For those of you running electronic groupsets, what's the benefit?

Building up a Cervelo S5 frame right now, and trying to decide between mech vs. electronic shifting. I’ve only owned and ridden Ultegra mech, but now that I have an opportunity to build something up from scratch, thought I could try out Di2 or Etap. The more research I do though, the more I find that there aren’t any real benefits other than it feels better, or shifts better - no real tangible performance gains.

So for those who are riding electronic groupsets - is it worth it? What do you get out of it? Are there performance gains from riding electronic vs. mech? Di2 vs. Etap?

I love my Di2. Can’t say it has increased my FTP x%. Still love it. Doing hill intervals with this smooth shifting is just great. Much nicer than with mechanical. And set up and maintenance is super easy. No cables that need replacing every once in a while.

I have Etap and love it. It “just works”, which probably provides some performance gains. Kind of annoying having to charge your bike though. Also, it is crazy easy to index the gears.

I use only electronic shifting in both road and mountain. I sweat a lot and was replacing sweat rusted cables 3 or 4 times a year (I also corrode aluminum seatposts in a few months). I three years I have never touched my Di2. So, lack of maintenance was my initial driver. However, consistent, perfect, shifts are another benefit. As is the ability to configure the shifters. I just got Eagle AXS for my MTB. Works awesomely. And no rattling cables or wires.


Other than it shifts better, on my road bike there is no real benefit (although semi-auto sync mode is quite good).

On my TT bike it is very much worth it due to the satellite buttons near the brake levers as well as on the end of the aero bars

I have Di2 on my Emonda.

I really like it when I’m riding in the hills where I quickly switch from big ring to small ring. I have it set in “semi-auto” mode where when I shift the front is automatically shifts the rear 2 cogs to compensate.

If you really like to pedal at a specific cadence, you can also program it to use just one shifter so it shifts the front and rear to maintain the smallest possible ratio changes between shifts. Many TT riders use this.

The set it and forget it is definitely a benefit. Very little maintenance once everything is set up.

I also like the light touch off the shifters. You sort of forget about this, but when I ride a mechanical group it’s always a bit of adjustment after how hard you need to push relatively to an electronic group.

I also like that I can program my Garmin to switch screens with my Di2 shifters. Definitely handy at times.

Downsides are that you do need to charge periodically. My initial set up had a bad battery that would slowly drain and I had one ride where I was stuck in the small ring up front. After a warranty replacement all has been well. The other downside is cost.

I like the electronic shifting enough that I ordered Eagle AXS for my hardtail the I’m currently getting built up. It will be interesting to see how I like the SRAM side of things versus the Di2 on my Emonda.


For me on Ultegra Di2:


  • Precise shifts and dependable
  • ability to adjust/trim shifting on the bike (getting a spare wheel from the wheel pit or wheel truck that has slightly different spacing/offset)
  • Sprint shifters
  • Auto trim of front derailleur
  • possibility of additional data collection (with D-Fly unit gear selection data saved in .fit file which requires addition 3rd party software to analyze at this time).
  • possibility of gear selection on a head unit (with D-Fly unit). While I don’t use this, I see it as a pro for some users.


  • accidental shifts in winter gloves on sensitive shift buttons (user error)

I came into electronic with the idea that there was no need for it but I got it on a packaged bike at a decent price. After having it, none of my concerns ever came to light and now I wouldn’t consider buying another mechanical road groupset.

I’m also considering upgrading my TT bike with electronic as additional aero benefits of hidden wires and shift buttons on end of TT bar extensions (my current Campy thumb shifters leave a lot to be desired).

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Whoa how do you get sweat on your seatpost?

WORTH IT!!! Best upgrade i’ve ever made aside from getting a power meter.

No cables ever snapping.

Shifting always crisp, no matter the weather.

Easy to maintain, just charge it once a week.

It’s phenomenal. Shimano Ultegra is 100% fine for any level.


When I put together all the kit and specs for my custom Firefly, this was the decision I agonized over the most.

I ultimately decided on Dura-Ace mechanical. Mainly because I didn’t want another piece of kit with batteries to change and/or charge (pedal based power meter, daytime running light, GPS, etc.)

The main benefit (for me specifically) in considering the Di2 I was considering was that is auto-trims the front derailleur and that part seamlessly works. I also think (others can confirm) that you can set it to a linear shifting mode…meaning it will always give you the next gear ratio up or down and transfer between the big and small ring on its own. That seemed kind of neat. But I just ultimately decided on mechanical.

I don’t regret the choice, nor do I think I would have regretted going electric. The only time I really wish I had electric is when I’m riding/racing REALLY punchy hills, because when I’m slamming the gears between the big and small ring a bunch, that leads to some inefficient moments.

