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My wife has tendonitis in her wrists and is finding manual gear shifting to be a problem, so I'm looking into upgrading her bike to a simple push button Di2 system (rather than the sram wireless which still seems to need a bit of "throw" on the levers to change gear).

The bike is currently 11-speed 105 (5800) throughout, with 50-34 front, 11-32 rear cogs.

I'm hoping someone can describe which components I'd need to purchase to switch this over to an Ultegra Di2 system. I'm simply confused by the variety of pieces which make up the system (A junction, B junction, battery model, etc).

As far as I can see, I will need at least:

  • Left and right shifters
  • Battery (seat post or external ?)
  • Front mech
  • Rear mech with long cage
  • Some sort of junction box

I'm hoping that the existing cassette, crankset and rim brakes can be kept.

Cabling-wise, it's frame-internal apart from the run from the bottom bracket to the rear derailleur which is bare cable external under the chain stay.

I can see that there are internal and external battery options, various mounting options and I'm basically overwhelmed by the choices. If there's a simple step-by-step guide out there, I haven't found it.

Suggestions, alternatives all welcome - thank you...

17 comments

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VeloUSA [267 posts] 6 months ago
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First thing you need to do is buy or borrow a set of calipers. Second, loosen the cables so you can measure the entrance AND exit frame holes with the calipers. A lot of internally cabled bikes allow only the cable to enter/exit the frame, not the cable housing. Di2 FD/RD wires are approximately 3 mm in diameter so the holes must accomodate this size. If you find that the frame will accept Di2 wires reply back and I or another forum member will be more than happy to provide you with the in/outs of a Di2 kit.

 

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TheLonelyOne [379 posts] 6 months ago
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Cheers... the brake and gear cables go into the frame fully housed, so no issues there. But it’s the front and rear shifter cables which come out unhoused  under the bottom bracket via a plastic guide. I’ll see if I can remove that guide and gauge the size of the holes in the frame itself.

 

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Pilot Pete [62 posts] 6 months ago
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Assuming you can make it fit,

You will need;

1. A pair of Di2 non hydraulic shifters (for rim brakes). If you want sprint or climber shifters you will need these too.

2. A junction box A, which can either be a box that straps to the underside of your stem, or the new bar end version. 3 port if you don’t want ‘extra’ shifters, 5 port If you do.

3. A junction box B that normally sits inside the frame down near your bottom bracket.

4. A Di2 front derailleur.

5. A Di2 rear derailleur.

6. A Di2 battery. You can either have an internal seatpost mount battery, or a boxy external frame mount battery.

7. If you want Bluetooth connectivity (to do updates to the firmware wirelessly and/ or to be able to display Di2 data on something like a Garmin computer you will need a Bluetooth sender which is shown as being mounted externally between junction box A and the wire that goes into the frame down to junction box B, but can be placed in the frame.

If you want Bluetooth compatibility you need to buy the newer updated battery.

8. You will then need various lengths of Di2 wires to connect everything up. Download the Ultegra Dealer Manual (just google it) which will show you the various wiring options, but simplest is as follows;

Internal seatpost battery, connected to junction B. Front derailleur connected to junction B. Rear derailleur connected to junction B. Final port in junction B used to connect to junction A either with or without the Bluetooth unit in between.

So one port in Junction A is taken up with the wire from Junction B. The other two have cables that go to each shifter taped under the bar tape. With a 5 port obviously you can have two more cables, one to each climber/ sprint shifter.

You can wire it differently and some of the new shifters have two ports (my Dura Ace ones do) so you can plug climber/ sprint shifters into them.

The whole system is CANBUS, so anything can plug into anywhere pretty much and it will all work.

You will also need;

1. To download the eTube software from Shimano onto your pc/ tablet.

2. A battery charger unit, mine acts as an interface with the pc too for diagnostics/ setup.

3. Mounting kit for your battery (be it internal)

4. The tool for connecting/ disconnecting the wires, which comes with some items (I got one with the shifters I think.) 

And that’s about it. Remember that the wires/ cables come in various lengths, so just measure and add a bit to ensure each one is long enough for the run - if internal any extra can be hidden in the frame. The only ones that I have found need to be accurate are from shifters to Junction A as you don’t really want lots of extra to be hidden under the bar tape etc.

Hope this helps.

PP

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Pilot Pete [62 posts] 6 months ago
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p.s. I found wrapping junction B and Bluetooth sender in foam (from bike packing off new bikes) and secured with a cable tie meant they pushed up inside the frame and wedged using the foam to prevent rattling.

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kil0ran [1071 posts] 6 months ago
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I did this on a bike, all external wiring, and it will work fine with your 5800 chainset and cassette. Really simple to install and set up.

To add to Pilot Pete's recommendation I'd recommend that you cable up and test everything off the bike first - get it all upgraded to the latest firmware.

For the internal cabling you'll probably need different port covers for your frame - check with the manufacturer.

If her tendonitis is really bad consider adding the climbing shifter (http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/shimano-ultegra-di2-r600-climbing-shi...) which will mean she can easily shift from the tops.

