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electronic shifting - will it be avoidable?

smoosmoo Posts: 25
edited January 2008 in Workshop
I really, really don't like the idea of electronic shifting. A bicycle is a mechanical device (optional extras such as computers excepted) and will become something else once it has electronic parts. Does anyone know if electronic shifting is going to be obligatory on the higher-end groupsets, or if there will be seperate DA/Ultegra/Record/Chorus mechanical and electronic options? I'd hate to think I'd have to buy low end stuff to avoid being electrified...
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  • vbcvbc Posts: 1,104
    Like if you want to stick to 9 speed?
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    They'll probably make something like a "Retro Record Gruppo", and charge more than they do now.
    I like bikes...

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  • edeverettedeverett Posts: 223
    I remember reading somewhere that SRAM have no plans to go electric. I think the idea is pretty horrible outside race situations - but it'd be a great excuse when it's cold and the batteries lose power...

    Shimano have maintained a line of non-carbon Dura Ace wheels, so I think it's likely to be the same for electric?

    (off topic: you can still buy very high quality black and white film about 50 years after it became 'obsolete' (twice))
  • PhilofCasPhilofCas Posts: 1,153
    i wouldn't worry, how long have we had STI's ?, they still do DA downtube shifters don't they.....
  • Smokin JoeSmokin Joe Posts: 5,669
    Electronic shifting is likely to become the norm for racing as it is so much quicker that cable systems, but it is highly unlikely to replace it. Most people will want a bike they can leave propped against the garage wall for a few months and just get on and ride without worrying about charging the battery first, and for tourists it will not be a practical proposition.

    SRAM will eventually go electronic if the system proves to work or they will not find any pro teams accepting their out dated equipment. Shimano tried to resist ten-speed but had to succumb and follow Campag in the end.
  • You can still buy 36-spoke wheels with box section rims. You can still buy hand-brazed steel frames from a number of mainstream manufacturers. Boonen still gets a new saddle with brass bits every season and Brooks are still doing a good trade. Carradice sell boatloads of leaky, heavy leather-and-canvas panniers. Shimano still make down-tube shifters. I can't think of a bad technology that's become obsolete, let alone one as efficient and well-engineered as STI.

    I wouldn't worry.
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    wow - talk about fear of change!!

    it could be the best thing since bikes were invented

    no-one has even released one for sale yet let alone have it reviewed and already we are asking if it can be avoided?
  • I don't really think electronic shifting could ever replace cables shifting because modern systems react quickly and efficiently,the main delay in changing gear is the time it takes for the chain to swap cogs.Cycling is a pretty slow form of transport so how is shifting from 1 gear to another a fraction of a second quicker gonna make any real world differences?Also any electronic system is gonna be hard pushed to be made lighter than current cable/mech set up,think of the batteries,electrical cables,servo motors etc.....it seems like a pointless exercise really.
    Didn't MAVIC experiment with an electronid rear mech years ago?
  • GarybeeGarybee Posts: 815
    They did more than just experiment with it. It was used right up at the top level. Personally I look forward to electronic shifting being brought in. No more struggling to shift when you're sprinting on the drops and having to make the decision whether to back off to reach the shifter or stay in the gear you're in when you could be pedaling a bigger one. I'd also like my TT bike to be fully auto, drop below a preset cadence or pedal too fast and it could shift for you. This would be very easy to integrate into the computer.

    Hypocrisy is only a bad thing in other people.
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    exactly - fully auto or semi auto shifting is the door that gets opened with electronic shifting!
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    Auto shift would be difficult wouldn't it - you don't want it shifting at the wrong time - you decide to power over a short hill in a bigger gear and suddenly bang it shifts when you are pressing on.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    it'l get worked out

    richard branson can build a passenger jet to go into space - I'm sure shimano will perfect electronic shfing
  • meagainmeagain Posts: 2,774
    Very comforting. One more thing about which, at my age, I do not need to worry!

    Don't suppose it'll be used on s/s or fixed, so there'll always be a fall-back option...
    d.j.
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • GarybeeGarybee Posts: 815
    Auto shift would be difficult wouldn't it - you don't want it shifting at the wrong time - you decide to power over a short hill in a bigger gear and suddenly bang it shifts when you are pressing on.

    I tend to stick to 85 - 90 RPM on my TT bike, pretty much regardless of how much power i'm producing. In the event of wanting to pedal at a different speed I can think of a number of different ways that this could be integrated into it. A simple semi/fully auto selector next to the shift buttons would be one possible solution.

