Shimano XTR M9050 Di2 new synchronized shifting electornic RD-M9050-GS_STD_img02

The future is now. Introducing the first ever compete production electronic mountain bike drivetrain, Shimano XTR Di2 M9050. Shimano was rumored to have an electrified version of their new top tier mountain bike group, but we’ve had to wait until now to see it.

Bicycle drivetrains seem to be at a critical point, one where the number of speeds, chainrings, manner of shifting, and the presence or absence of wires are all crashing together in a mix of aluminum, steel, carbon, and Ti. While the drivetrain arms race has yet to be fullyconquered by any one manufacturer, Shimano has delivered a strong blow with the unveiling of XTR M9050.

If the choice between 1x, 2x, and 3x wasn’t already enough, Shimano has managed to add even more options to choose from – and it’s these new options that have us most intrigued.

Firebolt through for more…

Shimano XTR M9050 Di2 new synchronized shifting electornic SC-M9050_STD_01

Drawing on more than half a decade of past experience with Di2, Shimano has no qualms about calling 9050 the most advanced Di2 system yet. Many of the possibilities with XTR wouldn’t have been possible without the advancements of the E-Tube wiring system which means that yes, for now 9050 will have wires. Shimano remains coy about the future of wireless electronic drivetrains from either them or their competitors, but for now the system will have the same wires and connectors as current E-tube systems. That means that the 9050 system is directly compatible with the Fox ICD suspension, with controls built into the shifters and suspension position displayed on the SC-M9050 display unit.

In addition to Fox ICD mode, the handlebar mounted display unit will show the battery level, gear position, and Shift Mode. Changes to the system can also be made at the display including switching between S1, S2, and manual shift maps (we’ll get to that in a bit), and adjusting the rear derailleur with an easy adjustment mode that includes a numerical adjustment indicator.

Shimano XTR M9050 Di2 new synchronized shifting electornic SM-BTC1_STD_01

In total, the system has 9 E-tube wiring ports – 3 at Junction A, and 6 at Junction B. Junction A is found at the Display Unit which also serves as the charging port which provides the ability to charge internal batteries. However, the new SM-BTC1 battery case acts as a holder for the SM-BTR2 battery and mounts to a mountain bike’s bottle mounts. The case also serves as Junction B with 6 E-tube wiring ports and a built in cable organizer. Shimano says the 6 ports leave room for expansion – which after the FD, RD, Battery, Junction A, and Fox ICD rear leaves what? Is it possible this extra port hints towards a future with electronic dropper posts?

While Shimano isn’t releasing an official XTR internal battery with the system, the E-tube wires are compatible with the current SM-BTR2 battery which can be stashed in many seat posts. Shimano hasn’t introduced a separate Junction B for internal wiring, but you can use the current SM-JC41 internal junction Box that is used for Ultegra and Dura Ace. If you do that though, you will be limited to 4 wiring ports which would mean no Fox ICD rear control (4 ports – one for battery, one for FD, one for RD, and one to Junction A). Something tells us that in the future as internal wiring and battery storage standards get worked out, we may see a new internal Junction B as well.

One of the most exciting features of 9050 Di2 would have to be the new Synchronized shifting system. We would be remiss if we didn’t give Fairwheel bikes credit for getting the ball rolling with the first sequential shifting drivetrain that we’ve seen, but it seems that Shimano and maybe even SRAM have taken notice. First, the disclaimer – if you aren’t keen on a sequential shifting Shimano isn’t forcing you, as you can use two shifters just like you would currently, just electronically. However, if you like the idea of always being in the most mechanically efficient gear and only having one shifter to worry about with one button for up and one down, Synchronized shifting seems like the ticket.

Shimano XTR 9050 already combines the auto-trimming feature that has made the front shifting on their road groups so popular, but Shimano Synchronized Shift takes it to the next level. Using a single shifter to shift up or down, the brain of the drivetrain automatically shifts both front and rear derailleurs to stay in the optimal gear. This opens up the possibility of a 2×11 or even 3×11 drivetrain all controlled with a single shifter. Shimano made a point with Dynasys in pointing out that a bigger gear is a more mechanically efficient gear which helps to prolong drivetrain life. Synchronized Shift automatically keeps you in the biggest gear while sequentially moving through the gearing.

Shimano XTR Di2 Synchronized Shift Map

Shimano XTR Di2 Synchronized Shift map triple

The yellow plot line illustrates gearing while shifting down (harder), the red shifting up (easier). Watch the video for a better idea of how Synchronized Shifting works.

Shimano has built in two different customizable shift maps which allow you to change when the front derailleur shifts if the terrain or personal preference warrants it, and the Display Unit can be set to put out an audible alarm that will sound just before an upcoming front shift. Riders can chose to run two shifters and change back and forth between Synchronized Shift modes and manual or ditch one of the shifters completely.

