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Electronic vs Mechanical shifting

Old 01-31-23, 02:09 PM
  #1  
spelger
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Electronic vs Mechanical shifting

another question related to a new bike i am looking at. for those of you that ride with electronic shifting do you think you would ever or never go back to mechanical? its an option for me that brings up the price a bit and am a bit on the fence about it. my accountant says its in my budget so am leaning toward it. in my reading up about it though it really sounds cool.
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Old 01-31-23, 02:21 PM
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I still have non-electronically shifted bikes but yeah Di2 is really nice and Rohloff E-14 is great for commuting. I would still do mechanical shifting but I do really love electronic shifting and if they had it in what I wanted I would probably go for it.
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Old 01-31-23, 02:23 PM
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I have electronic shifting on two bikes and mechanical on two bikes. I like the electronic a little bit more, however, my newest bike has mechanical. So, yes, it is possible to go back to mechanical after electronic.

Bottom line -- they both shift really well
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Old 01-31-23, 02:27 PM
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Ignoring budget........I'd never go back to mechanical. Caveat, I tend to ride bikes with lots of hidden cables. Meaning any re-cabling of mechanical is a nightmare. Furthermore, complicated hidden mech routing can tend to make what should otherwise be great mech shift kits feel kind of crap. Think mech on a super aero bike with hidden everything. That's a non issue for electronic.

For an exposed cable round tube bike, it's a bit more irrelevant to me personally.

But, barring budget, yeah, I'd never go back to mechanical at this point.
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Old 01-31-23, 03:03 PM
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I have both and I ride both frequently.

I'd say I probably spend an equal amount of time on mechanical and Di2. I like both and they both shift extremely well, but Di2 is oh so sweet and such a luxury to use.

Put it this way, if Shimano Di2 were completely wireless, I'd upgrade my (externally cabled) mechanical shifting bike tomorrow.

If it's in your budget, go for the electronic groupset. 😎
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Old 01-31-23, 03:29 PM
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3 electronic, 2 mechanical. My mechanical are bikes (gravel and touring) that I absolutely do not want shifting problems on and where I know how to fix in the field. My electronic OTOH, have never given me any problems that I have to fix in the field. I'm just a bit old school. My next road bike will be Di2, not going back to mechanical.
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Old 01-31-23, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
for those of you that ride with electronic shifting do you think you would ever or never go back to mechanical?
I'll likely never go back. Di2 is extraordinarily reliable. No more broken cables and no more fiddling with barrel adjusters.
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Old 01-31-23, 04:37 PM
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I don't use multi geared bikes...but if I ever decided to build a multi geared bike I would use mechanical shifting.
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Old 01-31-23, 04:45 PM
  #9  
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I recently installed an XTR Di2 system on my Birdy folding bike, and am loving it. It’s been more than a month, the battery hasn’t needed to be recharged yet, and the bike folds easier with wires than with derailleur cables.
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Old 01-31-23, 04:51 PM
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I would never consider going back to mechanical. I particularly like my Yoeleo R12 frames with integrated bar/stem and wireless SRAM Force. There's only one hydraulic hose running through the frame and it was easy to install. With wireless SRAM Rival or Force there are economical options.
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Old 01-31-23, 05:01 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
another question related to a new bike i am looking at. for those of you that ride with electronic shifting do you think you would ever or never go back to mechanical? its an option for me that brings up the price a bit and am a bit on the fence about it. my accountant says its in my budget so am leaning toward it. in my reading up about it though it really sounds cool.
Most of my bikes have mechanical shifting, but the alpha bike (and my wife's primary bike) are Di2. I would never want to hobble my best bike with anything less.

