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The Real Cost of Di2

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The Real Cost of Di2

Old 07-13-17, 10:54 AM
  #1  
TimothyH
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The Real Cost of Di2

I keep reading posts where it is claimed that electronic shifting "cost a couple grand", that it is "so expensive" and so forth. "Expensive" is subjective but as one who has built a Di2 bike, I would like to offer an account of the actual, real world cost of the Di2 system which I built.

I am not trying to convince people that electronic systems are worth it or that they should get one. I am simply recounting my personal experience. The system was built March and April of 2017. Parts were sourced mostly from Ribble, Jenson USA, Chain Reaction and Backcountry.

My Ultegra 6870 Di2 system cost $797.27 exclusive of levers. See the spreadsheet below.

The same Ultegra 6800 mechanical parts (FD, RD, cables) would have cost about $100 and so the actual cost to go electronic was ~$700.

I've never once used the wireless unit and could have saved an additional $80 had I known it wasn't needed. That would have brought the cost down to ~$620 above what it would have cost to do a comparable mechanical system.




Levers confuse things a bit because the ST-RS785 Di2 levers and ST-RS685 mechanical shift levers, both for hydraulic brakes, are typically bundled with calipers. They are available separate from calipers but are much more expensive that way. A quick search today, July 13 shows both models available at Chain Reaction without calipers. The STRS785 Di2 levers are $199 each while the ST-RS685 mechanical shift levers are $188 each - a difference of only $22/pair.


-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 07-13-17 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 07-13-17, 11:13 AM
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Looks like a caliper brake group may have even less difference. Ribble has 6800 complete group for $601 and 6870 Di2 for $966. That's almost a no brainer for folks who have trouble shifting or have other issues with mechanical systems.
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Old 07-13-17, 12:14 PM
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How much will you have to pay to upgrade from Di2 to Di3 in 5 years?
Will you be able to get obsolete Di2 components then?
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Old 07-13-17, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Barabaika View Post
How much will you have to pay to upgrade from Di2 to Di3 in 5 years?
Will you be able to get obsolete Di2 components then?
The same speculative, rhetorical questions can be asked about mechanical groupsets and are not relevant to the point of this thread.

The point of this thread was to recount my personal experience with the cost of Di2 compared to the claims that it is "so expensive" or "cost a couple of grand."

My electronic build cost ~$700 more than a comparable mechanical build. That's all.

Whether parts will be available tomorrow, how much they will cost or whether we will all be alive is anyone's guess.



-Tim-
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Old 07-13-17, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
The same speculative, rhetorical questions can be asked about mechanical groupsets and are not relevant to the point of this thread.

The point of this thread was to recount my personal experience with the cost of Di2 compared to the claims that it is "so expensive" or "cost a couple of grand."

My electronic build cost ~$700 more than a comparable mechanical build. That's all.

Whether parts will be available tomorrow, how much they will cost or whether we will all be alive is anyone's guess.



-Tim-
What? We're all gonna die?

So, now that you've spent the money, and the time it took to document the project, how do you like the setup? Are you happier with it than you would be if the money were still in your pocket? Anything interesting happen as you assembled the system? Anything you'd like to see improved, maybe by aftermarket suppliers?
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Old 07-13-17, 01:39 PM
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Did you install yourself or did you take it to a shop?

Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I keep reading posts where it is claimed that electronic shifting "cost a couple grand", that it is "so expensive" and so forth. "Expensive" is subjective but as one who has built a Di2 bike, I would like to offer an account of the actual, real world cost of the Di2 system which I built.

I am not trying to convince people that electronic systems are worth it or that they should get one. I am simply recounting my personal experience. The system was built March and April of 2017. Parts were sourced mostly from Ribble, Jenson USA, Chain Reaction and Backcountry.

My Ultegra 6870 Di2 system cost $797.27 exclusive of levers. See the spreadsheet below.

The same Ultegra 6800 mechanical parts (FD, RD, cables) would have cost about $100 and so the actual cost to go electronic was ~$700.

I've never once used the wireless unit and could have saved an additional $80 had I known it wasn't needed. That would have brought the cost down to ~$620 above what it would have cost to do a comparable mechanical system.




