Shimano and Customer Service


After using my XTR spds for quite some time the spindle sheared and there was no way to repair it. 

But it was a known issue and Shimano through the distributor and the LBS have replaced it free of charge with a new set. Now that is how companies should operate – I always get XTR as they are normally low maintenance …… and now I am a lifelong buyer …..

Electric Bike Gears go off road – Shimano XTR 2015


Shimano 2015 XTR goes electric. Races it this weekend in Albstadt.

So this is making me think about the weight penalty of my Rohloff more than I should for something that has been trouble free for 5 years

 

As of… now! we’re allowed to officially tell you what many of you already suspected – that there was going to be a further reveal to the Shimano XTR 11speed story. Already well established in the pro peloton and also used successfully for the last couple of years on the cyclocross circuit, Shimano’s Di2 electric shifting system has been incorporated into Shimano’s flagship groupset. With development taking place over the last three years as part of Shimano’s 20,000km pre-launch testing of XTR, we’re expecting nothing short of a spectacular groupset, and initial impressions are very favourable.

Here’s the zoom-splash video!

Shimano’s confidence in the group is impressive – as it has equipped some of its top racers (like Julien Absalon and Dan McConnell) with the new groupset and, with less than a week of testing it on their bikes they’re all set to race this Sunday’s UCI World Cup on it.

 

 

 

 

 

Di2 is already in its second incarnation on Shimano’s Dura Ace groupset, having been slimmed down a lot so that the motors are a lot less noticeable than before. This continues over to XTR, where only a couple of bulges on the front and rear mech suggest the electric nature of the gearing. Shifting is controlled by wires (in case you were expecting something wireless like SRAM’s recent road groupset has in development) and there are a pair of neat shifters on the handlebars, along with a digital screen that indicates the gear selected, the battery level and which mode the system is in. There’s also scope to integrate Fox’s iCD remote shock lockout system too (it’s not the first time the two companies have worked together, Shimano helped develop the 15mm thru-axle used in Fox’ forks and provides batteries and other tech for Fox’ electric lockout systems)

In its simplest mode, there’s a pair of up/down buttons under each thumb, with the left side doing front shifting and the right pair doing rear shifting (assuming you’re running two or three rings up front. Running 1×11 will only need a single shifter pod). Being an electric system, though, the buttons are just switches and can be re-programmed to suit – so if you wanted a more ‘paddle shift’ approach to gears, that can easily be done by the (PC only) control box that hopefully your local shop will buy. This box of tricks can also do a lot more, setting up the special modes…

Things get more interesting though when you go into one of two special modes. Here, you can get the gears to shift sequentially front and rear – which needs only a single shift unit, even if you’re running 3×11. The sequential gears can be run as a true sequential gear system, shifting at the front and back to choose the smoothest way through the gears, or it can additionally be set up with two different profiles (that you can select while riding). You could, for example, have a profile that keeps you in the big ring for the whole of the rear block, keeping the chain tight and only bailing out into the inner ring when you’ve used all those gears up. Or you could have a ‘first lap of the race’ setting where it only keeps you in the big ring, then you select regular mode for the rest of the race. It all has great potential.

In terms of reliability, we’ve seen road Di2 used extensively in the worst conditions in cyclocross racing for a couple of years. Shimano have then done years of additional testing to make sure it withstands the rigours of off-road bumping around and filthy conditions. There are still some potential vulnerabilities in the flexible wires used to connect the shifters and mechs. While Shimano expects that all OEM speccing of the system will be on bikes with neat, internal routing, the aftermarket is a different matter and we think we’ll still see a few bikes with external cables taped on to the outside of frame tubes. There’s also the possibility for a wire to get hooked on a branch, or sliced by a suspension pivot – or for a mech to get smashed by a rock (the motor safely disengages from the mech if, say, a stick gets caught in the wheel) – but these are dangers with any system – although the price of failure is higher with a £400 rear mech. It’ll be interesting to see where manufacturers hide the battery, as the internal battery will only fit inside the seatpost (as it does on road bikes) if you’re not running a dropper post. Inside the fork steerer tube is one suggestion we might see, otherwise an external bottle boss, chainstay or BB mount will work.

