DA mechanical or Di2?

by Moby   December 13, 2012  

2013 Dura-ace Di2 or mechanical? Which do you reckon?

OK, so I've decided on what bike am going to get as a crash replacement... that is decided on the frame, but not the groupset. Still not got the cash from the car driver who knocked me off (yet), but I don't have a race bike and am only on an old bike for commuting at the moment.

Am very lucky to have a discount from my LBS as they sponsor my club and I won a race last year which qualifies me for a decent % discount from RRP.

Anyway, so I have chosen the bike and am looking to get Dura-ace version, but it domes in 2013 11-speed Di2 (9070) and 2013 11-speed mechanical (9000). Now historically I'm a Campag man (my last bike had Record 11 on it), but I'm not prejudiced against Shimano and am happy to try their top-end groupset, but I'm really not sure whether to pay a bit more for Di2.

So here are the positives:
- everyone who has used Di2 has said they love it and they'd never go back - including on1 guy who wasn' really keen, except with a similar discount to me has become a convert!
- can change with force throught the chainset.
- new Di2 no weight detriment vs mechanical
- now 11 speed (which I like!)

Here are my concerns:
- is it more at risk when travelling? I took my old bike on planes several times in the last 2 years and sometimes found I had to tweek the derailler at the other end. nothing too serious, but suggests that the bag had got hit. What happens if I get a hit on Di2?
- what happens if I go on a trip (as I like to do) and get a failure? If I'm in the middle of nowhere, e.g in the mountains in France or Spain and the nearest bike shop is a small LBS what's the chance that they will say they can't fix it as it's Di2, whereas a mechanical groupset can probably be fixed in no time at all!
- reading about Di2 online it seems there's no manual way to change gears if the system fails (for any reason), so you have to ride home in whatever gear it is in when it' off - is that true?

Am I being too scared of the new technology? I just don't want to be disappointed by it. Am sure that there will be a drop in the prices in the next 10 years and right now they're very over-priced as they become more common, but if I'm racing maybe I should take the best I can afford and use it as it may give me that advantage.

Having done a few internet searches I can't find that many stories on forums or reviews that say that people have had problems, apart from where the connectors have been loose, but I think you'd probably work that out and sort it fairly soon (happened to one guy in a race).

So, what do you reckon?

9 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

hi i have di2 and have no problems at all, the only thing that might hinder you is the battery when its gets low on power, but then you get a warning light to let you know,the battery should last for about 1000/1200 miles but thats also depends hoe often you change gear, i ride about 500 miles a month, and charge it bup every month, it takes less than an hour to fully charge, go take the plunge, you wont be dissapointed. Big Grin

posted by issacforce [219 posts]
13th December 2012 - 21:06


Thanks issacforce I do hear good things overall. Have you taken your bike on flights before? Any problems with transporting it?

I'm swaying towards Di2 at the moment, but it changes daily! Even with the discount it's still well over a grand different for Di2. That's a nice set of wheels!! Makes you think!

Really need to decide by tomorrow.

Any more comments?

Moby's picture

posted by Moby [6 posts]
14th December 2012 - 17:49


no flights taken , but ultegra di2 is a lot cheaper than mech dura ace and i know which one i,d have or which one ive got di2all the way

posted by issacforce [219 posts]
15th December 2012 - 0:09


TBH, my friends and teammates who have Di2 have Ultegra Di2 too, but for the bike I eant it comes with either DA Di2, DA mechanical or SRAM Red. Same(ish) frame with lower spec equipment (bar, stem, seatpost, saddle) come with Ultegra mechanical.

I get it that ultegra Di2 is great and would probably just go with it if it was an option.

Am still leaning towards Di2.

Moby's picture

posted by Moby [6 posts]
15th December 2012 - 8:57


In cold weather my fingers are "frozen" and I find it difficult to distinguish between change up and change down on the shifter. Proper winter gloves overcome the cold fingers problem but still make it difficult to differentiate between up and down.

Two solutions: Campag EPS or , if you are committed to Shimano, the Climber's Switch fitted to the tops of the handlebar.

posted by David Berry [3 posts]
17th December 2012 - 7:39


I believe Di2 is not classed as 'user serviceable' - assuming you bought a load of spares before travelling, is it possible to confirm that you could be self-sufficient in terms of maintenance?

I tried Ultegra Di2 just on a turbo, it felt very slick, and the auto-trim on the front mech was sweet, but I could well imagine struggling with it in full-finger gloves.

If you're previously a campag man, are you sure you'll be happy with the 'mouse-click' feel of Di2, rather than the 'just-like-mechanical' feel of EPS?

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

posted by notfastenough [3705 posts]
17th December 2012 - 10:49


Thanks for those responses since my last post - if I could have got EPS on the bike I'm after then I would, but I can't. My choice on this bike is either SRAM Red, mechanical Dura-Ace or Dura-Ace Di2.

I'm about to put the order in now for the DA Di2!

Moby's picture

posted by Moby [6 posts]
17th December 2012 - 12:13


I got that much, I guess what I was hinting at was just acknowledging how important that aspect was to you.

I'm sure it will be awesome, anyway!

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

posted by notfastenough [3705 posts]
17th December 2012 - 12:42


I noticed you mentioned availability with SRAM. I would pick SRAM any day of the week; lighter, cheaper and I love the directness of the shifting action. I also love the single leaver shift and get confused when I switch back to Shimano or Campy.

Negatives, my 2009/2010 does have a tendency to drop the chain at the front but a chain watcher fixed that.

posted by oldfolky [16 posts]
18th December 2012 - 19:14