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Old 03-31-12, 08:24 PM   #1
gtragitt
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Dura Ace Mechanical vs Ultegra Electronic

Does anybody have an opinion about whether Ultegra Di2 is a better value than the mechanical Dura Ace? The prices are similar for the shifters, and derailleurs.

Has anybody bought a bicycle with the Di2 or upgraded a bicycle to Di2? The Di2 seems quite slick, but I am not sure it is justified.
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Old 03-31-12, 08:50 PM   #2
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Apples and oranges from my perspective. I've had a chance to ride the Di2 Ultegra and Dura Ace for about 1200 miles total. I know it's not an especially impressive number of miles, but I did get comfortable with them. Both are VERY slick systems. There are advantages that exceed DA mechanical. For example, the self-centering of the dérailleurs after a shift. It happens quickly and it is spot on accurate. Additionally, the estimated battery life is very impressive. Yet, the mechanical DA is what I pick for my top ride; it exceeds what I really need. I'll wait for the price to come down even more before I make the switch.
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Old 03-31-12, 09:02 PM   #3
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I'm intrigued by the electronic systems but more so as an engineer than as a rider. I think that reliability is the trait that I most appreciate at this stage of my life.

Edit: Didn't know until now about the much less expensive Ultegra version. Current personal economic reality dictates that I wait on a 105 version.

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Old 03-31-12, 09:05 PM   #4
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Thanks NOS88. I also noticed that the front derailleur centered automatically every time the rear derailleur shifted. I have Ultegra 6700 on my bicycle and don't have to trim all that often; so, I think you are correct in mentioning that the cost of upgrading is probably not justified. I suspect there is less maintenance on the Di2 since there are no cables to stretch. I also suspect the shifters are less complicated. My Ultegra brifters have been trouble free, however.
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Old 03-31-12, 09:29 PM   #5
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I probably would have gone to Ultegra Di2 with the bike I just put together, but decided to wait for confirmation that the next generation of DA Di2 would have interchangeable parts with the Ultegra. One of my main interests is the "Sprinter Shifter", which isn't yet available with the Ultegra Di2; only DA. If I put together a pure crit bike, it will have Ultegra Di2 with the Sprinter Shifter, so I can shift up easily in the sprint. Plus, I've had difficulty getting my 7900 FD to not rub, while also shifting well, and not dropping chains. IMO, it's definitely the future.
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Old 04-01-12, 12:19 AM   #6
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Does anybody have an opinion about whether Ultegra Di2 is a better value than the mechanical Dura Ace? The prices are similar for the shifters, and derailleurs.

Has anybody bought a bicycle with the Di2 or upgraded a bicycle to Di2? The Di2 seems quite slick, but I am not sure it is justified.
It's one of the slickest things since sliced bread.
IMHO it is a marvel to both watch and experience, and leaves no questions why the pelotons of the world have embraced it.

From my personal perspective, I would not pay the extra for the Di2 or the Campy version. It simply automates the current process of changing gears and whether or not that is something worthwhile, is up to you.
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Old 04-01-12, 04:25 AM   #7
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Cycling is one of those endeavors where we embrace the latest technology (carbon, straight pull spokes etc) and still find joy in collecting and rebuilding "classics". Still, in the long run, few ride high wheels. I suspect that electronic shifting is here to stay.
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Old 04-01-12, 05:37 AM   #8
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For some reason I have had a history of breaking shift cables. That and I damaged a frame from dropping the chain too many times. I got sick of it, and last summer decided to upgrade to DA Di2. I've also had it installed on my "backup" bike, but the Ultegra Di2 version. Both work identically, and both are fantasssstic. Except for maybe a commuter bike, or a beater for shopping or something, I don't see myself ever getting another bike without electronic shifting.

Likes: shifting without having to strategize, under pressure, on a hill, from the drops etc. Just do it and don't worry about it. Shifting from the drops is my #1 favorite thing. Auto-trimming FD is #2.

Dislikes: none really except for cost

Reliability: I get 500-600 miles between charges. Some get more, but I tend to shift a LOT. I've ridden in numerous downpours and other crummy road conditions that left everything filthy, and haven't had any problems.
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Old 04-01-12, 07:22 AM   #9
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I think everyone is missing the greatest single ergonomic opportunity afforded by this technology -- the freedom to design and to deploy multiple sets of control buttons/levers/whatever anywhere along the handlebars or brake handles. I can think of a few configurations and controller geometries I would prefer over the standard brifter design.
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Old 04-01-12, 07:48 AM   #10
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If cost is not an issue, then electronic shifting for sure, but I think there is a similarity between driving a manual versus an automatic. I've been driving manuals for so long I barely notice the shifting. I can get 300K miles, worry-free, out of a clutch. Few automatic trans will last that long. Racing (your bike) might be a different situation where the faster shifts could make a difference.

