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Given the choice - Ultegra Di2 or DA9000 Mechanical

SkerrymanSkerryman Posts: 323
edited March 2013 in Road buying advice
Hi all. After busting my hump for many a year in college I've finally entered the work force and have decided to treat myself to my dream machine, Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 2013, which I am hoping to order in the next day or two. I'm torn between the SLX 7.0 Di2 (Ultegra Di2) and the SLX 8.0 (DA 9000 mechanical) and was hoping to get opinions to help me decide which way to go (or possibly confuse me further). DA is E200 more expensive than the Ultegra Di2 so that's not a huge deciding factor. I'm just wondering what peoples opinions are regarding the two group sets. I'm aware it's not really a like for like comparison but from reviews I've been reading both group sets offer super smooth shifting. DA is obviously the fancier looking and lighter of the two but the thought of never having to adjust your gears once set up is appealing. On the other hand, realistically how much tinkering should one have to do with DA mechanical once it's indexed properly, I'm guessing not a lot. Both bikes are identical other than the group sets and the DA versions is about 450 g lighter, which isn't a huge deal TBH.

Factors I'm trying to consider are maintenance, reliability, future proofing and things like that and any opinions on these would be super. I'm aware both bikes are more than I will ever need but I've worked damn hard to get to here and I'm determined to treat myself. Also I won't have the bike until start of Summer so it's a serious incentive to train like a mofo in the meantime. Unfortunately I live far from any bike shops that stock any such fancy group sets so at the moment going for a gander isn't really an option.

Any thoughts from prospective bike sages out there are as always appreciated.

PS is there is a link that compares these two directly or that can assist my decision making in any way feel free to direct me.

Posts

  • spasypaddyspasypaddy Posts: 5,179
    if you dont want to do the mechanical side of things get Di2, if you want the best mechanical groupset on the market (according to reviews) get 9000.

    It will always be easier in the short term to use Di2, however learning how to index gears is supposedly quite easy. Ive never got my head around it personally.

    If you're going to be using the bike all year long then Di2 makes more sense again as there are no cables to get crusted up in the winter.

    Thats my opinion
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Personally I wouldn't go for either, I do like DA but the cost of replacement cassettes is crazy. I'm not convinced by electronic shifting either so that would rule out the Di2. My favourite group set would be Ultegra, light enough, nice shifting and looks quality. The money I saved would then be used for flashier wheels and clothing. But it's your money, you spend it how you like after all as you say you've earned it. All too easy to spend other peoples money for them on here. I doubt either of your choices would be wrong though.
  • spasypaddy wrote:
    if you dont want to do the mechanical side of things get Di2, if you want the best mechanical groupset on the market (according to reviews) get 9000.

    It will always be easier in the short term to use Di2, however learning how to index gears is supposedly quite easy. Ive never got my head around it personally.

    If you're going to be using the bike all year long then Di2 makes more sense again as there are no cables to get crusted up in the winter.

    Thats my opinion

    Thanks for the reply. I'm pretty OK with indexing gears courtesy of a few YouTube tutorials. I found the video linked below very helpful.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkzvfCaI ... Tupf9s_V5Q

    Would be hanging onto my current bike so that will be used in the depths of winter. Also new machine has internal routing for cables so would be more or less protected from dirt etc.
  • markos1963 wrote:
    Personally I wouldn't go for either, I do like DA but the cost of replacement cassettes is crazy. I'm not convinced by electronic shifting either so that would rule out the Di2. My favourite group set would be Ultegra, light enough, nice shifting and looks quality. The money I saved would then be used for flashier wheels and clothing. But it's your money, you spend it how you like after all as you say you've earned it. All too easy to spend other peoples money for them on here. I doubt either of your choices would be wrong though.

    Have Ultegra on my current bike, just figured I'd go a step up seeing as how I'm treating myself and all. I've no experience of electronic shifting myself so it's a bit of a plunge into the unknown. It's about E200 for a DA 9000 cassette, but given how often I'd be changing cassette that wouldn't be that much of a deal breaker for me.
  • spasypaddyspasypaddy Posts: 5,179
    if you currently run 10 speed then get Di2, dont go 11 speed as you'll not be able to swap wheels in an emergency.

    also as someone else has pointed out there are only DA 11speed cassettes at the moment and these are stupidly expensive.

