Spoke Magazine

Press Release: Shimano release XTR Di2!

Posted by Brett S Kennedy on Saturday May 31 2014

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NEW PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT FROM SHIMANO 

Shimano, the world’s leading cycle componentry company is pleased to announce their latest innovation – the electronic Di2 version of the new XTR. Building on the experience gained with the Dura Ace and Ultegra Di2 sytems, this technology is now available for both on and off-road riding.

This first-ever electronic mountain bike shifting system gives the rider the best possible shifting, in every gear ratio. On top of that, Shimano has enhanced the shifting even further as it’s now a motor moving the derailleurs, instead of a spring in the mechanical shifting systems.

The best possible shifting is achieved by the interaction of the derailleurs with the Shimano shifting designs. This means the derailleur will move the chain exactly where the Shimano HyperGlide system wants the chain to follow – this includes the sprocket patterns, pins and pickup teeth. This means the chain will shift as fast as possible, and after shifting will end up in the correct position, allowing the chain to immediately slip into the next sprocket without the chance of any jumping, slipping or skipping.

During the shifting process the system knows exactly where each derailleur is and can adjust the derailleurs by itself, allowing the smoothest possible gear shifting transistion. The electronic Di2 is pre-programmed with the derailleur interaction, so now everyone can shift like an expert.

SHIMANO GOES ELECTRONIC FOR MTB 

OSAKA, Japan (May 31, 2014) – Following over half a decade of proven Di2 electronic shifting systems, Shimano introduces XTR M9050 Di2, the world’s first production electronic mountain bike shifting system. An electronic shifting option for Shimano’s new 11-speed XTR M9000 mechanical mountain bike components, XTR Di2 redefines how mountain bikers can control and personalize the way they ride through the proven Di2 digital platform.

Shimano XTR M9050 Di2 electronic shifting integrates with XTR M9000 mechanical components in a variety of Race or Trail “Rider Tuned” 1x, 2x, or 3x drivetrain configurations. The new 11-speed XTR M9000 drivetrain introduces Rhythm Step gearing which provides range and ensures rhythm, no matter the rider or terrain. With the additional efficiency, new shifting options and personalization of the digital Di2 system, riders now can control their ride like never before.

The XTR Di2 Ride Experience

XTR M9050 Di2 has undergone over 20,000 kilometres of testing to ultimately refine how precision and logic can deliver a completely new mountain bike ride experience. Di2 digital shifting is seamless, instantaneous and can be custom tailored for any rider. Shifting becomes a simple rider reflex, allowing riders to place their attention where it belongs – on the trail ahead. Totally new ergonomics reduce hand movement and improve control, further boosting rider confidence.

The possibilities with Shimano Di2

Over half a decade of experience in electronic shifting components have culminated with the introduction of Shimano’s most advanced Di2 system ever. XTR M9050 Di2 features the programmable, upgradeable and expandable attributes of Shimano’s latest Di2 shifting systems, which now debuts intuitive shifting control. Shimano’s E-tube wiring and electronics make expanding Di2 shifting systems easy and also enable riders to custom program and upgrade the system through a computer software interface. Riders can program and control the shift patterns for single or multi-shift modes, the speed of those shifts and the actions for each shifter and button. With XTR Di2, Shimano Synchronized Shift is also custom programmed through the Di2 program software, allowing front and rear shifts using a single shifter.

Shimano Synchronized Shift: two derailleurs, one shifter

The new Shimano Synchronized Shift function and programmable shift mapping allows riders to change their focus from the physical effort of shifting to the trail ahead. A programmable option with XTR Di2 M9050, Shimano Synchronized Shift creates an intuitive shifting experience on the bike through customizable synchronized front and rear shifting via a single FIREBOLT shifter.

  • Improved efficiency – The XTR M9050 derailleurs communicate gear position and automatically execute front and rear shifts when riders select a sequentially larger or smaller gear. This improves efficiency by minimizing time spent on smaller chainrings and cogs.
  • Personalized shift mapping – Riders can program when front shifts occur through two customizable shift maps based on terrain and personal preferences. An audible alarm will warn of an upcoming front derailleur shift so that a rider can choose to remain in a given gear.
  • Total control – On a mountain bike with both front and rear FIREBOLT shifters installed, the rider can manually shift at any time. Synchronized Shift becomes another available tool for riders, not a requirement. With a touch of a button, riders quickly choose between synchronized maps or choose manual mode for complete control.

