Boulder, Colorado, bicycle shop Sports Garage has created one of the most exciting third-party modifications of Shimano's fantastic Di2 electronic transmission BikeRadarhas seen yet. Dubbed Di2BS, it's an amazing hands-free system that retains all the benefits of the standard Di2 but with an even more intuitive interface.
Di2BS removes the traditional shift buttons on the levers, instead embedding a pair of pressure-sensitive switches in the saddle – so, rather than tapping away with your fingers, now all you do is shift your weight from one side to another to change gear.
Sports Garage has built its prototype into a Ritte Bosberg bike and Specialized Ruby saddle, but mechanic James Terry – who developed the Di2BS system – says it can be adapted into just about any frame and saddle.
Sports Garage says the customized system is not only more intuitive to use but also lighter, more aerodynamic, and a perfect solution for riders with compromised mechanical dexterity. Di2BS might also be useful for winter conditions when you're wearing heavily insulated gloves.
The complete prototype is very light, with a claimed weight of just 6.49kg (14.3lb) with pedals.
Pressure-sensitive buttons embedded into the saddle
BikeRadar secured an exclusive test ride of the Di2BS system, and while there's certainly a learning curve involved, it feels surprisingly natural. Sports Garage says production samples should be ready for sale in about six months. Final pricing is still to be determined but we anticipate a US$500 premium over the standard Shimano Ultegra or Dura-Ace Di2 cost.
Sports Garage's Shimano Di2BS system