You'll probably go with internal routing but if you don't consider using the XTR external battery holder (SM-BTC1) - this dispenses with the junction B box and will sit alongside your bottle cage like a mini-pump. Quite neat and importantly it allows you to use the latest Di2 upgrades (syncro shift - which will be a further benefit for your wife's condition). For ultimate pimping you can also use the XTR external LCD gear display.

If you are going to go with internal routing just check that there is an exit point for the front mech cable (should be drive side just below the mech clamp) and also for the rear mech cable. There probably won't be for the rear mech but you might be able to drill out the hole in the BB where the external cable guide is currently - otherwise you're going to need to drill the chainstay.

The other thing to consider is going with SRAM Red eTap instead - that way you can keep your shifters (which means no bar unwrap), you've got no cables to route or battery issues to address, and you can use your existing chainset and cassette. You'll need the long cage version with a blip box and the tri-bar shifters

(e.g. https://www.vanillabikes.com/products/sram-red-etap-aero-groupset?varian... - but you'll need the long cage rear mech)

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kil0ran [1071 posts] 6 months ago
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Some cool info regarding eTap here:

https://www.sram.com/stories/11-things-you-might-not-know-about-sram-red...

Didn't know you can just use the Blipbox as a shifter, you don't need blips or shifters...

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TheLonelyOne [379 posts] 6 months ago
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Pete, Kil0ran - that's magnificent. Thank you.

 

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kil0ran [1071 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

You're welcome.

Order a variety of cable lengths if you stick with Di2 - you can always return them. Shifters to Junction A will be either 300mm or 350, the others depend on how you're routing.

Longest cable will be Junction A to Junction B, which runs down the downtube. Then a short cable (250 probably) from Junction B to Front Mech, and something like 650 from Junction B to rear mech, depending on chainstay length.

You absolutely need the cable install tool, they're only about £3.50 I think. Get a couple so you can carry one in your saddlebag for roadside repairs (I did once have a front mech go unresponsive which was resolved by re-plugging the cable).

 

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rjfrussell [486 posts] 6 months ago
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There is no "throw" with etap shifters-  you press the shifter.

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TheLonelyOne [379 posts] 6 months ago
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Cheers @rjfrussell, so it's literally a tap then? Like, a really light action?

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VeloUSA [267 posts] 6 months ago
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@TheLonelyOne -  To me SRAM eTap shifters are a light throw, not a press. I suggest you & the Mrs head down to an LBS who carries SRAM eTap bikes and feel shifting for your/herself. 

@kil0ran suggested the SRAM BlipBox. Also consider SRAM Blips. Button rear derailluer shifting may be useful for the Mrs. However, Blips do not shift the FD only the RD. But still an option to consider.

For installation see this YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3vVB0zKbYQ

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Feckthehelmet [32 posts] 6 months ago
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Satan won Gwent Wevelghem. At least some can't from Sky didn't

Avatar
Feckthehelmet [32 posts] 6 months ago
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Funking text. Sagan

Avatar
Feckthehelmet [32 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

Cunt. English cunt from sky

Avatar
Feckthehelmet [32 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

In full. Sagan won. Fucking cheating English cunts from sky didn't

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SpikeBike [102 posts] 6 months ago
4 likes
Feckthehelmet wrote:

In full. Sagan won. Fucking cheating English cunts from sky didn't

Your knowledge of Di2 is impressive

Avatar
Cravingforbiking1 [1 post] 5 months ago
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kil0ran wrote:

I did this on a bike, all external wiring, and it will work fine with your 5800 chainset and cassette. Really simple to install and set up.

To add to Pilot Pete's recommendation I'd recommend that you cable up and test everything off the bike first - get it all upgraded to the latest firmware.

For the internal cabling you'll probably need different port covers for your frame - check with the manufacturer.

If her tendonitis is really bad consider adding the climbing shifter (http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/shimano-ultegra-di2-r600-climbing-shi...) which will mean she can easily shift from the tops.

You'll probably go with internal routing but if you don't consider using the XTR external battery holder (SM-BTC1) - this dispenses with the junction B box and will sit alongside your bottle cage like a mini-pump. Quite neat and importantly it allows you to use the latest Di2 upgrades (syncro shift - which will be a further benefit for your wife's condition). For ultimate pimping you can also use the XTR external LCD gear display.

If you are going to go with internal routing just check that there is an exit point for the front mech cable (should be drive side just below the mech clamp) and also for the rear mech cable. There probably won't be for the rear mech but you might be able to drill out the hole in the BB where the external cable guide is currently - otherwise you're going to need to drill the chainstay.

The other thing to consider is going with SRAM Red eTap instead - that way you can keep your shifters (which means no bar unwrap), you've got no cables to route or battery issues to address, and you can use your existing chainset and cassette. You'll need the long cage version with a blip box and the tri-bar shifters

(e.g. https://www.vanillabikes.com/products/sram-red-etap-aero-groupset?varian... - but you'll need the long cage rear mech)

I'm fortunate enough to run a Di2 system on my bestest bike and it is an absolute joy to use, one of the rare instances of my experience living up to the hype of product review journalists hopped up on orange squash. Do I need it? No, but like mrchrispy says, sometimes there is just a simple pleasure in owning a really nice piece of tech, especially when that tech operates flawlessly.Chech this http://bestadviser.net/reviews/mountain-bikes-reviews/top-mountain-bikes...