Levers confuse things a bit because the ST-RS785 Di2 levers and ST-RS685 mechanical shift levers, both for hydraulic brakes, are typically bundled with calipers. They are available separate from calipers but are much more expensive that way. A quick search today, July 13 shows both models available at Chain Reaction without calipers. The STRS785 Di2 levers are $199 each while the ST-RS685 mechanical shift levers are $188 each - a difference of only $22/pair.


-Tim-
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Old 07-13-17, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
The same speculative, rhetorical questions can be asked about mechanical groupsets and are not relevant to the point of this thread.

The point of this thread was to recount my personal experience with the cost of Di2 compared to the claims that it is "so expensive" or "cost a couple of grand."

-
But with the software solution you have to pay for software upgrades.
Also, with the software solution you can't use competitors' components.

And your groupset is not complete.
Don't you want to add wireless brakes that adjust automatically and can be used from an app? That's just an idea for the future upgrade.
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Old 07-13-17, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
The same speculative, rhetorical questions can be asked about mechanical groupsets and are not relevant to the point of this thread.

The point of this thread was to recount my personal experience with the cost of Di2 compared to the claims that it is "so expensive" or "cost a couple of grand."

My electronic build cost ~$700 more than a comparable mechanical build. That's all.

Whether parts will be available tomorrow, how much they will cost or whether we will all be alive is anyone's guess.



-Tim-
First off, thank you for recounting the actual price of Di2. However, I'll have to disagree with your statement here.

Electronic systems, particularly modern ones marketed to consumers, tend to be supported for very short amounts of time. I can guarantee you that a mechanical brifter, when lubed appropriately, can last a lifetime. My Dura Ace brifters from the early 90s are a testament to that.

Yes, electronics CAN last a long time. However, these are very specific electronics in what I would consider "harsher than normal" environments. What happens when the capacitors pop? Capacitors have a very limited lifetime. Rechargeable batteries even less. It's unlikely that future versions of wireless electronic shifting will be backwards compatible. Electronics also don't like vibration... at all.

Will you be able to find a charger for your system in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years? Will you be able to find a supply of batteries in 10 years? Unless it's custom made, I'd give that one an almost definite "no."

While "what ifs" are generally stupid, the difference between an electronic system and a mechanical one is that a mechanical system can be "pieced" together. If you break a brifter, you can replace a single brifter, with ANY other brifter. With the Di2 system, you pretty much HAVE to buy a Di2 brifter, right? Regardless of whether it's still produced or not. Or upgrade your whole system of course.

I think, when considering costs, longevity is DEFINITELY a legitimate concern. Heck, my entire scientific field EXISTS because the products we're working on aren't long lasting enough, making them much more expensive than they would be if they lasted longer.

Last edited by corrado33; 07-13-17 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 07-13-17, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by CeeDotA View Post
Did you install yourself or did you take it to a shop?
Sorry. Good question. It was self built.

https://www.bikeforums.net/recreation...rdo-build.html


-Tim-
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Old 07-13-17, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post

Will you be able to find a charger for your system in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years? Will you be able to find a supply of batteries in 10 years? Unless it's custom made, I'd give that one an almost definite "no."
You'll probably be able to find a charger.
You won't be able to find a new shifter or you will have to buy it NOS for $500.
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Old 07-13-17, 02:13 PM
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How do you like your Di2? I was biased toward mechanical until I rode Di2 for a couple months, now there's no way I would go back. It's better in every way except for cost.
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Old 07-13-17, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Barabaika View Post
You'll probably be able to find a charger.
You won't be able to find a new shifter or you will have to buy it NOS for $500.
Same as mechanical...and with mechanical you'd be buying new cablesets and housings every year too. Tell me again why you'd be buying a new shifter? It isn't like there's ratchets to die.


Your troll...is pretty poor.
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Old 07-13-17, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Same as mechanical...and with mechanical you'd be buying new cablesets and housings every year too. Tell me again why you'd be buying a new shifter? It isn't like there's ratchets to die.


Your troll...is pretty poor.
You rode your bicycle for a few hours in the rain. Now it doesn't shift. What is your action? Ok, the shifter can't possibly die, then what?
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Old 07-13-17, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Same as mechanical...and with mechanical you'd be buying new cablesets and housings every year too. Tell me again why you'd be buying a new shifter? It isn't like there's ratchets to die.


Your troll...is pretty poor.
Cables and housings for a lifetime of replacements on a single bike would be ~$50.

