Bike electronics has been the point of intensive discussions in the last years, everything started with the derailleurs, Shimano being the producer that made the first step towards this.
The electronic derailleurs were followed by suspensions and seatposts and let’s not forget about wireless breaks that are still being tested!
I’m a bit sceptical regarding electronics, but I had the opportunity of testing a bike with electronic Fox suspensions and also an electronic transmission. An almost full package, installed on a Merida 96 2017 Cross Country Bike, with a weight of 10 kilos. Let’s start with suspensions: why is it so mportant to have an electronic lock-out? It’s easy: because of it’s rapid mode change. On the handlebar there is a single push-button that can block the suspensions, set them on intermediar mode or open them completely. This allows easier and faster changes in suspension modes. It may seem like luxury especially for us, amateur riders, but the sound produced by the system makes you feel somewhere in the future. There is little extra weight, but you should be careful to recharge the batteries once the signal light turns on.
Regarding the derailleurs, these are very fast, faster than the mechanical ones, more silent and more precise. Very important is where you place the cable, because once exposed there is a great risk of breaking it. It’s true that the shifter body is quite large, but for the advantage of having the fastest derailleurs in the world, it’s worth it.
Regarding the costs, well they are really expensive, but I don’t see any reason not to buy them if you can afford them. Many are willing to invest in their comfort so, the more customers now, the cheaper they get. If I would like something like this? Definitely yes. We all want the latest innovations in the field. These electronic gears have been intensively tested before launching, some are at the second generation, so regarding durability there is no such problem. The problem would be the essence of the mountain bike, which in this case is lost. But, if you have more than one bike at home, you can always build a vintage MTB and on your race bike you can install the electronic devices. For me installing such devices is not the right decision, at least not now. These are more for the athletes for whom seconds are of great importance in winning a race. For the rest of us, these are exotic products, that deserve to be tested once in awhile.