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Patent Patrol: Next Shimano Di2 Could Be 13-speed, Fully Wireless, Even Electric Brakes?

Patent Patrol uncovers fully-wireless next-gen 2x 13-speed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain with removable batteries and more wild tech, teaser
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This pending Shimano patent from last year for a “Derailleur for human-powered vehicle” illustrates an all-new electronic bicycle derailleur design with its own built-in rechargeable battery, and the ability to shift across 13 cogs. Yes, this is a sneak peek at fully wireless Shimano Di2 13-speed drivetrain, with a removable battery.

And control systems tied in with those removable batteries also hint at electronically-controlled suspension AND braking…

Fully-wireless next-gen Shimano Di2 drivetrain patent

Patent Patrol uncovers fully-wireless next-gen 2x 13-speed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain with removable batteries and more wild tech
(Patent drawings via Shimano/Illustrations by Cory Benson)

In classic patent application legalese speak, this is 28,000 words and 61 diagrams of Shimano describing how a battery could exist on a derailleur in a unique way. In fact, there are 13 or 14 different embodiments (separate design examples) of how this concept could be achieved in a rear derailleur.

Shimano go around in circles to describe what is unique as locating the battery in “a preferred position while maintaining mobility of a connecting assembly”. The gist of it seems to be, that Shimano thinks they have a better place to put their battery on a derailleur’s parallelogram links (inner or outer) for improved performance (Fig. 14), without restricting the movement of the derailleur’s linkage or cage itself.

It’s pretty common, but interesting nonetheless, the Shimano wireless electronic derailleur patent application cites three previous patents. First, an early battery-powered pre-Campagnolo Wireless derailleur patent from six years back. Then, one of Shimano’s own recent Di2 patents. And finally, a still pending SRAM AXS T-Type wireless derailleur patent filed four years ago.

Semi-modular removable batteries

Patent Patrol uncovers fully-wireless next-gen 2x 13-speed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain with removable batteries!

Of note, both front & rear derailleurs appear to have differently shaped/sized batteries (which I believe is necessary to get around a SRAM AXS patent). But Shimano designed the proposed smaller Di2 front derailleur battery (Fig. 5) so you could potentially attach it to a rear derailleur in the case of a dead rear derailleur battery (Fig. 7) while riding. That is a limp home mode that would let you get a few more rear shifts. On the other hand, the larger rear battery could not fit into the front derailleur, so if you drain the front battery, you’ll be stuck on one of the front rings.

In the face of SRAM AXS patents, this is a really big deal!

Patent Patrol uncovers fully-wireless next-gen 2x 13-speed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain with removable batteries and more wild tech, interchangeable batteries in the charger

Also noteworthy, a proposed Shimano multi-charger (Fig. 8) shows the possibility to charge 2 large & 2 small batteries at a time, supporting the idea that more electronically controlled components could be combined in a new wireless Di2 ecosystem. And a separate single battery charger (Fig. 54) that clearly illustrates the smaller battery fitting in the footprint of the larger battery.

Wait, electronic-controlled suspension and electric brakes, too!

Patent Patrol uncovers fully-wireless next-gen 2x 13-speed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain with removable batteries and more wild tech, electric brakes!

A further block diagram specifically mentions electric suspension control, an electronically-actuated dropper seatpost, and even… electric brakes! Yep, dig deep in the patent-speak and we find this: “The second component 24 includes another of the following components: the electric adjustable seat post, the electric front suspension, the electric rear suspension, the electric front brake, the electric rear brake, the electric shift lever, the electric brake lever, the electric front derailleur 30 and the electric rear derailleur 32.”

Wow.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard chatter of electric suspension or electric brake control from Shimano. But do you think they are seriously considering that now?

Road or gravel bike derailleur with a clutch?

Patent Patrol uncovers fully-wireless next-gen 2x 13-speed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain with removable batteries and more wild tech, road clutch

The overall shape of the derailleur most used in the patent drawings looks more Dura-Ace than GRX, but there’s clear reference to a low-profile damping system (Fig. 9, #58) between the derailleur body and cage. Plus, a small adjustment screw to dial in clutch tension. But no simple lever to completely disengage it as far as I can see. But there are two notes to a damping electrical cable and even a hydraulically-damped clutch option.

Patent Patrol uncovers fully-wireless next-gen 2x 13-speed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain with removable batteries and more wild tech, wireless MTB XTR Di2 too!

Plus, there’s also a more basic MTB-shaped derailleur (Fig. 29) that shows both the internal battery in the parallelogram and the clutch.

What about this Shimano Di2 patent’s 13-speeds?

Patent Patrol uncovers fully-wireless next-gen 2x 13-speed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain with removable batteries and more wild tech

The focus of this Shimano Di2 patent application is surely on the wireless aspect and removable battery configuration. But we certainly are not going to skip over the fact that Shimano chose to illustrate their new Di2 concept with a 13-speed cassette (Fig. 10). The cog sizes certainly don’t look to scale (unless we are talking about at 32-53T cluster). But there are undeniably 13 gear there. And with all the talk of a front derailleur, this could be a first 2×13 road bike groupset.