I recently put GRX mechanical on my touring bike and it is quite nice, so it would be a bit strong (and inaccurate) to say I would never go back. But my Di2 Ultegra is much better than my Campy mechanical.
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Old 01-31-23, 07:03 PM
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Both my road bikes are now electronic as I just updated my Emonda to Force AXS from the Ultegra Mechanical. Both electronic and mechanical shift flawlessly, but, I really love the electronic shifting and will not revert to mechanical. I do have a hybrid that is mechanical if I find I am missing it.
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Old 01-31-23, 07:27 PM
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I have set up many Di2 and SRAM wireless bikes and will say electronic shifting is a nice luxury. Between the two, and as much as I dislike tap-tap shifting and SRAM hydro brakes because they are finicky, the SRAM wireless is what I prefer. My son, not a mechanical wizard by any stretch, installed and set up the SRAM wireless himself without any need to call me. It is simply simple to set up, much less fidgety than initial setup of Di2. I also like the way the front der shifts using the left and right shift buttons together. For some reason it makes sense. What I like most of all is the fact that there are no wires to route anywhere, each servo motor has its own battery, and the battery is interchangeable between front and rear der.

With all that said, my personal bikes use mechanical shifting. It works really well, has been around for a very long time, and does not require charging. Ever. Campagnolo 11 speed is my personal choice, but I do have a touring bike with a mix of Shimano and Suntour drive parts, which work flawlessly together because it is friction shifting!
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Old 01-31-23, 07:29 PM
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I have an XT Di2 system on my hardtail and an Eagle AXS system on my FS. I have to say that the AXS was as easy as could be to install, no wires to run, works flawlessly. Both mt. bike electronic systems work perfectly and are reliable. If anything, I thing electronic makes more sense on a mt. bike then a road bike as you shift a lot more, so its super easy. Plus there are no cables to get dirty and need replacing. It baffles me that there are not more mt. bikes sold with Di2, it makes great sense to have electronic.

Last edited by Steve B.; 01-31-23 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 01-31-23, 07:48 PM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I don't use multi geared bikes...but if I ever decided to build a multi geared bike I would use mechanical shifting.
I donít ride a bicycle, but if I did I would use mechanical shifting. I have no idea why because I have zero experience of bicycles, mechanical or electronic shifting.

But in the real world I have both mechanical and electronic systems and definitely prefer electronic shifting on my road bike. I wouldnít go back at this point as far as future new bikes are concerned, but I wouldnít bother upgrading my existing mechanical systems.
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Old 01-31-23, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I have an XT Di2 system on my hardtail and an Eagle AXS system on my FS. I have to say that the AXS was as easy as could be to install, no wires to run, works flawlessly. Both mt. bike electronic systems work perfectly and are reliable. If anything, I thing electronic makes more sense on a mt. bike then a road bike as you shift a lot more, so its super easy. Plus there are no cables to get dirty and need replacing. It baffles me that there are not more mt. bikes sold with Di2, it makes great sense to have electronic.
Yep, I setup my AXS on my Emonda in about 25 mins start to finish. The rim brake cables took the longest if you want to consider 10 mins long. I very much appreciate not having to have 4 cables as well. Being in the Southeast, heat is a battery killer, and I noticed with my old Domane, which had di2, I would need to charged the battery every couple of months from late spring through early fall. In the late fall, I could charge it, and it would hold a charge until Feb\Mar, even though my milage was pretty steady through the year. Now with AXS, I can pop the batteries off the bike and store them inside, out of the heat and cold of the garage. I started doing that for my tool batteries several years ago and found they held a charge much longer when in use than when I would leave them in the garage in the tool cases.
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Old 01-31-23, 09:39 PM
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its weird because its not like cars where manual shifting is simpler mechanism and easier to fix. in the case of bikes electronic shifting (modern ones like sram axs) are actually more simple of a solution/mechanism if you think about it.

I still drive a manual transmission car though lol. I just like the engagement and zen like motion of looking ahead at situation knowing when to clutch and gas even in traffic.

