Synchronized shifting, which allows automated front shifts and first debuted on Shimano’s mountain bike electronic groupset and more recently the latest Dura-Ace 9150 Di2, is now available on Ultegra 6800 and Dura-Ace 9000 Di2 groupsets.
Synchronized shifting is one of the potential benefits of an electronic groupset. Full synchronized shift allows you to concentrate on rear shifts only and the groupset will shift the front mech for you, automatically picking the right gear combination.
It means you can focus on shifting up to an easier gear or down to a harder gear, and the system takes care of the rest ensuring you’re in the optimum gear.
The system follows a pre-determined gear selection chart but it’s fully programmable. You can choose exactly when changes will take place via the E-Tube Project app.
You still have full control over the front mech, synchronized shifting is “designed to complement rather than replace manual shifting,” explains Shimano. The company also says it’s a useful option if using TT, climbing or sprint shifter buttons.
Another mode is Semi-Synchronized shifting. Instead of automatically shifting the front mech for you, this mode automatically shifts the rear mech when the front mech is shifted. Again, you can fine-tune the specifics of the setup in the app.
How do I get it?
To enjoy the benefits of synchronized shifting you’ll need the new battery (BT-DN110) which differs from the regular battery in that it has a memory chip required for the processing power needed to offer the multiple shifting patterns.
You’ll also need a firmware update to make it work, which you can download either by Bluetooth or connecting the Di2 junction box to a computer. If you have the new battery and the firmware updated successfully, you can toggle between the two synchronized shifting modes by pressing the junction box button twice, with the lighting sequence below indicating which mode you're in:
- A solid red light indicates Manual Shift mode
- A twice-blinking red light indicates mode 1 (eg full Synchronized Shift mode)
- A 3-times blinking red light indicates mode 2 (eg semi Synchronized Shift mode).
“Each mode is customisable in E-TUBE, meaning you can choose different combinations and customized shift patterns if you wish (for example, two semi-Synchronized Shift modes offering different ‘correction’ shifts, or two full Synchronized Shift modes that assign a front derailleur command on differing sprockets),” says Shimano.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.