Will electronic transmission appear on MTBs?

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  • Will electronic transmission appear on MTBs?
  • swoosh

    Wat are the benefits of this technology? apart from not having cables that jam up with mud and other trail crap! if its as simple as not having crap in your cables, then why hasnt it been developed before for MTBs, as surely these need it more than road bikes where cables dont get clogged in quite the same way.

    Is it just fekking expensive to develop and manufacture, is that why it hasnt been done yet?

    What are the drawbacks of it? I cant see any apart from possibly changing your riding buddies gears at the same time as yours, but wont that just be the same as remote central locking on cars, where each transmitter is coded to a particular car. wouldnt that be done on bikes too?

    I for one would pay massively for a reliable transmission that was as easy to change gear on when 200miles old as when new.


    Drawbacks – weight, battery charging?
    Pros – self-aligning (no more tweaking adjusters!), fast, no finger-strength needed.

    Personally I dont find my shifting degrades massively over time anyway, but I do (as pointed out on other threads) anally maintain my bike (other than my forks) for fun.

    And by that I dont mean anything rude.


    What is this anal maintenance you speak of? 😕


    Surely hydraulic would be the next major step?

    i’d imagine it has a reasonable aerodynamic advantage on a road bike.

    i’d take a significant amount of convincing to put it on my mtb tho

    GaryLake – Member
    What is this anal maintenance you speak of?

    Maybe it needs wiping with bog roll ever time you use it?? 🙄


    "All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best."
    "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it"

    I feel those apply here


    I’m sure shimano will do it to xtr within the next 3 years. A nice auto adjusting front mech will be great. Hideously expensive though 🙂


    Shimano Airlines, never available to buy, worked ok but cost too much for production.

    New Dura Ace Electronic shifting very very expensive.

    Premier Icon nickc

    I think Dura ace parts are about 300 each, so, £300 for rear mech, £300 for shifters, and so on. If it’s for weight conscious roadies I don’t weight is going to be a massive issue. It’ll come, give it a couple of years, and they’ll be a XTR version.


    it will arive tested in the deserts, will last about half an hour in the uk mud

    Mister P

    Ziggy Airlines was available to buy, I remember selling the last set that Madison had.

    Current RRP on an RD7970 Di2 rear mech is £411.05 with a pair of the STIs costing the same.

    Premier Icon aracer

    Surely hydraulic would be the next major step?

    Already been done by some mad bloke in Germany. As you’d expect, it’s far from cheap!

    Premier Icon BigDummy

    This is much the same as the argument we had recently about why road bikes don’t have disc brakes isn’t it?

    In theory it sounds pretty cool, but in practice it isn’t remotely needed, so no-one is likely to be greatly fussed.


    Electronic shifting will probably appear after much expensive research about two weeks after everyone has gone to lightweight integrated hub/bb gearing…

    Like someone says, I’m not sure what problem it’s trying to actually cure. Replacing heavy(?) gear cables with a lighter cable and a, erm, heavy, battery. Solenoids to move the mechs ain’t exactly pixie dust in weight.

    Premier Icon nickc

    the dura ace battery isn’t exactly heavy though. It’s a teeny tiny thing, and will do thousands of shifts on a charge. It’s not trying to cure a "problem" it’s offering a choice for those who want/need something else. Can’t see what benefits hydraulic shifting has over electronic, but then I’m happy with cables…

    Cable cores get covered in filth, rust and strands fray. They require stiff, heavy sheaths too. But consider the energy you use to change gear. That would have to be stored and actuated at the shifter rather than in your body.

    I would prefer that there were widespread improvements in cables. Isn’t this what Gore ride-on cables achieve?

    I meant "at the derailler"


    Electronic shifting via an external rear derailleur? It doesn’t really solve the biggest problem facing MTB transmission, which is the chain and sprockets being exposed to the elements. The real paradigm shift will be when gearbox standards are agreed, and the price to incorporate them reduces along with their weight.


    I’m inclined to agree with geetee, in-hub gearing would seem the best thing to focus on. Hydro shifters can be done fairly easily (I once drew up a design for retro-fitting hydro shifter system but haven’t had a lathe to make them yet) but really its just going to add weight and cables are not exactly a major hassle to start with!

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    For road bikes you can (kind of) see the point, in fact Mavic developed a system many years ago (called MekTronic) which Chris Boardman used on his TT bikes during the Tour.
    Electronic Dura-Ace is only fractionally heavier than mechanical and it’s completely effortless – rather than move a lever you simply touch a button where the lever would be on a normal version and its instant. Really nice system to use and the self-adjusting front mech is cool too, no more chain rub. But it’s hideously expensive.
    On an MTB where there’s other factors that simple efficiency at stake I can’t see it making the slightest bit of difference although as with anything there will be people out there with enough of a money:sense differential to buy it anyway.


    As a bit of an aside, electronic shifting is fairly cool for triathlon bikes. You can have 2 sets of buttons. One set on the end of your tri bars, and another set on your base bar. They have some degree of aero advantage too as they’re smaller and less "pokey-outey" than bar end shifters……Plus triathletes will spend loads on gadgety things.


    considering how long campag and shimano have spent develooping electronic shifting i wouldn’t expect it anytime soon. That and the cost..

    next step will be 10 speed.


    Mavic had an electronic system in the early 90’s (they made a road group) it didnt work well.

    Anyway the forget electric shifting with mechs, gear boxes will be the future for mtb.


    I reckon as a little fun project over the summer, I might have a play around with making an electronic shifter.

    I reckon on a small, ‘non big corporation scale’ it’ll actually be quite easy (by that I mean not worrying if it’ll catch fire, or looks sexy etc..)

    I had the idea after messing about with RC stuff.
    Basically some of the servos used are very high torque. Now i’ve not done the figures, but i reckon that 18kg/cm should be enough to move a derailer?!
    Have a look at Here for a servo that could be used!

    It’ll be a case of removing the derailure spring, finding a way to bodge this servo on there, and then figuring out the ‘throw’ the servo will need to move through. That will actually be quite straight forward as digital servos/transmitters are highly adjustable.

    Now – initially it’ll all be controlled via a hefty ‘rc controller’, but it’ll just be step one you see………

    (Will I actually ever get round to this – maybe… I’ll post up here if/when I do!)


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