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EQUIPMENT

Campy EPS and Ultegra Di2 Hands On with Mark Purdy

Wed, 01/18/2012 - 4:54pm by Andy Shen

Mark Purdy just got trained on Campy’s new EPS electronic shifting system. He’s also installed a few Ultegra Di2 units already, so I stopped by his shop and got the lowdown on the current state of electronic shifting. 

Campy EPS

Purdy's iPhone shot of the gruppo. Wait, there's a cable!

Purdy’s overall impression of EPS is that it’s better crafted than Di2 – everything feels more solid, and the shifts sound less chirpy. Campy measured the throw and resistance on their cabled shifters and replicated the feel for EPS. The thumb shifter has rotated down on the shifter body so it should be more accessible in the drops, but otherwise it feels just like the cabled system. To Purdy, it just ‘feels right’.

EPS can only be internally routed. If your bike is made for cabled shifting you won’t be able to install EPS on it. Not that it matters, since there will be no aftermarket sales for quite a while – if you want to get it fast you’ll have to buy a complete bike.

The system is waterproof to 1 meter – it’s said to have been tested for hours submerged in a tank of salt water. The connections are waterproof and can only be undone with a special tool...that doesn’t exist yet. I guess it’s just as well there’ll be no initial aftermarket sales. If someone connects the wires before routing them through the bike they’re screwed.

There are anecdotal stories of Di2 temporarily shorting out in torrential rains. EPS should prove to be more robust, especially for cyclocross.

Battery life is about half to a third of Di2, about 2000k. The battery and the brains of the system are one unit, and never come off the bike. You plug into the battery to recharge it. If you crash or drain the battery you can disengage the motor in the rear derailleur and manually set it to a cog. The derailleur just stays on whichever cog you choose.

Initial setup is easier on EPS. You only need to set the inner limit for both the front and rear (you have to set both on Di2). The system knows where everything else should go from there. Adjustments are made by hitting specific sequences on the shifter buttons.

An indicator strapped to the stem tells you what mode you’re in with colored lights. Unlike Di2, it has no buttons. The rear derailleur is tweaked .1mm per click, compared to .25 for Di2. The precision of EPS is a perfect match for 11 speed, which can be finicky with cables.

The front derailleur shifts with 50Nm of force. For reference, cranksets are installed with 35 Nm of torque. Like Di2, a small metal plate is glued to the seat tube for the derailleur to push against. Shifting under load should be, like Di2, no problem.

There will be no bar top or sprint shifters – apparently Shimano owns the patent for auxiliary shifting positions. TT shifters are being developed. It’ll be interesting to see if there’ll be just one shifting position for EPS TT bikes – the ability to shift in and out of the aerobars is one of the best features of Di2 on a TT bike.

You can press and hold for multiple shifts, but Purdy thinks this is a useless feature. When you press and hold, EPS will first make one shift, then wait a beat before sweeping through the gears. Purdy found that it was quicker to just tap the shifter as many times as you need.

Here's that mysterious cable again. It has rare earth magnets on its ends to facilitate internal wiring.

Ultegra Di2

Wiring is vastly improved with Ultegra Di2. In fact, the next generation Dura Ace Di2 will adopt Ultegra’s wiring system. All the wires are interchangeable, you simply spec the length of each wire to suit your bike and its routing.

As you can see, Purdy is already fully stocked with multiple lengths of wires.

Ultegra’s derailleur motors are off the shelf items, so both the front and rear derailleurs are significantly bigger than their Dura Ace counterparts.

The shifters appear identical to Dura Ace with the exception of aluminum instead of carbon levers.

Like Dura Ace, the rear derailleur has manually set upper and lower limits.

In general Purdy likes Ultegra Di2. It's heavier and cheaper, but from the rider's perspective there is no real difference between it and Dura Ace. And Purdy wouldn't buy Dura Ace Di2 now. The 2013 changes to its wiring will make the current version obsolete fast.

So...?

Is electronic shifting a scourge or a godsend? Either way, Purdy thinks it is here to stay. Cabled shifting won't be obsolete, but for the foreseeable future electronic shifting will be the top of the line for Campy and Shimano. It’ll get lighter, smaller, better, cheaper, and more widespread, and eventually all pro teams sponsored by the big two will be on it. 

For more info on Dura Ace Di2 check out this build with Purdy.

 

 

 

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Comments

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EPS can be mounted externally
By: Chris Pop
Sun, 11/24/2013 - 7:43pm

The EPS group can absolutely be mounted externally. Shimano provides a C channel tape that is relatively low profile. A little heat shrink tubing and a couple of zip ties holds everything quite nicely. It's not ideal but beats ruining the frame by drilling.

