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Di2 Synchro Shift - Gimmick or Must Have?

bernithebikerbernithebiker Posts: 4,148
edited March 2017 in Road buying advice
Been testing Synchro Shift lately on a Di2 9150 / 9070 mix.

Came into it as something of a cynic, and have only slightly changed my view which is that it's a bit gimmicky and doesn't add a great deal to your average ride, and can in fact, be detrimental.

Full Synchro changes the front for you at a pre-defined moment and adjusts the rear at the same time. Despite a Garmin beep and notification, the problem here is not knowing quite when the front shift is coming which can throw you off your stride.

Semi Synchro just adjusts the rear for you when you change up front. Potentially useful but depends where you are and how you're pedalling, as you might be about to hit a hill or about to go down one (which will change what gear you want to be in).

So a bit hit and miss. Could be good for beginners that cross chain and aren't so familiar with gears, or special uses like amputees or disabled riders.

Full review here;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j37PQ61-R-Y

Posts

  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,757
    I think people in general overthink shifting gears... it just seems like a lot of bollox from an industry that is running out of ideas. Who needs that stuff?

    Shifting is not an issue... accident prevention is, but nobody is doing anything about it

    Tyre pressure/temperature sensors, ABS... all useful stuff that is waiting to be "reinvented" for bikes
  • bernithebikerbernithebiker Posts: 4,148
    I think what we're seeing here is the birth of a true fully automatic shifting system that will eventually take cadence and power into account.

    If you have enough data, you can, in theory, allow the bike to pick the best gear for you. I'm not saying that's necessarily a good thing; I'd rather enjoy choosing my own gears, but you can see how a newbie, a bit wary of all those gears, might be drawn to a fully auto bike.....
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,757
    I think what we're seeing here is the birth of a true fully automatic shifting system that will eventually take cadence and power into account.

    If you have enough data, you can, in theory, allow the bike to pick the best gear for you. I'm not saying that's necessarily a good thing; I'd rather enjoy choosing my own gears, but you can see how a newbie, a bit wary of all those gears, might be drawn to a fully auto bike.....

    It is a bit of a contraddiction to introduce a technology commanding top dollar aimed at newbies though...

    People don't like automatic shifting in cars, I doubt anyone would want it on a bike

    A continuous gear system that keeps a given cadence at any speed could be interesting, but it won't be able to rely on sprockets.

    As I said, they are barking at the wrong tree
  • bernithebikerbernithebiker Posts: 4,148
    People don't like automatic shifting in cars, I doubt anyone would want it on a bike

    Maybe ask Americans what they think?!


    According to Edmunds.com, the online automotive research company in Santa Monica, Calif., manual or stick shift transmissions comprised roughly seven percent of new car sales in the first quarter of 2012. 1. By August 2013, the new cars sold in the U.S. with manual transmissions had dropped to 3.9 percent.May 9, 2014
  • People don't like automatic shifting in cars, I doubt anyone would want it on a bike
    Apart from everyone who buys an automatic, yeah?

    Fully auto gears on a bike would be great...
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,757
    People don't like automatic shifting in cars, I doubt anyone would want it on a bike

    Maybe ask Americans what they think?!


    According to Edmunds.com, the online automotive research company in Santa Monica, Calif., manual or stick shift transmissions comprised roughly seven percent of new car sales in the first quarter of 2012. 1. By August 2013, the new cars sold in the U.S. with manual transmissions had dropped to 3.9 percent.May 9, 2014

    They always had automatic in the US... it's a combination of long, mainly flat distances on wide open roads and cheap petrol... it works for them. I have rented a few automatic cars in the US and in Canada and they range from bad (the japanese ones) to awful (the American ones).
  • meesterbondmeesterbond Posts: 1,240
    I think what we're seeing here is the birth of a true fully automatic shifting system that will eventually take cadence and power into account.

    If you have enough data, you can, in theory, allow the bike to pick the best gear for you. I'm not saying that's necessarily a good thing; I'd rather enjoy choosing my own gears, but you can see how a newbie, a bit wary of all those gears, might be drawn to a fully auto bike.....


    I guess it depends just how intelligent it is... take the automotive comparison. Go back 20 years and automatic cars were largely terrible. Never in the right gear, jerky, slow etc etc. Now, well other than in a 2 seater sport car, I'd never buy manual again. In a couple of generations time, why couldn't you have a highly tuneable auto shifting system on a bike which adapts and learns to how you want to ride (like to grind higher than 'average' gears up hill, fine... like to spin at 110 rpm on the flat, fine...)

