Shimano Media Event ’12

Photographer:

Andy Shen

Every year or so Shimano sets up shop in a Manhattan hotel to display their wares to the media elite and hoi polloi, and I dutifully shuffle my way over for some off season content for the site. This year’s invitation came with the promise of a lap of Central Park on Ultegra Di2, so I was doubly excited. Little did I realize that my +1 and I would be showered with an obscene amount of schwag – shoes and pedals for me, jackets, multi tools, tires for both of us. So in the interest of full disclosure let me tell you that some of my take will be donated as prizes for our roller party/junior fundraiser, but the shoes and pedals will have to be pried from my cold dead toes. Hey, I’m only human, a human that likes schwag.

So here’s the shots of Shimano’s wares, be sure to look with a jaundiced eye.

A nice little torque wrench for $120.

Cute little multi tool. We’ll give away one of these at the roller party.

Pro components continue to expand, and will include components designed for specific riders, like a stem made just for Cavendish.

35mm deep carbon tubulars. 1346 grams, $2,200.

The carbon/aluminum clincher is 1664 grams, also $2,200.

Tubeless comes to the Ultegra level. Unlike their Dura Ace counterparts, these are not clad in carbon. 1651 grams, $700.

Dura Ace carbon pedal. Carbon trickles down to Ultegra as well, for $300 instead of $400.

I have an older version of these SPD sandals which I love for getting around in the summer. The new version has a more supportive upper that should produce even freakier tan lines.

The top of the line SH-R315 heat moldable shoe, $380.

The SH-R191, not moldable, $220.

The SH-R241, moldable, $300.

Two of the moldable pieces in the uppers.

The inside of the heel cup has a cat’s tongue fabric that’s smooth when your heel slides in, rough on the way out. This and the moldable cup keeps your foot locked in.

Velcro straps are staggered to avoid pressure spots.

My shoes getting easy baked.

A tube gets strapped to the shoe, a bag goes over your foot, a strap closes everything up and the air gets sucked out. The pressure is surprisingly strong – this isn’t ‘uncomfortable’, it’s downright painful.

Plastic toecaps cover the front so the toe area stays nice and roomy. Those red stickers can be added to the bottom of the insoles to build up the arches.

All done. 3 rides in and they make me want to ditch my beloved Lakes. I used to wonder how ‘custom’ the fit could be if only the uppers are moldable (Lakes and Bonts have moldable soles), but I’m a believer now. The fit is perfect – nice and roomy in the toes, snug around the heel. The pedal platform is way more stable than Speedplays. The insoles didn’t give me enough arch support, even with the add-on stickers, so I went back to my trusty Sole inserts. Complaints? The ratchet is pretty straightforward, I wish it had Sidi’s half-click release. They’re also much harder to clip into for a Speedplay convert.

Finally we get to Ultegra Di2. These aluminum levers are one of the ways Shimano kept the price down.

Wiring is improved on Ultegra Di2 (the next Dura Ace Di2 will use this style wiring). The connectors are waterproof without heat shrink tubing, and the wires themselves are thinner. The entire system can be plugged into a diagnostic tool to check for troubleshooting, and you can reprogram the buttons if you want.

The front derailer is also the brains of the operation. Di2 does some smart things like auto trim the front derailer to avoid chain rub. For shifts into the big ring, Di2 overshifts before settling back. Dropping down, Di2 gently eases the chain down before completing its motion. This should lessen the chance of chain drop compared to mechanical shifting, which simply slams the derailer down to the lower limit stop.

Another way Shimano reduced cost for Ultegra was by sourcing existing motors instead of making their own. The Ultegra rear derailer is quite a bit clunkier than Dura Ace.

This Orbea was made specifically for Di2 and had super clean wiring.

We took the bikes out for a lap of Central Park, and Di2 performed just as advertised – it’s quick and accurate, and requires less finesse from the rider. My +1 declared it as good as Dura Ace Di2′. Its best feature, however, is the $1600 price tag for an upgrade kit.

