Another reason I love Di2: Remote electronic shifting
I recently added a set of Profile Design T3+ aero bars to my main road bike (see, “Time Trial racing; Added areo bars to my road bike: initial thoughts.“), and to say that I love them would be a massive understatement.
Yeah, a couple of my friends, citing The Rules, have given me a little shit for rocking the clip-ons, but I don’t care. While I’ll be the first to admit that there’s some sage advice in Velominati’s extensive list of cycling dos and don’ts, I’m not a sheep. I will always do what works best for me.
As someone who spends (well, spent) most of his riding time down in the drops, being able to get even more aero and with more comfort is a game-changer.
One thing that became clear very quickly is that breaking aero to make a shift creates drag. In addition, riding on the aero bars puts a lot of weight forward on the bike and the hands are close together, so steering is very twitchy. If you’ve got decent bike handling skills I wouldn’t say that removing a hand from the aero bars to make a shift is unsafe, but it’s certainly not as safe as being able to do the shift from the bars (and it’s definitely not as fast).
Well, thanks to Di2–which I think blows mechanical shifting out of the water in just about every possible way–I was able to add a Shimano Remote Di2 TT shifter to the end of my aero bars. While Shimano makes a left and a right shifter, to me the left (chainring) shifter is pointless (if I’ve got to shift to the inner ring it’s because I’m doing a pretty steep climb, and won’t be on the aero bars anyway), so I only bought the right (cassette) shifter:
Installation was a snap. The shifter comes with a lead long enough to run down the aero bars to the main bars, and then over to the spare Di2 port on the STI shifter. Plug and play. Don’t plan on trying that with a mechanical gruppo.
Note that I have the shifter buttons oriented so that they are facing up. That’s the most natural position for me, but you can mount the shifter so the buttons are facing in any direction you like.
This little gem changed everything. Being able to shift in response to terrain changes without breaking aero is awesome. It’s faster, it’s safer and it’s more comfortable. Highly recommend.