Author Topic: Di2 on Supported Southern Tier trip  (Read 850 times)

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Offline MoQuinn

Di2 on Supported Southern Tier trip
« on: March 15, 2022, 05:12:10 pm »
Hi.  I am riding the Southern Tier next spring 2023.  I am doing a fully supported trip and staying in Hotels nightly.

I am bike shopping and have not done so in 17 years.  Culture shock.

The bike that I am most drawn to (and have gotten my hands on) is the Canyon Endurance with the 12 speed Ultegra Di2 electronic groupset.

I'm writing to see if anyone has experience with and or opinions about using electronic vs mechanical systems on the Southern tier route.

I've read pros and cons articles and am still on the fence.  There are lots of ease of shifting pros.    The PRO of low maintenance and no cables to stretch ect sort of contrasts with the CON of "if something does go wrong" and you are in a very rural area might you have a harder time getting assistance/parts than if you have a mechanical system.

Anyone care to share learned insights?

Offline RonK

Re: Di2 on Supported Southern Tier trip
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2022, 05:28:26 pm »
I have a Canyon Grizl with Di2 and it is a lovely bike. This is the first I've had with electronic shifting, and I'm really loving it. It was bought for the express purpose of solo credit card bikepacking on backroads into some fairly remote locations.

Di2 has been around for a long time and it very reliable. A failure is unlikely. Crash damage is going to be the most likely cause of issues. It's a risk I'm prepared to take.

Di2 shifting is a whole new world and you will need to learn some new tricks including how to reset it from crash recovery mode. I suggest you get the Shimano EW-WU111 Di2 D-Fly E-Tube Bluetooth Wireless Unit and install it in the cable junction under the stem. This will enable a Bluetooth connection to the E-Tube app on your smartphone so you can adjust the shift pattern for synchronised and semi-synchronised shifting to your preference, and to perform some diagnostics.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2022, 07:18:25 pm by RonK »
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Offline ray b

Re: Di2 on Supported Southern Tier trip
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2022, 01:55:28 pm »
Plenty of old threads with information.

As an old human performance guy, I've always recommended getting measured out by a pro bike fitter or specialty physical therapist, and then looking for a frame and set-up that will accomplish what you want.
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline j1of1

Re: Di2 on Supported Southern Tier trip
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2022, 09:08:21 pm »
My recommendation:  Keep it simple.  You can ride any bike across the USA - it doesn't have the latest high end components to have an enjoyable and successful ride.  Things may go wrong with complex components which may mean the end of your dream ride.   For example:
a) Your bike falls over and bends a rotor on your disc brakes;
b) Your electronic shifters fail;
c) Embedded cables within the bike frame fray and fail;
d) Pannier racks break;
e) Your GPS dies and you don't have any cell phone coverage or hard copy maps (that has happened to me!)
f) and so forth...

Lot of good, simple bikes out there that will get you across the USA.  The one you'll see the most often is the Surly Long Haul Trucker.   People rave about its reliability and comfort.   You don't have to go high end to have a great ride.

Online staehpj1

Re: Di2 on Supported Southern Tier trip
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2022, 08:20:31 am »
I don't agree that any of those would "mean the end of your dream ride" and I am not clear on what a simpler choice  you are suggesting.