I think what will be interesting will be the long term durability of the electronic shifting. If this stuff turns out to be really durable, you may get some relative return since your not dealing with non-repairable (Shimano) brifters. Campy is repairable, but not inexpensive to repair.
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Old 04-01-12, 08:54 AM   #11
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Have your children buy a bunch of current DA components so they can fit them to their "vintage" bikes 20 yrs. from now.
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Old 04-01-12, 10:58 AM   #12
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As both a rider and a hopeless geek I was elated to be given the chance to ride a steed with Ultegra Di2. OMG this is AWESOME!! My best comparison is when I bought a 2008 BMW 335xi with steering wheel mounted shift paddles. I can't imagine having a performance car without them. I'm so done with the whole waxing nostalgic for a manual clutch...

I feel the same way about Di2! The shift without fear cannot be overstated!! For myself it makes no sense to not have a system that takes away the opportunities to ****** up a shift. Instead all one has to consider is the timing. Press the button and BANG the shift happens. No fuss no muss. Hill coming up I think I'll jump down to the small ring...... NOW. And up a couple cogs...... NOW! Oh and the BIG stroke to shift up on the RD is GONE!! No more fumbling for the shift notch 2/3 through the stroke to a smaller cog (this is my personal favorite gripe about my current Ultegra 6700 group...). Instead it's a simple 1/16 inch press of a button. Niiiiiiiiiice!!

Simply amazing.

Be careful visiting your LBS and being offered a test ride on a bike with electronic shifting!! Whether it's Shimano or Campy the bug will bite you and you will be forever hooked!! Just hide the credit card!!
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Old 04-01-12, 11:57 AM   #13
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I've used DA Di2 for 3 years now, first on my Roubaix and now on my Tarmac. It has been flawless. I've found it can get finicky when the chain gets worn, and needs some adjustment but so would a cable system. A couple issues with Di2 are the extra weight, the cost, the inability to use mtb cassettes. I'm thinking of swapping out the group for SRAM Red just to try something different (and save over a pound). The bottom line is all the groups shift very well these days. Di2 allows unique setups for cross or TT and shifting from the drops is the best. However, for event riding or training it really is overkill but don't let that change your mind. It is an outstanding group.
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Old 04-01-12, 02:15 PM   #14
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If You have to have the Latest Kit, to find out what it's like, then You Must.

There is someone posting about how with one arm blown off in the battle field,
abroad.
they look forward to the Alfine IG hub with the electronic shifting.

But people have been modifying bikes to be used by amputees for decades ..
with mechanical shifting..
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Old 04-01-12, 02:47 PM   #15
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I have never been a sheep in following the flock in getting the latest upgrades---Until I had a chance to try that upgrade and found it suited me and then I would get it. But there has to be a necessity for that upgrade. On the type of riding I do if the old standard stuff works then I will stay with it.

Last Autumn I was out testing bikes and I tested a few of the higher end bikes. Got back from one test ride and the sales assistant asked how I liked the gear changing. It was Ultegra Di2 and I did not notice it. Unfortunately it was on a bike that rode so bad for me that good or bad gear changes were not my major concern.

Like BikeWNC has already said-If you have a use for it and can then use it- then I dare say it will work better than the standard setup. But in my case where I just go out and ride it would be an expensive bit of kit that I would never utilise properly to get the performance value out of it.
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Old 04-01-12, 05:34 PM   #16
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Too expensive for me right now but the Ultegra Di2 is heading in the right price direction. So far the quality and reliability of both Di2 and Ui2 seem top line. As an engineer, like Tom, they intrigue my mind that wants to find out how they work.

The best thing I have heard about both Di2 and Ui2 are the use in setting up bicycles for the Wounded Warrior Program. the mechanics and fabricators said they can do things for amputee riders they could not do before with strictly mechanical systems. The option of changing what the buttons do and where they can be located. Anything that engineering can do for these men and women is a good thing to my mind.

