The main question most people have when considering a switch from mechanical to electronic shift systems is why? Modern mechanical drivetrains work pretty darn well, is there really that much of a difference? Actually yes, but it’s not just about the shifting precision. You can certainly get flawless shifting from either mechanical or electronic drivetrains, but how the different systems work really is quite different.
The first thing to know about electronic shift systems is that they employ smart technologies that allow you to think less about shifting gears. For example, the front derailleur automatically adjusts itself to whatever gear your chain is on in the rear. With mechanical, when you shift the front derailleur, it acts the same every time no matter what gear the rear chain is on, and you have to “trim” the front derailleur slightly to avoid rubbing. Not so with electronic. Just push a button, the system figures things out. No more chain rub, ever.
The other big difference with electronic is that it never goes out of adjustment. There are no cables to stretch and the motor shifts the chain perfectly, every time. So once the system is set up, there is virtually no maintenance needed, besides charging batteries (which typically last for months on a single charge). Other benefits with electronic include quicker shifting capabilities and the option to shift all the way across the cassette by just pressing and holding the shifter button. You can even custom program most electronic shift systems, adjusting things like shifting speed and which buttons shift which derailleur. Lastly, you can easily add additional shift buttons to other areas of the handlebar, such as “climbing shifters” on the tops or “sprinting shifters” on the drops.
All three major drivetrain brands — Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo — offer electronic shift systems, and JensonUSA carries everything you need to set up these types of systems on your bike. If you have any questions at all, hop on a call or a chat with one of our expert Gear Advisors today at 888-880-3811 so that we can help you find that perfect item.