Shimano have just released official pics of the new electronic time trial shifters that will be part of their 2009 digital Di2 range. The shifters, which were snapped in the wild for the first time in this year’s Tour de France, can be controlled from the ends of the aero bar extensions as usual, and also from the dual control levers on the base bar. It’s the change from cable to electrical operation that allows Shimano to offer these two different control points. The base bar levers mean that you can now change gear when you’re riding out of the saddle; there’s no need to sit back down, move your hands to the extensions, change gear, move your hands back to the base bar, and then stand up again. That’s always been a bit too much like hard work when you’re trying to get into a climbing rhythm. If they fulfill their promise, these shifters are set to make a huge impact, especially on hilly time trials and also in triathlon where race organizers often plan a climb as early as possible in the bike leg to split the field and reduce the problem of drafting. The Dual Control Levers, which have buttons for Shimano’s new FlightDeck cycling computer in the hoods, feature carbon blades and come in at a claimed weight of 127g per pair. The satellite switches – the aero extension shifters – weigh 103g per pair, and the wires can be plumbed internally through your aero bars. Of course, you’ll need the new Dura-Ace Di2 mechs too. It’ll be interesting to see how the other big players in the market respond. In the meantime, we can’t wait to get our hands on a set.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.