    On the road race bike, the option of having a separate set of shift buttons on the drops would be worth any extra hassle of battery changing for me.

    Hypocrisy is only a bad thing in other people.
  • Smokin JoeSmokin Joe Posts: 5,669
    Auto shifting is the next step. It could all be achieved with something built into a standard computer, pre-set a cadance range to your own preference and let the eletronics do the rest. A simple button push would put you back into manual when you prefer.

    As for cable systems being fast enough already, everything is fast enough till something faster comes out. Racers will not accept their rivals having an advantage, however slight it might be.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    Still can't see how they can have autoshift - how would they automatically reduce pressure on the pedals when it shifts? Why would you want it anyway I can just about see the benefit of having a button you can press but I can't see any advantage in autoshift if it's already going to be so simple to shift gear - why wouldn't you want to be in control of what gear you are in ?

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • GarybeeGarybee Posts: 815
    Still can't see how they can have autoshift - how would they automatically reduce pressure on the pedals when it shifts? Why would you want it anyway I can just about see the benefit of having a button you can press but I can't see any advantage in autoshift if it's already going to be so simple to shift gear - why wouldn't you want to be in control of what gear you are in ?

    I don't reduce pressure on the pedals when i shift anyway in a race/TT. I would want it on the TT bike to keep my cadence in the most efficient zone without having to think about it. There is no reason why you wouldn't be in control of the gear you are in, i don't understand that question.

    Hypocrisy is only a bad thing in other people.
  • Steve ISteve I Posts: 428
    It's all a fuss about nothing. Cars have had automatic gearboxes for decades, however, most cars still come with a manual clutch and gear lever.
  • Smokin JoeSmokin Joe Posts: 5,669
    Autoshift could be cadance based, for example below 85rpm it shifts down, above 95rpm and it shifts up. If the system was switchable between auto and manual you could still have all the control you want whenever you want it.

    All in the future however, but remember every modern innovation from clipless pedals to integrated shifters was derided as too complicated and un-nescessary when it first came out. I bet pneumatic tyres had the luddites foaming at the mouth in their day.
  • meagainmeagain Posts: 2,774
    "I bet pneumatic tyres had the luddites foaming at the mouth in their day."

    For softies. I never thought they'd catch on.
    d.j.
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • GarybeeGarybee Posts: 815
    Steve I wrote:
    It's all a fuss about nothing. Cars have had automatic gearboxes for decades, however, most cars still come with a manual clutch and gear lever.

    Auto 'boxes on cars are terribly inefficient though due to the torque converter. A manual box wastes much less energy (auto selected manual 'boxes aside).

    Hypocrisy is only a bad thing in other people.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    Garybee wrote:
    I don't reduce pressure on the pedals when i shift anyway in a race/TT. I would want it on the TT bike to keep my cadence in the most efficient zone without having to think about it. There is no reason why you wouldn't be in control of the gear you are in, i don't understand that question.

    In a race or just in a TT? I really can't see it working in a road race - even with the best current equipment it's not ideal to shift gear when really stamping on the pedals up a hill.
    Wouldn't you want to be in control of what gear you are in to take account of things like hills - get in the right gear before the hill not when you actually hit it? I suppose on a flat dual carriageway it might work but then how much shifting would you need to do on a course like that anyway.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • GarybeeGarybee Posts: 815
    Garybee wrote:
    I don't reduce pressure on the pedals when i shift anyway in a race/TT. I would want it on the TT bike to keep my cadence in the most efficient zone without having to think about it. There is no reason why you wouldn't be in control of the gear you are in, i don't understand that question.

    In a race or just in a TT? I really can't see it working in a road race - even with the best current equipment it's not ideal to shift gear when really stamping on the pedals up a hill.
    Wouldn't you want to be in control of what gear you are in to take account of things like hills - get in the right gear before the hill not when you actually hit it? I suppose on a flat dual carriageway it might work but then how much shifting would you need to do on a course like that anyway.

    Races and TTs, I usually keep the pressure on when changing gear, doesn't seem to cause a problem. As I and others have said there's no reason why you wouldn't be in control, you could keep it at a preset cadence or select 'semi-auto'.

    Do you really get to the bottom of a hill, change gear, then stay in that gear to the top? I know I don't. I gradually change down through the gears as I lose momentum until my speed stabilises (short 'power' hills aside). Even after that there are plenty of times where I might change back up through the gears part way up a hill.

