It's here! New Dura-Ace 7900!!

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Tech72, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. Dietmar

    Dietmar New Member

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    Yes, that was the Mavic Zap system. Their market success was, shall we say, limited, too...

    Interesting system, by the way: They powered the actual shifting action via the chain motion, so they could make do with a very small battery.
     


  2. dgregory57

    dgregory57 New Member

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    I was reading that one potential advantage of an electronic shifting system would be that it could be self adjusting (though I don't recall if either Shimano or Campagnolo had this feature).

    For example, the RD would have a sensor to detect where each cog was, and even if things got slightly out of whack it would find the center. Also, if switching wheels, if the cassettes were slightly offset from each other, there would be no issues. Very nice for racers who had to switch wheels quickly without a professional support staff... slightly convenient for the casual rider who might rarely switch wheels.

    In addition, I guess that the half shifting of the front derailleur to accomodate chain rub at the extremes could be made automatically as well.

    Of course, this all assumes that the sensors are all clean and functional. :D

    Being very happy with my current integrated shifters, I doubt that I will be running to join the electronic shifting bandwagon any time soon...
     
  3. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Actually, this isn't necessarily so. Electronic shifting holds the potential to allow more freedom in the design of brifters since it may not be necessary to consider reach to shift levers. Of course, this is design dependent. On the upside, electronic shifting could allow the placement of shift switches in multiple places: on the hoods, on the tops, or summat.
     
  4. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Mavic also had the Mektronic system which worked quite well. In fact one well known frame builder has been using Mektronic since it came out, as has his wife.

    As for the necessity of electronic systems when mechanical systems work just fine....well, having more than one gear wasn't really necessary either. Necessity isn't what, uhm, necessarily drives innovation, revolution, evolution, or just plain change. The competitive market place has to be considered, especially since that market place reaches around the world at the push of keyboard key, at the speed of electrons on the surface of a wire or photons in a fiber optic cable. There have been plenty of companies that have died off because they didn't offer anything "different" and instead rested on what they'd produced in the past.

    In a very short time, both Shimano and Campy were faced with new competitor that quickly gained even footing in a market place that doesn't really have a lot of room for gruppo manufacturers. Both have suffered a bit as a result. Campy has lost big time in OEM market share, and Shimano sees SRAM catching up quickly. To combat that requires something new or different. That's the way it's always been in business.

    11 speeds? Sure, any benefits over 10 spd are marginal. Chain wear? Well, we'll see. We can't immediately say that chain wear will suck, because in the time since 10 spd chains came out, material science and engineering have evolved and innovated quickly. 10 spd Campy chains have a pretty damned good lifespan if riders take a modicum of good care for their chain.

    Electronic systems? Well, again, we'll see. We're a long way past Zap and Mektronic, and no one has yet to see any "ready for production" electronic system. It'd be a mistake to think that what's been seen in pro pelotons is it. Battery life will likely not be an issue, especially given the rapid advancement of battery technology in the last 10-15 years. The word from Shimano people is that already their batteries are lasting way longer than the critics might expect. There's no reason to think that Campy batteries will be any or much worse.

    From the battery to the solenoid in the derailleurs, there shouldn't be a lot of hoops to jump through to troubleshoot any problems: wires, batteries, and solenoids, at least on the basic level.

    The benefits could be many: auto trim (front and rear) using simple optical sensors; the ability to run anyone's wheel or cassette (as a result of those optical sensors); integrated power measurement (Bye-bye expensive SRM); and the list goes on.

    The electric stuff will happen. There's no avoiding it.
     
  5. Rochefan

    Rochefan New Member

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    Multiple places for shifting is indeed a big plus for electronic, eg for time trials. Another big plus apparently is the speed of the shifts. I remember an interview with a pro testing and he said the speed was much better. I wonder would this be better for changing under big load such as in a sprint?
    On the topic of the new Dura Ace, I think its great they finally got rid of the unsightly cables but I'm not sure about the shape of the new levers.
    In fact, isn't the shape of the prototype electronic levers similar to the current dura-ace but the new dura ace 7900 has a different shape????
     