    11speed will be good when it is more mass market, for now early adopters will be spending more than necessary
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,518
    It's got to be DA9000.
    The Ultegra Di2 looks like its been designed by Goofy in Mickey Mouse's clubhouse, I don't doubt that it works well but it looks bloody awful, you're not going to buy a good looking bike and then decorate it with a censored , lets hope that the 2nd gen will be better.
  • MccariaMccaria Posts: 869
    Built up a frame with DA 9000 this year, it is a fantastic mechanical groupset. Aesthetics of the chainset are down to personal preference, but the groupset just works very well, really pleased with it. If you go the 9000 route, all the talk is that the next generation Ultegra is going to be 11 speed, so within the forseeable future there will be options on the cassette.

    Haven't tried Ultegra Di2, but I have a bike set up with Dura Ace Di2. This is also a great groupset. I really don't think you can go massively wrong with either option. On balance I prefer the mechanical 9000, not from a performance perspective, but just because I personally feel more comfortable doing the wrenching on a mechanical groupset whereas I rely more on the LBS for the Di2.
  • Bozman wrote:
    It's got to be DA9000.
    The Ultegra Di2 looks like its been designed by Goofy in Mickey Mouse's clubhouse, I don't doubt that it works well but it looks bloody awful, you're not going to buy a good looking bike and then decorate it with a censored , lets hope that the 2nd gen will be better.

    True, the Ultegra isn't the nicest looking group set, although its not all down to looks. But if the DA performs as well, then that's my main concern, it being a nicer looking group set does help though.
  • Mccaria wrote:
    Built up a frame with DA 9000 this year, it is a fantastic mechanical groupset. Aesthetics of the chainset are down to personal preference, but the groupset just works very well, really pleased with it. If you go the 9000 route, all the talk is that the next generation Ultegra is going to be 11 speed, so within the forseeable future there will be options on the cassette.

    Haven't tried Ultegra Di2, but I have a bike set up with Dura Ace Di2. This is also a great groupset. I really don't think you can go massively wrong with either option. On balance I prefer the mechanical 9000, not from a performance perspective, but just because I personally feel more comfortable doing the wrenching on a mechanical groupset whereas I rely more on the LBS for the Di2.

    Thanks for the feedback, it's good to get an opinion from someone who has tried both the new DA mechanical and the electronic. From what I understand the only difference between DA Di2 and Ultegra Di2 is aesthetics, that and the fact that DA Di2 is waaay out of my price bracket. I actually like the look of the chainset, very industrial.

    Once you got the DA mechanical dialled in did you have to do much adjusting afterwards? I know cables need time to bed in etc. but I'm figuring a top end group set like that would be better in that respect than lower tier versions.

    My old wheels are approaching the end of their life so compatibility between the 11 and 10 speed isn't a huge concern. Would be different if I had recently splashed out on new wheel's which weren't compatible with 11 speed.

    I see what your saying also about wrenching the group set if anything goes wrong. A club mate who has Di2 Ultegra couple weeks ago noticed his rear mech wasn't shifting before the spin and didn't have a clue what to do about it so had to go the whole spin in the one gear. I'm sure things like that are the exception rather than the rule though.
  • MccariaMccaria Posts: 869
    The 9000 groupset is new so no need to do any major tweaking to date.

    Setting it all up was relatively straightforward, gear indexing etc was not a problem. Interestingly with 9000 they have gone back to having trimming positions for both front chainrings (for 7900 they did away with trimming on the big chain ring), probably because of the 11 speed.

    One bugbear is that with 9000 you do not get the tech docs with the parts which is annoying when you are doing the fitting yourself. Whenever I used to get 7900/7800/6700 parts you would get fold out fitting instructions in multiple languages detailing how to fit the part with pretty pictures, not anymore. You have to go online and find the fitting instructions, my guess is they expect most 9000 groupsets to be fitted by LBS.

    A few observations

    The new gear cables get quite "fluffy" in appearance once you tighten any screws onto it. Apparently this is normal and has no impact on performance, but it is certainly different. One recommendation on Weight Weenies was that you could burn off this strands if you didn't like the look of them.

    The braze-on front derailleur is an interestng design. You get a little plate to stick onto your frame which you then anchor a screw against to add stability to the derailleur. There is also a routing guide to determine the best route for the cable with least interference from the frame.

    I got a 11 speed chain removal/fitting tool specifically for this chain. Not sure a 10 speed tool will work.

    On the 9000 shifters the brake and gear cables both come out at the front of the lever. This makes the cable routing more difficult if you have handlebars with 2 cable channels front and back. I have a set of Enve bars which has 2 channels and the routing for the gear cable is quite clumsy - on the 7900/6700 you can take the gear cable up and out of the back of the lever which makes for a cleaner routing. I have now bought some Deda bars which just have the one deeper channel and should work better. just something to think about if you are buying new bars.
  • Mccaria wrote:
    The 9000 groupset is new so no need to do any major tweaking to date.

