29 November, 2023

The future of shifting

The E-EDR is the enduro world cup for electric bikes.

These races have some of the most challenging circuits for riders and teams, with timed downhills and special Power Stages with tough climbs.

These races offer an excellent opportunity to test and optimise our bikes and evaluate new technologies, and that is precisely what our OOLab teams are doing.

One such technology is Shimano´s automatic shifting. There are two separate technologies here, AUTO SHIFT and FREE SHIFT, which do pretty much what they sound like.

AUTO SHIFT

Is like an automatic car, where the gears shift to match the speed and how hard the rider is pedalling.

FREE SHIFT

Lets riders change gears without pedaling, using the motor to drive the gears as they freewheel to select the perfect gear for the next section of the trail.

We have been working with Damien Oton and Gabi Torralba to evaluate these technologies using our Rise.

Via Shimano´s E-TUBE app, it is possible to tune the desired cadence and how reactive the shifting is to the pressure on the pedals. The feedback from the riders has been very positive, rating this as a game-changer for some races.

The future of shifting
The future of shifting

On timed descents, the FREE SHIFT technology lets riders select the correct gear without pedalling, allowing them to sprint out of the corners or attack the short climbs on these stages.

The beauty of this is that it enables riders to keep their hands on the grips and concentrate on line choices.

Setting up the system was a matter of tuning the climbing response, i.e., how readily the system wants to change in response to the pressure through the pedals, to match the power that Damien and Gabi are putting down in race situations.

Each rider also set their preferred pedalling cadence, the Shift Timing, with both settling at around 74-75 rpm.

Even for race situations, Damien and Gabi found that the app offers all the necessary tunability. Of course, the beauty of the system is that, even in the fully automatic mode, riders can shift manually any time they want.

On the power stages, the feedback was also really positive. The system reacts to maintain the chosen cadence, letting riders concentrate on the climbs.

The future of shifting

I would even say that I have more power because I can hold the handlebars with my full hand, which allows me to pull harder on the handlebars and concentrate on the lines.

– Damien Oton

What was impressive was how well the LINKGLIDE cassette and chains coped with shifting under full power, with smooth shifting and improved durability in these extreme conditions.

It is clear that Shimano´s automatic shifting technologies are here to stay, and the feedback from our team is highly positive.

The advantages in race situations are notable, with riders able to put down more power and concentrate on their lines. It is easy to set up the system through the app and tune it to each rider´s preferences.

Rise M-Team

Choose the M-Team model if you want a RISE with Shimano’s FREE SHIFT.

Stay tuned to our OOLab updates to be the first to hear about all the technologies we are testing.