Di2 cost

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by rclouviere, Mar 28, 2020.

  1. rclouviere

    rclouviere New Member

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    I have a trek madone that has mechanical shifting (Ultegra set up). Thinking about converting to di2, but wondering about the cost. In general, what am i looking at, not including installation costs, and, any links for the best deal?

    thanks, Rick
     
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  2. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Active Member

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    It depends on what you want, Ultegra, Dura Ace or GRX? Does your bike have rim brakes or disc brakes? It also depends on what you're willing to settle for; specifically, you can get ST-R785 levers and disc calipers cheap right now, but the levers really suck compared to newer versions, which is why everyone is dumping them.

    Regardless, you're probably looking at a minimum of $1000 (and could be double that) and you'll be adding some weight to your bike, to boot.

    I suggest that you ask yourself honestly:

    What do I not like about mechanical Ultegra, what do I expect to gain with Di2, and is it worth the cost
    ?

    Unless you have some compelling reason to make the change, why bother?

    I have Di2 on my gravel bike (which I bought used at a huge discount) and I honestly don't see what all the hype is about. I was disappointed with the automated shifting modes and the inflexibility of programming them, which was the only reason I tried Di2. Frankly, I prefer mechanical shifting and have no problems with it. If you know how to shift a mechanical system well, IMO, Di2 doesn't gain you anything that's worth the added cost.

    Here are a couple of other considerations. Replacement parts for Di2 are substantially more expensive, so if you're racing, where crashes are common and damage is likely, it's going to be more expensive to keep your bike working. Also, while mechanical shifting does require regular maintenance, the cost of switching to Di2 will pay for a lot of shift cable replacements.
     
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  3. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    On top of what Brian said, you have to replace the batteries about every 3 to 4 years, those are expensive, the inability to fix it on the road should there be a failure so better have a cell phone so you can call your mommy to come get you, it weighs more than mechanical, of course it cost a lot more, you have to be really good with computer so you can run your own diagnostics and pay for the program to do so, it won't work if it gets too cold and as the temps drop to being to cold the battery lasts less and less.

    Having said that there are a lot of positives, I not going to argue that point, I think they're not worth the cost; I want the ability to be able to fix it myself, even out on the road. It's the same reason I won't go with tubeless tires, sure there a lot of pros but if I get a flat and bead comes unseated I don't want to carry around a special inflator that can put out enough air to seat the damn thing, nor do I want to buy one for use at home.

    Sorry, but I'm weird that way. I like things simple. Of course on the internet you do a search all you find is nothing but roses and daisies about the electronic systems, why is that? because marketing forces have a lot more money to pay Google to make sure there is nothing but page after page after page of good stuff only, they did the same thing with carbon fiber and not everything is rosey about Carbon fiber either, but try to find a con concerning CF and you'll be turning page after page trying to find one.
     
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  4. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Active Member

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    Well...some of that is true, but not all of it.
    • You don't have to pay for software to program Di2, you download it free from Shimano. While the instructions aren't particularly good and they don't mention some of the limitations, it's not difficult to figure it out.
    • I've used my gravel bike in conditions well below freezing and it works just fine. The battery life is measured in months (perhaps weeks for more frequent use), not hours, and you can easily check the battery status when you're out riding. As the battery gets low, it disables the front derailleur (which uses the most power to shift), so you can still shift the rear for a while.
    • There's also a "limp mode" and you can always pedal the bike as a single speed in a pinch. It's still gears and a chain, after all.
     
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  5. rclouviere

    rclouviere New Member

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  6. rclouviere

    rclouviere New Member

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    All great points. Thank you so much.
     
  7. rclouviere

    rclouviere New Member

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  8. rclouviere

    rclouviere New Member

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    Great post thanks.
     
  9. cyclintom

    cyclintom Well-Known Member

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    Now that you've been given the disadvantaged let me tell you the advantages. You never have to change shift cables again. While the batteries do eventually wear out from recharging one full charge lasts so long that you have to be careful that you don't run it too long and die on the road. A full charge can last for months if you don't shift a whole lot.

    After the initial setup, the Di2 never needs adjusting again either. You also have the ability (with the newer versions) to have it automatically correct for front derailleur dragging from rear cog extremes, or even set it up so that with only the right lever it will go through the entire gearset in ratio order automatically shifting front and back as necessary. Then you can use the left lever to change screens etc on your Garmin or Wahoo.

