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  1. #1
    Doesn't ride enough Lamabb's Avatar
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    Long Distance cycling & Ultegra Di2

    I'm buying an Orbea Orca Bli2 which has Ultegra Di2 shifting and I'm worried about running out of battery life on long distance events. For example, I am starting to train for next year's Endless Mountain 1240 which is 770 miles. That's over all the estimates for battery life that I've heard.

    Does anyone do rides these lengths with Di2 shifting or know anyone who does? Does it last or do you have to replace the battery at some point?

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    Randomhead
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    I think the 1240k EM is still going to be once every 4 years, and given my ride just ended that's quite often enough, thank you. Tom runs it as a 1000k on off years. I'm hoping to ride it next year so I can get my PA5000 award.

    From what I've heard, I wouldn't worry about battery life, but if you do you should be able to put a charger or a spare battery in your drop bag. I think one of the electronic systems would be really nice to have.

  3. #3
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamabb View Post
    I'm buying an Orbea Orca Bli2 which has Ultegra Di2 shifting and I'm worried about running out of battery life on long distance events. For example, I am starting to train for next year's Endless Mountain 1240 which is 770 miles. That's over all the estimates for battery life that I've heard.

    Does anyone do rides these lengths with Di2 shifting or know anyone who does? Does it last or do you have to replace the battery at some point?
    I gather a rider on this year's London-Edinburgh-London had some issues with a Di2 bike, I forget the details although I think it related to the battery running down. If it's a concern take a spare battery?
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  4. #4
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    All of the bikes (and many other teams/riders) we used on RAAM this year had DI2 on them. We had no problems at all and I didn't here of any one else having one. As with anything when you start a big event, new tires, new cables, new batteries etc are all smart things to start with. The batteries are light and it's easy to carry a spare. Worst case you have a single speed for a while till you can get a new battery.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rwc5830's Avatar
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    I have an ultegra di2. 18 months about 12K, charged it I believe four times. Should not be an issue.
    Cycling is an addiction that is worth having; let's go!! South TX Randos www.rgvrandos.org

  6. #6
    Doesn't ride enough Lamabb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I think the 1240k EM is still going to be once every 4 years, and given my ride just ended that's quite often enough, thank you. Tom runs it as a 1000k on off years. I'm hoping to ride it next year so I can get my PA5000 award.

    From what I've heard, I wouldn't worry about battery life, but if you do you should be able to put a charger or a spare battery in your drop bag. I think one of the electronic systems would be really nice to have.
    I was under the impression that it was annual. No matter, the 1000k is still plenty long enough. I'm feeling better about my choice to buy a di2 bike now. Most long rides loop back and pass by the start again anyway.

  7. #7
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    There were several DI2 folk at LEL that had problems. Some were lack of battery charge but others were not diagnosed during the event.

  8. #8
    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    All of the bikes (and many other teams/riders) we used on RAAM this year had DI2 on them. We had no problems at all and I didn't here of any one else having one. As with anything when you start a big event, new tires, new cables, new batteries etc are all smart things to start with. The batteries are light and it's easy to carry a spare. Worst case you have a single speed for a while till you can get a new battery.
    Did you have Ultegra Di2 or Dura-Ace? Dura-Ace has 2x the battery life (according to Shimano documents).

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    Maybe I'm just an unintelligent, uninformed retro grouch who hobbles along on his classic bikes, but I don't understand the intrigue of a finicky battery-powered shifting system you can't tune or maintain without a dealer's diagnostics computer program when there are such amazing and reliable modern gruppos to be had cheaper. If given a choice between electric Ultegra and standard Dura-Ace, I'd go with DA any day.

  10. #10
    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by handsthatcatch View Post
    Maybe I'm just an unintelligent, uninformed retro grouch who hobbles along on his classic bikes, but I don't understand the intrigue of a finicky battery-powered shifting system you can't tune or maintain without a dealer's diagnostics computer program when there are such amazing and reliable modern gruppos to be had cheaper. If given a choice between electric Ultegra and standard Dura-Ace, I'd go with DA any day.
    It's far from finicky. It runs perfectly. Every time I've ridden it, the shifting has been perfect and the front derailler is almost too good to believe. Shifting into the big ring is instant and works just as well under load! The durability of it is well documented and it's better over time than mechanical at holding perfect tuning. After mile 20,000, you will have had to tune it exactly ZERO times to get a perfect shift. On mechanical, the cables will stretch and wear out (along with housings, ferrals, etc). I've found mechanical to be more finicky and requires tuning every month to keep it shifting perfectly.