This also offers ability to run a left or a right shifter only, which could be very handy for adaptive bikes where a right shifter (or left for that matter) may not be an option. Shimano mentions that Di2 has been a revelation for the para-athlete community, and XTR Di2 is only set to provide even more options – pretty cool.

Shimano XTR M9050 Di2 new synchronized shifting electornic SW-M9050_L_STD_01 Shimano XTR M9050 Di2 new synchronized shifting electornic SW-M9050_R_STD_01

Speaking of shifters, XTR 9050 ushers in the new Di2 Firebolt which is a complete new take on the way mountain bike shifters are designed. Since they are simply buttons, Shimano was able to design a shifter that they say is perfectly designed with ideal ergonomics. The rotary design places two buttons directly at the tip of your thumbs. Each lever position can be adjusted independently, and the buttons offer what Shimano calls “Short stroke, perfect click,” which leads us to believe they will have a tactile click.

Like other Di2 shifters, the Firebolt shifters are fully programmable including multi shift, shift speed, and control of Fox ICD suspension. Changes can be made by connecting the bike to your computer through the battery charging USB cable and Shimano points out that you can program the shifters to perform whatever function you need them to do.

Shimano XTR M9050 Di2 new synchronized shifting electornic RD-M9050-GS_STD_01

Of course, no mountain bike drivetrain would be complete these days without a clutched derailleur so the RD-M9050 includes Shimano’s Shadow + technology complete with the new easily adjustable clutch mechanism that was introduced on M9000. Offered in both GS and SGS cage options, the derailleur is fairly similar to the XTR M9000 with the addition of a motor. That includes the new geometry and an offset parallelogram for improved shifting and increased stability.

One of the big concerns with XTR Di2 will inevitably be damaging the rear derailleur. While it won’t completely protect you from obstacles on the trail, the derailleur does at least have the same crash saver mode built in where the derailleur will disconnect internally following a crash to protect it from harm.

Shimano XTR M9050 Di2 new synchronized shifting electornic FD-M9070_STD_02

For many riders, the reasons for switching to 1x drivetrains include simplicity, less weight, and the fact that many front derailleurs over the years have, well, sucked or at the very least been hard to adjust. Now, that could all be changing. XTR 9050 will already be lighter and simpler with only one shifter, and with the addition of the new FD-M9050, front shifting should be dramatically better as well. Built to shift with 25% more power than the M9000 front derailleur, the FD-M9050 should shift better under load while auto trimming for quiet operation.

Shimano XTR M9050 Di2 new synchronized shifting electornic SM-FD905-L_STD_01 Shimano XTR M9050 Di2 new synchronized shifting electornic SM-FD905-H_STD_01

Shimano XTR M9050 Di2 new synchronized shifting electornic SM-FD905-E_STD_01 Shimano XTR M9050 Di2 new synchronized shifting electornic SM-FD905-D_STD_01

Shimano has chosen a modular mounting system for the front derailleur, with separate clamps available for traditional seat tubes in low and high mount, as well as high and low direct mount. Not only does this cut down on expensive parts for dealers to carry, it also means if you want to switch your system to a different bike you’ll need a new bracket rather than a new derailleur. Rather than the typical braze on mount found on road Di2 derailleurs, the mountain FD slides onto the bracket and then is bolted in place.

Still set on a 1x drivetrain? That’s fine – simply ditch the front derailleur and run a single Firebolt shifter and rear derailleur. Single ring divetrains will still use Shimano’s 11-40 11 speed cassette which doesn’t offer quite the range of the 1x competition from SRAM. To that regard Shimano states that their philosophy is based around specific gearing for specific courses. By keeping all gear steps under 15%, cadence changes are kept to a minimum and the drivetrain should theoretically last longer thanks to more efficient gearing. That’s probably not that answer many want to hear, but now with a 2×11 drivetrain and Synchronized Shifting providing a wider range than 1x systems with a single shifter, Shimano has a compelling argument.

What about the weight? When it comes to the entire system, a 2x drivetrain with only one shifter will be the same weight as a mechanical M9000 system. The actual M9050 components are 47 grams heavier than M9000, but the subtraction of the weight from cables and housing levels the playing field.

  • Front derailleur (FD-M9070 D-type) : 115 grams
  • Rear derailleur (RD-M9050-GS) : 289 grams
  • System display (SC-M9050) : 30 grams
  • Shift switch (SW-M9050) : 64 grams
  • FD = M9050 is 5 grams lighter
  • RD = M9050 is 68 grams heavier
  • SL = M9050 is 36 grams lighter (if you just use 1 it is 136 grams lighter)
  • BT = 51 grams (extra item)
  • SC = 30 grams (extra item)

Pricing is still to be determined, but Shimano expects the price difference to be roughly the same as mechanical Dura Ace and Di2 Dura Ace, or about 40% more. XTR M9050 is expected to ship to retailers in Q4 of 2014, so we all have to wait at least until October.

bike.shimano.com

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87 Comments
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Matt
Matt
7 years ago

Yes, first to comment and can I say F YEAH. This is awesome.