Cue sad trombone.
By: Sensei
Thu, 10/03/2013 - 8:50am

Wow, did I just respond to a spammer? Dang!

To Amerigo...
By: Sensei
Thu, 10/03/2013 - 8:48am

You can purchase the component group if you like. But whether or not you can install them is up to your own technical abilities. Look, nothing here is brain surgery. You know if you can do it or not. If you like, contact me offline and we can chat about coming to my shop where I can "coach" you thru the process of installing it yourself.

Mark

I am an amateur cyclist and
By: Amerigo Flange
Thu, 10/03/2013 - 6:30am

I am an amateur cyclist and would like to install the Campy EPS and Ultegra Di2 on my cycle. Is it possible to do so myself? I mean is it always pre installed on any particular one or can i get it assembled? http://www.windowsonlinesupportnow.com

Class warfare, bro!
By: Lukas Polished
Sun, 11/04/2012 - 11:44pm

Class warfare, bro!

Di2
By: Martin Rivnut
Sun, 11/04/2012 - 9:43pm

I knew Di2 would make me a faster rider as soon as I heard of it, and it has. I can not imagine going back to cable shifting any more than I would want to go back to toe clips. It is really funny reading the ignorant comments from people who obviously have never ridden Di2.

Grampa, is that you? Put
By: Gabin Chainline
Thu, 08/23/2012 - 9:28pm

Grampa, is that you? Put your Depends back on, will you? Geez, you're embarrassing us.

To Shift Many Gears At Once …
By: Lukas Drainhole
Thu, 08/23/2012 - 5:56pm

… is next to shifting speed the only reason to use a race shifting system - that why I bought my first Campagnolo Super Record when they released the series in the seventies.

Second criteria is a fast reconnection to the power thru the chain - the cage of the old C-SR was great for constant connection (btw it was the old & light single feather system - before SunTour invented the shifting parallelogram that follows the chain line).

Obviously for racing there is no other choice than to switch to electric shifting - but I wished it had been a more advanced design: Bluetooth 4.0/ANT+ wireless integration AND less components (electronics in a handle bar and the accu pack integrated with the derailleur)

Cable run Magnet Kit (UT-CG010EPS)
By: Jean Tigweld
Tue, 03/20/2012 - 7:28am

Did you receive this Cable run Magnet Kit (UT-CG010EPS)with the groupset?

EPS Comment to Campy..
By: lee3
Thu, 02/23/2012 - 4:12pm

Great article...I'm looking forward to the day that this product becomes affordable for the budget of the amateur racing cyclist; which it seems your company should consider when pricing this stuff. Why isnt there a Chorus (EPS) or something comparable? To me it seems like shimano is the much more aggressive company in this market because they know that all cyclist arent backed with big money. Where's does EPS fit with junior teams, or continental division teams with smaller budgets? They dont.
My dream set-up would be EPS and that new garmin wattage meter that will never come out. Both will be wildly popular and ridiculously priced.
God forbid something should break on any one of these units - as a result of crashes or what have you.
will replacement parts and or service be an ordeal? A Dura-Ace shifter lever is friggen 400.00 bucks. whats the campy EPS price point? 600? 1000? Do share - I'm sure many would like to know what they are getting into should something (break).
I guess Campy should be proud that my only criticism is that "..the rent is too damn high"

Cool, thanks for that!
By: Andy Shen
Tue, 02/07/2012 - 10:20pm

Cool, thanks for that!

Assorted errors in the report
By: Graeme at Velotech in the UK
Tue, 02/07/2012 - 8:58pm

We are campag's UK Technical Consultants - find us at www.velotech-cycling.ltd.uk

Great article overall and very fair :-)

There are a couple of errors in the text and a couple of points to be made from the comments ...

1. You can wire externally - there just isn't a "pretty" way to do it, but doing it in & of itself isn't a problem. I know, I have done it and ridden it thus wired. Lots of zip ties and tape though, so definitely not pretty ...
2. The point is not that it's faster, will make you go faster, etc. etc. The point is that you can reliably make shifts that with a mechanical system don't work well, or are uncertain - biggest sprocket at the rear, inner chainring to outer is a good example - it works correctly every time. Shimano has some isues with that as a shift, I have yet to get the Campag system to object (and I have ridden 1000km plus).
3. Standard Di2 battery life is a little less than Campagnolo, not 2-3 times more as the report suggests - there are batteries for Shimano that live longer, but not OE.
4. The FD is stabilised on frames that need it (those with relatively flimsy carbon-composite FD hangers like Cervelo, Look, Scott etc. with a seperate piece, it's not integrated into the FD - Shimano own the patent for that apparently.
5. The plugs can be separated by hand - I have done it many times stripping & rebuilding our demo bikes for teaching. True there will be a gizmo for it, but you can do it with care, with your hands.
6. Crafting - "Diego Polished" says a comparison is being made with Ultegra - slightly wololy in the article, but even if that is true, I'd say the same applies if you look at EPS against DA Di2. I've used both & OK, I'm biased, but I do prefer the look, feel & build quality of EPS.
7. Across the whole cassette shift has it's uses and if you are going 3+ sprockets, it's quicker to hold the lever down than triple-tap. You can do the "Campag double shuffle" and get big ring / biggish sprocket to small ring / smallish sprocket very quickly.