    Setting it all up was relatively straightforward, gear indexing etc was not a problem. Interestingly with 9000 they have gone back to having trimming positions for both front chainrings (for 7900 they did away with trimming on the big chain ring), probably because of the 11 speed.

    One bugbear is that with 9000 you do not get the tech docs with the parts which is annoying when you are doing the fitting yourself. Whenever I used to get 7900/7800/6700 parts you would get fold out fitting instructions in multiple languages detailing how to fit the part with pretty pictures, not anymore. You have to go online and find the fitting instructions, my guess is they expect most 9000 groupsets to be fitted by LBS.

    A few observations

    The new gear cables get quite "fluffy" in appearance once you tighten any screws onto it. Apparently this is normal and has no impact on performance, but it is certainly different. One recommendation on Weight Weenies was that you could burn off this strands if you didn't like the look of them.

    The braze-on front derailleur is an interestng design. You get a little plate to stick onto your frame which you then anchor a screw against to add stability to the derailleur. There is also a routing guide to determine the best route for the cable with least interference from the frame.

    I got a 11 speed chain removal/fitting tool specifically for this chain. Not sure a 10 speed tool will work.

    On the 9000 shifters the brake and gear cables both come out at the front of the lever. This makes the cable routing more difficult if you have handlebars with 2 cable channels front and back. I have a set of Enve bars which has 2 channels and the routing for the gear cable is quite clumsy - on the 7900/6700 you can take the gear cable up and out of the back of the lever which makes for a cleaner routing. I have now bought some Deda bars which just have the one deeper channel and should work better. just something to think about if you are buying new bars.

    Thanks for the detailed reply. It's a complete bike I'll be getting so hopefully minimum fettling once I get it and hopefully the folks at Canyon will have it more or less sorted out of the box. I read that the shifting on the front mech is a lot smoother also, almost Di2 like ease of moving up to the big ring, do you find it an improvement over previous mechanical versions?

    I'm thinking you may have swayed me to the DA side of things.
  • MccariaMccaria Posts: 869
    Yes it is a very smooth FD shift. Having said that I didn't think the 7900 was that bad !

    Canyon are very hard to beat, I have the previous generation SLX and did the Dolomites, Alps and the Pyrenees with no issues (other than brake pad wear). It's a good choice, you get a lot of bike for the money.
  • Mccaria wrote:
    Yes it is a very smooth FD shift. Having said that I didn't think the 7900 was that bad !

    Canyon are very hard to beat, I have the previous generation SLX and did the Dolomites, Alps and the Pyrenees with no issues (other than brake pad wear). It's a good choice, you get a lot of bike for the money.

    I was looking at the previous version of the SLX but was in college and poor at the time. You'd be lucky to get mechanical Ultegra for the same money if you were looking at top end frames from other manufacturers. Have yet to come across a review saying a bad thing about them too. They ship the DA ones with default of 11-28 cassette. Don't think I'd really need the 28, currently running a 12-25 and never really needed anything more, not planning on going to the Alps anytime soon, especially after this splurge. Was thinking of paying the extra 20 Euro for the 11-25, more top end with tighter ratios (I think). Going to be running a compact crankset.
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,421
    I'd go for Di2 any day of the week. I know it's still immature tech but the thought of not having to throw that huge arc of a front shift with cold hands near the end of a ride makes me giddy. It's on my list of upgrades.
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
  • prawny wrote:
    I'd go for Di2 any day of the week. I know it's still immature tech but the thought of not having to throw that huge arc of a front shift with cold hands near the end of a ride makes me giddy. It's on my list of upgrades.

    You should have never gone down to the small ring, in the first place, Prawny... what are you expecting to find in the 34? Salvation? Be a man and stick to the big ring... :wink:
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    I was in Bicicielo in Brum today having a bit of a play with the new Athena EPS. It does look a lot less terrible than the Shimano ones (particularly the rear mech) and, once they eliminate the adjustment whirrs (which should surely not be necessary anyway - I mean, unless you double shift the system knows what gear you are moving from and into??) and hidden the battery it might not be too terrible! The shifters are rather nicer than the Shimano too. But then I asked the price and thought - why would I get Athena EPS (which visually looks about the same as Veloce in terms of finish) when for only a little more I could get Super Record mechanical?
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Rolf F wrote:
    I was in Bicicielo in Brum today having a bit of a play with the new Athena EPS. It does look a lot less terrible than the Shimano ones (particularly the rear mech) and, once they eliminate the adjustment whirrs (which should surely not be necessary anyway - I mean, unless you double shift the system knows what gear you are moving from and into??) and hidden the battery it might not be too terrible! The shifters are rather nicer than the Shimano too. But then I asked the price and thought - why would I get Athena EPS (which visually looks about the same as Veloce in terms of finish) when for only a little more I could get Super Record mechanical?

