Most bike mechanics will tell you that the future of bike technology is all about electronic gear-shifting. Unlike the traditional lever shifter, the
electronic variety uses a motorized derailleur to move the chain from cog to cog.
As an amateur cyclist, I've been a little skeptical on whether or not this will truly take off. Most of all, my skepticism lay in the fact that bikes and
components are not always easy on your wallet. So, I decided to give the components a try to see if it in fact is faster and easier to use that a regular shifter.
No, I did not revamp my ride to test it out. I simply jumped on the new Z3 Felt Road Bike. The bike, priced at $4,999 arrived at Soler's Tri Sports just in time for their Tri & Road bike expo helf over the weekend.
I was immediately impressed by the mouse-like button shifting. At a glance, there is nothing too aesthetically different than regular shifters. The handlebar controls move both the front and the rear gears, giving the rider enhanced control over the ride with minimal effort. The shifter is powered by a removable lithium ion battery, which requires a 90-minute charge every 1,250 miles or so.
As an amateur rider I was able to feel the difference between Shimano electronic gears and those on a standard road bike. The super sensitive shifter only requires a light press to shift in to the perfect gear. There was no sticking or bumpy shifting, making the action smooth and effortless — getting the shift right every time. Of course, moving between gears may not be that big of a deal for those of you who don
39;t race, but when it comes to competing at local bike races and triathlons, this smooth shifter can be a key component to helping you place in your age group or, at the very least, not lose your chain going uphill. For more on the Ultegra Di2 components visit Shimano's website here: http://bike.shimano.com/publish/content/global_cycle/en/us/index/products/road/ultegra_di2.html
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