Wired's Eric Hagerman reports on Shimano's planned launch of an electronic gear-shifting system for expensive bicycles:
By replacing the conventional levers that pull wound-steel cables through protective housings with solid-state switches and rubber-coated wires, there's no chance for road gunk to clog things up and interfere with shifting, or, for that matter, your post-ride beer.
The principle of an electronically controlled drive train is to execute perfect shifts every time, thus "reducing mental overhead," in the words of Shimano marketing manager Devin Watson. This is a resource cyclists find in short supply during epic rides.
The system, called Di2, will be available in January, marking the end of a years-long development process. Says one anonymous source: "The shifting is mind-blowing: I mean, you just touch the button, and it shifts."