 

 

 

Overall, though, it looks like Shimano has put a lot of work into making sure that XTR is as durable and reliable as possible. The shifting motors are reasonably unobtrusive and the ‘Firebolt’ shift buttons are small and neat. The shift action has more throw than a road Di2 switch (though way less than a mechanical shifter) and a more positive click to make it discernible over the bumping around off road. There are two clicks in either direction, to allow for quick rear shifts, plus a ‘push and hold’ option. The front mech will auto-trim (and comes in either a double or triple setup) and the motor is said to be 50% stronger than Dura Ace.

Chipps is in Albstadt, Germany right now at the World Cup XC race, where it’ll be campaigned in anger this weekend by Shimano’s top sponsored riders – and he’ll also be getting an exclusive ride on the new XTR Di2 groupset, so stay tuned for his first impressions. We expect to see production samples start to come through around New Year 2015.

UK Prices:
Rear Mech: £429.99
Front Mech: £269.99
Left and right shifters £149.99 each
Batteries: Internal £99.99. External £49.99
PCE1 (optional cable/programming interface): £179.99
Junction boxes and cables will be another £100 (approx) a bike.

WEIGHT INFORMATION
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

In case that’s not enough enthusiasm, here’s the official press release.
SHIMANO ELECTRIFIES XTR

Shimano is pleased to announce the launch of the first electronic groupset for mountain biking, XTR Di2 (M9050).  This development is the result of a very extensive testing program and is the moment many mountain bikers have long been waiting for. XTR Di2 comes in addition to the previously announced XTR M9000 mechanical groupset. The Di2 platform offers a number of advantages over a regular mechanical system including faster, more accurate and more powerful shifting which remains consistent in all riding conditions. Shifting requires minimal effort with a simple press of a button.  XTR Di2 also brings a new programmable shifting layout called Synchro Shift. XTR Di2 offers a clean appearance on the bike and low maintenance thanks to the use of electrical wires.

Electronic shifting is not controlled by a regular mechanical shifter; it is controlled by a new electronic switch. Working with Shimano’s test riders and professional racers, Shimano engineers designed and tested many varieties of switches before the perfect solution was found. The result is Firebolt; an electronic shift switch that provides a natural feel, feedback and ergonomics. XTR’s easy to reach, compact shift switches offer a short stroke with tactile feedback.

Intuitive operation
One of the main advantages of electronic shifting is the programmability of the system. With new XTR Di2 it is possible to have the best shifting setup for every individual riding style. XTR Di2 works on the same E-tube platform as Shimano’s current road Di2 groupsets. The E-tube platform offers full programmability of the groupset and transmits interactive signals and power supply to each individual part by ‘plug & play’ connection. E-tube makes it possible to customise your shifting system by changing the function of the shift buttons. For example, it is possible to change the control of the front derailleur to the right switch and/or the control of your rear derailleur to the left switch. Multi shifting is also possible with XTR Di2 and is fully programmable. Multi shift can be engaged by pressing and holding the shift switch. Not only is the speed of the shift customisable but also the number of shifts, whether you want to shift up to a maximum of two sprockets with a single hold, or all the way through the cassette.  Working with E-Tube electric wires also means no rust and no cable stretch while ensuring low maintenance and consistent shifting compared to a traditional mechanical cable-operated system.

One of the most unique features of XTR Di2 is the new Synchro Shift option. XTR Di2 has undergone over 20,000 test kilometers. This extensive test period allowed Shimano engineers to closely analyse the most used gears to be effective. With Synchro Shift enabled, it is possible to control both derailleurs with just one shifter. The front derailleur reads the position of the rear derailleur and automatically operates the front shift to position the gears in the most efficient gear and best chain line so the rider never has to worry about front shifting and correction shifts again. Synchro Shift is best explained in this video and improves efficiency of shifting and riding.

