Shimano just announced their new Di2 (Digital Integrated Intelligence) electronic shifting system for 2009. Built around their standard index shifting, it utilizes the same chains, cassettes, rings, etc., but simply replaces the cables with wires. Shimano states they’ve tested the system extensively in all types of weather for two years, and the system incorporates a lot of technology into some very slim components.
The derailleurs (pictures after the break) are cool, with the front derailleur supposedly making automatic micro adjustments based on the position of the chain on the rear cassette, saving the rider from having to make small adjustments to eliminate chain rub. The shifters, however, seem to have received the bulk of the updates. First, shifting is done merely by touch. No more pushing or effort, which is important when it’s freezing cold or your hands are tired. There’s also a remote shifting button you can place elsewhere on the bar to allow shifting from multiple hand positions (especially useful for triathlon and time-trial bikes). Click the link to see pics and read more…
The ergonomics have also been improved to allow for better access to the brake levers and more comfortable hand positions. They are compatible with the new Flightdeck wireless computers which offer the standard features like cadence and speed, but now adds Heart Rate (yay! one less thing on the h-bar!) and wireless connectivity with a PC, which may mean upgrade potential.
The rear derailleur has a carbon link plate to save weight, and all electronics are housed deep inside to protect against damage if/when your bike falls over. It can handle a wide range cassette (11-27) and can be easily adjusted even while riding.
Carbon and Titanium abound, including Ti fixing band and bolt on the shifters and Ti “b” axle on the rear derailleur. All of this is powered by a 7.4volt rechargeable Li-Ion battery that’s completely weatherproof. Pics below, and check out the official Dura-Ace site for more info.