The Japanese manufacturer Shimano, probably the best known among users of bicycle component suppliers, has just presented the version of its electronic change for mountain bike. The Shimano Deore XT Di2 It is compatible only with electric bicycles and must be paired with the new drive units EP6 and EP8 from the same manufacturer. Available in two variants, 11-speed (LinkGlide) and 12-speed (Hyperglide+)XT Di2 incorporates important innovations in its operation with two revolutionary technologies: Free Shift, to change without pedaling and Auto Shift, to make changes fully automatically.
The change Shimano XT Di2 it was first introduced in 2016, driving 11-speed sprocket cassettes. Six years later, a revolutionary renewal comes under the family LinkGlide, about which the Japanese manufacturer claims that it is three times more durable. The Deore XT Di2 LinkGlide derailleur retains that durability and adds the benefits of a modern automatic transmission.
The renewal of the Di2 change is still only available for electric bikes as rely on battery power to function. This condition is maintained in the new generation, which is why there are no Di2 options for conventional bicycles. For the most part, the LinkGlide 11-speed and Hyperglide+ 12-speed derailleurs look nearly identical. The biggest difference seems to be in the design of the pulleys. Along with the addition of Di2, Shimano has introduced a new CS-LG700 11-speed cassette for the LinkGlide groupsets that is 200 grams lighter than the previous CS-LG600.
Free Shift and Auto Shift, the new way to change gear on an electric bike
The biggest novelty that the new gears bring are the gear modes Free Shift and Auto Shiftavailable when Deore XT Di2 groupsets are combined with the new EP600 and EP801 drive units.
The new Free Shift mode by Shimano unlocks the ability to change without pedaling. While this is not the first system capable of doing this, the Shimano EP platform does it in a unique way by leaving it up to the electric motor. When the shift command is given in areas where pedaling is not possible, the system moves the derailleur with the chain to the corresponding sprocket and the motor tightens it without moving the cranks from the pedals so that it is possible to shift at any time.
But the change can also be made without intervention by the cyclist thanks to the new automatic transmission with Auto Shift manual override technology. This is a feature that is only present on LinkGlide groups. While the previous feature was also compatible with the 12-speed Hyperglide+ derailleur, this is not the case. Shimano says that 12-speed groupsets can autoshift while coasting, but they can’t autoshift while pedaling. For that function, the LinkGlide group is required.
Deore Xt Di2 LinkGlide 11-speed
The entry version of the new Shimano derailleurs is a precision electronic derailleur that features 11 gears distributed on an 11-50t cassette (sprockets up to 50 teeth). Power and recharging are centralized in the bike battery.
This change enables the new FREE SHIFT and AUTO SHIFT modes with manual override. Options are available for full manual shifting, full manual shifting with FREE SHIFT enabled, meaning no need to pedal to shift, and automatic shifting by pedaling and coasting AUTO SHIFT with manual override.
Includes a new CS-LG700 cassette that is 200 grams lighter than the previous generation CS-LG600. Includes a dedicated RD-M8150-11 e-MTB 11-speed rear derailleur. The 11-speed groupset (and also the top 12-speed range) use a new Di2 shifter with a double thumb lever setup.
Deore Xt Di2 Hyperglide+ 12-speed
While Shimano promotes durability in the LinkGlide version, in the 12-speed Deore Xt Di2 Hyperglide+ it talks about the advantages in terms of precision and performance. Built to use the current HG 10-51t 12 speed cassette groupset, it features its own dedicated RD-M8150-12 e-MTB rear derailleur that sports the 12s logo printed on the clutch cover. Power and recharging are centralized in the bike battery.
Like the previous one, this change enables the new FREE SHIFT and AUTO SHIFT modes. when moving by inertia. Options are available for full manual shifting, full manual shifting with FREE SHIFT enabled, meaning no need to pedal to shift, and automatic shifting on pedaling and coasting AUTO SHIFT with manual override
Upgrade of EP600 and EP801 drive units
Both Xt Di2 LinkGlide and Xt Di2 Hyperglide+ are compatible with drive units Shimano EP600 and EP801. The EP6 series is completely new and is intended to achieve similar performance as the EP8 series at a lower price. Most of the specifications are the same although the top range, the EP8 is 300 grams lighter.
The Shimano EP600 offers the following features:
- Max Torque: 85Nm.
- Continuous rated power: 250W.
- Total weight: 3 kilograms.
- Communication compatibility via CAN port
While not completely new, the EP 801 has been upgraded to support the new shift modes, as well as the new “fine tuning mode” in the E-Tube Project app, which allows you to customize the power profile. Like the EP600, the EP801 receives additional CAN ports to “ensure future-proof compatibility for Shimano EP platforms”:
- Max Torque: 85 Nm.
- Continuous rated power: 250W.
- Overall Weight: 2.7 kilograms.
Availability and prices
Since all of these components will only work together as a complete system, Shimano will not initially offer them individually, but as part of a complete electric bike. Availability is announced for “late spring or early summer 2023”. At Eurobike 2022, Shimano will be showing electric bikes on display with this system already in place.