Shimano have used all the data from test riding to produce two pre-set shifting maps. E-tube allows the rider to change these pre-sets and create their own preferred shifting map. While riding it is possible to change between the programmed shifting maps or change back to manual mode. XTR Di2 provides fast and accurate shifting with less effort compared to mechanical systems.

Powerful shifting
Responsible for these shifts are the XTR Di2 derailleurs. These derailleurs deliver powerful, accurate and consistent shifting. The Di2 front derailleur is twice as powerful as the current M980 front derailleur and provides reliable, fast and smooth gear changes, even under heavy load. Shifting becomes effortless regardless of the terrain with a simple the push of a button. The rear derailleur is upgraded with new Shadow RD+ technology for Di2. Besides the regular on and off switch it is now also possible to externally adjust the spring tension of the rear derailleur with an Allen key (see video). The derailleurs react instantly to rider input and take up an accurate position in every gear combination using the front derailleur auto-trimming function. The electric wires guarantee stable and consistent performance.

Clean appearance and system expansion
The ‘brain’ of the XTR Di2 system is the digital display. This display indicates the battery level, gear position, shift mode (manual or Synchro) and the suspension mode. Using a button on the display it is also possible to change the shift mode to either manual or choose one of the two Synchro Shift maps, even while riding. The display also functions as a charging port, connection to the E-tube software (for personal settings) and includes 3 E-tube ports. Thanks to the E-tube platform, mountain bikes get a cleaner appearance. Electronic wires are easy to hide inside the frame and it is possible to integrate the Fox suspension system which minimises the visible cables on the bike and handlebars.

XTR Di2 M9050 uses the same batteries as its road equivalent. The external SM-BTR1 battery and the internal SM-BTR2 battery.

Another ride out on the bike


This morning was a ride and a plan that i don’t do often – got dressed up in my mtb gear pushed m bike down to the school and dropped the girls off and set off directly from there 9am. I don’t normally get up that early for a bike ride but it was well worth it. The sun was out and already i had stuffed my jacket into the camelbak.

ride with gps screen
ride with gps screen

What a blast – up to Bearsden and the hills beyond on my Lynskey Ridgeline 29er. I think I love this bike …. a lot. It is so effortless and quick. I did trails today quicker and with less effort (and mainly with less fitness than I did them before) The bike flows over obstacles so much better than my old carver. I even bagged a KOM on one section with little effort …. mind you only 68 people before and only a few seconds up on my previous attempts.

Wooo Hooo KOM (for a day or two)
Wooo Hooo KOM (for a day or two)

Went up some old trails and was also impressed by the traction once again from the Maxxis Ardent tyres so grippy yet still fast rolling.

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rohloff2013-05-30 10.53.07

grippy Maxxis Ardent UST
grippy Maxxis Ardent UST

 

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beast2013-05-30 10.53.41

DT swiss forks2013-05-30 10.54.08

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brakes2013-05-30 10.54.37

hills2013-05-30 10.55.23

I went down some trails that I had never been down before – one in particular seemed very sweet then suddenly the angle got steeper and steeper – suddenly it was a 45 degree slope and i was hanging on. I guess over time I have become particularly good at crashing so did a slow slide of doom before i had to jettison prior to going over the bars. I loved it I picked myself up laughing with a scrape on my leg and mud on the gloves. Stopped on the way home at the garage and used the jet wash – a quick and cost / time effective way to clean the bike.

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bushed – mud and helmet hair

strava - click on to link
strava – click on to link

Spring Clean – small changes to the Ti Bride


There I had it – had an hour to spare whilst some computer effect work rendered so out to the garage it was.

OLD EGGBEATERS removed (free to a good home so drop me a line)

New XTR pedals put on …

 

like a big fat zero

 

 

Old 2BLISS Specialised ‘The Captain’ removed – only holds air for two days – its a UST / 2bliss ready hatefest.

New Racing Ralph put on (hopefully not to be destroyed like the last one)

 

 

all sorted

 

 

SPIFFING … and back to work

HAVE YOU HAD A CLEAN OUT / OVERHAUL LATELY?