Joey Brown
Joey Brown
7 years ago

Awesome!

Andrew
Andrew
7 years ago

40% more expensive than XTR is already? A full XTR drivetrain already costs about 40% more than an XX1 drivetrain. So we are paying more money for something which is heavier, will cost $700-800 bucks if it gets hit too hard on a rock, and potentially has an adult toy attached to the cage mount. I’m all for progress, but this is a lot of sideways and only a little forwards.

Pasabaporaquí
Pasabaporaquí
7 years ago

From an aesthetics point of view, it doesn’t turn me on. That screen looks hideous in my opinion…
I’m sure it’ll work flawlessly, but XTR has gone more and more to the dark side of beauty with each iteration…

Bike Shop Guy
Bike Shop Guy
7 years ago

Got to demo this months back when shimano took it on tour (NDA’s all around) and I must say this blows that SRAM sh*t out of the water. Yes, it’s more expensive, but cycling has always been a pay to play sport.

Jake
7 years ago

I don’t care about your feelings about electronic shifting, this is a pretty damn cool technological innovation.

Turbo
Turbo
7 years ago

Its a bike not a computer. Dislike.

Pepelu
Pepelu
7 years ago

What i understand is that it was a good idea to go with 1*11

Pepelu
Pepelu
7 years ago

1*howmany_you_whant_i don’t_care is future! not this…

Greg
Greg
7 years ago

That display sucks

Theo
Theo
7 years ago

Looks like rider distraction is the next big issue, unless google glasses can add a heads up display, wait is that better or worse.

CfR
CfR
7 years ago

people were crapping on the idea of electronic/computerized shifting when Di2 and EPS first came out. This is nothing new, and the fact that Di2 and EPS have truly proven themselves to work beautifully speaks for themselves. Progress is going to happen – get used to it, @Turbo!

This stuff is one of the biggest things to happen to mountain bike components in years. YEARS.

Matt
Matt
7 years ago

For all you haters – Suck it. This is what progress feels like. It is only a first iteration, but electronic shifting and all its benefits are now here for mountain biking. Sweet and let the games begin.

huelse
huelse
7 years ago

SyncroShift was a mid-90s development of a french brand with the same name. They were bought by Shimano in 2001.

iperov
iperov
7 years ago

will wait cheap China alternative of e-shifter

jen
jen
7 years ago

its a bad day at sram… lol

vectorbug
vectorbug
7 years ago

“will wait cheap China alternative of e-shifter”

That is a pretty disappointing “strategy” if you actually appreciate the bike industry and the people who try to make a living in it. Do you even like bikes?

cole
cole
7 years ago

Yay for electronic MTB specific, I’m all for technology advancement. But auto selection for front shifting based on the calculated ratios? Hate to have the system want to shift the front when I’m trying to dump a bunch of gears in the middle of a race at the bottom of a tricky climb. Hopefully the front shifting is money under high torque. XX1 grip shift rules in these situations.

Ryan
Ryan
7 years ago

I ride rigid SS. My view on this is obvious. Simplicity is beautiful, and reliable.

AbelF
AbelF
7 years ago

Cool! I am sure this will appeal to lots of folks and become very popular. This could send sram and their XX1 back to the dugout. Even though I am a tech geek, I dont like to have to recharge stuff on my bikes, as for me, the escense of them is human power (excpet for my bike lights). I rode a di2 equiped road bike for a couple of rides and although I was impressed by how nicely if shifted, it sparked no interest in me to own one as a well adjusted and mantained cable system work almost or equally as well without relying on electronics and a battery you need to charge every so often.

Heffe
Heffe
7 years ago

I don’t want to deal with keeping a battery charged just to ride a bike, I’ll pass.

jose
jose
7 years ago

This is so bad ass.

Jay
Jay
7 years ago

Are these XTR components compatible with road DI2 shifters? Specifically, could the RD be used with a road group to give a wider range?

fisho
fisho
7 years ago

Yes! My biggest like about Di2 is that it makes my tiny freak of nature small hands so much easier to shift compared to mechs.

Battery, it is easy, the first of every month throw it on the charger for 5 min. done. It will last about 4 months anyway. Easier than changing shifter cables every year because you know it will break if you don’t.

