Electronic Shifting – A Use Case

JRA. You know, just riding along, and WHAM! out of nowhere an afternoon ride changed course in a matter of seconds. A stick found its way up into my nether-regions and this happened:

pretty sure it’s not supposed to bend that way

The Santa Cruz Bronson derailleur hanger snapped off (like it is supposed to) and the cage on the Box One took a nasty tweak. I’m stoked to see the Box One derailleur come out of this without any major structural damage but the cage was definitely off-axis.

During my walk home through the woods I thought about how many times this happens to folks every day. But now it’s 2019 and given the options available there are a few ways that the repair job could go.

Case 1: AXS

Let’s say that was a SRAM AXS derailleur and not the Box One. You know, one of the rainbow fancy ones that have a magical break-away device that saves the electronics and motor from damage in the case of impact. No amount of break-away magic could have saved this thing.

  1. Go to my local shop and try to buy a new AXS rear derailleur a-la-carte.
  2. Get denied
  3. Cry a little

Even if you could just buy the AXS RD it would likely cost $850. People talk about how, “you know, the price will come down eventually” but the sticks don’t care, people! They’re out there waiting to smash all the mechs!

Case 2: Mechanical Shifter

Like 99% of riders out there, if I was riding on a mechanical shifter, say the Box One or SRAM GX 11-speed the repair would have gone a little like this.

  1. Get a new hanger
  2. Try your best to straighten the derailleur cage
  3. Hope like hell you could barrel adjust your way to 3 working gears

Case 3: D1x Trail

You knew where this was going, right? Yep, electro-mechanical shifting to the rescue! Here’s how my day went.

  1. Grab a new hanger
  2. Straighten the Box One cage with a vice and get it kinda-straight-ish.
  3. Re-index my shift points using the Archer app
kinda-sorta-straight?

So in about a half hour I’m all fixed up and ready for a ride tomorrow morning and not waiting for a box from Jenson. Hope I don’t meet any more sticks out in the forest.

Seth and the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The one and only Seth McBikeHacks did a pretty cool video highlighting one of the benefits of electronic shifting, the clutterless cockpit!

Now, I know this may not be on the top of your list of things to do but reducing your handlebar to a single set of hydraulic brake lines is one of those zen moments that can elicit intense Marie Kondo-style joy. You may find yourself holding a handful of zipties and a length of bowden housing and asking yourself, “does this bring me joy?” And if the answer is no, click the play button below and see how far the Zen master Seth takes this challenge.

Seriously folks, do internally routed cables bring you joy? I didn’t think so. Ditch the cables and spark joy in every bike ride.


Disclaimer: Marie Kondo didn’t say it was okay to make these references. We don’t know how she feels about a cluttered cockpit, we don’t know if she shreds. We likely never will. But I bet she does, in fact, shred and her cockpit is clutter-free.

Shift your style with electronic shifting

From time to time customers will ask if they’re going to have to change how they ride when they use the D1x. The short answer is yes, but the long answer is a little more interesting.

Technology Changes Riding

Every bit of technology on to your mountain bike will change your riding style. Add a dropper post and you no longer have to adjust your seat. Remember when you went from v-brakes to disc brakes and had to reconsider how you enter that turn on your favorite trail. Mortgage your house and buy a deluxe rig outfitted with the Fox Live suspension system and your style will change without a doubt.

Anyone who’s been riding bikes long enough to have owned 2 distinct vintages can think back on the older technology and see how your riding style has changes. You better believe I ride my Bronson differently than any of my previous bikes.

Electronic Shifting is Better

Electronic shifting is much easier to do than mechanical shifting. It takes about 7 newtons of force to actuate one of the remote buttons on the D1x. Compare that to the force required to push an XX1 shifter to climb your cassette. What this means is that after a couple rides, you’ll notice that you’re shifting a lot more often on the D1x. Flicking a shift button on the D1x is effortless and quick. You’ll be in the right gear at the right time with less need to “dump” gears all at once.

And with Quick Shift enabled on the D1x, you can climb up to 5 gears with a single push of a button. Yep, one press of the button and you’ll get almost halfway through your 12-speed cassette.

So yeah, your riding style may change a little, but we’d argue that it’s a change in the right direction.