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Electronic Shifting? Disc Brakes? 11 Speed? What Say You?

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Electronic Shifting? Disc Brakes? 11 Speed? What Say You?

Old 04-06-14, 07:19 PM
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Electronic Shifting? Disc Brakes? 11 Speed? What Say You?

I'm considering optimizing my trusty CrossCheck for touring, and putting together a rando-specific bike. I already have some ideas about the frame and wheels, but am considering the other bits. The max distance for this bike in a single event/ride will be 200 miles.

I'm considering Di2/electronic shifting, mostly to reduce drivetrain maintenance. And no, I'm not worried about the batteries running low. IIRC Di2 is all 11 speed now, and if I go mechanical I could still end up with 11 speed.

Disc seems like overkill for road use, especially as I do not live in a super-wet area. But, the improved modulation and power could be sweet.

So, any thoughts on going with the Latest and Greatest -- Di2 / electronic shifting, disc brakes and 11 speed?
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Old 04-06-14, 07:59 PM
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Di2 stuff feels amazing and if you are a fan of aero bars it lets you put "shifters" any where on the bike so you can shift from multiple places which is really nice. It has been pretty reliable from my experience if it is set up properly, the only downside is you need to have a certified shop set it up initially because it takes some special software but once it is set you do not need to ever change a thing. The only shifting issues I have ever seen with a Di2 bike were all solved by straightening a derailleur hanger.

The downside is obviously cost but since you are asking about it I am guessing it is not out of your budget.

So, in my opinion it is extremely nice but only you can decide if the improvements are worth the added costs that go along with it.

On the disc brake question, I really like disc brakes and think they work great when set up properly but if you do not see nasty conditions often I do not really see them as necessary. If you find a bike you really like I say go for it and not think about what type of brakes it has. A good pair of road brakes can be as strong and easy to modulate as the disc set ups I have ridden though so again, I suggest simply finding a bike you really like and not worrying about the type of brakes it has because either option can be set up to work extremely well.

If you have an issue with rim wear discs can save you a lot of trouble there but it sounds like the conditions you ride in are not that abusive to brakes.
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Old 04-06-14, 08:54 PM
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Both my bikes have disk brakes, they're good and fine and all that, but all I have ever read on that topic turns into a Ford vs Chevy argument. There's advantages, there's disadvantages, and just not a lot of reason to pick one over the other for most of us. If you like a bike that comes with 'em, great, get em, otherwise, don't worry about it.

No experience with the other stuff. If it fits your wallet, go for it.
"be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."
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Old 04-06-14, 08:55 PM
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Disc brakes are better than cantilevers and if fenders are desired, those are the two most realistic brake choices. I just built up a rando bike and decided not do go disc. The main reason being the lack of frame options. I would have had to had a Calfee or Parlee built and I did not have the time to have a frame built. One benefit to discs is being able to use full carbon rims without risk of blowing out the tube, which is very easy to do for a big rider in hilly terrain.

I put SRAM Red 11S shifters, derailleurs, and 11x28 SRAM cassette with a Dura Ace compact crank. I can't imagine better shifting nor lighter, durable, rugged components.

I wish I could have fit the Shimano XTR Mt double with say a 44-28 rings and the 11x28 cassette. It isn't that I don't use te 50x11, but how often?
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Old 04-06-14, 11:02 PM
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Shimano just announced the ST-RS685, mechanical 11-speed shifters with hydraulic braking, if you decide to go that route.
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Old 04-07-14, 10:57 AM
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Just to clarify.... My main concern is reliability and, with Di2, reducing maintenance. It sounds like it is at least equally robust, so it may be an option. I haven't decided yet if it is worth the added cost.

For the moment, I'm not planning to do hydraulic, as that would be harder to fix while on the road.

I'm not sure if disc is more, less or equally reliable than calipers. I'm probably going to pass on disc, unless it is really more reliable in mostly dry conditions.

I'm also not sure if 11sp is as robust as 9sp / 10sp, particularly the chain.
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Old 04-07-14, 11:37 AM
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For a road bike to be used in mostly good weather, I would only go with discs if you plan to use carbon rims. And I've heard so many good things about hydraulic discs that I would just forget about mechanical. That said, I've used a mechanical front disc on my fixie over the wet Pacific NW winter to great effect. The front rim stays SO MUCH cleaner in bad weather with all sorts of sand, salt, and grit all over the wet roads. I just switched back to the summer fork with rim brake, went for a couple of wet rides, and couldn't believe how much dirtier the front rim was!

Also, brevets making use of unpaved roads (US Forest Service) are gaining in popularity, esp here in the Pac NW, and disc modulation is so much nicer on loose surfaces, esp steep gravel descents.

Ever since Mavic first came out with electronic shifting years ago, I had thought that e-shifting would only be useful in race situations where you wanted multiple shift buttons on a time trial bike (being able to shift from the aero bars or from the brake hoods, as mentioned by [MENTION=313223]chriskmurray[/MENTION] above. The other good application for e-shfiting would be in cold weather riding, or in a cold rain, where your hands get so cold that it gets really hard to push the shift lever over (if you live in SouCal or Arizona, you would not understand...).