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Old 04-01-12, 05:54 PM   #17
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I can't comment on the Di2, but I did just upgrade to DA 7800 from 105. I went the used ebay route and saved a ton. Shifters were $210 shipped, front DR around $40, the rear DR I already had from a yard sale.
Oh yeah, I also slept at a Holiday Inn Express.
I'll go to Di2 when Shimano upgrades the system and all the "I got a have it now" dudes sell the current system for half price on the bay.

Forgot to add, I'm really impressed with the 7800 DA.
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Old 04-01-12, 06:36 PM   #18
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I can't comment on the Di2, but I did just upgrade to DA 7800 from 105. I went the used ebay route and saved a ton. Shifters were $210 shipped, front DR around $40, the rear DR I already had from a yard sale.
Oh yeah, I also slept at a Holiday Inn Express.
I'll go to Di2 when Shimano upgrades the system and all the "I got a have it now" dudes sell the current system for half price on the bay.

Forgot to add, I'm really impressed with the 7800 DA.
Many people think that DA 7800 is the best shifting mechanical group Shimano has made.
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Old 04-02-12, 11:13 PM   #19
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I went the opposite direction. I just got a brand new chromoly steel road bike with........downtube shifters!
I had forgotten how quickly and cleanly they shift. Better, really, than my Dura Ace STI bike.
The problem is the long cables and cable housing. The cables are much shorter with downtube shifters and there is only that one piece of housing at the derailleur.
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Old 04-03-12, 03:03 PM   #20
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I went the opposite direction. I just got a brand new chromoly steel road bike with........downtube shifters!
I had forgotten how quickly and cleanly they shift. Better, really, than my Dura Ace STI bike.
The problem is the long cables and cable housing. The cables are much shorter with downtube shifters and there is only that one piece of housing at the derailleur.
I can't dispute that the downtube shifters on your new bike shift better than the Dura Ace STI, but I can say that I would give up a little shifting performance for not having to move my hands from the bar to shift. I never could get used to downtube shifters on my old road bike.

I know there are others who prefer not having their shifter on the brake lever. It is good they make many options; so, we can all be happy.
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Old 04-03-12, 03:38 PM   #21
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Many people think that DA 7800 is the best shifting mechanical group Shimano has made.
I would agree that the lever action for a non-electric group is the smoothest I've ever used. But the Di2... it's just something completely in a class of it's own.
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Old 04-03-12, 04:00 PM   #22
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I can't dispute that the downtube shifters on your new bike shift better than the Dura Ace STI, but I can say that I would give up a little shifting performance for not having to move my hands from the bar to shift. I never could get used to downtube shifters on my old road bike.

I know there are others who prefer not having their shifter on the brake lever. It is good they make many options; so, we can all be happy.
It's a different style of riding. I can't be as dependent on shifting. Instead of shifting I stand to get back on top the gear I'm in. I have to think ahead more.
It's rather fun and interesting and in some ways it is a better way to ride.
I rode with a guy in rolling hills who shifted 100 times in the span of a few miles. Some people shift too much.
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Old 04-03-12, 10:07 PM   #23
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It's a different style of riding. I can't be as dependent on shifting. Instead of shifting I stand to get back on top the gear I'm in. I have to think ahead more.
It's rather fun and interesting and in some ways it is a better way to ride.
I rode with a guy in rolling hills who shifted 100 times in the span of a few miles. Some people shift too much.
Thanks for that perspective. For some reason I don't get out of the saddle all that much. I got into a high cadence and to get out of the saddle I have to shift up multiple times. I also find it more efficient to stay seated. I also think you are correct about some people shift too much. I typically allow my cadence to vary between 90 and 115; so, that requires less shifting. If I tried to hold it in a smaller range, I would be shifting quite frequently.
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Old 04-04-12, 06:08 PM   #24
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I'm in the camp of favoring DA 7800-but I have not tried Di2. DA 7800 feels buttery smooth when shifting-more so than the DA 7900. But I've starting acquiring parts for another build and am headed towards SRAM Red just for shaving some weight and having capability with a 11-32 cassette. With using larger frame sizes I'm already fighting to keep it around 15-15.5 lbs.

I've enjoyed my Campy SR 11 speed but it just cannot match the shifting of the DA 7800. Plus it's been a royal pain to keep in tune. I wouldn't buy it again.
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Old 04-04-12, 07:31 PM   #25
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If you use DA 7900, you need to use Gore cables. The sealed cable makes the shifting much smoother.
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