Let me begin by saying that I like bikes, and I’m a huge nerd. Thus, it goes without saying that for quite some time, I’ve been interested in your upcoming electronic shifting option for the 2009 Dura-Ace group. I like the idea of a front derailleur that automatically trims. I like the idea of a two-stage downshift for the front, reducing the likelihood of dropping the chain. I like the idea of having the derailleurs auto-adjust to the cassette.
But then, a couple of days ago, I read the following in your press release (emphases mine), announcing that this new shifting option will be available in January ‘09.
“Going electric helps to ensure precision that can make a rider faster and reduce mental fatigue. If you think about Formula One racing, the race cars use automatic and clutchless transmissions because the computer can create a faster, more synchronized and consistent shift than a skilled driver can manually,” said Devin Walton, Shimano’s public relations manager. “That being said, those same technologies can improve performance for anyone and there is a certain novelty factor for those enthusiasts that like to indulge in the latest high tech equipment or use the same equipment that professionals use.”
Well, Shimano, whereas before I was merely interested in electronic shifting, now I am sold. In fact, I’d like o propose the following television ad, based on Mr. Walton’s excellent points.
Ad Spot 1: Mental Fatigue
Three cyclists are sitting on the curb outside a convenience store. Two of them are plainly exhausted from the ride they are currently on. The third looks perky and ready to go again.
Cyclist 1: Wow, what a ride. I don’t think I have ever shifted so many times in my life.
Cyclist 2: Mumm hubboo wugga ogglebork.
Cyclist 1: Dude, you sound even more mentally fatigued than I am! All that shifting must have totally melted your brain.
Cyclist 2: Buffo wacka wacka.
Cyclist 1: I don’t know what you’re saying, but dude, I know what you mean.
Cyclist 3: Perhaps you, as I recently have, should investigate the merits of the new Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, a technologically advanced, electronic shifting option for the all new 7900 series Dura-Ace. I have found that my mental fatigue has decreased by 9.26% since I have integrated this sublime technology into my cycling regimen.
Cyclist 1: I think I’d agree with you, but all that shifting I did on that ride was just too much. My mind is too fatigued to have paid attention to what you just said.
Cyclist 2: Corpubookka wifflemarfin? (starts drooling)
Cyclist 3: Indubitably. In addition, I find the novelty factor of this bike quite gratifying. Pip pip!
Cyclist 1: (Head explodes)
Rim shot. Fade to black. Go to Shimano logo.
Ad Spot 2: Formula Racer
OK, Shimano, I admit: I don’t have the idea for this one quite nailed down, because I’m not quite sure what Mr. Walton means when he says:
If you think about Formula One racing, the race cars use automatic and clutchless transmissions because the computer can create a faster, more synchronized and consistent shift than a skilled driver can manually
If I understand correctly, he’s saying F1 automatic transmissions shift faster than manual transmissions. I get that. My problem is that even though it’s electronic, the new Di2 transmission is still definitely manual. I mean, it’s not going to shift except when I tell it to, right?
And the whole thing about “clutchless transmissions” completely mystifies me. Are you saying that the new Di2 is superior because it’s clutchless? If this is the case, you may want to have a conversation with your engineering department. They may have news for you about all the other bike drivetrains that have ever existed in the history of bikes (hint: none of them have ever had clutches.)
Get back to me on this, would you, Shimano, and I’ll get this second ad spot written, pronto.
The Fat Cyclist