Rear Derailleur

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Shimano’s first mountain bike specific Di2 rear derailleur is also its most technologically advanced. Introducing Shimano Shadow RD + stabilization to Di2, the RD-M9050 couples unrivaled chain control that aggressive riders have come to love with shift performance that doesn’t degrade over time. Whether cross country or trail riders run a 1x, 2x or 3x drivetrain, the ultra narrow profile helps protect the drivetrain in tight trail sections. The refined rear derailleur geometry further improves the performance stability while Shimano Synchronized Shift enables system communication with the front derailleur.

  • Instantaneous shift response to rider input
  • Seamless gear changes
  • Shimano Synchronized Shift compatible – system communication with front derailleur
  • Advantage in all conditions – E-tube electric wire transmission guarantees stable performance
  • Low profile positions RD safely away from trail obstacles
  • 1x, 2x and 3x compatible with GS and SGS cage options

This is the first ever Di2 derailleur with a new Shadow Plus design, which optimizes a lower shift effort – meaning smoother shifting, increased shifting reliability and a lot less noise. The lower profile also improves the protection – keeping everything out of harm’s way.

The new Shadow Plus has a simpler external clutch adjustment, combined with a wider range of adjustment for an easier setup.

• The RD-M9070 is available in middle cage length for single/double cranks, and a long cage for triples.

Front Derailleur

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Long regarded as the most notable feature of Shimano Di2 shifting, the front derailleur performance remains the best in the industry, now with the additional capabilities of Shimano Synchronized Shift. With XTR M9050 Di2, front shifts require the same light effort as a rear Di2 shift, reducing effort and freeing up the rider to focus on the trail. The FD-M9050 uses computer controlled auto trim as the chain moves up and down the cassette to keep the drivetrain running smoothly. Shimano Synchronized Shift compatibility allows a single shifter to control both front and rear shifting.

  • More powerful shifting than mechanical (+25% compared to M9000)
  • Reliable gear changes under load
  • Computer controlled auto trim – optimized Di2 cage profile and gear tracking
  • Shimano Synchronized Shift compatible – system communication with rear derailleur
  • Advantage in all conditions
  • Modular mounting structure

Shift levers

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The new, easy-to-use XTR Di2 FIREBOLT shifters make shifting a simple rider reflex and deliver customizable ergonomics that improve bike control. Shimano’s FIREBOLT customizable shift button placement is determined entirely by human ergonomics, not by the needs of a mechanical mechanism. FIREBOLT shift levers are now exactly where thumbs naturally rest, allowing riders to put more grip on the handlebar and control the ride with more confidence – especially in rough conditions.

  • New ergonomic rotary shift lever design matches natural hand movement and offers independent lever position adjustment
  • Short stroke, perfect click levers provide faster, more accurate shifting
  • Increased trail readiness thanks to decreased shift effort and superior ergonomics
  • Programmable, multi-shift and Shimano Synchronized shift functions, including control of Fox Racing Shox suspension components

Shifting is made easier via a very small rotational shift stroke to achieve the shift.

With the Etube software you can customise the shifting behaviour to include synchronised shifting, which will shift the front depending on which cassette sprocket is used, to achieve maximum drive train efficiency.

Indicator

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Digital Di2 E-tube electronics allow the inclusion of the handlebar mounted SC-M9050 Display Unit for monitoring important Di2 data: gear selection, battery level and shift mode. The SC-M9050 not only provides data, but also is the convenient interface where riders will plug in and charge the system from the handlebar – an especially handy virtue when running an internal battery. The expandable E-tube platform also means that integration with electric-controlled suspension from FOX is a reality.

  • Multiple simultaneous display fields: Battery level, Gear position, Shift mode (Synchronized or Manual), FOX iCD position (Climb or Descend)
  • Shimano Synchronized Shift mode switch: Change between S1, S2 and Manual shift maps, Audible Shimano Synchronized Shift notification tone
  • Precision derailleur adjustment: Easy access adjustment mode, numerical adjustment indicator
  • Junction A function: Battery charging port, three E-tube wiring ports

Battery

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Shimano’s XTR M9050 shifting system uses the same E-tube platform introduced with road Di2 groups that is programmable, customizable and allows for expansion and further system integration. Wires are offered in a wide variety of lengths for bikes of all sizes and shapes and cable routing options will connect the various junction points.

