Modern bicycle is an old but flawless design that changed a lot of people’s lives. But on recent years, new developments made on the cycling industry changed the basics of the bike. First, electronic shifting, then disc brakes and finally the Sram eTAP, the wireless shifting…
People who got used to the electronic shifting swears that they won’t use mechanical back again, but some people are still claims that mechanical is the only way to connect your bike emotionally. But what is the reality?
First, if you are a weight-weenie, we have some bad news for you. Ultegra Di2 is heavier than the mechanical brother of his. If you are counting grams, the excess weight can be a problem for you, but still 2350 grams for the all groupset is not bad at all. When you think about the extra performance and comfort you are getting, with a relatively cheap price, Ultegra Di2 would be the best choice for you.
Let’s start with the shifters, where you touch on the bike first. Electronic shifters have a more ergonomic design since the hoods are a bit smaller than the mechanical one. We can say that the feel is better than the mechanical Shimano’s and Sram’s and quite close to the Campagnolo Ergopower’s. Shifting buttons are placed just behind to the brake levers. Mechanical Shimano design was letting riders to brake mistakenly while shifting, so electronic one solves that problem. Also since you need only small buttons to shift, you can add sprinter or climber shifters on various places on your handlebar to be able to shift however you want. Also for TT bars, you are able to shift on your brake levers too.
Long lasting Di2 battery of Ultegra is hidden inside to the seatpost. From the junction box that placed just under the stem, you can see if the battery level is critically low. The button the junction box is letting you tune the shifters and the USB port is located for charging and also changing the settings on Shimano’s E-Tube software on Windows. You can chose if you want multiple shifting and also the shifting speed. Bad news, the software is working only on Windows, not on Mac’s.
On mechanical groups, shifting is made with the cable tension that created by the levers. Lever will pull or leave the shifting cable, and derailleur will just make the motion to derail the chain from cog to another cog. Under pressure, you are able to feel the tension on the derailleurs by your hand and that also affect the speed of changing. On electronic groups, the shifting signals sent from the levers are going to servos on the derailleurs and that changes the gear for you. Also, front derailleur is adjusting itself regarding to the chain position. Shifting is just perfect, but since there is no direct connection from lever to shifter, there is no real feeling, and unfortunately there is no soul.
Ultegra Di2 group is using the same brake legs, crankset, chain and cassette; and also the same technology with Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets that is only 1982 grams in total. If you don’t mind about the weight and want flawless shifting performance, Ultegra Di2 is a much logical to buy. Like the majority, once you upgraded to the electronic groups, you will not want to go back to mechanical.