Eurobike 2021 recap - My favourite 12 speed Di2 changes
So, unless you've been without internet access for a week, you've probably heard that Shimano announced new 12-speed Di2 DURA-ACE and Ultegra. I knew about this in advance, of course. Very much like the rest of the cycling press, I figured that they'd be at Eurobike to showcase their new components.
I requested a blogger pass that would get me into Eurobike during the business days, instead of the generally more crowded open-to-the-general-public days.
After a week or so I got a reply.. and the blogger pass.
Being a bit short on time the week of the actual event, I decided to drive 6 hours to Eurobike Wednesday evening, then sleep for a couple of hours, and then drive the remaining two hours.
So far, so good. I drove, slept, and had breakfast.
I got stuck in traffic too, but at least the views were good.
Eventually I made it to Eurobike. I walked in at about 10:30.
There was a lot to see at Eurobike, of course. Cargo bikes... regular bikes.. start-ups... and a lot more.
In the end though, I came to see Shimano.
I spotted this DURA-ACE bit of art on the wall, showcasing all DURA-ACE rear derailleurs Shimano made.
Shimano just released their new DURA-ACE and Ultegra groupsets, and of course, those were present.
Much like the new Di2 battery, the BT-DN300 and all other 12-speed components.
My favourite tweaks and changes
Let's take a couple of minutes to talk about my favourite changes.
Of course, the new groupsets are semi-wireless and 12-speed, but those are the things everyone talks about. My favourite changes are a lot more subtle.
The image below shows the rear derailleur and the power meter. They have both been tweaked.
The previous power meter, the FC-R9100-P had a charge port cover that was always a bit tough to open. I always look up the manual on my phone, figure out where to put my fingernail, and then open the cover.
Not anymore! The new power meter actually has a little tab, or 'lip', that easily lets you open it.
Speaking of the charge port cover. The older version could be broken with little effort.. and then you'd have a problem.
Fortunately, the charge port cover can now be replaced.
The new rear derailleurs use the same charger, and yes - this cover can also be replaced.
Let's go back to that Front Derailleur for a bit. Spot anything off in the image below?
If you have, I'm impressed! It's not easy to see something that isn't there.
Only the support bolt remains, which is pretty cool. It's subtle, but I like it. Also gives the derailleurs a bit cleaner look.
The rear derailleur has gotten a little upgrade too.
It has a little wire holder to give it that extra clean look. Also, there is a rubber cover that goes over the EW-SD300 wire and protects the derailleur port from dirt, water, and other debris.
Let's go outside
After I had a good look at the entire Shimano booth it was time to meet up with Ben from Shimano Europe. We had lunch and he then took me outside to talk to Magnus Hedvall, who was working on Shimano's fleet of demo bikes.
I spoke to Magnus for about 20 minutes and he showed how the new stuff works from a mechanic's point of view.
Shimano is not a company that changes things just for the sake of changing them.. so they kept a lot the same. You probably already know this, but the traditional "Junction A" no longer exists. All that functionality has moved to the rear derailleur - both the button and the LEDs.
This means you can no longer switch synchronized-shift mode while riding your bike.. and tweaking the rear derailleur adjustment/indexing is out too.
Well.. sort of. One thing you can do on the new shift levers is to set one of the buttons to "function". This will give that particular button the same functionality as the one on the rear derailleur. Doing so will effectively render that button useless though... still, it can be good when setting up a new bike and having to tweak its settings while riding.
Magnus showed me how to replace the shift lever battery - something you'll have to do every 1.5 or two years. The process is very simple and takes about 2 minutes.
Once the shift lever LED turns red, you've got about 10% battery charge left. You should be able to ride for at least a month before it'll go flat and stop shifting.
On the other side of Magnus' truck was the Shimano demo tent. This is where you could ride the new DURA-ACE groupset.
They had these nice chairs:
And yep, I did get a quick ride in. Even if it was only 10 minutes or so.
After the ride I headed back inside and got to speak to Tim Gerrits - Product Manager at Shimano. Tim has been involved with Di2 since the beginning and we had a good talk about Di2 - both new and old.
At some point, it was time to head home again though. so did one quick walk around the Eurobike booth.
I saw a lot of disc brake bikes. Well, they were actually all disc brake bikes. I don't recall seeing a rim brake bike out there.
There was this Scott with 12-speed Di2 satellite shifters and some nice art on the wall of the Wilier booth.
Eventually, I headed outside.
Goodbye, Eurobike! See you next year!