Shimano XTR Di2 Electronic vs. Mechanical Mountain Bike Shifting

Electronic Shimano XTR Di2 Mountain Bike Shifting, is it the Holy Grail of shifting or not?

Since the day Julien Absalon mountain bike legend crushed the competiton on his BMC XC race mountain bike running the new Shimano Di2 XTR electronic shifting, XC riders have confirmation it is the wave of the future.

Almost every UCI XC professional Cross Country racer is running the package.

Fortunately for the little guy, the industry has already seen a massive price reduction on the system to help non-sponsored riders get in on the fun.

So is electronic shifting right for you, and is it really worth the money?

The Advantages of Electronic Shifting

  • Almost Flawless Precision Shifting
  • Programmable Shifting
  • Clear & Large Shifting Display for Easy to Read Gear Position

The Disadvantages of Electronic Shifting

  • Cost
  • Battery Life
  • Electronics can take a dump

The Advantages of Mechanical Shifting

  • Cost
  • No Battery
  • Semi-Reliable for many decades

The Disadvantages of Mechanical Shifting

  • Cable Routing
  • Maintenance
  • Semi-Precision Shifting based on maintenance and condition of package
  • Difficult sometimes to know what gear you are in
  • No programmable gear settings to help you get to what you need like electronics can

Some of us always jump on the latest electronics / gadgets, especially if you have the money. Others follow exactly what the professionals use no matter what, while other are tentative about new technology or simply wait until there is time when they deem it to be affordable for their budget.

Which XC rider are you?

I must say, I can’t wait for the electronics myself. I love the look and feel and the display feels like I am riding on my Honda CBR 900.

Also in my opinion, mechanical works, but its far from precision, and I know I would take advantage of the programmability functions. Plus I do like to adopt the gadgets and technology that the pro’s use, it’s the best part of racing, the trickle down effect.