Shimano Di2 Hydro Update

I’ve had a chance to put a few miles on the Moots of late.  One of the most important parts of the bike, from my perspective, is the drivetrain choice.

The drivetrain is Shimano Ultegra Di2 shifters, hydro brakes, XT 6 bolt rotors, Ultegra derailleurs, and Dura-Ace Cranks and cassette…so Dura Ace where there was a weight difference, and Ultegra elsewhere.

The brakes are amazing.  That’s the initial review.  Lever feedback, engagement and precision is GREATLY improved over the SRAM Red 22 hydros I used to have.  The Ultegras have a useful range of motion…as you move the lever, you get great, perceptible feedback on how the brakes are performing.  Controlling modulation and lockup is incredibly easy.  I had expected the brakes to perform similarly to the SRAM, and I’m blown away by how much better they are.  The only downside is that I have a very minor, almost imperceptible wave in my front rotor…and I can tell because under light braking, the brake lever pulses…they’re that tactile/sensitive.

How’s the drivetrain, you ask?  Well, 50/34 cranks and 11-28 cassette.  It works, perfectly, under all conditions.  Shift under power?  Absolutely.  Cross-chain?  It’ll self-trim and avoid any chain rub.  Want to fire off a bunch of shifts?  No problem.  Shift with gloves on?  Absolutely.  Shift and hit every gear, every time, even when churning through mud?  Yes, yes, yes.

One of my favorite part about the shifters is that the brake levers do not move laterally.  On mechanical Shimano, there is a small trigger to shift one way, and the brake levers move laterally (inboard) to shift the other way.  I never liked that, as it felt like the brake levers were trying to move away from me when grabbing brakes, particularly with gloves on.  The Di2 levers are fantastic in every regard–and reassuring to grab under all conditions.

I’ve put the Moots through its paces just a little bit.  I’ll give feedback on the geometry changes over the coming days…today’s just about drivetrain.  And what a drivetrain it is.  This is the best shifting, easiest to use drivetrain I’ve ever ridden, bar none.  It is perceptibly better than the last Di2 I rode.  And again, I cannot overemphasize how amazing the brakes are.  I firmly believe that Hydro is the way to go.  The high-profile failure of the SRAM hydros (which I loved until they failed) made me question my beliefs a bit…but the Shimanos have restored my faith in hydraulics.  More importantly, the Shimanos have shown me just how good hydros can be.  They are head and shoulders above the SRAM hydros in terms of modulation (which themselves are head and shoulders above any mechanical brake).  We’ll see, over time, how durability is.  For now, I am smitten.

Initial Moots impression: This is as good as it gets.  I look at this bike, and have no idea how one could ever hope to “upgrade”.


6 thoughts on “Shimano Di2 Hydro Update

  1. Dean, While I SO enjoy your blog (at least most entries), Your Di2 hydro review, had just cost me money. COLD HARD CASH MONEY! I’ve been working on a CX/Gravel bike spec with my local shop, and after reading your review, and discussing it with them, I have decided I must have it. I think you owe me some cash!

  2. We’ll I’ve been patiently waiting to get my SRAM Hydros back and I’ve been curious about the Shimano Di2. Now I’m not sure.

  3. It turned out great, the custom blasted bottle cages to match the frame are a great touch to pull the whole thing together! Well done!

  4. Pingback: 2014 Gravel Metric | riding against the grain

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