In fact, at the base of a climb in my “A” race last year I threw my chain due to the shifting and had to quickly reset it – not sure if electric would have mitigated that issue.

I don’t really have a recommendation for you – just sharing my thought process.

One real and tangible benefit to electronic shifting is more evident if you have arthritis. Much easier to shift. Regardless, once I made the shift to electronic shifting I would not voluntarily go back.

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I’ve been using eTap since 2016 (same group/batteries) and eTap aero for the TT bike since 2018:

  • “Worth it” is subjective as hell. I wouldn’t go back though.
  • I get better shifting is what I “get out of it”…
  • I can’t really figure out what you’re after with “performance gains” but, with eTap there is an aero performance gain with less wire drag. And if you really get down to brass tacks the shifters don’t extend as far out into space as their mechanical counterparts which effectively shortens the aeorbar extension. So…if your doing a TT where they actually check the bike you can have the end of your bars farther away from your saddle. edit: also with eTap aero on the TT bike you move your hands less. So another aero benefit. Hard to explain and small/splitting hairs. But it’s real.
  • Di2 shift quicker, better than 1st gen eTap but, more expensive and the battery is still a PITA imho. eTap has no wires is lighter and cheaper but, shifts a touch slower and not as buttery as Shimano. Have not tried 2nd gen eTap but, I think it shift much faster.

the auto-trim feature is really neat. Yes, I know, real mechanics can set up a regular FD, too, but not me. This was/is always an annoyance for me.

Big, big downside: wireless-unit, firmware updates, Android phone … what a nightmare. In the end I was so frustrated and got a SM-PCE1.

Still on the fence for my MTB. I’m a gripshift person. And the mechanical Eagle just works. The only reason for upgrading would be the maintenance aspect. Espcecially with all the dirt in MTB racing. And I find the mechanical Eagle quite sensitive to any “disturbance” may it come from a poor set up or some dirt in the cable housing. And then the batteries. I must admit, I’d rather have some wires and a longer battery run time.

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For me personally, I don’t see any tangible benefit to my di2 equipped bike VS my Shimano mechanical bikes. I work in a bike shop and have spent some time learning how to tune my mechanical bikes, so I have the shifting pretty dialed in on my mech bikes. As far as shift speed and quality, my mechanical systems perform well enough that if the di2 does work better/faster, I can’t detect it.

The benefits I see with di2 (based on my experience) are

  1. ease of shifting for people with hand strength issues
  2. being able add extra points of shifting in the form of the sprint and climbing shift buttons on the handlebar

There may be other features of the di2 system that other cyclists see as an upgrade. These are just my views based on my experiences.


Unfortunately it’s simple- sweat drips (a lot), wind blows it against the seatpost, sweat runs down post and into seat tube, corrosion results. After a few months the post has a rough, white, aluminum oxide coating. The post becomes hard to move. Even when I grease the hell out of it. So, I used carbon posts for the last bunch of years just for this reason.

The trim has become automatic since years for me (with mechanical). Same as the RD shifting when changing chainrings. I would have to think hard not to do a double-shift.

Right after learning to change a flat tire, learning to adjust derailleurs is one of the most important mechanical skills for a cyclist. A badly shifting bike can really ruin a ride. I guess that’s one of the appeals of electrical shifting…

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The fact that it shifts easily, quickly and adjust it’s self with no cable stretching. My first di2 I crashed, bent the rear stay, scuffed the rear derailer, and it never threw it out of adjustment. I never knew it was bent until one day I came into the local bike shop and the mechanic noticed it and bent it back for me.

Syncro shifting and ability to program it, nice but of course, not necessary. I have the wifi option set up. As mentioned, connection to garmin head units, lets you know what gears and how many times you’ve shifted. Plus wifi gives your battery level.

Also with syncro shifting, you can set it up where your right or left does all the shifting (using the etube software on laptop or phone) large and small cog, through all gears and you can set up how it goes through those gears. Even with syncro enabled, like for mine, I’ve set up the right shifter to shift through all gears but I can still use the left shifter to shift the big ring. It’s smart enough to know where it’s at and continue up and down the gears.

Shifting is a light touch and very responsive. I’ve had di2 6x and 8x versions for the last four plus years. No issues with battery, recharge once or twice per year.

New 8070 di2 hydraulic shifters are very slim even with the hydraulic reservoirs. Local bike shop mention that the shifters are slimmer for di2 versus mechanical.

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My takeaway from this discussion is that as long as it’s charged and doesn’t break, electronic beats manual. I guess ‘and you can afford it’ is in there too.

I’m getting the same thing out of this thread. I was already leaning towards the R8000 Di2 over mech, but I think I’ve been convinced to convert to electronic. Now it’s just Di2 vs etap.

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