Let's put it this way. All brifters, regardless of mechanical or electronic, can fail in the same way. The ratchets can become stuck, chipped, broken, etc.

Then electronic shifters have the extra failure mechanisms provided by the electronics. All in all, electronic shifting systems have more points of failure than a mechanical system.

I'm not counting cables and housings because those are not internal to the shifter itself.
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Old 07-13-17, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Barabaika View Post
You rode your bicycle for a few hours in the rain. Now it doesn't shift. What is your action? Ok, the shifter can't possibly die, then what?
Admittedly, those circuit boards SHOULD be conformally coated to make them waterproof. SHOULD BE.
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Old 07-13-17, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Barabaika View Post
You rode your bicycle for a few hours in the rain. Now it doesn't shift. What is your action? Ok, the shifter can't possibly die, then what?
The Di2 system is entirely waterproof, that's why a replacement 15" wire cost me $20. Again, the only people I've seen dissing Di2 are those who have never had them. I've not seen 1 post by an owner who didn't like them, nor have I seen 1 post about a failure.
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Old 07-13-17, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
First off, thank you for recounting the actual price of Di2. However, I'll have to disagree with your statement here.

Electronic systems, particularly modern ones marketed to consumers, tend to be supported for very short amounts of time. I can guarantee you that a mechanical brifter, when lubed appropriately, can last a lifetime. My Dura Ace brifters from the early 90s are a testament to that.

Yes, electronics CAN last a long time. However, these are very specific electronics in what I would consider "harsher than normal" environments. What happens when the capacitors pop? Capacitors have a very limited lifetime. Rechargeable batteries even less. It's unlikely that future versions of wireless electronic shifting will be backwards compatible. Electronics also don't like vibration... at all.

Will you be able to find a charger for your system in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years? Will you be able to find a supply of batteries in 10 years? Unless it's custom made, I'd give that one an almost definite "no."

While "what ifs" are generally stupid, the difference between an electronic system and a mechanical one is that a mechanical system can be "pieced" together. If you break a brifter, you can replace a single brifter, with ANY other brifter. With the Di2 system, you pretty much HAVE to buy a Di2 brifter, right? Regardless of whether it's still produced or not. Or upgrade your whole system of course.

I think, when considering costs, longevity is DEFINITELY a legitimate concern. Heck, my entire scientific field EXISTS because the products we're working on aren't long lasting enough, making them much more expensive than they would be if they lasted longer.

I appreciate that you are on topic.

The cost of Di2 over long periods such as decades is something which only time will tell. I don't know how to answer the "what ifs" that have not happened yet.

Longevity is a legitimate concern. I agree. You make a good point about brifters being replaceable with any brifters. A DA mechanical brifter can be replaced with a 105 mechanical brifter for example, or even an eBay sourced Microsshift if neccessary. That is true.

I have "non-series" ST-RS785 Di2/Hydraulic "Dual control levers" and yes, selection is more limited than strictly mechanical brifters. There are options however. I can use a DA SR-R9170 or an Ultegra ST-R8070.

Time will tell whether they last. Up front cost remain the same however.


-Tim-
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Old 07-13-17, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Sorry. Good question. It was self built.

https://www.bikeforums.net/recreation...rdo-build.html


-Tim-
I think this brings up a possible difference between perception and reality- its popular to claim that buying a bike already built is cheaper than buying components because of economies of scale and whatnot. Sure that can be true.
But i do think you managed to save a good bit because you took the time and had to patience to build the bike on your own.
I see Ultegra Di2 bikes for well more than $600 over mechanical Ultegra offerings. Perhaps that is also because there isnt a direct 1-1 difference. Perhaps the Di2 bike also has better wheels(something not often understood or easily known when just looking) or it has better cockpit components in addition to the Di2 which makes the price higher than the $600 difference you mention.
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Old 07-13-17, 04:10 PM
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Real cost of Di2 is realizing you should have bought etap
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Old 07-13-17, 04:10 PM
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This topic reminds me of the Points vs. electronic ignition arguments that go on in vintage motorcycle forums. Same old arguments about never being able to get parts, not being able to fix on the side of the road, etc. Same to be said for carbs vs. EFI and so many other things.

Well designed electronics can last a really long time. I've probably put more than a million miles on cars that wouldn't run without an ECU and dozens of sensors and have had one electronic problem and that only caused the car not to idle properly.

