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Thread: $10,000 Kludge?

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    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    $10,000 Kludge?

    I was in a local bike shop yesterday and had some time to kill, so I had a look at some of their better bikes. There was a really nice Giant, I think it was a Defy SL-0, decked out with Dura-Ace DI2 and Hydraulic disc brakes. I could imagine riding that, even the disc brakes, but there is one thing that spoils the whole picture.

    There is a little box - it looks like an electronic controller - strapped onto the stem! I have no problem in general with hanging something from my stem, but on a $10,300 bike with otherwise elegant lines? What's up with that? If I was spending $10,000 on a bike I don't want something kludged on the stem. At least put a cowling on it, or better yet out of sight. It just feels wrong to spend 10 grand on a bike, get it home, and the first thing you want to do is a DIY fix for some sloppy design.

    Does anyone else feel like this is a deal-killer? Or are my expectations too high for top end bikes?

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    Gold Member K.Katso's Avatar
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    My newest bike cost 10,000 and it has the same little box. It's from this little thing called "Di2." In my opinion, it's tucked neatly out of the way, and since it isn't built-in to the stem, you can still easily swap parts without having to buy some purpose-built Di2 stem or something like that. You don't notice it when you're riding. Mine is obscured by my Garmin anyway.

    How is it any worse than having some gaggle of cables or worse yet, externally-routed cables all over the bike?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    I was in a local bike shop yesterday and had some time to kill, so I had a look at some of their better bikes. There was a really nice Giant, I think it was a Defy SL-0, decked out with Dura-Ace DI2 and Hydraulic disc brakes. I could imagine riding that, even the disc brakes, but there is one thing that spoils the whole picture.

    There is a little box - it looks like an electronic controller - strapped onto the stem! I have no problem in general with hanging something from my stem, but on a $10,300 bike with otherwise elegant lines? What's up with that? If I was spending $10,000 on a bike I don't want something kludged on the stem. At least put a cowling on it, or better yet out of sight. It just feels wrong to spend 10 grand on a bike, get it home, and the first thing you want to do is a DIY fix for some sloppy design.

    Does anyone else feel like this is a deal-killer? Or are my expectations too high for top end bikes?
    I agree 100%. The Di2 controller looks pretty fugly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Clark Griswold
    Metallic Pea? Uh... I distinctly ordered the Antartic Blue Super-Sports Wagon with the C.B. and optional rally fun pack.

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    Honkey Lips velociraptor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K.Katso View Post
    How is it any worse than having some gaggle of cables or worse yet, externally-routed cables all over the bike?
    I understand what you're saying, but yet, it does look worse.
    Quote Originally Posted by Clark Griswold
    Metallic Pea? Uh... I distinctly ordered the Antartic Blue Super-Sports Wagon with the C.B. and optional rally fun pack.

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    Mostly Harmless rjones28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    Does anyone else feel like this is a deal-killer? Or are my expectations too high for top end bikes?
    I wouldn't even get as far as noticing the Di2 setup. The $10,000 part is the deal-killer for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by coasting View Post
    stems should be short. short and thin does the trick.

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    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K.Katso View Post
    My newest bike cost 10,000 and it has the same little box. It's from this little thing called "Di2." In my opinion, it's tucked neatly out of the way, and since it isn't built-in to the stem, you can still easily swap parts without having to buy some purpose-built Di2 stem or something like that. You don't notice it when you're riding. Mine is obscured by my Garmin anyway.

    How is it any worse than having some gaggle of cables or worse yet, externally-routed cables all over the bike?
    It's not worse that cables, and I wouldn't think twice about hanging it on my bike. It would get lost between the headlight, bell and my other Fred stuff. I just expected better on a top of the line bicycle with the latest technology.

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    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjones28 View Post
    I wouldn't even get as far as noticing the Di2 setup. The $10,000 part is the deal-killer for me.
    Yeah, the $4K bike next to it seemed reasonable in comparison, but still with that box strapped on the stem. I just don't get it - a carbon fiber hood on it would have streamlined it, covered the wires, and couldn't add that much to the price. Doesn't it seem tacky?

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    It may be Giant or may be the dealers lack of skill/knowledge with installation. I've got Di2 and many people are surprised seeing the bike when I say it's Di2
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

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    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    Surprised the battery wasn't internal in the seat post like some are.
    Dennis T

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    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
    It may be Giant or may be the dealers lack of skill/knowledge with installation. I've got Di2 and many people are surprised seeing the bike when I say it's Di2
    I see from Google Images that sometimes it's stuffed inside the stem, so I'm comforted a little in that it doesn't have to be strapped under like that. Maybe Giant doesn't like to drill a hole in the stem, or whatever it takes to hide the controller (or junction box), but still it seems crazy to display the top end product that way.

