Wireless Shifting on the Cheap
stevie63 Posts: 481
edited June 2019 in Road general
This Kickstarter Campaign looks to offer wireless shifting for all at a lower entry price. What actually intrigues me more is the fact that you can use it any Mech combination. So for example you could run a Shimano MTB 11 speed Rear mech with a normal road front for a super wide range. Of course it could just be vaporware but the videos at least do show working prototypes.
De Sisti wrote:
This is one of the silliest threads I've come across.
Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour
I've got another idea I may write to the inventors with...
Its already been done but it works with Di2. I saw the initial system on BikeRumour.com and its since been refined. It uses your powermeter to determine when it changes gear. The idea being that you can tell it to change gear when your wattage increases. The review rated it as a great training tool, particuallry to stop you working too hard on a recovery ride.
As for the xShifter, I'm really intrigued by this. I think it needs refining a bit. I'd be mostly interested for my TT bike to enable multiple shifting locations (Aero bars and pursuit bars). the stretch -goal TT shifter looks a bit naff though. I reckon I could stick the system under my stem and run the cables as normal through internal routing ports. Not sure how if this would cause any issues with the longer cables but I doubt it. This would mean that I get the multiple shift locations and reduce the overall amount of cable in the wind.
xshifter may ease some less common set-up difficulties, but at the business end it's still a cable-based system albeit with shorter runs, for general road use it adds weight, ugliness, cost and complexity
can't see there's a large enough market to sustain this
i'd guess shimano/sram/campag will be around for many years yet, would these guys be able to maintain long term support/maintenance?
And as I said at the beginning I quite like the idea of being able to run 36/46 at the front with 11-40 at the rear using a MTB Rear mech. I know it is technically possible at the moment but hey electronic?
I have 36 x 46 at the front and 11-36 at the rear... could fit a 40 rear, but there is no need. All you need is a MTBike derailleur... admittedly 11 speed made things murky, but with 9 or 10 it's straightforward.
For those kind of applications, why do you want to go for expensive 11 speed?
Even with 11 speed it's not that difficult now. You can fit a £30 Lindarets Tanpan which allows you to run 11 speed MTB rear derailleurs with 11 speed road shifters. That way you can run wide range 11-40 cassettes if you want.
Likewise, what I like about Di2 is not the shifters but actually the fact it very rarely goes out of index ( if set up properly). I suppose a Di2 derailleur knows it current position along its range of movement and then where it has to shift to, before stopping.
In my opinion this kickstater project won't solve any these problems Ive had with mechanical groupsets. It looks like it still reliant on the dumb system of using tension on a steel cable to move the derailleur, which is the problem. Once it goes out of index, it still won't know or compensate. It's just using a motor to pull this steel cable in / release it out, rather than the mechanical ratchet on the levers.
Sorry for promoting my own product here...
Yes, that is the main strength of this product. You are not tied to any given drive train components. You can mix and match or make your own custom cassettes. You can make a 10 speed derailleur work on an 11 speed cassette. You can make a hybrid bike with bottom bracket gear and rear derailleur, or visa versa. And control all of it with a single common button pad. You can make a very inexpensive derailleur perform almost as well as an high end one with this system. A worn out derailleur can regain it's accuracy because you can adjust the shift positions to compensate for wear. As for the cable issue, cables really don't stretch that much. They maintain their position with a very high degree of accuracy, especially when the length is short. The XShifter really is accurate to within 0.01mm. Even with the cable it's more accurate than the electronic derailleurs available. You are really getting the best of both worlds. You get the time proven design of derailleurs, and combine it with the efficiency and precision of a wireless servo drive.
SO basically you say you can adjust the number of shifts as well as how much cable you release per shift... virtually making any derailleur/cassette compatible with any shifter... is that correct? That IS interesting
Now you are talking...
Anything that revives the old art of mixing and matching gets my approval. Hopefully there is a market for your product, as most folks on road bikes are after brands and matching components.
I don't mind separating brake levers from shifters either, like in MTBike, it makes total sense to me. As I said earlier I can buy a set of road brakes for 20 pounds... or I can go full hydraulic with TRP Hylex and still have the option to go any speed in any combination, without the Brand restrictions
The versatility of this system is hard to deny and it makes Di2/etap look very restricted/limited/expensive.
It's cheaper than Di2,Etap or EPS
Its easier to install
It works with any derailleurs (includes cross over of brands/models)
It fits any bike (mtb,road,tri,recumbent,trike,tandem,hand cycle)
It can switch between 1x,2x,3x drivetrains
It will work with 12+ speeds cassettes (futureproof)
It's lightweight - 110 gram dual unit + 35 gram road shifter
It has multiple types of remotes
It has easily detachable batteries + spares available
Its gives the user the option of using different brand levers/hoods without having to buy more components
It can be connected to dropper posts and fork lockouts.
If the unit fails you can convert back to using cables
The creator has even demo'd voice commands via a phone app
I think the shifting action will be similar to Di2. Afterall its only the cage moving side to side.Whether direct motor or a motor with a cable its doing the same job. Any losses of using a short cable wont effect it too much. For its price i dont see many downsides but alot of upsides and advantages. Considering the desirabilty of Di2. i think it makes perfect sense to be able to convert your existing derailleurs and get most of the same features as electronic. This fills a gap for those where Di2 is out of their price range,or they have no desire to completely change their groupset.I predict this will sell well.
