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Has anyone converted a bike to electronic shifting?

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Has anyone converted a bike to electronic shifting?

Old 08-22-21, 03:58 PM
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bruce19
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Has anyone converted a bike to electronic shifting?

My GF has a Colnago endurance type road bike that is all Ultegra mechanical 11 sp. She loves the bike but has expressed an interest in electronic shifting. Rather than buying her a new bike for her birthday I was thinking of converting it to SRAM wireless. Just wondering if anyone has done this and can offer advice or warnings.
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Old 08-22-21, 04:16 PM
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I had a custom Carl Strong road bike built for me in 2010 with Ultegra 6700 10-speed mechanical components. In 2018 I had that bike updated with SRAM eTap (Red shifters and derailleurs, Force cranks, chain, & cassette) 11-speed electronic.

Best decision I ever made.
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Old 08-22-21, 04:20 PM
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In 2016 I upgraded from Sram Red mechanical to Red eTap.

Couldn't of been easier.
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Old 08-22-21, 06:24 PM
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Yes. Converted a mechanical Ultegra bike to eTap Red.

With SRAM eTap it's super simple. No running wires through the frame and inserting batteries inside seat posts or seat tubes!

Warnings? Just remember to check and charge the batteries often enough! 😁
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Old 08-22-21, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
In 2016 I upgraded from Sram Red mechanical to Red eTap.

Couldn't of have been easier.
ftfy.

And for the OP, it's super easy when you're putting SRAM wireless on the bike, as others have posted.
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Old 08-22-21, 07:26 PM
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This is all very encouraging. Thank you.
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Old 08-22-21, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
ftfy.
Thanks

You must be very popular at work.

Last edited by GlennR; 08-22-21 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 08-22-21, 08:08 PM
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There is no 11 speed etap available and upgrading to 12 speed AXS etap is a bit more complicated and expensive. XDR wheelset or conversion, SRAM flat top chain, 12 speed cassette, new crankset or aftermarket rings, FD, RD, shifters, and of course batteries and charger. I am looking at this right now for a bike. There might be some short cuts but it isn't clear right now
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Old 08-22-21, 09:14 PM
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Can her frame take wires? If so, and she wants to stick with 11 speed, then Di2 can be done easily. I have a bike I would love to put Di2 on, but can't run the wires, unfortunately, so I would have to go eTap 12 speed, but all the additional bits I would need, has put me off that path so far. However, my mechanical Ultegra works like a dream, so not something I really need to replace at this point.
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Old 08-23-21, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
This is all very encouraging. Thank you.
Nobody wants to do it the hard way.
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Old 08-23-21, 06:55 AM
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The biggest problem may be finding the needed components with all of the supply shortages. It makes no sense to me to buy 11 speed parts that are soon to be outdated. Sram 11 speed etap is no longer supported. I converted two bikes to force axs 12 speed. Shimano brand rear wheels can't be converted to an XDR freehub body, but most others, including Campy/Fulcrum wheels can. Converting a rim brake bike works with Campy and Tektro brakes, but shimano brakes may require more pull than available. Of course you need both derailleurs, cassette, chain, shifters, batteries and charger.

Cranks are another issue with 12 speed cassettes and chains. Smaller chain rings like 48 or 46 tooth big rings are the norm. I dislike SRAM's limited range 13T difference and use Shimano grx 48/31 or 46/30 cranks.

I've also gone a step further and moved both of my force axs drivetrains over to disc brake frames, using Juin-Tech GT cable operated hydraulic calipers and new fulcrum racing 3 disc brake wheels with Campy rotors.

I just thought of another option. Campy 12 speed cassettes can also be used with sram axs and more traditionally sized chain rings. They offer 11-29, 11-32 and 11-34 cassettes. Not sure which 12 speed chain would work best.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 08-23-21 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 08-23-21, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
I have a bike I would love to put Di2 on, but can't run the wires
Has Shimano stopped offering the external wire kit that came with the original Di2?
I mean, yeah, it was butt-ugly...but you could install them on any bike.
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Old 08-23-21, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
Has Shimano stopped offering the external wire kit that came with the original Di2?
I mean, yeah, it was butt-ugly...but you could install them on any bike.
External wiring really was an ugly mess IMO and is the reason I would only install Di2 on a bike that allowed internal wiring.

That said, I think Di2 is cheaper than SRAM, but it's anybody's guess what parts are available. I think a soup to nuts Ultegra Di2 group upgrade is about $1200 for a disc system, and that's not including rotors. You can do a partial Di2 upgrade and it's cheaper if rim brakes, so just F & R shifters and derailers, battery (and seatpost shim), A & B junctions and wires. I re-used my 105 brakes, crank and bottom bracket. Saved a few hundred.
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Old 08-23-21, 09:34 AM
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I don't see the advantage of spending money to upgrade a already 11 speed mechanical Ultegra to electronic. I guess if you have the money burning a hole in your pocket it's okay. But I don't really see the bang for the buck. Unless perhaps you don't know how to adjust the mechanical stuff to perfection. But if you can't do that, then do you really know how to install and configure the electronic stuff?

A new bike with electronic shifting will be an all around great bang for my buck upgrade. Not just a ho-hum sort of maybe is better upgrade to a bike that I've had for a while.
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Old 08-23-21, 12:12 PM
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Would love to upgrade to EPS, but not wild about drilling holes in my Litespeed - as soon as Campag come out with a wireless option, I might revisit
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Old 08-23-21, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I don't see the advantage of spending money to upgrade a already 11 speed mechanical Ultegra to electronic. I guess if you have the money burning a hole in your pocket it's okay. But I don't really see the bang for the buck. Unless perhaps you don't know how to adjust the mechanical stuff to perfection. But if you can't do that, then do you really know how to install and configure the electronic stuff?