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    The battery and controlbox are completely different. The battery probably was in the seat tube. The controller can be hung upside down under the stem and is unobtrusive. But access to the control box is very important for numerous functions. It can't be hidden away where it can't be reached easily.
    Robert

    My hero: "Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nuthin'..." (Joel Chandler Harris, Uncle Remus")

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    Quote Originally Posted by K.Katso View Post
    My newest bike cost 10,000€ and it has the same little box. It's from this little thing called "Di2." In my opinion, it's tucked neatly out of the way, and since it isn't built-in to the stem, you can still easily swap parts without having to buy some purpose-built Di2 stem or something like that. You don't notice it when you're riding. Mine is obscured by my Garmin anyway.

    How is it any worse than having some gaggle of cables or worse yet, externally-routed cables all over the bike?
    i bought a Gucci suit to hide my colostomy bag.

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    Senior Member coppercook62's Avatar
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    Mounted mine under Garmin stem

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    As stated you need to see control box if you want to adjust or check battery status. On models where battery is in seat stem you need to plug charger into control box so access is mandatory. I have two Di2 bikes and must people would not even notice control box under stem it is so small.
    If worried about it spring for some Calfree one piece bar/stem they have spot under stem control box pops into but still accessable- there are others making same bar/stem system that hides box.
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    Senior Member Doge's Avatar
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    Get a Look Aerolite - it has a nice place to tuck everything away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Up North View Post
    As stated you need to see control box if you want to adjust or check battery status. On models where battery is in seat stem you need to plug charger into control box so access is mandatory. I have two Di2 bikes and must people would not even notice control box under stem it is so small.
    If worried about it spring for some Calfree one piece bar/stem they have spot under stem control box pops into but still accessable- there are others making same bar/stem system that hides box.
    You also need the control box accessible to fine tune the derailleurs.
    Robert

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    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
    The battery and controlbox are completely different. The battery probably was in the seat tube. The controller can be hung upside down under the stem and is unobtrusive. But access to the control box is very important for numerous functions. It can't be hidden away where it can't be reached easily.
    Thank you. I've seen the little control box. Is that what all of this fuss is about?
    Dennis T

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    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
    The battery and controlbox are completely different. The battery probably was in the seat tube. The controller can be hung upside down under the stem and is unobtrusive. But access to the control box is very important for numerous functions. It can't be hidden away where it can't be reached easily.
    So you reckon that my expectations are unrealistic? I grant that is possilbe - I had expected those controls and display to be more, integrated, at that level. If not numerals glowing in the air, a seamless display, BT for the phone or Garmin interface, or something like that.

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    I want electronic shifting for my travel bike, but the way shimano does it is too complex for my tastes. The bike manufacturers are stuck with the way Shimano has it set up. I'm a little surprised there isn't a cleaner solution now. Maybe SRAM's wireless setup will convince Shimano to clean up the mess.

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    Senior Member kbarch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjones28 View Post
    I wouldn't even get as far as noticing the Di2 setup. The $10,000 part is the deal-killer for me.
    L O very L!

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    Senior Member rangerdavid's Avatar
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    that junction box is important, and it's important that it be easily accessible for adjustments. you won't find a Di2 group without it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trsnrtr View Post
    Thank you. I've seen the little control box. Is that what all of this fuss is about?
    Yup.
    Robert

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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    So you reckon that my expectations are unrealistic? I grant that is possilbe - I had expected those controls and display to be more, integrated, at that level. If not numerals glowing in the air, a seamless display, BT for the phone or Garmin interface, or something like that.
    What display? The control box has no numerical display on it. Just some buttons and tiny lights.
    Robert

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    Gold Member K.Katso's Avatar
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    The whole thing is tiny. This small little box with two LEDs, smaller than my Garmin, is what you're complaining about?

    Attached Images Attached Images

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    As others have said, the junction box needs to be somewhat accessible. Firstly for charging the battery. In my case, DuraAce Di2, the battery is in the seat tub.e I ride about 8-9k/yr. For me I charge it about 45-60 days apart. The lowest I've seen the battery level is about 30% (Garmin w/D-Fly) When doing that I also check for firmware updates. Based on the frequency of that, I could tolerate the box being hissed in the seat tube. For my Trek Domane 6 I have a seat post cap. It could be easy to take of and adjust, assuming I would not need to be on the saddle when adjusting.

    Its location as it is is just fine for me. I've not had ANY issues with it in this location. In the 9 months+ I'ave had the bike, I have only had one adjustment I needed to make to the shifting. Di2 is rock solid for me.

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