    The levers and derailleurs are available for about $400-$500 but the battery itself is another $100 or so and the wires interconnecting everything cost a small fortune for what they are. But once wired they never change. Most recent carbon frames allow internal wiring and an internal seat-post battery. There are also external batteries for framesets that have to have external wiring. It mounts under the front water bottle holder. This does NOT rattle around. The battery connection is dead solid and cannot accidently release the battery.

    You could have a handlebar end junction box to check your battery life but I prefer the under the handlebar ones that can also allow you to have extra shift switches for TT bars if you like.

    The shifting is faster and smoother. It does require getting used to the new lever system but changing from Shimano to Campy or SRAM does as well. You can get short arm rear derailleurs that allow a max of 28 teeth or you can get the GRX long arm that allows up to 34 teeth. With a compact crank you could climb Mt. Vesuvius with that.

    The Ultegra Di2 is pretty light. The only real weight difference in the entire groups is the DuraAce levers which weigh about half of what the Ultegra do and the DuraAce crankset though the hollow molded aluminum crank has been known to fail rarely. If the derailleurs weigh different it is pretty slight since they had the same motors etc. in them. But, the DuraAce are as light as the carbon fiber cranks and with a hell of a lot less chance of failing. And the Shimano 24 mm diameter shaft allows installation in a lot more frames than other cranksets (FSA has 19mm or 30mm and SRAM is absolute crap - bearing races can be so far out of true that the bearing actually rattles) Campy Carbon Fiber Cranks are light and extremely well made and 11 speed spacing is identical but they are expensive and it is hard to get a Compact crankset from them that doesn't cost as much as the rest of your bike.

    In short, you can criticize the possible problems with Di2 and they are very real. But they are also very rare and the advantages of Di2 are also very real. It you WANT to try Di2 do not be put off with any possible problems. The weight difference from manual is so slight that it makes no difference. If you have hydraulic disks the mechanism for bleeding is so simple that all you do is watch the Shimano video and can do it perfectly the first time.

    I've been pretty much a Campy man my whole life but I tried it and I liked it and I'm not going back.

    The ONE thing you have to know is that you HAVE to have the correct interchangeable parts or the system looks completely dead. Every component from the battery holder to the levers has "intelligence" (computer chips) in them and while there are a great many interchangeable parts there are also a great many that are not interchangeable. For instance - there are 24 different shift levers from GRX to Ultegra to DuraAce that are interchangeable but lord knows how many are not.
    There are something like four different external battery holders and ONLY ONE will work with each series. But if you buy a compete set you don't have to worry about that. BTW - the new internal batteries have built-in Bluetooth so you don't have to purchase yet another interwire part to talk to your Garmin.
     
    #9 cyclintom, Apr 21, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020
  10. Germanrazor

    Germanrazor Member

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    I cannot comment to experience with but mechanical works, is simplistic, economical and a properly indexed mechanical setup is like cutting butter with a red hot knife IMO.

    Unless you're a tech junkie and have some compelling argument over the cabling, your Ultegra setup is rather nice.

    I run a full SRAM mechanical system of Force and Red and love it.
     
  11. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Active Member

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    It's pretty unlikely that I'll buy an electronic group again, or a bike with an electronic group, as was the case with my gravel rig. I can shift mechanical Campy faster than Di2 shifts and multiple rear shifts are also more precise, because you're not guessing at how long you have to hold a button to achieve a specific number of shifts. The difference when making simultaneous front and rear shifts is even more dramatic. Mechanical is cheaper and lighter. I do all of my own work, so maintenance costs are minimal.

    For people who aren't especially adept at shifting and for newbies, I can understand the appeal of electronic groups. I really don't need them, so there's no point in spending the extra cash. I like mechanical shifting, both on my bikes and my cars (I've never owned a car with an automatic).
     
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  12. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Active Member

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    It won't make you faster, safer, more comfortable, or improve your ride experience (like a GPS system will) so why get it?

    On the other hand, everyone I know who has it says it's fabulous...but then, they have to say that else they look like idiots for forking out a ton of cash for a system to help them change gears.

    A little flick of your finger and the gear changes just fine without Di2.
     
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