the 2009 edition of Shimano Dura-Ace.
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 electronic shifting system was tested extensively over de past two years by several professional riders even in conditions such as rain, mud, low temperatures, cobble stone roads - and combinations of all of these at the same time.
The electronic Dura-Ace 7970 series consists of dual control levers, electronically operated front and rear derailleurs and a battery kit. For the other components, like crankset and brakes, one has to rely on the products taken from the new mechanical DURA-ACE 7900 group.
Dual Control Levers
Shifting is executed by simply pressing the button. No power is needed anymore to shift, which leads to important advantages since it is now easier than ever to always keep a tight grip on the handlebar and to keep your concentration on riding instead on shifting. The shifting system allows accurate and effortless shifting under difficult circumstances. For instance when you have cold hands during winter months or when you are completely exhausted. Furthermore, the shifting performance will never be affected by contaminated or stretched cables since the shifting signal is transferred electronically.
The operating buttons work similar to the mechanical Dura-Ace dual control levers so you don’t need to reprogram your mind for a new system. The ergonomic bracket shape provides a greater degree of ergonomics and control for a variety of riders. It appears highly interesting that an optional satellite switch will allow for shifting from multiple positions on the handlebar.
The dual control levers have been equipped with a reach adjustment mechanism which is an ideal feature for people with smaller hands.
The most remarkable difference you will notice is shifting the front derailleur. Just pushing the button will shift the front derailleur completely effortless and smooth, even under high load. An additional feature, much appreciated by our test riders, is the automatic trim function. The chain guide moves automatically in response to the setting of the rear derailleur.
Also the rear derailleur offers remarkably quick and smooth shifts. It has a wide gear ratio (11-27T compatible) and the electronics are well protected from heavy impacts such as crashes. The rear derailleur features a carbon pulley plate and titanium B axle for increased weight savings.
Excellent reliability and a long lifetime have been proved through repeated field tests in various riding conditions over the last two years. The battery is very easy to mount and remove for charging and it fits any kind of road bike.
Shimano argues that the shifting system is not wireless because that would need additional power which again would lead to the need for a heavier battery. It would also be less reliable than the technology that Shimano has opted for, says Shimano representatives. Or is it just that it hasn't been fully invented and developed yet?
Dura-Ace with Di2 technology contributes to time trial riding by its multi position shifters. It allows riders to shift while braking and enjoy an effortless operation even when riding in the aerodynamic position.
Complimenting the regular package, a dual control lever ST-7971 with electronic shift buttons for time trial and triathlon usage is introduced. The carbon brake lever has been developed with a reach adjustment mechanism to fit all hand sizes. This dual control lever is compatible with the new FlightDeck computer SC-7900.
Finally, an electronic satellite switch SW-7971 will be available that can be integrated into time trial handlebar extensions. The shift wires can be guided through the bars for optimal aerodynamics.
The new DI2 electronic version of the Shimano Dura-Ace component series will be available in stores worldwide stating January 2009.
More information about the new Dura-Ace 7900 and 7970 series can be found at http://www.dura-ace.com .
Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com for a complete review of the 2009 version of Shimano Dura-Ace.
Buy Shimano Dura-Ace DI2 online at Wiggle Online Cycle Shop.