Haldy
Haldy
7 years ago

Wider range? At what point is a 34-28 not a wide enough range? Any lower a gear than that, and it would be faster to walk up the hill…

T
T
7 years ago

Can I use the computer thingy as junction A and these derailleurs to make a triple road group for, lets say, a tandem? I have never had my tandem shift anything more than OK. If I could have perfect shifting on it…oh my.

Matt
Matt
7 years ago

I really like the idea of electronic shifting for endurance mtn bike racing. I am already a bad shifter, and when you add 10+ hours on the bike and dirt everywhere, shifting starts getting silly.

I am hopeful that this problem can be solved with a few thousand dollars now. Ha.

G
G
7 years ago

Old Suntour had it going on! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stCbRXWdSEo

dorkdisk
dorkdisk
7 years ago

I love tech. I build my own computers.

I love bikes. I build my own bikes.

None of my bikes have computers and oddly this does nothing to me. I like bikes because they are human powered

But yeah, it is pretty cool and I can see the advantages but I dont see myself leaving my analog piano wires anytime soon

Topmounter
Topmounter
7 years ago

I’ll keep my clicky shifters until they release a version hardened to withstand an EMP.

ro
ro
7 years ago

It is like connecting an touch pad to a mechanical typewriter… I´m for internal gears development…how about Di internal gears?

wheel-addict
wheel-addict
7 years ago

This looks pretty cool, but as somebody who writes software for a living, my bike is my refuge from the digital/electronic world. I hate the idea of having to plug charge anything just to ride my bike.

scott
scott
7 years ago

What shite. I can’t think of a worse thing than having a computer decide when my front derailleur shifts WHILE I AM ON A MOUNTAIN. Actually I can’t think of a worse thing than having a front derailleur. 1X11 for me please. This is for people with too much money.

SamSkjord
7 years ago

Did you read the bit where it was optional and awesome or just skip to the comments to rage that something might not be perfect for your exact circumstances and is therefore sh*t because everyone rides exactly the same way you do?

scott
scott
7 years ago

@vectorbug Anyone who actually appreciates the bike industry and those who work in it knows that Shimano has the worst margins and the ultimate “f*^k you” attitude to anyone who carries their products.

nunyab
nunyab
7 years ago

@ro, Internal Di already exists. Alfine Di2 Internal 11 speed.

herrow prease
herrow prease
7 years ago

Still crack up at the notion that anyone makes anything for a triple up front. Who runs a triple up front these days? You don’t even see 2x setups anymore but 3x..Shimano why waste your time?

Anders
Anders
7 years ago

We are still waiting for sequential shifting for the road line…

scott
scott
7 years ago

@SamSkjord – It is you who read incorrectly. 1x is available on Mechanical XTR, not the Di version.

badbikemechanic
badbikemechanic
7 years ago

We are still waiting for SRAM to do a electronic road group whilst Shimano knocks it out of the park with offroad di2. This is sweet.

kurti_sc
kurti_sc
7 years ago

well, it’s cool technology. I’m probably more like Ryan and a few others, though. It might be cool, but I don’t think I want it. Biking, cycling, is better in it’s simpler forms, in my opinion.
It will be exciting to see this develop but I consider this a warning shot to stock up on the stuff I currenlty ride / like so I can hold off on being part of the learning curve on this one.

badbikemechanic
badbikemechanic
7 years ago

@Scott

Everyone who works in the bike industry knows that Shimano’s warranty is simply the best. They have a new part in the mail as soon as you report a problem. Another company that starts with “S” require you to mail in and wait for inspection.

SamSkjord
7 years ago

@herrow prease Shimano are such fools! More options are always a terrible thing and of course everyone has the exact same bike requirements as you so nothing else needs to be available.

SamSkjord
7 years ago

@scott “Still set on a 1x drivetrain? That’s fine – simply ditch the front derailleur and run a single Firebolt shifter and rear derailleur.”

Yep that definitely says mechanical XTR only, oh wait…

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
7 years ago

Very interesting, especially for my wife who has had issues with front shifting but way too expensive right now. I eagerly await an XT or better yet an SLX Di2 2×10 with sequential shifting.

stampers
stampers
7 years ago

It’s obviously for the racers and the 1%’ers right now but it looks like shimano has just about every mtb need met… looking forward to a test drive soon.

Larry Falk
Larry Falk
7 years ago

I’d be very happy to have Synchronized Shifting on my loaded touring bike.

TOm
TOm
7 years ago

that rear derailleur gives me wood – so much cooler looking than the road equivalents. makes me wish I could put a XTR rear derailleur on my road bike instead of DA

Dr. Sartorious
Dr. Sartorious
7 years ago

Dear Bikerumor Forum Moderator,

Instantly delete any negative comments about the new XTR Di2 gruppo.

Any naysayers are either, a) artisanal hipsters, or b) broke.