Shimano Di2: The Electronic MTB Drivetrain for the 1.4%

Each year we survey thousands of Singletracks readers to uncover various trends in mountain bike purchase decisions. Back in 2015, Singletracks readers selected Shimano’s electric drivetrain, known as Di2, as the most innovative product of the year. So we were curious: how many riders have actually adopted Di2 over the past two years? It turns out, very few.

Out of 2,056 responses to the question, just 29 mountain bikers reported owning a mountain bike outfitted with a Shimano Di2 electronic drivetrain. That’s only 1.4%. Of course our sample may be biased; it’s possible that Singletracks readers haven’t adopted Di2 as quickly as the general mountain biking population. Even so, it’s probably safe to say that electronic shifting, and Di2 specifically, still haven’t gone mainstream.

I recently asked our readers why they hadn’t upgraded to an electronic drivetrain for mountain biking yet, and I didn’t get a lot of responses, perhaps because the reasons are fairly obvious. With prices starting at over $1,000 for just a single derailleur, shifter, control box, and battery, Di2 falls outside many riders’ budgets.

Not only that, many mountain bikers I’ve spoken with aren’t sold on the benefits of electronic shifting yet. In road cycling, electronic shifting has been around a little longer, and adoption seems to be higher there. But road bikers are rarely far away from an emergency Uber pick-up or team car sag, leaving them less concerned about trying a new, and potentially unreliable technology. For now, mountain bikers seem to prefer a system they can understand and fix themselves in case of a trailside emergency, never mind worrying about running out of battery juice in the middle of a backcountry epic.

So is electronic shifting, like the Shimano Di2 system, the next big thing in mountain biking? It’s hard to say, but early numbers clearly show adoption is slow going thus far.

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