I have been riding Ultegra Di2 in it’s different versions for 10 years. Recently, in June, I purchased a new bike that came with Ultegra R8000 mechanical with the intention to swap out the groupset for electrical as soon as.
I’ve done close to 3000km on the mechanical now and I have been surprised with how much I like the feel of it. Obviously shifting has come a long way since I last rode mechanical, but I am finding I really enjoy the feedback you get when shifting that I don’t think electric can compare with. I recently rode a SRAM Force ASX bike thinking that might be an option, but I found it very sterile and hard to tell if I had changed gear. I’m sure I would get used to it, but first impressions were not what I was expecting.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I am now thinking of going with a Campy mechanical groupset, rather than another electric one. I was wondering if anyone else has made the not so common switch and regretted it? I understand the extra difficulties with installation and probably with maintenance too, but that aside, has anyone done it and wished they’d stayed electric?
Nope, I’ll never change back.
Personally I think that you should ride what is feasible for you, (suits you) and what you like best. If it is mechanical, by all means go mechanical. If it is electronical, ride with Di2/eTap AXS/EPS/…
At least you will base your choice on experience (albeit Campty will feel a bit different than Ultegra).
When I got a disc brake road bike a few years ago I trusted Shimano the most to have the brakes figured out. I didn’t want to go electric because I have enough crap that I have to update the software on, and I didn’t want to do that on my bike. But I’ve never liked the sideways moving brake levers Shimano has, so when I tried Di2 I was sold. I have really enjoyed it and have Di2 on my gravel bike also.
But I often ride my 20 year old road bike with Campy 10 speed. If you asked me an hour into a ride which of my bikes had the best shifting I would say this one. I’m a big fan of mechanical shifting, especially Campy.
So … what … what, um … what?
I bought an AXS mountain bike during the pandemic because I wanted a new bike and it was all that my sponsor shop had available. It works fine, but I don’t see any advantage whatsoever over the already great mechanical 1x Eagle that I had before.
The battery life is way worse than advertised (15-20 hours riding, minus drive time if you leave the battery on the bike) which means that charging logistics always need to be kept in mind. E.g. if you did two long rides the previous weekend, risky to leave the house without charging - you might get stranded in the woods. I also once drove to the trails only to find that I’d left the battery in the charger. Easy to do, and ruined a Saturday.
Given the choice I’d much rather have mechanical XTR or Eagle. Cheaper, simpler, works great, no charging. Good enough for an Olympic Gold medalist, and all the Shimano-sponsored pros. And much better in the zombie apocalypse.
I think a lot of people get on a new electronic bike from their old mechanical bike and think the new bike is better because of electronics. Whereas, a large part of the difference is that the old bike hadn’t been maintained since it rolled off the shop floor, and the new bike is… new.
A good chunk of the benefit of electronic is negated if you know how to operate a barrel adjuster. But that’s probably 10% of the cycling masses, so not surprising that electronic is popular.
mechanical? happy cable and housing ordeals.
Didn’t exactly switch and then go back, but I did buy a new bike last year with force AXS and while I do like it, I find myself riding my bike with mechanic force 22 a lot more this year and really appreciating the performance of the mechanical group
I’ve tried di2 a couple of times, and ended up selling it (6770 & 6870 fwiw) each time.
I couldn’t get my head around which button did what, and I didn’t think the shifting was great, or fast, compared to ultrashift. I expect to get dog’s abuse for this statement
My friend had a loaner bike from the shop with Di2, and I, for one, was glad when he had to return it. The whirring and buzzing of the motor was driving me crazy.
I wouldn’t say I have switched, but I think you can use both. When a built up a nice titanium road bike a few years ago I chose mechanical, because it seemed to fit in better with the theme of the bike. My other two road bikes have Etap or Di2, which I like. When I chose a gravel bike I went for one with mechanical gearing, even though I could have afforded electronic, simply for the ease of repair in the middle of nowhere.
This is my main reason for looking at Campy. I think the Ultegra shifting is awesome, but the brake lever moving sideways is just not something I like. I like the philosophy of Campagnolo, one button (or lever in this case), one function.
Had 1st gen Ultegra di2 on my Tarmac. It was great, no probs whatsoever. 2 yrs ago got a new bike-steel Battaglin with Campy mech. I love it and wont go to electrical unless i get a second bike. BUT, I can handle all the tuneups and know how to fully work on a bike. And i drive a manual transmission car. So, elec def great and the way to go for vast majority, but mech is for me.
I used di2 (Dura Ace/XT for gravel) for several years. I switched to 12spd Campagnolo Chorus a couple of years ago on a new bike and love it. I love it so much that I went back to it after changing to AXS mullet—the battery stress wasn’t worth it, the levers didn’t fit my hands as well, and the brakes weren’t as good. Shift quality was also inconsistent.
I have an old Madone that is 10spd Di2 and a newer Emonda that is mech ultegra. Really don’t feel that I am losing out the mechanical. R8000 is seriously good.
A broken frame and supply chain issues kind of forced me into 12 speed mech Super Record last summer after a solid 6 or 7 years on Ultegra Di2. I love it. It takes more thought to shift and I’m sure I’d miss shifts, especially in a sprint, if I raced more than a club race or two a year. But I don’t really race, I just like to ride in a sporty fashion and the feel of easing the chain up into an easier cog and the solid clunk when you release it down the block are both really enjoyable. But I also drive a manual transmission car and get satisfaction from dialling in a barrel adjuster.
I ride Super Record 11 speed on one of my road bikes with external cables and it works flawlessly with a really light action on both front and rear derailleurs. I’ve installed SR (and Record, Chorus, Poteza, Athena, Centaur) 11 and 12 speed on numerous bikes with internal routing and it just doesn’t work the same - slower shifts on the rear and heavier action on the front. FD seems especially susceptible if the cable is routed through a cable outer around a bottom bracket sleeve.
I had to buy a new bike a year ago after my di2 equipped bike got totaled in a accident. The only bike available from stock was with mechanical group. So rode it like that for some two months before i managed to lay my hands on di2 parts to do the upgrade… I’m not sure what sort of road bikes I’ll be riding in future but I’m certain I’ll never again use anything mechanical.