Anyone switched from electrical to mechanical – Tech & Product

I have been riding Ultegra Di2 in it’s different versions for 10 years. Recently, in June, I purchased a new bike that came with Ultegra R8000 mechanical with the intention to swap out the groupset for electrical as soon as.

I’ve done close to 3000km on the mechanical now and I have been surprised with how much I like the feel of it. Obviously shifting has come a long way since I last rode mechanical, but I am finding I really enjoy the feedback you get when shifting that I don’t think electric can compare with. I recently rode a SRAM Force ASX bike thinking that might be an option, but I found it very sterile and hard to tell if I had changed gear. I’m sure I would get used to it, but first impressions were not what I was expecting.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I am now thinking of going with a Campy mechanical groupset, rather than another electric one. I was wondering if anyone else has made the not so common switch and regretted it? I understand the extra difficulties with installation and probably with maintenance too, but that aside, has anyone done it and wished they’d stayed electric?


Nope, I’ll never change back.

Personally I think that you should ride what is feasible for you, (suits you) and what you like best. If it is mechanical, by all means go mechanical. If it is electronic, ride with Di2/eTap AXS/EPS/…

At least you will base your choice on experience (albeit Campty will feel a bit different than Ultegra).

When I got a disc brake road bike a few years ago I trusted Shimano the most to have the brakes figured out. I didn’t want to go electric because I have enough crap that I have to update the software on, and I didn’t want to do that on my bike. But I’ve never liked the sideways moving brake levers Shimano has, so when I tried Di2 I was sold. I have really enjoyed it and have Di2 on my gravel bike as well.

But I often ride my 20 year old road bike with Campy 10 speed. If you asked me an hour into a ride which of my bikes had the best shifting I would say this one. I’m a big fan of mechanical shifting, especially Campy.

So… what… what, um… what?

I bought an AXS mountain bike during the pandemic because I wanted a new bike and it was all that my sponsor shop had available. It works fine, but I don’t see any advantage whatsoever over the already great mechanical 1x Eagle that I had before.

The battery life is way worse than advertised (15-20 hours riding, minus drive time if you leave the battery on the bike) which means that charging logistics always need to be kept in mind. Eg if you did two long rides the previous weekend, risky to leave the house without charging – you might get stranded in the woods. I also once drove to the trails only to find that I’d left the battery in the charger. Easy to do, and ruined a Saturday.

Given the choice I’d much rather have mechanical XTR or Eagle. Cheaper, simpler, works great, no charging. Good enough for an Olympic Gold medalist, and all the Shimano-sponsored pros. And much better in the zombie apocalypse.

I think a lot of people get on a new electronic bike from their old mechanical bike and think the new bike is better because of the electronics. Whereas, a large part of the difference is that the old bike hadn’t been maintained since it rolled off the shop floor, and the new bike is… new.

A good chunk of the benefit of electronics is negated if you know how to operate a barrel adjuster. But that’s probably 10% of the cycling masses, so not surprising that electronic is popular.

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