67 Comments

Electronic

electronic shifting my right butt cheek!! just buy a motorbike if you want electronic shifting and fuel injection. Maybe Shimanoooo can come up with a light weight electronic titanium Butt plug to prevent defacation just before the start of a race.

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Jules Crank

The ironic thing is that the readers of this blog are so not the target customer of these products. I am surprised the Shimano people don’t realize this. They would be better off inviting men’s health mag to come look at that shit

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Danato Asshat

An awful lot of people won’t buy electronic ’til mechanical is no longer readily available. It won’t be a choice. I want my Simplex retrofriction down tube shifters back.

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1%

Change the terms “electronic” to “STI” and this same conversation was had 20 years ago. What is new and expensive now will be on entry level bikes in a few years. Bitch about the cost all you want, but you will be racing on it in a short time. If no one buys the new technology then the manufacturers wont continue to innovate. Don’t hate the guys with the money to buy it now. Thank them for investing in the technology of YOUR future.

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Ari Schtottle

I love the arguments people make to justify their spending. I should thank the goof who just has to have the new shiny toy because he’s “investing in the technology of my future”?? Ha… How generous of him!

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1%

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not trying to claim that most people who buy new expensive stuff do so strictly because it will benefit YOU in the future. I’m quite sure that most people buy it for vanity or because they have an extra couple g’s burning a hole in their pocket. However, when they do buy that stuff, for whatever reason, it doesn’t hurt YOU any and it ends up benefitting YOU in the future. I don’t see the point behind making fun of someone else buying new technology when those two critical elements are in YOUR favor.

Unless you are just playing the game of snark…which is also fine.

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((100-1)/100)*100%

Cut your losses and let it go. The name you’ve picked for yourself is making it hard for me to be sympathetic to your argument.

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1%

Are you saying that bike companies should stop innovating because only rich people can afford the newsest, state-of-the-art technology while the masses have to wait a year or two? Or are you just pissed at the attempted humorous pseudonym that I chose for myself?

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marx

i’m sure when the first derailleurs came out, some idiot was saying that it was too expensive and completely unnecessary. god forbid one should buy something more expensive that someone else can afford. perhaps we should all ride the same bikes and live in the same apartments just so you could feel happier.

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Keano Brakepad

cool factor…thats all…
how many of you can shift full power while standing? How many need to shift full power little ring to big?

All you “greg olsens”, there is an “ariel” still on a steel frame, toe clips, box 32s…who won the CRCA season long champs???

train harder friends…train with racing intensity and skills in mind…

we have coaches, nutritionists, mechanix, massageists, wind tunnelsists, private jetsists to nats to get dead last…c’mon now…

Ride Lots.
Pedal Harder.

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Julien Rivnut

Yeah but where does the battery power come from for electronic shifting?

How is this battery charged?

Does it require recharging often?

How fail safe is the system, with electronics comes the chance of failing more often.

How responsive is electronic shifting, can this system be used in fast criteriums where shifting response is important, or is electronic shifting only for long stage races?

I just don’t trust electronic shifting.

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Piero Tubular

i’m sure Di2 is fantastic but i would only get a best-of-everything bike if i was NOT going to race it. seen too much pricey gear wrecked around here. it’s not like any of us has a team car with an identical bike following us around. None of it makes you any faster…that’s well established. I guess if I had so much money it didn’t matter, i might but otherwise, no.

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Adrien Supple

Hey does Shimano make those batteries / electric motors that can now be found on bicycles? What is the point of converting a PEDAL bicycles to ELECTRIC motor? Is is still called a bicycle or is now an ELECTRIC moped?

Aren’t we getting away from the true sense of what a bicycle is suppose to be? It is supposed to be a mechanical device operated by human power, not by electric motors and electronic shifting.

The only electronics / electrics a bicycle should have is a speedometer / powermeter / and light for night riding.

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Logan Tank

electronic shifting does no more to ruin the essence of what a bicycle is than a power meter does.
it’s just replacing the cables with wires. if it makes shifts more accurate & the derailleurs self adjusting, great. it doesn’t power the bike, and it’s still a manual transmission, the rider decides what gear to be in an when to shift.

