By now you have probably at least heard about Shimano’s Di2 (digital integrated intelligence), a shifting option to the company’s proven mechanical shifting. But unless you’ve actually spent time on it, the important concepts of programmable electronic shifting may be hard to grasp. Instead of mechanical cables, Di2 is an electronic gear-shifting system that enables riders to execute shifts with electronic switches vs. mechanical shift levers. Through the use of Di2, shifts are fast and precise with countless customization options. The most important thing to remember as you watch these videos and read more is that the user is always in control of what your system does or can be pre-programmed to do. Whether you use a 1×11, 2×11 or even if you still love your 3×11 drivetrain, Di2 technology for mountain bikes gives riders from all disciplines and preferences the same core benefits.
Electronic signals between the shifter and the derailleur(s) give mountain bikers an instant connection to a wide range of gears, making it easier to react and stay in the flow of the trail. React instantly to sudden changes on the trail quickly and efficiently allowing you to save energy or find more speed. With Di2 you can pre-program the system to shift through your whole cassette by simply holding down the shifter. Or if you prefer a traditional approach, tap away every single shift. Additionally, there is no exposed mechanical cable and housing to add friction, be susceptible to contamination, or wear out. With Di2’s electronic signals and its sealed system, shifts are powerful, dependable, and instantaneous.
What is Synchro Shift?
Synchro Shift is the kind of thing you don’t completely understand until you try it. It gives riders the simplicity of 1×11 drivetrain, with the gear range and gear steps of a 2×11 drivetrain by utilizing a single gear shifter (or two shifters if you prefer) that can control both the front and rear derailleurs through programmable gear mapping.
Synchro Shift’s advanced shifting technology allows you to program and execute multiple commands of your choice, with a single shifter. Not only do you choose when the front derailleur shifts, you can program simultaneous rear shifts to maintain cadence and momentum. However, if you’d like a left shifter, it can be used as well. It would allow you to manually execute a front shift whenever you wanted, but most riders don’t find that necessary.
Synchro shifting can be a great help for a wide range of people, but please don’t just think of it as something for people who don’t know how to use the gears on their bike. World class racers that are riding at the limit of their ability are often so far into oxygen debt that it becomes easy to make a mistake. Synchro shifting takes the possibility of rider error out of the equation when using a 2×11 system.
Of course, since its Di2, the Synchro gear map is fully customizable. There are even two Synchro modes which come out of the box tailored towards mashers or spinners. If you want to experiment you can make adjustments in the E-Tube Project software and switch between two settings on the trail to compare them.