But for my next road bike I'm going electronic shifting... i learned how to wrench and assemble bikes myself and loved it but don't want to deal with that anymore if I don't have too. Upgrades are as simple as just installing a new RD/FD and synching it and you're good to go.

installing hydraulic disc breaks compared to rim brakes on the other hand....
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Old 01-31-23, 09:59 PM
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For whatever reason, imho bikes that are coming equipped with electronic shifting are overpriced and just not worth the cost. That said, my oldest kid's bike is Rival AXS, I'm building the middle kid's bike now with Rival AXS, just waiting on shifters right now, and will rebuild the youngest's with Force AXS mechanical brakes. Cost on buying axs road and building with it is somewhat reasonably priced, full rival groupset is less than 1k, not that I can use the full groupset with kids, and they find it so much easier than mechanical. Having built and tested their bikes along with multiple others I'm still not certain if I'd go mechanical or electronic on the next bike or not. Biggest annoyance was discovering the need to carry a spare battery, I never think to remove the der battery when I toss the bike on the car, half dozen trips to bear mtn to train and the oldest showed up for a team training ride and 3 miles in had no shifting. Oops, now keep a spare in the seat bag.
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Old 01-31-23, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
For whatever reason, imho bikes that are coming equipped with electronic shifting are overpriced and just not worth the cost. That said, my oldest kid's bike is Rival AXS, I'm building the middle kid's bike now with Rival AXS, just waiting on shifters right now, and will rebuild the youngest's with Force AXS mechanical brakes. Cost on buying axs road and building with it is somewhat reasonably priced, full rival groupset is less than 1k, not that I can use the full groupset with kids, and they find it so much easier than mechanical. Having built and tested their bikes along with multiple others I'm still not certain if I'd go mechanical or electronic on the next bike or not. Biggest annoyance was discovering the need to carry a spare battery, I never think to remove the der battery when I toss the bike on the car, half dozen trips to bear mtn to train and the oldest showed up for a team training ride and 3 miles in had no shifting. Oops, now keep a spare in the seat bag.
For what it is worth, I was only able to find the Force AXS for rim brakes on this Amazon site. The shifters were the hardest item to locate, I was only able to locate the right side, so when I spotted this complete drive train kit complete, I went ahead and ordered it. I got it in about 4 days and it came in the SRAM packaging. I am not a fan of SRAM rim brakes, so I bought some new Shimano Ultegra 8100 series brakes to replace the 6800 model I had on the bike. The 6800, while it will accept a 28mm tire, it really stretches to get there, so I figure get the new model that is designed for wilder tires. They work great with the SRAM shifters.
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Old 02-01-23, 09:22 PM
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Looking into electronic now, but I don't think it will work with my configuration. I have a 2 x 11 speed, with 46/30 front, 165mm cranks, and an 11-36 cassette. Seem to hit a roadblock with this.
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Old 02-01-23, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by gif4445 View Post
Looking into electronic now, but I don't think it will work with my configuration. I have a 2 x 11 speed, with 46/30 front, 165mm cranks, and an 11-36 cassette. Seem to hit a roadblock with this.
Shimano GRX with SRAM cassette and your done.
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Old 02-01-23, 09:47 PM
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I've never had a bike with electronic shifting so I don't have anything to compare it to. I can shift my mechanical gears with no issues so what am I missing?
My buddy has electronic shifting and raves about it.
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Old 02-01-23, 10:20 PM
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Many say the prefer electronic but no one has stated WHY. WHY is it so much better?

Is the difference so dramatic like going from a manual transmission in a car to an automatic?
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Old 02-01-23, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by gif4445 View Post
Looking into electronic now, but I don't think it will work with my configuration. I have a 2 x 11 speed, with 46/30 front, 165mm cranks, and an 11-36 cassette. Seem to hit a roadblock with this.
SRAM AXS 46/33, 10-36 cassette, and the they have 165 length cranks and it is 12 speed.

Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
Shimano GRX with SRAM cassette and your done.
Or this...
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Old 02-01-23, 11:45 PM
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I think one of the biggest benefits is the set it and forget it. Unless you bang it out of alignment, once you set it up, you rarely if ever, have to adjust it. Shifts quickly, you have some options on shifting, and assign additional buttons to handle other itmes , or adjust the shift levers different options. If you are a data geek, it will tell you bits of info about your shifting patterns along.

I personally like the ease of setup, lack of cables and not having to adjust cables. Probably not huge issues most of the time, but those are my top 3.
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