 

Save a lot spend a little


 

I'll take the box please bob ...

 

 

It all started speaking to Jules about pedals and the fact my 2nd pair of eggbeaters (eggbeater SL) are pretty much destroyed and a bit wishy washy now with excess float and slightly erratic engagement.

shagged

I have actually bent the surrounding cage as the left pedal wont rotate  which makes getting in a bit of a pain sometimes …. normally on sketchy terrain when I could do with being clipped in.

We were speaking about the new XTR pedals and the fact that it is the first update in yonks (someone put me straight please). He then came over saying his military discount and whatever from a well known bike shop meant we could get them shipped for $110.

 

Side Porn View

 

 

This should have been brilliant and they shipped early November. But then late november no arrival …. december no arrival …. January and we cancelled  the order and got a refund.

 

 

Now they turn up so what did we do … nothing. How bad is that … until I worked out the thousands I have spent with them then thought sod it and ordered a courier bag through them with the money …. thinking it was a safe 50%off purchase.

Ordered a Timbuk2 bag – then went on the Timbuk2 site and had a look at what they offer. They have a neat thing where you make a custome bag for not a hefty premium … very nice – had a quick play and came up with a Rasta Bag … ‘very niceeee mon’

 

rasta creation

 

 

 

New XTR 2011 pedals


XTR race pedals

On paper, the new Shimano XTR pedals read as though they’d visually stand out from prior year’s Spuds like a sweet potato in a pile of russets.

Old verses new. Note the reduction of exposed spindle in the new 980, compared to last year’s XTR pedal.

With 270 percent more surface area and oval-shaped axle body housing?

Certainly those two new features alone would make it obvious. But at a quick glance it’s hard to not simply write them off as last year’s version.

pedal porn

Honestly, they look so much like last years pedals that you could almost be cheated then you notice the cutaway which gives that better pedal contact,  out on the trail, it’s quickly very obvious that these are a revamped version of the industry bench mark pedal.

The most obvious change comes from those new, shiny little contact points that are wholly responsible for the 270 percent surface-area increase. All but completely negating the familiar rocking effect of previous SPD generations, with a stiff-soled shoe these pedals now feel like they have the surface area closer to that of a BMX platform pedal. That said, the engagement, release, and float are essentially the same as they ever were, in a good way.

Side by side, it’s more noticeable that the new generation pedal bodies are both wider and thinner than last year’s pedal. As for width, Shimano added 12-mm toward the crank, which is said to help with bearing durability, as well as rider stability. And by using an oval-shaped axle body housing, they were able to reduce the thickness by 4mm, increasing pedal clearance and supposedly helping with mud/debris-shedding abilities, too. The egg beaters have always been the king of shedding around here but I have gotten fed up with the loosening of the spindles and the speed in which the pedals wear down. The best EB I had where the very first chromoly ones – since then the SL and even Ti versions have been a bit crap.

2011 XTR PEDALS
Price: $250 (ALTHOUGH SHOP AROUND I GOT MINE FOR $129)
Weight: 310-grams (claimed); 308-grams (actual)
Available: October 2010

In addition to the design tweaks, they’ve also decreased weight by a handful of grams, thanks to lighter axles, and cutting out some of the girth on the outside of the pedal. It will be interesting to see how the pedals fare in the long-run with these reductions, as I don’t know about you, but the ends of my pedals take a beating like Balboa, and lightening up axles simply makes me a bit nervous.

Of course, Shimano usually isn’t known for taking chances, so odds are these SPD’s will be just as stout as the ones before. We’re also not talking about huge weight reductions, either, as according to our scale, the ’11 XTR pedals weigh in at 308-grams, which is 18-grams lighter than our ’10 XTR pedals.

Certainly there is a school out there that prefers a lighter pedal, but for myself, pedals should be a non-issue item. And if the durability is at the same standard Shimano has set with their previous pedals, then I’ll be in clover.