Hey everybody. I’ve narrowed my bike search down to a couple models, and have a question about Ultegra r8000 vs di2. Is the difference worth the $1000? Making that investment wouldn’t break the bank for me, but I’m not a high enough caliber rider than I can honestly make a case for spending big dollars and receiving very marginal gains. So, is electronic shifting a posh luxury, or a real competitive advantage? I realize this is subjective, but I’d love some input!
I think that it’s definitely a luxury for the most part, but is very nice and easy to use. Single-click ease of use might be an advantage for some, maybe… Like most things electronic, it will either work or it wont. I’m glad cable stretch and adjustment days are behind (personally at least). Can’t say much about di2 - I’m on eTap.
Love it. Di2 is also better than etap. No delay in shifting, works perfectly each time.
Di2 was definitely worth it for me. Especially if you put in a lot of miles. I can’t go back to mechanical.
I really like my Di2 and don’t want to go back.
I tried it and never went back. If you’re the handy type you could buy the bike as is with mechanical components and pick up new take off or gently used Di2 components on ebay. I built the entire groupset for about 550 or so over a month buying one component at a time. You can always resell your mechanical components as well. That being said, an extra $1000 for NEW Di2 on a bike is a good deal. For me its perfect. Once dialed in there hasn’t been a single bad shift in 1000s of miles
Di2 on my road/gravel bike, AXS on my main MTB. Absolutely love electronic shifting.
Something you don’t need but really nice to have
I have it and wish I didn’t. It works fine but the shifting is not any better than Ultegra. Also I can think of more than a few incidents where people I was with at rides or races had dead batteries. Also have seen it stop working a couple of times (myself included) for unknown reasons. Just isn’t worth the added complexity unless routing traditional cables is an issue for some reason.
All that being said however I did buy Di2 for my wife and it has been wonderful for her. She had SRAM red which required a fair amount of hand strength to operate. Also with her small hands the long shifter throw was pretty difficult for her to manage.
So there you go, me contradicting myself…
Electronic shifting is better, but a luxury. I’d say save the money and invest it in e. g. better wheels. The only exception I’d make here is if you included a bike with SRAM Force eTap, but just because you have 12 gears in the back rather than 11.
One additional note: there are disadvantages to electronic shifting, most notably dead batteries and problems with the cabling – both issues only concern Di2. A team mate of mine had a dead Di2 battery (he is very meticulous and he said he had charged it the day before). He had to fish out the battery, find someone with the proprietary charge cable and get a charge in last minute. With eTap there are no cables (apart from blips if you have them) and batteries are external. You could either take a spare battery or swap batteries between front and rear mech.
With mechanical shifting, these are evidently non-issues.
I’ve been riding Di2 for 4 1/2 years on my Roubaix and eTap for the past 6 months on my Tarmac. I’ve done 3 major road trips this year where I have rented a road bike which invariably has mechanical shifting (2 racing bikes, 1 touring bike).
I found that it was pretty easy and relatively quick to get “re-adjusted” to using mechanical again and not really think about the fact that I am riding mechanical. However, as I did with my recent Tarmac/eTap purchase, I would never consider buying a mechanical shifting bike now that I have experienced eShifting. The speed and ease of shifting over mechanical is/was well worth the price differential. btw: Similar decision for for disc vs rim brakes.
what I would like to add to my previous posting, I love the ease of maintenance. Initial installation can be a hassle (Shimano, your firmware updates suck a big time … bricked my system twice) but once it is running it requires almost zero re-adjustment. This was something that bugged me always with mechanical shifting. Especially on the MTB where dirt comes into play. And the tighter tolerances become the worse it gets.
I know many have zero problems with mechanical shifting but for me this was always super annoying. Simply did not stay perfect. With electronic shifting perfect since day one despite mud races and super tough conditions.
I upgraded my Propel to Di2 from mechanical and it made me zero mph faster.
