Home Cycling Shimano GRX Di2 – Design Past Gravel

Shimano GRX Di2 – Design Past Gravel

Shimano GRX Di2 – Design Past Gravel


I don’t give a rat’s ass about Gravel…

Not that gravel isn’t enjoyable (and, properly, promoting a crapload of motorcycle gear), however I’m additionally the form of man that’s turned down a dozen invitations to Belgium as a result of F>>ok no, I’m not occurring cobbles (within the usually chilly, moist, or uber-dusty dry).

What led me to this construct wasn’t the hundreds of miles of lovely car-less roads that I’ll admit make Gravel Using WONDERFUL. This was about placing collectively a motorbike that might get me again on pedals as quick as doable after backbone surgical procedure that required a number of months for very brittle bone to kind. That meant full-suspension, and it simply so occurred that considered one of Niner’s MCR-RDO frames was out there from JOM at Gravel Bicycle owner.


And there was no probability that this rig, with its upgraded fork and hoops was going to run something however a top-line Gravel group… Thus, Shimano’s GRX Di2.

By the way in which… Niner’s MCR-RDO is designed for Mechanical, so be helpful or have a pal like boutique store THE VELO HOUSE in Bay Village Ohio to assist with the construct.

So right here’s the place I get proper to the purpose that this isn’t an all encompassing assessment the place I toss out all of the gear ranges… (sure, GRX Di2 has many gears).  I’m not going to cowl all the different part choices for GRX (Shimano have mechanical variations, totally different ranges of brake calipers, a number of cranks (and ring combos) and blah blah blah… I’m not going to weigh the elements as Shimano’s numbers are comparatively correct… In truth, in order for you me to regurgitate a press launch like a variety of opinions do, go as an alternative proper to SHIMANO’S GRAVEL PAGE.

As a substitute, I’ll say that what began out as Shimano totally embracing “gravel” and steering away from rehashed street elements has created one thing that may very probably affect the design and ergonomics of each Shimano and different producers teams… And the point of interest begins right here.


Everybody is aware of Shimano’s levers are flared out… FSA additionally obtained this proper on their lever design, and I’d guess that would be the pattern going ahead for everybody.


Whereas the lever kicks out, the highest of the hood portion is considerably wider (expanded floor space) to unfold the load and this space critically SITS FLAT/degree with the bar tops.


Shimano additionally mentions altering the lever’s Pivot, shifting it “up”.


However this sells the complete Lever Ergonomic makeover quick. Because the pivot additionally feels prefer it strikes again towards the palm of your hand… AND YOUR HAND DOSENT REST LIKE VIRTUALLY ANY OTHER LEVER.

I’ve a bunch of crap rolling spherical the home… But it surely does afford me a glance via the years at ergonomics…. Now we have Etap/Tremendous Report 12/Campagnolo 10 and OLD-OLD Nuovo Report.


The newish package has a number of issues in widespread, all of them have a decrease lever pivot level (together with Shimano)… They usually all put your hand ready the place your index and center finger sit excessive up on the lever face… see Etap beneath…


Tremendous Report 12…


Campagnolo 10 will get nearer to placing your hand in the correct spot than the newer stuff….


And low and behold the Nuovo Report drops your fingers even nearer to the efficient level… However shut isn’t adequate… You haven’t any hope of really stopping with Nuovo Report except you set your fingers all the way in which down the levers to the underside (and squeeze like hell).


After which there’s the brand new GRX…


SAME HAND for all of those… And the fingers not solely sit beneath the pivot, however additionally they sit ready to brake with out shifting them even additional down the lever.

There’s additionally a really slight form to the lever itself the place your fingers cross over and downward…


I’ve mid-sized palms and this little reduction part on the lever form (the place most street levers, just like the one’s above put a bulge) {couples} with the pivot placement to let you have your palms in a braking place the entire time you’re on the tops…


However none of this works except Shimano change the baseline form of the lever.

Practically all lever-bodies lengthen from the handlebar out towards the actuating lever and tilt FORWARD (WITH YOUR HAND RESTING AT THE TRANSITION AS THE BODY CURVES UP).

Shimano constructed a bit longer large/flat lever physique to relaxation your hand extra comfortably (all-day-long), then the physique curves MUCH extra aggressively up (nearly backward) versus a ahead tilt on nearly all different lever our bodies.


That is the half that I hope will affect all street/Gravel lever designs going ahead.

I’m undecided if all day consolation & immediate braking entry was what Shimano had in thoughts once they designed this technique to permit for higher grip & maintain over tough surfaces, however what they did was beat each different street/gravel lever for ergonomics.

The big, differentiated button placements are a plus as properly.


Possibly the one space the place I would love a number of choices is the Grip floor.


How’s a couple of thicker/softer hood cowl with out the treads? Even for Gravel use, quite than my myopic situation, a thicker/softer/flatter floor would possibly yield as a lot or extra grip, and extra consolation.

As for the remainder of the package, there are tweaks galore to the complete drive practice.

Down on the stopping finish, Shimano supply cooling on the Calipers/Pads…


And this set runs with the RT-CL800 Freeza Rotors, which look fairly easy versus the cooling-finned 9000 sequence or the identical rotors with warmth dissipating Paint…


Most people miss the half the place these discs are a 3-piece sandwich that retains weight decrease, whereas shedding warmth and staying comparatively quiet. Both approach, even in heat climate these are fade free even on longer street descents at pace (although some could possibly brake poorly sufficient that they’ll discover a flaw). This model of rotor, mixed with the warmth sinks on the pads makes for a fantastic combo that can also be much less prone to lure dust/mud than their larger-finned counterparts.