A new bike with electronic shifting will be an all around great bang for my buck upgrade. Not just a ho-hum sort of maybe is better upgrade to a bike that I've had for a while.
It's about my GF loving her Colnago and being shifting challenged. Upgrading her bike will make her life better which will make my life better.
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Old 08-23-21, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
Has Shimano stopped offering the external wire kit that came with the original Di2?
I mean, yeah, it was butt-ugly...but you could install them on any bike.
Yea, you could do that.....but I will pass on that.
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Old 08-23-21, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
My GF has a Colnago endurance type road bike that is all Ultegra mechanical 11 sp. She loves the bike but has expressed an interest in electronic shifting. Rather than buying her a new bike for her birthday I was thinking of converting it to SRAM wireless. Just wondering if anyone has done this and can offer advice or warnings.
I've converted two bikes. The only way to go, IMO, is to go wireless. We converted our bikes over from DA and Ultegra mech to SRAM eTap red 11speed at the time (AXS was not yet out). Our bikes were not set up for internal wire routing for Di2 and that would have been a mess. One of the contributing reasons for upgrading was that these were our travel bikes and after having a problem, we wanted an easier solution for packing the bikes. Wireless does that for sure. You just unbolt the RD and there's no cabling to worry about and no chance anything needs adjusting.

Took me about 2 hours to convert the first bike, about an hour to do the second one - very simple. Once done, I liked the clean installation so much that I even sold my Ultegra Di2 on my other bike and converted that to eTap as well after getting a great deal on the group set. There are no wires anywhere and the only two cables go to the brakes. I also like the single paddle on each side for shifting since I ride through most of the winter and the Di2 paddles were easy to make a wrong shift with full gloves or mittens on. It's just not a problem with the eTap shifters.

Converting to AXS would be a little bit more involved because you would have to get a new crank, chain, free hub, and cassette. That said, I'd do it - I really like the electronic shifting and I'd never go back. My wife's new bike is an AXS 1x and that's been bulletproof and she likes it a lot.
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Old 08-23-21, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
I've converted two bikes. The only way to go, IMO, is to go wireless. We converted our bikes over from DA and Ultegra mech to SRAM eTap red 11speed at the time (AXS was not yet out). Our bikes were not set up for internal wire routing for Di2 and that would have been a mess. One of the contributing reasons for upgrading was that these were our travel bikes and after having a problem, we wanted an easier solution for packing the bikes. Wireless does that for sure. You just unbolt the RD and there's no cabling to worry about and no chance anything needs adjusting.

Took me about 2 hours to convert the first bike, about an hour to do the second one - very simple. Once done, I liked the clean installation so much that I even sold my Ultegra Di2 on my other bike and converted that to eTap as well after getting a great deal on the group set. There are no wires anywhere and the only two cables go to the brakes. I also like the single paddle on each side for shifting since I ride through most of the winter and the Di2 paddles were easy to make a wrong shift with full gloves or mittens on. It's just not a problem with the eTap shifters.

Converting to AXS would be a little bit more involved because you would have to get a new crank, chain, free hub, and cassette. That said, I'd do it - I really like the electronic shifting and I'd never go back. My wife's new bike is an AXS 1x and that's been bulletproof and she likes it a lot.
This is pretty much what I had in mind. Once done my next plan is to take her Ultegra mechanical and swap it onto my CAAD 12 105. I'm thinking it's a twofer. I'm thinking my 105 CAAD (17 lb 11 oz) might get down near 17 lbs. or so.
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Old 08-23-21, 04:20 PM
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Easily done. Only hard part is the $$$$.
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Old 08-23-21, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
This is pretty much what I had in mind. Once done my next plan is to take her Ultegra mechanical and swap it onto my CAAD 12 105. I'm thinking it's a twofer. I'm thinking my 105 CAAD (17 lb 11 oz) might get down near 17 lbs. or so.
does the “105” mean Shimano 105? If so, then probably lighter.

my wife is not into bike mechanical operation. Going to electronic shifting was a big win for her (and for me). She hasn’t had a bad shift since she got it and she loves that.

Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Easily done. Only hard part is the $$$$.
yep. Take money out of the equation and it’s a no-brainer decision. You can see it happening with SRAM, they are pushing it into the lower groups and price points rapidly. All good in my book.

Last edited by JohnJ80; 08-28-21 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 08-23-21, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
does the “105” mean Shimano 105? If so, then probably lighter.
.
Yes Shimano 105. I have 2 road bikes. The CAAD 12 with it's original 11 spd.105 and a Guru Sidero (steel) with retro fitted SRAM Red 10 sp mechanical. They both weigh about 17 lb 10 oz.

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Old 08-23-21, 06:37 PM
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I have done 2 bikes from mech 10sp to DI2, DA and Ultegra. The OEM kits were really cheap from GB and all it takes is a 1/4" drill. You might want to pick up a new bar that allows internal wiring.
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Old 08-23-21, 07:14 PM
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I'm thinking you need to check that SRAM AXS FD will fit on her bike if you go that route. IIRC the battery might interfere with the rear wheel on smaller frame.

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Old 08-24-21, 08:00 AM
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There is no reason for the sram battery to cause interference on any frame. If a frame is too old and has a fixed FD mount, there is some chance that the slot for the FD clamp bolt won't allow the FD to go low enough for a 48 or 46 chain ring, that most axs equipped bikes use.
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