 
My recommendation:  Keep it simple.  You can ride any bike across the USA - it doesn't have the latest high end components to have an enjoyable and successful ride.  Things may go wrong with complex components which may mean the end of your dream ride.   For example:
a) Your bike falls over and bends a rotor on your disc brakes;
Not a huge deal.  First off it isn't a frequent problem and second you can pull off the caliper on that wheel and tie it out of the way and ride with one brake until you get to where you can get another disc.
b) Your electronic shifters fail;
My understanding is the following... Electronic shifting is actually more reliable than mechanical.  Adjustment is easier, more precise, and less frequent.  The large majority of fussing with shifting issues has to do with cable so the lack of them is a good thing.  A downside is dealing with charging.  Another is availability of parts is worse.  One interesting thing is that if a shifter is broken you can shift from the derailleur itself until you get a new shifter, at heast with the shimano setup.  Even the bike packing community is starting to use electronic and even in pretty severe conditions.  See the following link for some interesting info https://bikepacking.com/gear/electronic-shifting-reliability-video/
c) Embedded cables within the bike frame fray and fail;
If properly done they are less likely to be a problem than external ones and if they present a pronlem external routing could be done to get going again if necessary, but I don't see a reason you'd need to.
d) Pannier racks break;
Not likely unless poor quality and or seriously overloaded and certainly unlikely to end a dream trip.  Not sure what alternative you are suggesting here, frame mounted bags?  They can fail too.  Pretty much anything can.
e) Your GPS dies and you don't have any cell phone coverage or hard copy maps (that has happened to me!)
And that ended your dream trip?  Seems unlikely.  The OP is asking about a coast to coast trip.  I bet he'd do what I'd do and keep heading in the general direction he needed to go.  Asking directions when he could, but he'd probably never be without any paper map or downloaded map on the phone.  At the very least he'd probably have the free state map from the DOT for that state.
f) and so forth...

Lot of good, simple bikes out there that will get you across the USA.  The one you'll see the most often is the Surly Long Haul Trucker.   People rave about its reliability and comfort.   You don't have to go high end to have a great ride.
I agree that there is nothing wrong with simple.  I am not a fan of the LHT myself, but I did ride an older (1990) bike with downtube shifters and all on my last coast to coast tour.  I rode an old hard tail MTB with thumb shifters(again 1990) on another mixed surface tour.  I wouldn't advise anyone against riding newer tech though and might choose it myself.
I can imagine myself possibly choosing a bike with electronic shifting if in the OP's shoes.  Remember that he is going on a long (Southern Tier) van supported tour.  I definitely wouldn't choose a touring bike.  I am not saying someone else shouldn't, but I wouldn't.  I rode the ST on a old 1990 Cannondale Crit race bike skinny tires and all when I did it and I wasn't van supported, but was packing very light (camping and cooking with 14#).  It would be fun to be on a sporty bike a race bike with lower gearing or a gravel bike with fairly skinny tires would suit me.  I might go fatter on the tires than last time.  I started out on 23mm and put on 25mm when they were worn out.  The 23mm were already on the bike so I decided to wear them out first.  By the time I got to Texas I found the buzz pretty bad on that state's chipseal.  The 25s were a little better.  I think I might consider 28mm tubeless if starting from scratch with setting up a new bike for that ride, just to have a cushier ride as the roads were pretty rough a lot of the way.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2022, 08:22:27 am by staehpj1 »

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Di2 on Supported Southern Tier trip
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2022, 07:55:43 am »
I don't agree that any of those would "mean the end of your dream ride" and I am not clear on what a simpler choice  you are suggesting.

 
My recommendation:  Keep it simple.  You can ride any bike across the USA - it doesn't have the latest high end components to have an enjoyable and successful ride.  Things may go wrong with complex components which may mean the end of your dream ride.   For example:
a) Your bike falls over and bends a rotor on your disc brakes;
Not a huge deal.  First off it isn't a frequent problem and second you can pull off the caliper on that wheel and tie it out of the way and ride with one brake until you get to where you can get another disc.Or just remove the rotor until you can get a new one.b) Your electronic shifters fail;
My understanding is the following... Electronic shifting is actually more reliable than mechanical.  Adjustment is easier, more precise, and less frequent.  The large majority of fussing with shifting issues has to do with cable so the lack of them is a good thing.  A downside is dealing with charging.  Another is availability of parts is worse.  One interesting thing is that if a shifter is broken you can shift from the derailleur itself until you get a new shifter, at heast with the shimano setup.  Even the bike packing community is starting to use electronic and even in pretty severe conditions.  See the following link for some interesting info https://bikepacking.com/gear/electronic-shifting-reliability-video/
c) Embedded cables within the bike frame fray and fail;
If properly done they are less likely to be a problem than external ones and if they present a pronlem external routing could be done to get going again if necessary, but I don't see a reason you'd need to.Sram AXS shifters are totally wireless so there are no cables to route, fray, etc. Granted, you do have to take the little charger along to charge the battery every few weeks but not a big deal.d) Pannier racks break;
Not likely unless poor quality and or seriously overloaded and certainly unlikely to end a dream trip.  Not sure what alternative you are suggesting here, frame mounted bags?  They can fail too.  Pretty much anything can.
You can always carry hose clamps and zip ties like I have for decades and (knock knock) have never used them for a broken rack.  I have had Ortlieb mounting parts break/come off but the Bruce Gordon and Tubus racks have been fine.e) Your GPS dies and you don't have any cell phone coverage or hard copy maps (that has happened to me!)
And that ended your dream trip?  Seems unlikely.  The OP is asking about a coast to coast trip.  I bet he'd do what I'd do and keep heading in the general direction he needed to go.  Asking directions when he could, but he'd probably never be without any paper map or downloaded map on the phone.  At the very least he'd probably have the free state map from the DOT for that state.
f) and so forth...