It is mostly a luxury
I’ve never thought thaf the “battery running dead” argument holds any water. On Di2 my battery last around 3-4k miles. It also has warnings along the way, like disabling the front derailleur when it gets incredibly low. At this point I believe you will still get over 1000 shifts on rear derailleur before it totally stops working. You would have to do multiple rides in this state before it totally runs out. Charging for me is incredibly fast too, about 15mins to full charge from 25% full.
External battery setup is also an option with Di2. If you have used it, you’ll find the “battery running out” is a non issue.
Just got an Cervelo S3 this year. Typically under speced on the wheels for the price. So I wanted new wheels and invested in them instead of the DI2. When I was getting my previous horse I did want to go for Di2 but I was buying at the wrong time of year and they were out stock in that model and not coming back any time soon, never as it turned out.
So for years I had Di2 lust. However I am an engineer by profession and have grown ever more sensitive to failure modes over the years. The Ultegra mechanical on my S3 is two generations above my old bike. The shifting is monumentally different. The front shift is the lightest of touches… so unlike any previous Shimano units: Full wrist action to lift it sur la plaque The rear mech is also crisp and accurate. It is clunky but in a very reassuring way. Now Di2 uses these same mechanisms more or less.
So back to failure modes: you then spackle on a load more failure modes. Levers, electric connections, control box, battery and motors. Now I have ridden with many guys with Di2 and there have been a low but persistent number of issue in my group. Nothing that would make em swap em out. Many lads spent half the ride resetting their controllers over the year. Another lost his front shift mech when a cable in the lever worked loose. One had battery drain issues. I have seen many of them fiddling with their head units getting the gear indications working etc…
I am sure that they shift sweet as a nut but then I don’t have any issue with the shifting at the moment. It is pretty good. Also the the manual trimming and such is often a great way of tracking the health of your drive train. I think that electronic shifting mutes that a bit. I just want to ride the bike. The shift mech is there to help me do that. If it is too much of a distraction in itself then no thanks…
So I have gone from a fan to a bit of a sceptic over the years. In truth the reason I was into the Di2 originally was to clean up the cabling. Exposed cabling on the front always irked me, like a crooked painting or something. With the S3 this is a non issue regardless. Still it is dead cool but I don’t think the delta is worth it for me. As I said I put the money into a better set of wheels and do not regret it a bit.
That’s mostly opinion but both are nicer than mechanical. If I’ve got the money to buy electronic when getting another bike I’d do it.
I would agree that this is rare, but it did happen to a team mate. And it almost ruined a race weekend.
(Just to be clear, if I had a lot of cash, I’d go for SRAM Red eTap 1x. Or, come to think of it, Rotor’s 1x13 groupset …)
I run Di2 on by road and CX bike. I’ve had one issue where I came home from three months out of town and the battery in my CX bike was dead, I think because the lady-friend leaned the bike against a wall on the shifter button.
Aside from that, love the zero maintenance and love the excellent shifting.
This past season was my first ever on a Di2 bike. Really liked it, probably won’t buy another bike with mechanical at this point.
That said - if money is at all a concern I still think that mechanical ultegra is the sweet spot for best value on road bikes
I’ve has Di2 for 4 years and love it. Getting perfect shifts every time with a subtle flick of one finger is seductive.
The harder you ride the more it moves from being a luxury to a flat out superior way to shift that can make you a tiny bit faster in some situations.
If you often get yourself in situations where fast easy shifting is critical, and particularly shifting under load, its awesome. So if you race or do a lot of climbing, for sure you want it. If you are just riding alone on flat roads or got the bike on the trainer, its still cool but you won’t miss it.
In my opinion, Di2 definitely worth it. I’ll never go back to mechanical.
Flawless shifting, self-adjusting yaw on front mech, Satellite/sprint shifters (I used to do a lot of climbing and loved having the satellite shifter on the tops), gear position displayed on your Garmin, Garmin screen adjustment from your Di2 shifter…
What’s not to like