    Also, electric enables you to:

    1. Shift all gears at once with one button press if you want

    2. Change the speed it shifts at

    3. it auto-trims the front derailler based on your rear cog (and this covers all 11 cog positions)

    4. Change which shifter controls which derailler

    5. Change the number of gears it shifts on a button press vs hold

    NONE of that is even possible with mechanical.

    I *believe* the new Di2 does not require a dealer's diagnostics computer to program it - I think you can now do this at home on a Windows computer.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donrhummy View Post
    Did you have Ultegra Di2 or Dura-Ace? Dura-Ace has 2x the battery life (according to Shimano documents).
    We had DA on all four bikes.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donrhummy View Post
    Did you have Ultegra Di2 or Dura-Ace? Dura-Ace has 2x the battery life (according to Shimano documents).
    A friend of mine recently ordered his first custom bike. He has to decide between Ultegra or Dura-Ace groupset. His main purpose for this build is randonneuring. I can't find anywhere on Shimano's literature that indicates that Dura-Ace has 2x the battery life between charges compared to Ultegra. The batteries are the same. If this is really the case, the jump to Dura Ace would give him peace of mind on a long randonnée like the PBP. Everything we read indicates that performance is virtually the same, except for the almost 1 lb and USD $1,000 difference between the two groupsets.

    Could someone please point me in the right direction (i.e., facts, specs)?

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    DA Di2 - SHIMANO Dealer's Manual / User's Manual

    UT Di2 - SHIMANO Dealer's Manual / User's Manual

    They definitely use the same battery. I'm usually pretty good about charging my battery once a week but I was recently curious how long I could go, I'm currently at 872 miles (since last charge) and I'm still showing solid green on shifting. Be curious if it's like other batteries where it takes forever to get to 50% and then plummets from there. This is a DA 9070 bike.

    One of the guys I ride with got about 1100 miles off his "best" charge on his UT 6870 bike but he's told me that he's gotten several 950+ mile charge cycles before red.

    Personally for the 1200K PBP, I'd recommend bringing a second battery. One of those 'better safe, than sorry' things.
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  14. #14
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    I used 6870 Ultegra Di2 on the Transcontinental Race last summer - 3600 km in 14 days. Even 2 batteries wouldn't have been enough for that, but since I have the internal battery then the charger runs off of USB power. I already had a dynamo hub with USB output for charging my other devices (GPS, phone, extra lights) so I brought the Di2 charger along instead of a spare battery. Plugging the charger into the USB output on the bike allows it to recharge the battery on the fly, and 4-5 hours gets it from 10% to 100% charge. However, I normally tried to charge it from a wall socket when in a hotel before it got too low, or if I needed to top it off on the road then I would just plug it into the bike's output for an extended downhill section.

    For me, the biggest advantage of Di2 is the multiple shift buttons. I have the standard ones on the levers, and then a pair on the aerobars for the rear derailleur (which is a MASSIVE convenience), plus a "climbing shifter" for the RD on the bar tops (which is just nice to have). The fact that the system never misses a shift and shifts under power far better than mechanical systems are also added bonuses. It also handles my out-of-spec and mix-and-match chainrings and cassette cogs better than any mechanical group that I've tried (28-44 on the front - using the inner and middle positions of a road triple crank - and 12-32 on the rear) - Di2 really doesn't care what size chainrings you have or whether the timing of the shifting ramps is correct, whereas the performance of mechanical groups will be significantly degraded by such things.

    If you're really concerned about battery life and don't want to carry a spare battery or charger then another option is to use Di2 for the rear derailleur (where I find it makes the most difference in terms of user experience) and mechanical shifting for the front derailleur (due to my 28-44 chainrings, I normally don't shift on the front very much because I can spend 90% of the ride in the 44). I tried this for a few months with no problems, but it does add about 50 grams to the weight compared to a full Di2 system (because you still have to have the battery and most of the wires even if only using the Di2 RD), and you lose the auto-trim feature of the Di2 front derailleur. Shimano says that it's the front derailleur that takes more juice when shifting, which is why if the battery is getting low then it shuts down the FD first, so not having that should prolong battery life significantly. Also, if the battery does start to get dangerously low then you just put the RD into a middle gear and almost exclusively use the mechanical front shifting (I once did this for about 100 km at the end of a long ride).

