Shimano announced today that Dura-Ace Di2 7970 Electronic Groupset is in fact ready for production and will be available in January 2009!
For years, Shimano has been testing prototypes of its electronic Dura-Ace system. Pictures have surfaced from time to time of teams in the peloton that were testing the system, but no word on how far along in development it was or when we would see the final product come to fruition and into production. Well, wonder no longer, because Shimano today announced that Dura-Ace Di2 7970 is in fact in production and should start arriving at your local bike shop in January of 2009.
We first saw what looked like a production ready version on Fabian Wegmann's Specialized bike at the start of the Tour of California. At this year's tour, we saw an even more polished version of the Di2 on Fabians bike.
The electronic version of Dura Ace, will be an add on feature to the existing 7900 groupset. It has not been announced what the price will be, but we're figuring it should be somewhat substantial. What you'll get is two brake-and-shift levers, two derailleurs equipped with servo-motors (instead of the traditional spring), and the 7.4-volt lithium-ion battery pack that will power it all (including wiring harness). Even with the added hassle of having to now carry a lithium-ion battery pack, the whole groupset should weigh in less than 67 grams from the current top of the range 7800. It appears that the upgrade means that Di2 is not crank, cassette, or chain specific...
The Di2 7970 shifters are designed to feel like their mechanical counterparts, but the internal shift mechanisms have been replaced with small touch pads that will send an instantaneous message to the front dearailer, which houses the ultra small computer that controls the whole system, to shift. Potentially these pads could have been placed anywhere, but for the sake of easy transition, they were placed in the traditional location. The ability to place them anywhere will serve a better purpose in a TT bike setup though, where they'll really make a difference. Both front and rear dearailers have servos, instead of springs, this allows the system to monitor shifts to ensure accurate and precise shifting each time. The system will also be able to adjust itself, so no more worrying about chain rub or cable tension.
Shimano released official photos today…
Have something to add, or want to chime in with your thoughts? We welcome comments below!
Fabian Wegmann photo courtesy of CorVos