Lot of good, simple bikes out there that will get you across the USA.  The one you'll see the most often is the Surly Long Haul Trucker.   People rave about its reliability and comfort.   You don't have to go high end to have a great ride.
I agree that there is nothing wrong with simple.  I am not a fan of the LHT myself, but I did ride an older (1990) bike with downtube shifters and all on my last coast to coast tour.  I rode an old hard tail MTB with thumb shifters(again 1990) on another mixed surface tour.  I wouldn't advise anyone against riding newer tech though and might choose it myself.
I can imagine myself possibly choosing a bike with electronic shifting if in the OP's shoes.  Remember that he is going on a long (Southern Tier) van supported tour.  I definitely wouldn't choose a touring bike.  I am not saying someone else shouldn't, but I wouldn't.  I rode the ST on a old 1990 Cannondale Crit race bike skinny tires and all when I did it and I wasn't van supported, but was packing very light (camping and cooking with 14#).  It would be fun to be on a sporty bike a race bike with lower gearing or a gravel bike with fairly skinny tires would suit me.  I might go fatter on the tires than last time.  I started out on 23mm and put on 25mm when they were worn out.  The 23mm were already on the bike so I decided to wear them out first.  By the time I got to Texas I found the buzz pretty bad on that state's chipseal.  The 25s were a little better.  I think I might consider 28mm tubeless if starting from scratch with setting up a new bike for that ride, just to have a cushier ride as the roads were pretty rough a lot of the way.

Online staehpj1

Re: Di2 on Supported Southern Tier trip
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2022, 09:03:34 am »
Not a huge deal.  First off it isn't a frequent problem and second you can pull off the caliper on that wheel and tie it out of the way and ride with one brake until you get to where you can get another disc.Or just remove the rotor until you can get a new one.
Yeah that is the obvious answer that I should have suggested.  That is assuming the bent disc can't be straightened well enough to ride with it.  I personally have not had any on a bike that I have worked on that was bent badly enough that it couldn't be bent back to useable condition.  I am sure it can happen though, but I doubt it is a frequent occurance especially on a pavement oriented bike.  If it still had some wobble you could ride with it until a replacement was availble, but I have straightend them and had them be just fine for long term use.

Quote
c) Embedded cables within the bike frame fray and fail;
If properly done they are less likely to be a problem than external ones and if they present a pronlem external routing could be done to get going again if necessary, but I don't see a reason you'd need to.Sram AXS shifters are totally wireless so there are no cables to route, fray, etc. Granted, you do have to take the little charger along to charge the battery every few weeks but not a big deal.
I took this comment to be referring to internal routing of cables for mechanical shifting and brake cables.    I didn't get why they would be a problem any more than exposed ones.  In general I consider them to be preferrable.

I don't have any first hand experience with electronic shifting, but am intrigued by it.  It certainly isn't a necessity, but it has a pretty well proven track record by now and has quite a few advantages.  Taking the charger and charging batteries are small disadvantages.  Intial cost and more scarce replacement parts in the event of a failure are a downside.  If spending the kind of money for a new bike that it might have electronic shifting I definitely would consider it.  I probably wouldn't spend the money to upgrade an existing bike to it unless I was replacing worn out or broken components any way.