Unlike traditional cables and housing, wires are not affected by trail and weather conditions, providing consistent performance in this waterproof system.

  • The SM-BTC1 mounts Shimano’s cylindrical SM-BTR2 Di2 battery on a bike’s water bottle bosses and also acts as a Junction B, connecting wires from the shifters to the battery and derailleur.
  • Junction B function: Six E-tube wiring ports with cable organizer
  • Clean appearance thanks to internal wire routing
  • System expansion possible thanks to the E-tube platform

Other XTR technology

The new Shimano XTR is packed full of new technology. A few examples of this are:

 Sprocket size management to achieve a 99% mechanical efficiency for the drive train

 Cranksets are capable of being singles, doubles or triples

 Single chainring is created by using weight relieved titanium chaining, on a carbon fitting plate and made incredibly stiff by an alloy 3-D shape and a chain retention tooth profile

 Extremely hollow left-hand crank on the FC-M9000 XC cranks, through HollowTech bonding

 Carbon-Alloy MTB wheel sets for the best possible ride in alloy wheels (27.5” + 29” in XC, 27.5” in Trail model)

 Improved heat control for the trail disc brakes, through improved piston materials and maximising heat losses for the caliper.

The XTR single chain ring, maximum technology…

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The new Single chainring tooth profile, maximum reliability…

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XTR Carbon/Alloy composite wheels

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FAQ XTR M9000 / M9050

1: Why does Shimano choose for a 11-40 CS to work with a single chainring setup? The range is too small.
Shimano’s philosophy for single FC is that it is developed for dedicated use on specific courses. It doesn’t matter if you choose Enduro or XC racing even if you choose a wider range CS it can never cover the range of 2x or 3x. For all-round purpose it is better to choose 2x or 3x. We support all riders for a long time and want to let all riders enjoy latest technology. This also results in longer durability because you will use the CS more efficient. Next to that we choose to have all gear steps below 15% so cadence change is never really big. This allows the rider to have more control in technical sections.

2. Can I modify the settings by myself or should I go to a dealer?
With your battery charger for the internal battery you can connect the system to your computer and you can change all settings for the shifter, synchro mode or multishift setting. For error check or diagnostics you should visit your dealer.

3. What happens if I crash on my RD is there a saver mode?
Yes there is a saver mode on the RD like we have on our Road components. Just push the button on the SC for 3 seconds and reset into the recovery mode.

4. What’s the weight difference compared to mechanical?
It depends on your exact setup. Exact weights for the most common components are:

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)

For the 2x setup with only a right hand shifter (synchro mode) M9050 has the same total weight as M9000 (there is a 47 gram difference on components, but the wires are lighter than cables).

5. I am afraid of damaging the RD, which is expensive?
In case of a crash there is a saver mode inside the RD this helps to protect the RD a bit. Other than that the chance of breaking an RD is similar to mechanical.

6. Is the FOX system fully integrated?
Yes it’s even adjustable and compatible with the e-tube software.

7. It will most probably be super expensive?
It will be more expensive than XTR M9000 mechanical however it also adds a lot of features and advantages. It’s super easy to modify to your personal preferences. Price difference will be similar to the difference between mechanical Dura Ace and Di2 Dura Ace. This means the price of Di2 is approximately 40% more than mechanical (2x full setup).

8. When can we expect Di2 on XT?
So far we cannot say anything about that.

9. When is XTR Di2 available?
It will be available from the last quarter of 2014

10. SRAM announced they will enter the market for electronic shifting, what do you think?
We appreciate that they acknowledge that our direction for electronic shifting is the right one. This also challenges us to keep our focus on new developments.

11. What about wireless?
We present XTR Di2. What the future will bring regarding new products (even competitors’) time will tell.

  • Mark

    looks pretty interesting.

  • ST

    When its wireless and the battery is built into the BB and charged by pedalling, then I’ll be interested. Until then, no thank you.