That mtb remote looks abit bulky though, a metal cnc'd clamp would look much sleeker.
The main concern I've got is if the Xshifter will be completely stable as the chain and seat stays are generally tapered the wrong way. But as mine is going on an older mountain bike with external cable stops, I'll be butting it against one of them.
Anyway, I'm a pledger and looking forward to March.
Of course, if it works really well, you might be gobbled up by one of the big boys.
Thanks to Trailflow for that awesome product review.
A few concerns: Bluetooth. We are using BLE (Bluetooth low energy). It's actually quite stable. We've all had trouble listening to music and so on, but that is massive data transfer. XShifter is just transfering a few bytes of data. So even if it fails, it can retry many times before you even know there is a problem. When I was at Interbike I was surprised to see that there were a couple hundred BT devices in my vicinity when I was trying to pair the device. Still there was no issue with it.
Waterproof: I was a hydraulic brake design engineer, so I know a thing or two about sealing. XShifter will be very waterproof, no concerns. Just no power washers please...
Mounting: There is a concern that the XShifter will slip on the frame and lose position. It does not rely on the mounting position. All the load is in the outer cable. We have a video of the XShifter working without being attached to the frame at all. I built in a lot of precision into this device. It's truly accurate within about 0.01mm, no exaggeration. But what I found in testing is that you really can't notice anything less than about 0.5mm of movement. We have developed a modular mounting system that is tons better than the prototype zip tie arrangement. We will offer brackets in several sizes. They will have grippy rubber on the mounting surface and different sizes to conform to different frame tubes. There are also 2 different styles that utilize the waterbottle cage. And, the XShifter has 2 mounting holes for direct mount to the frame, should you decide to do a custom build. If you have a 3D printer you can custom make your own cool bracket! (We will provide a drawing of mounting specs)
I hope more of you guys can support our project.
-Will it have an internal battery (looking at the pictures I reckon I could just about survive having one where a mini pump may mount by the bottle cage).
-Do you have more pictures of it mounted on road bike bars?
Congratulations on the fundraise
The remote uses a CR2032 battery. Servo is a removable lithium polymer battery pack. Can be charged when removed or charge while riding. There are two styles of WB brackets. One fits where the water bottle cage would sit. The other is designed to sit alongside the bottle so you can use both. We are working on more options.
We don't have a lot of pictures mounted to road bike bars. I'll get with marketing and maybe put some better pictures up on the KS page. And we are still refining the ergo of it, so we welcome all input on that. Not too late to make changes.
Basically you are correct, it's because with prototypes we can't get the shape we need. We need to make the remote a little thinner and wrap it around the hood a little more. It's not possible to do that with the prototyping process. The one you see in the photo is an actual functional remote. We are trying different shapes of non-functional 3D printed buttons to get the ergo just right. From the hoods, it's very good. You don't have to move your hand at all. You use index finger for up shift and thumb for down shift, just like a MTB. I personally like it a lot more than the Shimano or SRAM setup. For front, you use one of the lower buttons. A little stretch, but you don't want to hit those by accident anyway. That was one of my complaints with eTap is I would sometimes activate the FD by mistake if my timing was off on the paddles. From the drops you have to stretch a little, but it's less of a stretch than brifters. If we get enough demand for it, I think we can also have auxiliary buttons that are hard wired into the remote, then you can put them exactly where you want. But really, if you want to add auxiliary buttons it's not much of a hack to splice a wire into our remote. Maybe we'll just add some solder pads onto it for the tinkerers.
It does look like a great product - however I cannot see how the front + rear derraileur can be connected by an x shifter (dual) connected to the seat stay. I am assuming the x shifter dual would be connected to the chainstay on the drive side?
Or would you be better off running two single x shifters? It would handy to see the set up with both front and rear derraileurs connected up.
The most logical place for the dual unit would be under the downtube/bottle cage mount. Then the cable for the FD and RD will have the cleanest route without any of the cables having to do a u-bend which would be required if the unit was placed on the chainstay. As the cable exit holes on the dual unit are on the same side.
We've made it as versatile as possible. Both mounting options are okay. It's only about 20mm deep, so it does fit very well between chainstay and wheel on most bikes. And actually the cable can exit either end of the device. So you can have one cable pointed towards RD and the other cable pointed the other direction.
Thanks for the response - is there any chance you can show any images with the x shifter connected to both the FD and RD on a bike - either connected via the down tube or seat stays?
Well, it adds much less cost than Di2, I suspect it is effectively simpler than Di2, you get plenty of added ugliness with Di2 anyway and, of course, the benefits of electronic shifting are mainly gained on the winter bike on which you probably don't/shouldn't fret about ugliness too much! It doesn't matter whether it uses cables or wires as long as it is a solution for the problems that affect cable based systems.
I think it is a rather excellent idea. I'm sure the looks can be improved considerably over time as well.
looks like you should have patented your idea!!