    There is that paradox that it would be expensive (to start with) so the ideal candidates i.e. newbies would probably be priced out, but that'll change, prices come down

    I do like choosing my own gears and pick when I want to change, but then I used to much prefer driving with a manual gearbox too.
  • bernithebikerbernithebiker Posts: 4,148
    People don't like automatic shifting in cars, I doubt anyone would want it on a bike

    Maybe ask Americans what they think?!


    According to Edmunds.com, the online automotive research company in Santa Monica, Calif., manual or stick shift transmissions comprised roughly seven percent of new car sales in the first quarter of 2012. 1. By August 2013, the new cars sold in the U.S. with manual transmissions had dropped to 3.9 percent.May 9, 2014

    They always had automatic in the US... it's a combination of long, mainly flat distances on wide open roads and cheap petrol... it works for them. I have rented a few automatic cars in the US and in Canada and they range from bad (the japanese ones) to awful (the American ones).

    Automatics are pretty good these days. I always preferred manuals, but we now have 2 Audi's with S-Tronic boxes, and they're great; smooth, better fuel consumption than manual, faster, etc.
  • we now have 2 Audi's with S-Tronic boxes, and they're great; smooth, better fuel consumption than manual, faster, etc.

    One Audi is enough for anyone surely
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • ayjayceeayjaycee Posts: 1,277
    Automatics are pretty good these days. I always preferred manuals, but we now have 2 Audi's with S-Tronic boxes, and they're great; smooth, better fuel consumption than manual, faster, etc.

    Spot on Berni - I am a fairly recent convert to auto and, like you, have an Audi with S-Tronic and it's fantastic. I also drive a manual sports car which has it's place but, if I'm honest, I sometimes begin to find the manual shift a bit of a pain nowadays. Indeed, I find that I am driving it less and less as time passes and am now wondering whether it's time to show it the door.

    Back to the original point, I really can't see the day when I would ever want an 'auto' or even 'semi auto' bike. Then again, I think I might have said that about a car a few years ago.
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  • I think what we're seeing here is the birth of a true fully automatic shifting system that will eventually take cadence and power into account.

    If you have enough data, you can, in theory, allow the bike to pick the best gear for you. I'm not saying that's necessarily a good thing; I'd rather enjoy choosing my own gears, but you can see how a newbie, a bit wary of all those gears, might be drawn to a fully auto bike.....

    True, but would it take a lot of enjoyment out of cycling?
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 880
    Not really seen much of this and on company laptop so can't look at the youtube review, couple of questions...
    Does it allow you to override it and do manual changes when you need to? What happens when you want to attack on a hill or are being attacked? If you're getting ready for a sprint, or waiting for one of the bunch to sprint, will it know you may just want to slow your cadence and sit in a larger gear than normal? For me cycling is about feel, headwinds, hills, sprints etc, I will be in the gear that I find most effective for me at that time.
    Going to truly automatic on a road bike doesn't sit comfortably with me - just seems to be one of those solutions without a problem. Maybe for the special cases Bern highlights, but for the general cycling populous, it just appears to be overkill.
    Or I could be turning into my Dad and am now a luddite afraid of change!
  • bernithebikerbernithebiker Posts: 4,148
    w00dster wrote:
    Not really seen much of this and on company laptop so can't look at the youtube review, couple of questions...
    Does it allow you to override it and do manual changes when you need to? What happens when you want to attack on a hill or are being attacked? If you're getting ready for a sprint, or waiting for one of the bunch to sprint, will it know you may just want to slow your cadence and sit in a larger gear than normal? For me cycling is about feel, headwinds, hills, sprints etc, I will be in the gear that I find most effective for me at that time.
    Going to truly automatic on a road bike doesn't sit comfortably with me - just seems to be one of those solutions without a problem. Maybe for the special cases Bern highlights, but for the general cycling populous, it just appears to be overkill.
    Or I could be turning into my Dad and am now a luddite afraid of change!

    You can be in Manual (normal), semi (S1) or full (S2). You cycle between them using the little button (double-click) on the Di2 control box.

    BUT, as I highlight in the video, changing modes isn't very easy, certainly too difficult and time consuming to do in a race, so you'd be pretty much stuck in whatever mode you're in. (It would make sense if you could change mode via your Garmin, a function which I suspect is on it's way).

    So yes, being in S1 or S2 at the wrong moment would be a pain and could potentially lose you a race.

    My conclusion in the vid is that there's not much benefit at all here for the experienced cyclist, but could be of use for beginners, which maybe doesn't sit well with the Dura Ace price tag, but then that's what dentists are for right?!

    And again, I think this is the difficult birth of something more advanced in the future, but again, I'd always rather change my own bicycle gears (cars are different!).

    Imagine a flattish TT where the bike changes for you within a tight cadence tolerance (say 97 to 103), so that you are always at your optimum cadence, without having to think about it......
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