Thursday, March 19, 2009

ShimaNO's Electronic System

About 15 years ago, when mountain biking was sweeping the bicycling world, Campagnolo basically missed the boat and let ShimaNO grab all of the market share for the hottest new cycling craze. Campagnolo still hasn't re-entered the mountain bike world (although you can put together a Campy-equipped mountain bike fairly easily with triple cranks and "flat bar" controls).

So now Campagnolo finds itself falling behind again in an area it should have been leading in: electronic shifting. Say what you will about electronic shifting (and there are many detractors out there ... Campy Only's position is that electronic shifting is unnecessary for those of us who ride bikes in the real world outside the European pro circuit), it is the wave of the future. And that wave right now is being ridden by ShimaNO while Campagnolo watches them.

Campagnolo has been testing electronic shifting systems for several years now--they've been seen in the field and photographed. But they've never brought an electronic system to market, focusing instead on other improvements, like 10- and then 11-speed systems.

And now along comes ShimaNO, a relative newcomer to the field, with a genuine, hold-it-in-your-hands, yes-you-can-buy-it electronic system, the Di2 (read an article about it here). We just saw a Di2 gruppo in a local bike shop--it looks a lot like Ergopower, but it's real and someone in our area will soon be riding it. For the price of a small car, you can have electronic shifting on your bike, and it will bear the ShimaNO name.


  1. I kinda gotta go with Campy on this one, who cares. I rode a ShimaNo rep's Di2 bike several months ago around my LBS's parking lot, and IT WAS COOL!!! For about 30 seconds. Then the cool whirring was not so cool anymore. It shifts great, but then so do all my bikes that aren't electric. And why invest so much in something that you can't take apart and fix at home with out an electrical engineering degree and the specialty tools that go with working on electronics? I'll keep my cabled shifters from now until they are no longer produced, thank you.

  2. I'm very excited about this development for a number of reasons, but the biggest is that I'm just not a fan of complex mechanicals (such as found in levers, cables that stretch, etc.). In a sense the system is actually less complex and gets us back to a neat, light set of brake levers after 20 years (plenty of profit margin in the 7970 levers at $900, don't you think!). Plenty of room for Campy innovation...get rid of the horrible looking battery wart, give us some nice low profile controls for the handlebar tops, and an updated switch location on the brifters (just pull the plug on the legacy location, people will adapt).

  3. nice share...keep it up...

    Big Ocean Fish