Electric or Mechanical?

by Owen Rogers   September 17, 2012  

With prices of mechanical groupsets plummeting, should I bother buying electric?

I've not yet seen pricing for the Campag Athena EPS, but I expect it'll be over £1500, so should I go for Super Record mechanical, which I've seen for around that price?

Mind you, if my wife finds out in advance, I won't be buying anything.

11 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Are you desperate to upgrade just now? If your system is working fine.

I would wait till next year with more coming on the market, it should reduce in price a bit more. Wink

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9239 posts]
17th September 2012 - 17:33


I am asking myself the same question. I am looking to buy a new bike and can't decide if to go for the ui2 spec or the dura ace 9000. There is not that much difference in the overall cost.

posted by mattm [31 posts]
18th September 2012 - 6:12


It depends on who you are and what kind of cycling you do. If you have no mechanical aptitude whatsoever, to the point where merely tweaking a cable tension adjuster terrifies you to the core of your very soul, or you are too lazy to learn a few basics, or you just want to latest and greatest to hang on the bike rack on the back our your SUV until next year's fad comes along, or golf comes back into fashion - buy an electric groupset. If you are an amateur racer, buy mechanical - it's lighter. If you are a tourer or a commuter, buy mechanical - it's simpler to fix on the roadside. If you are a professional racer, or a bike industry journalist, ride whatever you are given to ride and, unless it is truly awful, tell anyone who will listen that it is the greatest innovation ever - after all, your livelihood depends on it.

posted by handlebarcam [545 posts]
18th September 2012 - 7:37


Thanks for your comments. I don' t have much mechanical appitude but do have good relationship with lbs who look after me quite well. I am a jack of all trades in cycling terms and master of none. I take part sportives in the uk and abroad, TT's and the odd cat 4 race and use the same bike for them all. I am interested in real world views on electronic shifting. Is it as good as the jurno's suggest or is it just hype.

Ps I don't own a SUV or any golf clubs

posted by mattm [31 posts]
18th September 2012 - 19:37


I'd wait a year or so, maybe more till shimano do the usual trickle down in tech. and produce an electronic 105 groupset that will be the equivalent of the current Ultegra but cheaper as by that time they will have revamped both the Dura Ace/Ultegra versions...well thats what Im hoping anyhow!.

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1092 posts]
18th September 2012 - 20:00

1 Like

I had a go on ultegra Di2 on a turbo trainer. It seemed really good, and the auto-trim on the front mech was very neat. How long until electronic shifting starts appearing on the club run? I've nothing against progress, and suspect that in 10 years electronic might be the default option anyway, but I like being able to hang the bike on the stand and tinker with it.

Oh, and the mouse-click-like button pressure might prove to be nonsense in full-finger gloves.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3644 posts]
18th September 2012 - 22:26


Electronic systems are too expensive for me at the moment so not even a consideration, however, the side of my brain dedicated to gadgets wants electronic shifting. The practical side of my brain reminds me of how often I forget to charge my phone... I can see a situation where my bike turns itself into a single speed 50 miles from home because I'd forgotten to charge it.

posted by AndyBaker [5 posts]
19th September 2012 - 12:28


I have a year 2000 ultegra Groupset on my winter bike and it works perfect still.I must say di2 looks pretty good but my summer bike also has cable gears and it works so perfect Ultegra again.I would do better losing weight and going on a training camp i think.Come on people keep it real.

big mick

posted by big mick [209 posts]
25th September 2012 - 20:39


I tried Ui2 on a Kovert at the start of the summer and was very impressed with the way it functioned but had continual issues with the feel of the levers - there was also a slight issue with the battery which left me high and dry two miles into my favourite Sportive in the New Forest.

Functionality isn't, for me, everything and I was frustrated by the lack of feedback compared with the 105 I was used to. Often mis-shifted, going up instead of down, etc.

I hear that the Campag EPS system has been built to retain the feel of a mechanical system and I would be keen to try it compared to the Athena groupset I've been running since July.

However, I don't think I could justify lamping out on either system as it stands - it may be that we won't have a choice in years to come.

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [417 posts]
25th September 2012 - 21:50


Thanks for all your help. Unless I win the lottery I think it'll be mechanical. I'd love electric, but just can't justify the expense for such little gain.

Next year anyway. Plenty of time to change my mind a million times.

posted by Owen Rogers [32 posts]
26th September 2012 - 21:23

1 Like

Hi i have jst purchased an isaac meson with ultegra di2 and it is a dream, it is so easy to trim the gears, to be honest it does it itselfafter the push of one button. Will soon be bak on winter bike with 105 witch works fine but not in the same class, i say if you want it jst give one a trial run, and i bet ur hooked i was

posted by issacforce [210 posts]
26th September 2012 - 21:30