My fear with e-shifting would be that I'm too cheap to change batteries, so I'd be out on a long ride somewhere, and suddenly I'd lose the ability to shift because the batteries died. But since I ride a fixie on 99.9% of all my rides, this wouldn't even be on the radar for me. Instead, I just laugh at guys struggling up the hills on their expensive carbon bikes with disc brakes, carbon wheels, and Di2 while I pass them on my steel fixie. And conversely, I have respect for guys who drop me on the climbs on whatever they're riding. It's not the bike, it's the rider.

My feeling about latest/expensive equipment has been that when you're ready for it, your team will provide it for you. If you're not on a team, you don't need it or you don't deserve it; you're just not good enough. If you're too old to be on a team, then if you can afford it, go for it, you probably deserve it by now! I never had Campagnolo brakes until I was a masters racer.

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Old 04-07-14, 03:48 PM
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It is actually your parents, Luis.
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Old 04-07-14, 09:47 PM
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I am having a custom Ti touring/commuter bike built now (Spectrum Cycles) and will go with mechanical shifting (Versa 11), mechanical disc brakes (Avid BB7) and Allfine 11 (IGH). I have the same things now on my e-bike commuter and it works really well I didn't want to be without it on the custom bike.

For me the mechanical shifting is fine givin the price point compared to Di2, the disc brakes work very well and have consistent stopping power in dry or wet weather considering the price point compared to hydraulic. Although maybe a little more costly the IGH is so quick and precise over the derailer system. I took my other sporty Ti road bike out (Lynskey R340) the other day for the first time this year which I also like with the Campy Chorus 11 sp Gruppo.

The thing that I had to get used to the most was the shifting of the cassette compared to the IGH. For me, I like the idea of being able to shift to whatever gear when not pedaling, coming up to a stop, or sitting at a stop. This is something I thought wouldn't be that big a deal but after getting used to the IGH for so long it was for me after riding the IGH all winter long.

As far as maintainence I feel the IGH requires less maintainence than a derailer system. The disc brakes require little to no more maintainence than the rim brakes but with added stopping power especially when loaded. Although I like the Versa shifters and hoods if I could change one thing it would be to have the Campy Chorus 11 shifters and hoods for this setup, I really like the feel of those! To the best of my knowledge they won't work with the IGH.
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Old 04-07-14, 11:47 PM
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for the specified usage, I see nothing wrong with disc/di2/11 speed. Have fun with it.
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Old 04-09-14, 02:36 PM
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I'm not a fan of hydraulics, but I do like disc brakes. The Shimano CX77 cable-operated disc brake works great on road bikes, I find it slightly better than AVid BB7s in terms of feel and power, but there is very little difference between the two and they are both great. If you learn where the pad adjustment screws are and how to true a rotor then maintenance is pretty straightforward and changing a cable and housing is way easier than bleeding a hydraulic system.

I'm about to make the switch from mechanical shifting to Ultegra Di2 11-speed. One reason is the shifting accuracy, another major reason is the possibility for multiple shift buttons; I have road/drop bars with clip-on aerobars, so I'll have a pair STI shifters, a right-hand aerobar shifter and a right-hand climbing shifter on the bar tops (I figure that I only need one shifter for the FD).

Despite having a braze-on mount for my front derailleur, I've checked it using a bike that already had Di2 installed and found that I can use a 46-30 chainring combination (using the inner and middle positions on a Shimano 105 triple crank) and still have reliable, crisp shifting despite the lowest possible position for the Di2 FD being a bit higher than ideal. Also, I've just successfully filed down the base of my Shimano 10-speed freehub body to allow an 11-speed cassette to fit on, so I'll be putting an 11-32 cassette on there, which I may convert to a 12-32 by buying a different cassette and taking the 12-16 tooth cogs from it so that I don't have the 14-16 jump that is in the 11-32 cassette.
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Old 04-10-14, 09:50 AM
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I don't know about that Di2 stuff.

If you take just one direct lightning strike... that Di2 stuff will be useless to you!
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Old 04-15-14, 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Weatherby
It is actually your parents, Luis.
Parents have nothing to do with the equation, as stellar physical conditioning isn’t inherited rather; it’s acquired by an individual putting forth the necessary and considerable effort.
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Old 04-28-14, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
Just to clarify.... My main concern is reliability and, with Di2, reducing maintenance.
I fail to see how Di2 will reduce maintenance over regular cable shifting. I'm not saying it will require more maintenance, but you might need to explain your reasoning a bit more...

I've done a few complete Brevet series, as well as over 80 double centuries and multiple 500 mile races. In over 200 events I can count the number of mechanical issues I've had (beyond flat tires) on the fingers of one hand. Modern bicycles, maintained in a competent manner are pretty reliable...
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