Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Velo News Weighs in on Electronics Vs. Mechanical Shifting

Very thoughtful article today from VeloNews on the merits and drawbacks of the top-of-the-line electronic (Campagnolo and ShimaNO) and mechanical (SRAM) systems. Read it here.

VeloNews quickly dismisses battery life concerns ("The question of battery life is not even worth mentioning, because Di2 and EPS batteries last so incredibly long.") without providing specifics. As a long-distance cyclist, your CampOnlyGuy still wonders what "incredibly long" means--a 50-mile road race? 100 miles? 200 miles?

VeloNews, by the way, gives Campagnolo the edge in some areas (the "feel" of the shift buttons, for instance), but ranks ShimaNO higher in front shifting and the ease of "hacking" an additional battery onto the system. They also note that Campagnolo's EPS system is "insanely expensive" and weighs some 359 grams more than the cheaper top-of-the-line SRAM gruppo. (At this point, we will add our standard statement that Campagnolo will sell every single EPS system they produce, regardless of cost.)



  1. The Di2 and EPS batteries last months and months under normal use - some ProTour mechanics have reported a battery lasting all season without needing a charge. This means thousands of kilometres in all weathers and the toughest conditions.

  2. http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/11194/Simon-Clarke-nets-fifth-place-for-GreenEdge-in-Tour-du-Haut-Var.aspx
    Seems this fellow might argue with battery-operated superiority claims?

  3. The information on how long the Campy and Shimano batteries last is readily available through a simple search. For the record, the Campy battery is supposed to be able to accomplish 1,500 shifts before needing a charge.

    It should be noted that the article about Simon Clarke does not say how long it had been from the last recharge or if the battery was defective. As such, there are no conclusions to be drawn about battery life from the article.

    Andy Schleck and anyone who's dropped a chain might argue about the superiority of mechanical systems. Such a conclusion is exactly the previous commenter's conclusion in that both are faulty conclusions because both are based on incomplete or missing information.

  4. I'd blame the mechanic for that, not the battery. Although I suppose the odd dud must turn up from time to time...

  5. The Velo 2012 Bicycle Buyer's Guide came out recently. Leonard Zinn wrote a piece about Di2 and EPS.

    He also included the following weight chart:

    Super Record (mechanical) - 1895g
    SRAM Red - 1933g
    Dura-Ace 7900 (mechanical) - 2052g
    Super Record EPS - 2098g
    Record EPS - 2184g
    Dura-Ace Di2 - 2219g
    Ultegra Di2 - 2482g