    I have about one year and 15,000 km on my Di2 group, and had been getting decent battery life of 1000-1500 km per charge (I know that I shift a lot on the rear, and in Switzerland almost none of the roads are flat, so I wasn't surprised that this is below what others are reporting), but lately battery life has gone down to about 500 km (using the full setup with both the front and rear Di2 derailleurs). My rides in the last 2 months have been around -5 to +5 C (20 to 40 F), and the bike is stored at a temperature of about 10-15 C (50-60 F), so nothing overly extreme. The colder weather and reduced battery life started around the same time, but I don't think that can explain the amount of reduction that I've seen because I couldn't find anyone else reporting such a change, so I'm going to order a new battery and see if that is the solution.
    Last edited by Chris_W; 01-26-15 at 03:38 AM.

  15. #15
    Randomhead
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    I wonder if the bike shops at the PBP controles will have Di2 batteries?

  16. #16
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    is mileage really a valid way to determine battery life?

  17. #17
    Randomhead
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    from the discussions I have seen, battery life is not an issue. I think they last long enough that people can't really tell you how the frequency of shifting affects battery life

  18. #18
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    It all depends on how much you shift. I ride in rolling hills, and I've always shifted a lot, hunting for the perfect cadence. With Di2, I shift cassette cogs even more, since it's so easy. And I shift the front way more often than I did with my previous bike. There's a battery indicator on the control box, by holding down any shift button for 1/2 second. Green= over 50% left, blink green=25-50%, red=very little to 25%, blink red=almost out. Mine seems to go to blink green quite fast, then stay there for a long time.

    I have mine set for a 3 cog shift if I hold the button for more than 1/2 second. Normal clicks are one cog, of course. So, at the base of a hill, shifting to the small chainring and 3 smaller cogs in the back is just a longer press of the bottom paddle button on each shifter. And the reverse over the top of the hill is a longer press of both top buttons. It's so easy and fast that I do this even on very small climbs.

    Your 1200k in Pennsylvania might need lots of shifting, so it could be near the battery limit. You could bring the charger. The internal seatpost battery is easy to charge from the port on the stem's control box. The charger module is 1 inch x 1.25 inch x 3.5 inch, 80 grams, and you would add a tiny 2A USB wall plug power supply. It would be easy to carry (or do you have a drop bag?) and top off the charge for 15-20 minutes or so. The full charge is supposed to take 90 minutes.
    Last edited by rm -rf; 01-30-15 at 07:11 PM.

  19. #19
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Just want to add if you're using the common 8.4v battery packs for your lights you can get a tiny little USB adapter to charge your Di2 battery:
    Magicshine MJ-6086 USB Adapter
    Kiwi Randonneurs Gran Turismo series. March 1-8 2015
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  20. #20
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    If you really want to keep on top of battery charge then get the SM-EWW01 D-Fly wireless Di2 transmitter. A Garmin Edge 810 or 1000 (not sure about the other models) will connect with this and be able to display remaining battery life in 10% increments (which is far more precise than the lights on the junction box). As an added bonus, it shows you the current gear that you're using and saves this data for later analysis at places like di2stats.com. However, that's probably only of interest to the real geeks, like me Having the wireless transmitter may also reduce battery life, but when I removed it for a while it didn't seem to change anything for me.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    I've used Di2 ever since it first came out. What is it? Five years now? Nothing is easier to maintain, adjust (only necessary when I change to a different wheel/hub spacing) and shift under duress.

    I'm using Ultegra Di2 now. Last year, I rode 7,300 miles. I never let it go below half charge (green indicator light blinking). And I only charged the battery three times in 7300 miles. The only way a charge wouldn't last 770 miles is if the rider held down the shift button continuously for most of that distance. If you're not shifting, the battery isn't discharging.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    You guys have been really helpful with your experience with Di2 and its battery life between charges. This is exactly the kind of feedback we needed. Thank you!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
    is mileage really a valid way to determine battery life?
    Until there's a way to easily track the number of RD & FD shifts that occur in a specific interval, there really isn't a better method. But you're absolutely right that mileage is a poor measuring stick. Especially when you consider the fact that I did a 65 mile ride last week with 508 feet of elevation change and shifted twice the entire ride: once for the headwind out and once for the tailwind home.
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  24. #24
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    I have Dura-Ace DI2 with 6800 miles on it and just charged the battery for the fourth time, and the first charge was way too early, just 1 month and 400 miles into ownership.

  25. #25
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    I rode the Santa Cruz 3CR last year. 1200k. According to the indicator lights I had atleast half of the battery left at the end. No problems at all. Di2 Dura Ace. I will never go back to standard.

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