Hope you found that useful.

I once took the feeled sprint
By: Killian Crank
Wed, 01/25/2012 - 5:57pm

I once took the feeled sprint at my local spelling bee.

Well, actually...
By: star struck
Wed, 01/25/2012 - 5:20pm

Yes, it does. But it doesn't make you a bad person.

I've never been in a cruscial
By: Morelli Saddlebag
Wed, 01/25/2012 - 5:08pm

I've never been in a cruscial moment, does that make me a bad racer?

Perhaps a little clarafication
By: star struck
Wed, 01/25/2012 - 5:05pm

It's not about making you go faster. It's about taking away the obsticles that prevent you from going as fast as you can. Will you be able to ride on flat land at a higher rate with Di2 then with cables? No, but at the cruscial moment when a break happens and you need to shift to sprint up to it that is when Di2 can make the difference.

Symbol
By: West Coast Reader
Wed, 01/25/2012 - 12:15am

What's the symbol for the Rare Earth Element? My periodic table still doesn't list it...

rare earth
By: Arnaud Torque
Tue, 01/24/2012 - 3:41pm

YES AWESOME MORE RARE EARTH METALS PLEASE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL4fluj004o

@ star struck
By: Logan Tank
Tue, 01/24/2012 - 3:33pm

ok, maybe 0.0001% faster. When the difference between a good day and a bad day for any rider is huge.

Would i like to have electronic shifting on my bike? sure....if money were no object. Do I really think it would make me any faster? Nope.

ice
By: Dylan Polished
Tue, 01/24/2012 - 10:17am
Because Cat 4 races are won
By: Eliott Headset
Tue, 01/24/2012 - 10:10am

Because Cat 4 races are won by milliseconds, go for every edge you can. In addition to electronic shifting, the "edge" would typically include at least a dozen doping substances, like this guy:

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/french-rider-positive-for-12-substances

Wrong
By: Star Struck
Tue, 01/24/2012 - 9:02am

Logan, that is an incredibly naive and ignorant thing to say. You have obviously never ridden it. Will it make Me faster than YOU? No, not unles I am already. Will it make YOU faster than YOU with Rival. Yes, it will. Confidence in shifting will make anyone faster. By seconds only, of course. But if I can get the shift when you skip and clunk into gear, I win.

nice stuff but 0% faster than
By: Logan Tank
Mon, 01/23/2012 - 10:06pm

nice stuff but 0% faster than sram rival or ultegra.

Lube
By: West Coast Reader
Mon, 01/23/2012 - 6:25pm

As long as you grease it all up, you should be good to go with the cleanse, I've heard...

I'm in the middle of a
By: Green Giant
Mon, 01/23/2012 - 2:25pm

I'm in the middle of a cleanse. Is it ok to use electronic shifting?

used to give a damn
By: Loic Seatmast
Mon, 01/23/2012 - 1:36pm

Rumour has it that Campy originally planned to build EPS with a turn signal option, but then scrapped it when they realized that most seniors never use turn signals anyhow.

yes, that reason is mektronic
By: Lukas Kevlar
Mon, 01/23/2012 - 9:58am

yes, that reason is mektronic sucked. di2 doesn't.

better?
By: Tom Hammer
Mon, 01/23/2012 - 9:28am

what makes electronic shifting better than mechanical shifting? Don't confuse new with better. Just cause it's new does not mean it is better. There is a good reason Mektronic, and Mavic drivetrains, are no longer around.

Zap! Pow! Zowie!
By: Batman & Robin
Sun, 01/22/2012 - 7:47pm

Zap! Pow! Zowie!

Better is the enemy of good
By: Danato Asshat
Sun, 01/22/2012 - 7:13pm

Better is the enemy of good enough

recumbentsarefaster motorcyle
By: Senne Tubie
Sun, 01/22/2012 - 7:00pm

recumbentsarefaster
motorcylesarefaster
atsomepointabicycleisnolongerabicycleandthemachineovercomestheathlete

Sound like bombproof wheels!
By: Tom Ziptie
Sun, 01/22/2012 - 6:37pm

Sound like bombproof wheels!

