July 21, 2012
By Rob English
Bike Friday head designer
Hey, did you charge your bike?
If Shimano — and now Campagnolo — have their way, this might become a more common question with the introduction of electronic shifting.
With battery life extending several months, charging will be a very infrequent occurrence.
For folding and travel bikes this actually makes a lot of sense — electric wires don’t care about tricky routing and potentially getting kinked during packing.
We have installed Shimano’s Ultegra Di2 on several Bike Fridays and it works very well. It even plays nice with the Capreo cassette.
We have done builds with a 56T chainring for a tall 56×9 top gear, and also with a compact 34/50 crankset for more mountain friendly gearing.
The frame does require a few special modifications.
First, we add braze-on mounts for the battery on the back of the seat tube. The battery then sits neatly tucked out of the way between the seat tube and rear wheel.
There is a mount for the junction box on the front of the seat tube.
The front derailleur requires additional bracing for the motor to push against, so we add some reinforcement to the hanger.
And finally we can leave off the gear cable loops on the mainframe, as there is only the rear brake cable to run.
Once it is all setup, shifting is perfect; the front derailleur even trims itself as the chain moves up and down the cassette.
Do we NEED electric shifting? Probably not, but it is pretty neat!
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