I know that it was not always that way and earlier systems had more problems and that may be the case for electronic shifting as well but I'd say if you want the feature go for it and don't get all worried about a problem that may not ever exist 10 years down the road.

If there are enough sold, there will be parts available. Perhaps not from the original manufacturer, but someone will step in if there is a demand....even if that demand is really small.

I've never ridden a bike with Di2, but if I do at some point, and fall in love with it, I'd pay the money and not worry about it.
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Old 07-13-17, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Ogsarg View Post
If there are enough sold, there will be parts available. Perhaps not from the original manufacturer, but someone will step in if there is a demand....even if that demand is really small.
It's a proprietary closed-source patented design. How will a non-original manufacturer produce a replacement?

MicroShift, etc can produce non-original mechanical components because it's easy to disassemble and copy them.

Somebody asked about problems. Here they are: https://forums.roadbikereview.com/shi...ue-328349.html
Shimano simply wants us all to upgrade and to not mix and match. But this is life so we do what we have to to make things work. Our shop probably has 10 bikes or so that started as 10 speed that we converted to 11 by only swapping the RD, cassette and chain. They all run the old Ultegra wiring harness instead of the new junction A boxes. Shimano has discontinued that old harness and is no longer supporting it, but our customers don't want to upgrade if they don't have to, so we don't make them, we make it work.

...
What you will need to do to make it work as is is to get a different battery. An old battery that has not had it's firmware updated yet.

Or of course you can just get all the right parts, meaning a 6870 front derailleur. I'm a Shimano employee and have access to all of the warehousing and it's not a nice picture. You may be running the 6770 simply because Shimano America doesn't have any FD's in stock for 6870. We haven't for a good part of the year and we won't for a while. Actually we're backordered though the end of September right now.

So like I said, you're screwed. Stay away from the software until all of your components are the same and until then find yourself either an old, un-updated battery or a new 6870 FD. Those are the only ways to fix this.
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Old 07-13-17, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by barabaika View Post
you rode your bicycle for a few hours in the rain. Now it doesn't shift. What is your action? Ok, the shifter can't possibly die, then what?

Bwahahahahhahahaha

You should really just stop posting....my house cat knows more about Di2. Hint, when Di2 Ultegra came out one of the tests was full outright immersion in IIRC 3m or water. Still shifted fine.


Granted I do get a kick out of reading non-experienced internet experts.

Last edited by Marcus_Ti; 07-13-17 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 07-13-17, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Bwahahahahhahahaha

You should really just stop posting....my house cat knows more about Di2. Hint, when Di2 Ultegra came out one of the tests was full outright immersion in IIRC 3m or water. Still shifted fine.
So, why is his Di2 dead when it can't possibly die?
https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-me...-shipping.html
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Old 07-13-17, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Barabaika View Post
So, why is his Di2 dead when it can't possibly die?
https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-me...-shipping.html
I'd explain it to you...but you're a troll and don't honestly care.


Why don't you go out riding? All you're doing is making yourself look silly at this point. If you'll excuse me I have a constructive use of my time, helping out a rookie in a thread. Why don't you go post in r/TheDonald or 4Chan?
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Old 07-13-17, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Ogsarg View Post
This topic reminds me of the Points vs. electronic ignition arguments that go on in vintage motorcycle forums. Same old arguments about never being able to get parts, not being able to fix on the side of the road, etc. Same to be said for carbs vs. EFI and so many other things.

Well designed electronics can last a really long time. I've probably put more than a million miles on cars that wouldn't run without an ECU and dozens of sensors and have had one electronic problem and that only caused the car not to idle properly.

I know that it was not always that way and earlier systems had more problems and that may be the case for electronic shifting as well but I'd say if you want the feature go for it and don't get all worried about a problem that may not ever exist 10 years down the road.

If there are enough sold, there will be parts available. Perhaps not from the original manufacturer, but someone will step in if there is a demand....even if that demand is really small.

I've never ridden a bike with Di2, but if I do at some point, and fall in love with it, I'd pay the money and not worry about it.
While I would agree with you, I think Di2 is produced in much lower quantities than most motorcycles? Would you disagree with me? I mean, while microshift can produce shifters compatible with shimano systems, that doesn't mean they are clones. I'd be unsure if microshift would be allowed to copy Di2, because the transmission protocol is probably proprietary.
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