Ludite?
By: dkrenik
Sun, 01/22/2012 - 6:20pm

36 hole wheels with box section rims were deemed "good enough" back in the day as well.

your peanut butter got in my
By: Senne Gel
Sun, 01/22/2012 - 6:14pm

your peanut butter got in my chocolate!

Discuss
By: Jacopo Nipple
Sun, 01/22/2012 - 1:39pm

Road vs Track vs CX vs MTB

X-Box vs. Wii vs.
By: Logan Dry Lube
Sun, 01/22/2012 - 11:55am

X-Box vs. Wii vs. Playstation: discuss.

Actually Mark was talking
By: Andy Shen
Sun, 01/22/2012 - 11:36am

Actually Mark was talking about Di2 in general, both Dura Ace and Ultegra.

Super Record vs Ultegra
By: Diego Polished
Sat, 01/21/2012 - 7:26pm

"Purdy’s overall impression of EPS is that it’s better crafted than Di2 – everything feels more solid, and the shifts sound less chirpy."

Remember that Purdy is comparing Campy's top of the line Super Record with Shimano's second level Ultegra electronic shifter.

I have programmed my Tribeca
By: Archie Bunker
Fri, 01/20/2012 - 4:57pm

I have programmed my Tribeca loft's Crestron home automation system to shift my Di2-equipped Serotta while I sit in my massage chair and watch Paris Roubaix videos.

It is, as they, say, Epic.

wny bother?
By: Tom Hammer
Fri, 01/20/2012 - 3:51pm

Mechanical shifting is so good now, why bother adding another gizmo that could break and provides little to no benefit.

Thanks Mark and Andy. Good
By: kornbluh
Fri, 01/20/2012 - 1:42pm

Thanks Mark and Andy. Good stuff.

Thank you Mark and Andy for
By: Julien Grips
Thu, 01/19/2012 - 11:44pm

Thank you Mark and Andy for showcasing the various companies. Mark's caring and intelligent approach to working on bikes is greatly appreciated! He'll continue to get my business!

EPS....
By: West Coast Reader
Thu, 01/19/2012 - 8:45pm

Whooo Hoooo! Its finally here, but wires? I had Mektronic back in 1999/2000 with no freaking wires! Now its 2012 and we have wires...

Anyway, not good that one can't build one owns EPS setup on one's bike, I build my own bikes so can't have prebuilt.

@Schwag: Its all gadgets, shoes are just gadgets for feet so don't use those gadgets, your feet are designed much better than any shoe.

We can all spend money on something else but why? If its bike stuff, I'm buying. The rest of you penny pinchers can go ride your old tricycle you got on your 1st birthday for free, it works and anything else is just a waste for you anyway.

More EPS pics, please! Maybe Prudy can break, out his iPhone and show us the full bike setup?

If you want to increase your
By: drugs
Thu, 01/19/2012 - 3:43pm

If you want to increase your performance, money would be better spent on EPO, Steroids and Growth Hormone. These drugs are perfectly safe, Vitamin C can kill you though.

lemme guess
By: Rip Toff
Thu, 01/19/2012 - 2:49pm

MSRP on Campy electronic is a mere $9999?
Do they also have rear view mirrors on the shifters? That would be a big seller.

and I jizzed in my pants...
By: Julien Rivnut
Thu, 01/19/2012 - 2:12pm

and I jizzed in my pants...

Can someone hack the Di2 or
By: Obi2 Won Canobee
Thu, 01/19/2012 - 1:45pm

Can someone hack the Di2 or Campy systems to make light saber sounds when you shift?

More gadgets for the suckers
By: schwag
Thu, 01/19/2012 - 1:43pm

More gadgets for the suckers out there. My advice save your money to buy fig newtons.

Ride a smart race, don't buy this crap.

Is a fig newton a unit of
By: Mathieu Grips
Thu, 01/19/2012 - 1:10pm

Is a fig newton a unit of measurement?

Eyes start shifting when I
By: Hugo Gel
Thu, 01/19/2012 - 1:06pm

Eyes start shifting when I walk in the room.

Force is measured in Newtons
By: Isaac
Thu, 01/19/2012 - 11:59am

Force is measured in Newtons (N), torque in Newton meters (Nm). Get your units straight, Son!

Jedi mind trick shifting
By: Yoda
Thu, 01/19/2012 - 11:29am

Jedi mind trick shifting

EPS only internal routed
By: Alexandre Ceramic
Thu, 01/19/2012 - 8:26am

WTF?

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