  6. Dietmar

    Dietmar New Member

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    I don't know about the working quite well part. One thing that was cool about it was that it was wireless, something I haven't seen in any of the rumors of the systems Shimano and Campy seem to be working on. I wonder why that is; these days, that should be an obvious thing to do. Anyway, the Mektronic seemed to have the feature of deciding to shift on its own every now and then, which people didn't like too much...

    Apples and oranges. Multiple gears do have clear advantages; I was asking about those clear advantages of electric shifting, and I don't really see them, so far.

    Alright, these are some things that could be, but none of them are in the same class as multiple gears over single speed. Auto-trim? Sure, nice to have, but really a marginal advantage for most cases. You'd have to explain to me how you get to the integrated power measurement. You cannot measure power transfer on the derailleur side of the cog, so I don't see what the electric shifting system could do for you there.

    Oh, and you could have mentioned the possibility of "linear" shifting through your transmission ratios, with the system automatically switching both front and rear derailleurs for you. Now that could be of interest sometimes, but at other times you may want to just shift "the good old way".

    We'll see, I guess.

    P.S.: By the way, Alien, do you know this guy? :D
     
  7. artemidorus

    artemidorus New Member

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    To have that work, you'd need to stick a little electrode on your bum so that your bike computer could give you a good zapping whenever your power dropped below 0.9 x FTP....
     
  8. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I don't know him personally, but he is infamous in this area, mostly because he likes to do things like lie in wait for a group to pass by, spring like mad after them to pass them, and then turn off quickly to hide. He cuts off cars in traffic by doing things like suddenly diving across 5 lanes of traffic (right in front of a cop) or cutting off buses.

    As for bikes, evolutions, innovations, and products with clear advantages, I think those things will become fewer and far between. There's little that human performance on a bike can be increased. Bike's are already spectacularly efficient mechanically. What's left are things that are argued about but not hailed like the first derailleur or STI/Ergo brifters or the like. Electronic shifting will be a bit like going from 9 to 10 spd, or now like going from 10 to 11 spd. Some won't see the need, while other's might see some need.
     
  9. Bigbananabike

    Bigbananabike Member

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    Cheers:) I didn't think tech72 's comment was worth a reply.



     
  10. Tech72

    Tech72 New Member

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    In a roundabout way, you did reply....

    Cheers.
     
  11. Russ Reynolds

    Russ Reynolds New Member

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    I wasn't really serious about the electronic shifter. I was bored so I just thought I'd throw out some bait and see what I could catch. I'm quite surprised. I though you blokes would give the old electric shifter a bagg'n but it seems most of you are pretty open minded to it. Personally, I like anything new that's well designed and as 'alienator' said, with the rapid advancement in battery technology, who know it could really catch on this time around.
     
  12. TheDarkLord

    TheDarkLord New Member

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    LOL!
     
  13. Dietmar

    Dietmar New Member

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    Well, I think both Shimano and Campagnolo have been working on these electric systems for many, many years now. For years, people have been speculating that they would start selling such a system "this coming fall", but it never happens. My feeling is that they are both in this mostly to hedge their bets, so that they won't be caught off-guard if either one of them actually takes their system to the market.

    On the other hand, I am fairly sure their market research keeps telling them that electric systems are not worth the bother at the current state of the art. These systems are going to be ultra-high end, correspondingly expensive, and they all come with a significant weight penalty. I don't think the potential benefits they can offer at this point are sufficient to offset these negatives. Who knows, maybe some day, but I won't hold my breath.
     
  14. Russ Reynolds

    Russ Reynolds New Member

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    I had a look at both the Shimano and Campag electric shifters. I'd say you're spot on with the hedging. The Campag one looks a bit like a half arsed attempt which isn't usually Campags style. It will be interesting to see though if it takes off. I'm sure when indexing came in our Dads were on this forum go'n " Back in my day, there was none of this index'n stuff. If you wanted to change gears, you had to get off and hit the chain across with a hammer ".
     
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