Shimano 2013 – Alfine Di2 and other Shimano Tech

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Chipps was recently at a Shimano presentation for 2013 and, while we can’t tell you everything about next year just yet… We can give you a few glimpses at some of the highlights… And then later in the year, we can probably fill you in with a few more juicy bits too…

First up is the most surprising revelation from Shimano’s 2013 range – a Di2 electric version of Shimano’s hub gear system. It’ll come with either drop bar levers or flat bar shifters. It’ll probably make it on to many post town bikes, but we reckon that there’ll be a few people who’ll give it a try off road.

That looks identical to the newish Ultegra Di2 brake/shift lever...


There's not much to give it away, apart from the battery (which you could always move elsewhere or hide with some creative fairings...)


This appears to be a bog-standard Alfine 11 hub, with the only change being an electric shroud with gubbins to move the gear selector. Very neat.

Alfine Di2 will use the same wiring harness as currently used on Ultegra. It’ll work with 8 or 11 speed Alfine (and we assume that it’ll be retrofittable too).

There’ll be a drop bar lever of Ultegra quality, plus a flat bar lever. (Does that mean that the flat bar lever will work with Ultegra Di2 too? Hmm…) and there’ll be a digital display (nicely mocked up here with a sticker… – hey it’s a prototype, OK?)

Does that really say 'Do not use as a step'?


No denying it's pretty neat...


Not actual technology! Artist's impression...


That is just an Ultegra lever, isn't it? That means they'll be doing a non-STi shaped lever for the other side. We've not seen the flat-bar shifter yet.


So that’s Alfine Di2. Very unexpected!

Some of the more mainstream stuff that we saw at the New Product Presentation includes even more ratios for Dynasys chain sets. Of interest to the double-and-bash brigade will be an XT chainset with a 40/28, or 38/26 or 38/24 ratio. We can see those being popular in the trail-bike world.

New Shimano SLX is covered in another story, but as always, it’s looking really nice and ‘why does anyone need to buy XT?’ quality. We love SLX here.

Of HUGE interest to 29er fans will be the new Shimano MTB front derailleurs coming out. There will be a change for all front mechs from SLX up to XTR that will move the cable pinch bolt (and a bit of the inner parallelogram link) out of the way of the tyre. This will help designers pull the back wheel in even more without having to do odd things to the seat tube.

Oh, and, again, we have other news that’ll interest the trail riders – the ‘Shadow Plus’ rear derailleur cage clutch, as seen on some XTR mechs, will become available on all derailleurs from SLX to XT to XTR. Could this do away with the need for lower chain devices?

Hmm, what else… well, there’s a new Direct Mount rear derailleur story that you’ll be surprised to hear, doesn’t involve a new standard, or need a different mech… See it on our SLX story.
There’ll be lots of shiny photos available later, but we thought we’d give you a quick heads-up on some of the stuff we’ve seen.

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Chipps Chippendale

Singletrackworld's Editor At Large

With 22 years as Editor of Singletrack World Magazine, Chipps is the longest-running mountain bike magazine editor in the world. He started in the bike trade in 1990 and became a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the last 30 years as a bike writer and photographer, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish, strengthen and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

More posts from Chipps

Comments (5)

    Interesting and in a lot of ways for commuter/town bikes electric shifting almost makes sense. Hopefully it would mean very little need to fiddle with sticky cables etc by people who can’t even be bothered to lube the chain (well maybe not quite that mechanically unsympathetic).

    So, is Di2 wireless? I couldn’t see any wires anywhere.

    Mock up basically. Some other kit on show (at other sites) shows mechanically shifting kt with no cables hooked up. Plus those drop bar shifters aren’t the actual Alfine units, probably Ultegra ones just to show the concept.

    Never mind all that gear rubbish, where’s the CX/road hydraulic disc brakes???

    ^what dibs said. interesting that while the alfine is a disc hub, they haven’t packaged a master cylinder into the alfine STI lever. I’ve been using alfine 8 commuting for 3 years now and love this idea … I can only imagine what they will cost though

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