    That was my thinking about Ultegra Di2 and Dura Ace mechanical, only €200 difference, swaying towards DA 9000 at the moment, got great reviews and think it would do the frame more justice than Di2.
  • Bozman wrote:
    It's got to be DA9000.
    The Ultegra Di2 looks like its been designed by Goofy in Mickey Mouse's clubhouse, I don't doubt that it works well but it looks bloody awful, you're not going to buy a good looking bike and then decorate it with a censored , lets hope that the 2nd gen will be better.

    Oh man I've got a similar option to make soon & now you've gone and said that I don't think I will be able to look at UDI2 without having a chuckle to myself - note to self don't laugh out loud in LBS.
    Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,421
    prawny wrote:
    I'd go for Di2 any day of the week. I know it's still immature tech but the thought of not having to throw that huge arc of a front shift with cold hands near the end of a ride makes me giddy. It's on my list of upgrades.

    You should have never gone down to the small ring, in the first place, Prawny... what are you expecting to find in the 34? Salvation? Be a man and stick to the big ring... :wink:

    Pfft, I spend the whole ride in the 34, I only change up just before I get home so the Mrs thinks I'm hard :lol:
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
  • SkerrymanSkerryman Posts: 323
    Thanks for the advice folks. Decision made, going with DA 9000. Just placed order for Canyon SLX 8.0 http://www.canyon.com/_en/roadbikes/bike.html?b=3091

    Few months wait but should be with me in time for Summer.
  • taimurtaimur Posts: 173
    Hi
    I am not pro like some of the pros in here. bought my first road bike Ultegra equipped Agree SL in Jan 2011. Last year July decided to go carbon and found this Carbon Cube Litening frame for a "too good to be true" price.
    Later discovered the price really was too good to be true! In my dorky excitement, I bought the di2 version frame which was not compatible for mechanical version ultegra 6700 that I was planning to slap on. After allot of thought I decided to take the plunge on an upgrade kit, bought ultegra Di2 off eBay.

    Again I am no pro, and like everyone else dissed the electronic group sets until I got used it. Now that I have put 3000kms on the electronic ultegra I can't imagine going back. Shifting is crisp precise and unimaginably quick.

    If you are not a weight weenie and don't absolutely have to have the latest and greatest like 11 speed 9000, I would suggest the ultegra di2 for sheer pleasure in precise shifting.
    1996 Cannondale M500 CAAD3 (Hardtail MTB)
    2007 Cannondale F700 CAAD
    2010 Cube Agree SL (Road, retired)
    2011 Cube Litening Super HPC DI2 Frame, with Ultegra Di2 Components
  • northpolenorthpole Posts: 1,499
    I read an article recently which made some sense - if your frame has internal cable routing, you may find electronic is a better option due to thinner cables used. This has been the only negative experience I have had with my Wilier/ S/Record - the gears need adjusting on a fairly regular basis and I'm convinced it's due to the cable routing/ resistance.

    Peter
  • mallorcajeffmallorcajeff Posts: 1,489
    Great choice of bike. Peter I had exactly the same issue on my old wilier. The shop said its common to adjust regular due to the cable routing.
    When I sell my Scott I'm going for the canyon too.
  • limoneboylimoneboy Posts: 480
    prawny wrote:
    prawny wrote:
    I'd go for Di2 any day of the week. I know it's still immature tech but the thought of not having to throw that huge arc of a front shift with cold hands near the end of a ride makes me giddy. It's on my list of upgrades.

    You should have never gone down to the small ring, in the first place, Prawny... what are you expecting to find in the 34? Salvation? Be a man and stick to the big ring... :wink:

    Pfft, I spend the whole ride in the 34, I only change up just before I get home so the Mrs thinks I'm hard :lol:

    if got home Hard my misses may suspect i hadnt been for a bike ride ,stopped off for something else maybe :)

    they say that you cannot drop the chain on DI2 but i let my 17 year old niece have ago on my oltre nervously and she came walking back with the chain dropped ! teenagers they can break anything
    last month wilier gt -this month ? bh rc1
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