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Andy Shen

There’s reasons for knocking electronic shifting, but speed and responsiveness aren’t two of them. It’s pretty widely accepted that it’s faster and more accurate.

Battery specs are pretty easily Googled.

Mechanical shifting isn’t infallible either, break a rear shift cable and you’ll have to singlespeed it home.

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Piero Tubular

di2 was used extensively in the grand tours this year, with excellent performance reliability. the only real issue is cost. As prices come down, that won’t be an issue either.

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Morelli Torque

Seriously, tell whoever is taking pics to chill out on the aperture. It’s obviously maxed out and the entire subject matter is not in focus. Cheesy.

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Matteo Cable

I think that max fstop is the Minature effect option on some high end point and shoot cameras, it is supposed to keep a portion of the photo sharp while the other parts are blurry…….highly irritating indeed in this case, does not make the Shimano product look glamarous and a must have at all.

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ESP

It is time to draw the line……next we will have ESP shifting, just think what gear you want to be in and badda bing badda boom you are in that gear.

And then we will have automatic transmission shifting where you just program in your optimum cadence and the gears will shift automatically to maintain that cadence.

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liquiguts

Yes, NYVC’s Toto-l consistent soft-pedaling of doping has hit an all time low with this Landis thing.

“Although I continue to post, I now refuse to read anything on the site so that my ignorance remain unperturbed.”

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Drugs

I have lost all faith in the reviews on NYVERBOSITY after their endorsement of drug doper Floyd Landis for fund raising roller racing.

Professional cycling is all about drugs and not equipment – an illusion is created to sell expensive equipment to the stupid.

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Rinieri Brifter

Is there a local racer with superpowers so amazing that all he has to do it think about it and he wills his bike to shift?

Who is that man?

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Schiatuzzo Locknut

So you can pay $2200 for slightly heavier “carbon” wheels or $700 for an all aluminum version? Hmm.

With respect to the wiring change for DA di2, will existing DA di2 derailers be compatible with u di2 and the new DA di2 or are you totally hosed?

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Williamsburgler

Uh, are you an idiot? They got these as donations for a FUNDRAISER.

You come, you race, maybe you win one of these things.

Good prizes = more people come = more people buy tix = more funding to the Junior Development squad.

It’s really not very complicated.

Douche.

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Lukas Lorica

you can also just give to the Junior Program, minus the schwag…
if you like a casue, just give to the cause, ask not what you can do for your country, ask what you get for free from corporate schwag sponsors…

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Julien Clearcoat

I admire the person who is willing to share their schwag. I’m sure most of use would have kept it all and not even mentioned it. :) Will these goodies be prizes for participants or for some kind of raffle?

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wheel

Julien Clearcoat – forget about the schwag, look at the prices of what the schwag is suppose to advertise. Do you have $1,600 for electronic shifting, or $2,000 for wheels, don’t you think it is a bit ridiculous?

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Turd Fergusson

Give me a break. I’m not even a 4 or a 5 but at least I have the presence of mind to know that there’s barely any difference between a 2 or 3 having nice equipment and a 4 or a 5. At the end of the day, amateur is amateur. No one “needs” these things — they’re just fun toys. He without sin cast the first stone…

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Julien Clearcoat

Obviously someone is buying $1600, and even more expensive, shifting systems. Same thin for $2k wheels. Just go to the start line of any local race and you will find those $1.6k+ shifters and $2k+ wheels on a cat 5 riders bike. I think it’s crazy to spend that kind of money on those parts, but then again I am not rich.

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Kit

Dear Snakeoil sales people,

How come you collected a lot of Schwag and you’re only giving away a cheap little chinese made multi tool kit at the drug doper Floyd Landis Roller Race farce?

$2,200 for wheels, $400 for pedals, $1,600 for electronic shifting????? You have got to be crazy. What is the return on investment for such purchases?

Gimme a break.

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Andy Shen

I’m also giving away the jacket and the tires, does that make you happier? I can’t give you the snake oil for free, it’s my living.

Reply

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