They could have easily drawn 11 or 12 cogs, but decided to show 13!

Now, we just wait and see.

Bike.Shimano.com

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24 Comments
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TomM
TomM
7 days ago

What happens to electric brakes when the battery dies?

syborg
syborg
7 days ago
Reply to  TomM

The rider engages limp home mode….call the spouse for a rescue. Could be exciting to have the brake battery die on a fast descent.

Anthony
Anthony
7 days ago
Reply to  TomM

I suspect the resting state of an electric brake would be closed on the rotor. To wake the brake and open the caliper you would depress the brake lever in a specific wake sequence. If the electric brake doesn’t have enough battery for safe operation for a preprogrammed time frame ie 48 hours of riding the caliper will stay in the locked position making it impossible to ride without changing the battery.
Let’s say the caliper is losing braking ability due to lack of charge, the caliper in connection with an accelerometer could slowly and safely apply the brake till the rider comes to a stop, thus making it apparent a battery change is needed. If used in tandem with a head unit and rear radar the bike could do this very safely.

WhateverBikes
7 days ago
Reply to  TomM

Or far worse; a connection error…

satanas
satanas
7 days ago
Reply to  TomM

The rider dies too…

uzurpator
uzurpator
7 days ago
Reply to  TomM

Fail safe to locked state, wait for service vehicle.

blahblahblah
blahblahblah
7 days ago
Reply to  TomM

you sit a pass or fail test

Dustin
Dustin
7 days ago
Reply to  TomM

So do you!

Oliver
Oliver
7 days ago
Reply to  TomM

This is e-bike stuff. It’ll be ABS most likely. All the big players are experimenting with wireless rear brake at least. I doubt they’ll do front. So the answer is no ABS, and at worst no rear brake. So not the end of the world.

Adam Rice
7 days ago
Reply to  TomM

The concept with the electric brakes is not that they’re electrically actuated. They’re hydraulic brakes, and there’s an electronically controlled cam between the lever and master cylinder to change the brake rate on the fly. If it loses power, you just have fixed-rate braking. Think of it as electronic servo-wave.

froze
froze
5 days ago
Reply to  Adam Rice

Think of it as something we don’t need.

froze
froze
5 days ago
Reply to  TomM

Look Ma, no teeth!

Nash
Nash
4 days ago
Reply to  TomM

same thing that happens when you snap your chain on your coaster brake cruiser.

ritxis
ritxis
7 days ago


ritxis
ritxis
7 days ago
You are late with the patent.....it is not the first, there is another one from the month of April, 2 more from November 2023 and others years ago......the patents themselves do not go in principle of a possible 13s What happens is that in this last one (from the 7th) it is the first in which a cassette is represented     I'll give you more info...yesterday another 3 patents were published...one for a Di2 rear derailleur, without anything notable (it's basically one of the current generation of 12s...another for wireless buttons for MTB (already seen in other previous posts) and a third of what could have been a Di2 group of 11 semiwireless
Robert
Robert
7 days ago

The second component “24” should read second component “14” as written above the component box on the left at figure 30 .

Andreas
Andreas
7 days ago

would be nice with a mature (as opposed to rushed out) Shimano DI2 counter to the upcoming SRAM update

Ben
Ben
6 days ago

Lol more chains ? Move on shimano

Rocky Bryan Naff
Rocky Bryan Naff
5 days ago

I believe this is just hype. Mechanical must be lighter and more durable. Would bet they PAY the pros to use this stuff.

froze
froze
5 days ago

Yawn! Sales are slipping so now out comes the 13-speed cluster and electric brakes to try to pump up the sales again, and the internet bike media people are going to start with how much those things are “game changers” and everyone has to have them or we’re just backward idiots if we don’t, and all the Tour de France riders will all be using them so we should too. They’re just going to replay the same broken record again using snake oil tactics to sell us.

David Rees
David Rees
5 days ago
Reply to  froze

In the early 90’s I dreamed of 13s so I could have a straight block. Now I’d need 15s minimum 🙁

tsarouxaz
tsarouxaz
5 days ago

yet again they use this stupid link to the derailleur hanger which will definitely be a problem on 13sp narrow tolerances.

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David Rees
David Rees
5 days ago

Electric brakes are a bad idea (and probably illegal) on the face of it, so this may be to block competitor designs, or a battery recharger, etc. Will be interesting to see 🙂

Ysarn
Ysarn
1 day ago

I don’t know why people keep talking about SRAM’s patent for swappable same sized derailleur batteries. Power tools have had identical swappable rechargeable batteries to power multiple devices for a long time, so there would be no valid patent for just bikes as it is prior art. Certainly in UK where I live this would just be laughed at by the patent office. They even have rulings to not allow patents in UK if the “innovation” is too “obvious”. If anything, SRAM would have to pay royalties to Ryobi, Bosch, whoever has the patent for swappable rechargeable batteries. Don’t be a wimp, Shimano and Campagnolo, just give us easily swappable batteries.

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