Shimano have revealed that thanks to a software update and their D-Fly wireless unit, hidden buttons on top of their ST-9070 levers can be used to operate external devices like cycle computers.
Shimano’s ST-9070 levers were introduced in 2012 and those buttons have always been there on top of the bracket, under the hoods.
Then Shimano launched the D-Fly (SW-EWW01) earlier in the year /content/news/110064-shimano-adds-wireless-capability-di2-groupset, a 5g wireless unit that uses a proprietary private ANT wireless protocol to communicate data to the new Pro Scio ANT+ cycling computer. The D-Fly sends data to the computer so that it can show you what gear you’re in and the amount of power left in the Di2 battery.
What’s new is that you can now pair external devices through the D-Fly wireless unit and use the button on top of the shifters as a remote control switch to operate third party external devices like computers. Granted, in the case of a computer you’re not saving much hand movement, but the point is that you don’t have to take your hands away from the shifters which might be important, especially in a race.
So, what can you use these buttons for? Well, at the moment, nothing. Shimano say that it’s up to the developers of the external devices, such as cycle computers, to design the exact features that the buttons control.
And in the future? Who knows? The most likely first operation is to allow you to scroll through the screens of a bike computer to get the information you’re after, but whether or not any manufacturers will take up Shimano’s offer, we couldn’t say for sure. We imagine they will before too long and we will be asking them, though, so watch this space.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.