    Hypocrisy is only a bad thing in other people.
  • edeverettedeverett Posts: 223
    What's the problem that electric shifting will solve?

    I don't believe automatic shifting will take off for racing, it hasn't for motor sports. (I think - I'm no expert) I can see that it electric shifting could be useful for racing situation, but what would it give to anyone not racing?

    I think it'll be in the same realm as deep section carbon wheels as a niche of specialised race products.

    (Imagine if they go wireless - you could get a remote control and down-shift your oponents just before a sprint :D )
  • GarybeeGarybee Posts: 815
    edeverett wrote:
    What's the problem that electric shifting will solve?

    I don't believe automatic shifting will take off for racing, it hasn't for motor sports. (I think - I'm no expert) I can see that it electric shifting could be useful for racing situation, but what would it give to anyone not racing?

    I think it'll be in the same realm as deep section carbon wheels as a niche of specialised race products.

    (Imagine if they go wireless - you could get a remote control and down-shift your oponents just before a sprint :D )

    There are a good few problems that it could solve that have already been mentioned numerous times in this thread.

    It certainly has taken off in motor racing, it's been a while since there was a gear lever in a formula 1 car.

    I like the idea of being able to change everyone else's bike to the lowest gear for the sprint though. Although after the first couple of race wins I think you might be found out.

    Hypocrisy is only a bad thing in other people.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    Garybee wrote:
    Races and TTs, I usually keep the pressure on when changing gear, doesn't seem to cause a problem. As I and others have said there's no reason why you wouldn't be in control, you could keep it at a preset cadence or select 'semi-auto'.

    Do you really get to the bottom of a hill, change gear, then stay in that gear to the top? I know I don't. I gradually change down through the gears as I lose momentum until my speed stabilises (short 'power' hills aside). Even after that there are plenty of times where I might change back up through the gears part way up a hill.

    Yes I would momentarily ease off to change gear if I was really pressing on up a hill - and things like standing up I'd normally change up a gear or two and climb at a lower cadence - things like that would be hard to work into the system - talking about having a semi auto select alongside it seems to be introducing more complexity into something that isn't difficult at the moment. We'll have to agree to disagree - I can't see autoshift ever working but who knows I've been wrong before.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Garybee wrote:
    It certainly has taken off in motor racing, it's been a while since there was a gear lever in a formula 1 car.

    I didn't think they used automatic shifting in F1, I thought it was a button for up a gear and a button for a down a gear - on the steering wheel.
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  • GarybeeGarybee Posts: 815
    Yes I would momentarily ease off to change gear if I was really pressing on up a hill - and things like standing up I'd normally change up a gear or two and climb at a lower cadence - things like that would be hard to work into the system - talking about having a semi auto select alongside it seems to be introducing more complexity into something that isn't difficult at the moment. We'll have to agree to disagree - I can't see autoshift ever working but who knows I've been wrong before.

    Sounds like you treat your bikes a bit gentler than I do mine. Don't get me wrong, I think ergo levers are great, I would just really like to be able to shift when out of the saddle on the drops too. The 'fully auto' on the TT bike is in my opinion just a possible side benefit that I quite fancy the idea of.

    Hypocrisy is only a bad thing in other people.
  • GarybeeGarybee Posts: 815
    Garybee wrote:
    It certainly has taken off in motor racing, it's been a while since there was a gear lever in a formula 1 car.

    I didn't think they used automatic shifting in F1, I thought it was a button for up a gear and a button for a down a gear - on the steering wheel.

    It is (or a paddle behind), but that button is just an electronic switch. It used to be fully auto', but that was banned. The current situation is the equivalent of the electronic groupset.

    Hypocrisy is only a bad thing in other people.
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,399
    I guess I can see the potential advantages for racing, but it's a pity that this means that it will necessarily become the norm. What everyone wants (and what is marketed) is driven by racing and what the pros use, so it will become the standard option. It's true, all the newest innovations have always been resisted on the grounds that they are unnecessarily complicated and reduce the purity and simplicity of the bicycle (including gearing for years and years) but going electronic is surely a huge step that changes the ground rules. How about power-assisted and computer-controlled braking? Why not? Maybe even a little motorized input into the drivechain, just to even out the power distribution over the crank cycle without adding any extra overall of course...
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