The Rear Mech’s greatest characteristic (past outsized pulleys and geometry that hugs just a little nearer to the body to keep away from injury) is the adjustable clutch…


Be aware the tiny “on” instruction on the unit… Simply above there’s a little lever to show the clutch on to maintain the chain from bouncing.  The clutch-on additionally creates a bit extra drag on the chain, so for the street it goes “off”. However then Shimano perceive that people will run gravel on something from street to “WTF are you attempting to show…” so, the clutch drive is adjustable to match your need. There isn’t a-such-thing as a missed shift right here and so-far, no want for a single contact of fine-tuning.  (The identical can be true if this had been 12 pace).

Shimano’s entrance mech operation being excellent is the outcome an entire bunch of little issues… The cage form, the stiffness of the metallic itself and each the pace and the torque of the motor actuation.


Each the entrance Mech and the Cranks mix for a small however welcome design characteristic. A little bit of further spacing, shifting the chain rings (due to this fact the chain line) away from the body. This provides a little bit of tire clearance, and (as that is now a no brainer selection for Cyclocross) some mud-space.

Most likely the most effective half about this crank set, aside from that they appear to be titanically stable, is that they aren’t lacking a whole ring.


I’ve NO IDEA why 1x exists. None.

Shimano promote one (or many) within the case you need to sacrifice a full set of gears… However particularly given the entrance shifting high quality with GRX Di2, 1x is a conceit train.

I attempted to get this crank and mech to overlook a shift… I went up and down a curb whereas; shifting beneath load, shifting altering the load, up shift and down, shifting with excessive and low rear gears, shifting altering BOTH the entrance and rear, for a half hour.  I’ve additionally shifted going up or down the curb each time I depart or come dwelling for a month. This factor has been flawless. (Be aware to the parents at Barrow Mind and Backbone – This bike is full suspension AND I’m easy…) There may be little weight penalty for 2x however with 1x there’s friction launched to your drive practice with the BIG alternating enamel of most 1x rings (along with greater jumps within the rear ratio not wanted for those who run 2x) … JUST GIVE YOURSELF ALL THE GEARS.

Additionally, a shout out to Shimano’s Uncover cockpit… Shimano gives a spread of flares, however they’re smart versus among the downright absurd flared drops which are mainly seashore cruiser bars.


The Bar, Stem and Seat publish are no-nonsense stable, however nonetheless cheap weight. The belief issue right here is excessive… The publish is definitely adjusted to the proper angle after which simply stays there as soon as mounted to spec.


There’s additionally the benefit of Shimano’s Di2 bits (battery/bar finish nub) becoming completely (nearly prefer it was made for it…), with out subject. (Once more, I’ll word this Niner isn’t alleged to take Di2… however with some cautious love and body injury…)

For the previous few years, I’ve been constructing issues with lower-weight supplies (at considerably higher-cost) but it surely’s so good to have faith in a solid-conservative design that’s not missing in efficiency. Particularly given the suspension (and even with greater tires/decrease tire strain on gravel bikes) I’ve no actual want for flex or vibe damping, so a stable selection is a stable selection.

The remaining…

I suppose I might speak about battery life however you probably have any points with anybody’s E-group battery life at this time, you will not be vivid sufficient for a number of gears (perhaps that is the place 1x is available in?)

Past setting a brand new customary in useful ergonomics, the one factor I can say is that there are 3 faculties of thought relative to electrical drive trains in relation to button urgent effort…. Shimano is the softest/lowest suggestions… SRAM center effort/suggestions and Campagnolo with a bit extra drive and suggestions. ALL OF THESE REQUIRE little effort to press a button.

The need for a extra agency or much less agency press and tactile suggestions is a private choice. Gentle/low suggestions doesn’t imply higher or worse… It’s a private factor a bit like Navy people who need some resistance of their trigger-pull (you need it to go off solely while you actually imply it – however not be so arduous you pull off course). It’s only a choice factor… The pace and accuracy of shifting within the high 3 manufacturers is all superb.

Ah, however then there’s these little guys on GRX Di2… Buttons positioned just a little out of the way in which of your customary grip, that also needs to be a characteristic on EVERY E-lever from all producers.


Programable buttons on the tops that you should utilize for something from shifting up and down the cassette to altering the entrance ring, to pc operation (Garmin/Wahoo/++).

And relative to the tech/connection facet, with the wi-fi transmitter (only for communication – there are nonetheless wires on the group set), Shimano is rising that integration/operational capability, tying into a number of companions via widespread transmission requirements.

Actually, while you’re speaking about digital drivetrains, it’s not in regards to the simpler/quicker/extra correct shifting (benefits which are an simple given now) … It’s this cross-platform integration and performance that’s so massively past mechanical teams that there actually isn’t a relative useful comparability to make. Now the digital versus mechanical is just a value factor versus any kind or cheap Professional-Con argument.
Sum of the elements…

–The brakes are superb (x-points for fade/warmth resistance in a less-dirt-grabbing design) – The modulation is a private pref factor and I would love extra stroke between preliminary chunk and lock up. However I do know lots of people that favor what Shimano have right here (together with the additional area between rotos and pad that create among the further squeeze wanted to get to preliminary chunk.
–The shift high quality is VERY good, ridiculously good on the entrance (x-points for pace) – Get the 2x…
The cockpit gear is excellent (X-points for Zero-nonsense performance)
— The Aesthetics are [insert meaningless opinion]…

–The Essential level? Shimano have made one-lever to rule all of them (Highway or Gravel). The GRX form-factor is it… and everybody else ought to observe it.

You will discover extra at: bike.shimano.com

Have Enjoyable,

Charles Manantan
[email protected]

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