Just launched on Kickstarter and already racing towards its funding goal is the novel XShifter, a system that converts any mechanical groupset into a wireless electronic groupset.
Paul Gallagher has 30 years experience working for companies like SRAM but has recently set out alone to develop his own product, a system that cleverly converts any groupset into a wireless shifting groupset in minutes.
XShifter is pitched an as affordable and easy-to-install wireless gear shifting system that can be used with any front and rear derailleur.
“Companies design their products to lock you into their equipment ecosystem and I don’t think that is fair to the cyclists. With XSHIFTER you can mix and match gear sets from any brand and adjust the precision in minutes, you really can’t do that with other equipment out on the market right now,” says Paul Gallagher.
The system comprises a servo driven motor that you attach to the frame, powered by a removable battery, and it essentially pulls the cable when commanded by the separate handlebar remote lever. The system comes with the company's own flat-bar shifter, which has a tactile shifter interface and a low battery indicator. The company tells us in an email that the XShifter works with drop bar road bikes, but you still have to use the remote lever attached to the handlebar, which might limit its appeal to road cyclists with drop bar road bikes.
The XShifter system uses Bluetooth for the initial installation and indexing of gears, so the system knows how many gears there are and the outer limits. The company is claiming the battery, which is removable and USB rechargeable, is good for about 10,000 shifts.
"In addition to bringing enhanced speed and precision to any bicycle with mechanical derailleurs of any brand, the XSHIFTER system offers a range of electronic smart shifting functions," says the company. "You can use your iOS or Android smartphone to wirelessly configure the XSHIFTER for a variety of smart shifting functions. All shifting is controlled with one hand using a customizable remote that is attached to the bike’s handlebar.
"Semi-auto mode is one of three smart functions shipped with the product. The mode allows you to shift through the front and rear derailleurs with the press of a button. It is like an automatic transmission for bikes."
If you like the sound of the XShifter, you can currently get an early bird discount for $399 and delivery, to anywhere in the world, is scheduled for March 2017. Check it out here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1598276649/xshifter-worlds-first-un...
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.