Hydraulic gearshifters

JEASTWOO Posts: 24
edited January 2010 in MTB general
Any one seen hydraulic gear shifters yet? I am ahead of my time or did I miss them? Seems like we could cure most of the shifters issues if we deleted cables, it certainly worked for the brakes.


  • Andy B
    Andy B Posts: 8,115
    At least one company has done them, can't remember the name though, IIRC chunky red shifters with white logo's, f*ing expensive though

    Shimano also did Airlines pneumatic gear systems for DH use
  • nicklouse
    nicklouse Posts: 50,675
    you missed them


    about a grand for them.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
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  • Andy B
    Andy B Posts: 8,115

    Woohoo, I didn't kill that many brain cells over Xmas then ;)
  • biff55
    biff55 Posts: 1,404
    i was thinking about this the other day
    seems a good idea if costs can be brought down and made into a viable kit for consumers.
    pros surely must out-number cons ?
    and i'd happily settle for a slightly heavier gear system if it meant no more cable faffing
    anyone else with views ?
  • nicklouse
    nicklouse Posts: 50,675
    you would want a heavier system that you could not trail bodge to get home!

    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • biff55
    biff55 Posts: 1,404
    good point nick , but can you trail bodge hydro brakes ?
    hydro brakes becoming the norm and cant be too dissimilar to hydro gears.
    surely reliability and weight will improve as the product evovles ?
  • CraigXXL
    CraigXXL Posts: 1,852
    Not to mention all the fun of bleeding the system so it moves only one gear instead of three or none.
  • biff55
    biff55 Posts: 1,404
    another bleed kit ?
    yer right , f*ck it ! :lol:
    still , i liked the concept of it in theory.
  • jpstar
    jpstar Posts: 561
    thinking about it, wouldnt the bleeding be the same as regular adjusting? just setting limit screws and filling up the resivoir to maximum?
  • hydraulic gear shifters don't work reliably as the indexing changes due to changing atmospheric pressure (and altitude if climbing) - gear indexing requires fine adjustment

    an American company made a very natty CNC machined "add on" system in the early 90s which retrofitted to existing derailleur and shimano shifter, but in US mag tests they had the same problems and also commented that the $300 system was a tad unnecessary compared to wire cable shifting!

    think about hydro disc brakes - they don't have indexing but just a constant, increasing pressure as you use the brake levers - any changes in atmospheric pressure or heat build up in the brake are generally dealt with by the expansion reservoir in the lever
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  • bails87
    bails87 Posts: 12,998
    I don't think heat or atmospheric pressure would be issues for most users. But I don't have to faff with my gears apart from setting them up, and the forces involved aren't high enough to be really affected by cable stretch, unlike brakes.

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • x-isle
    x-isle Posts: 794
    Am I missing the point here?

    Why does anyone need Hydraulic gears? The only reason brakes are hydraulic is because of the extra force it provides. Why do we need more force on the mechs?

    Shimano did electric gear changes a long way back. Don't know if they did MTB ones, but certainly did road ones.

    There were testing in one of the big pro races, might of been Le Tour, but its so long ago I can't remember, it might of even been the Milk Race.

    Anyway, if I remember, at the time, it was just seen as pointless as it proved a bit unreliable.
    Craig Rogers
  • Shimano released a battery powered gear change for road bikes last year. It was reviewed on here IIRC. Review was very very good and the battery lasted for a ridiculously long time. Not sure if an off road version has appeared yet?
  • I met a guy once who'd bought a secondhand bike with those hydraulic shifters on it; looked really complicated, and I wasn't rude enough to ask him what the point was.

    Anyway, the Shimano Di2 is the electric shifter for road bikes. As above, it gets rave reviews and the battery lasts ages- I think that during the Tour the teams had to recharge it only once or twice (and think of how much trouble a mechanic would be if they allowed the batteries to run flat- they must have been incredibly confident that it wouldn't run out of juice).

    I read somewhere that someone had converted the Di2 system to work on a mountain bike, but the main issues seem to be with mud and water- which you obviously have to deal with a lot more on an MTB. Apparently Shimano are looking at developing an MTB version but don't know what's happening with it. I'm sure I heard that one of the main advantages of it was that it would eliminate chain rub because the front mech could move of it's own accord depending on what gear the rear mech was in, but then all the reviews I read didn't mention this feature, so maybe not.

    But anyway, chain rub or not, can anyone magine themselves really needing electronic shifters? (Or hydraulic ones, for that matter)
  • Here's a review that talks about the front mech trim -

    http://road.bike198.com/shimano-dura-ac ... ng-review/

    I would think that this type of electric system would be far better than a hydraulic one, well it sounds like shimano are on to something going by the reviews at least, shame about the price though :shock:
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  • njee20
    njee20 Posts: 9,613
    Uber-pimp US bike shop Fairwheel Bikes have made 2 Di2 MTBs. There's obviously talk of XTR Di2, but considering the price of a rear mech it would need to be pretty robust or somewhat cheaper!

    Di2 MTB