Converting to Electronic Shifting

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
At 74, I'm always on the lookout for products that will allow me to continue riding as long as possible. I sometimes get arthritis in my hands which makes it difficult and sometimes painful to shift gears on a standard cable actuated derailleur system. I've looked at electronic derailleur systems but they are expensive and are mostly for 11 speed or higher cassettes. My existing bike is an older 10 speed. To convert it to an 11 speed and add electronic shifting would cost almost as much as a new bike. I was actually considering going that route until I found this product from Archer Components:


The D1X Trail mounts to the chain stay or seat stay of almost any bike, electric or conventional that uses a derailleur. It works with any cassette up to 15 cogs. At close to $400, it isn't cheap but a lot more so than any other electronic shifting system. Considering Archer's no questions asked 30 day return policy and 2 year warranty, I decided to give it a try. I have to say, after using the product for almost 500 miles, I'm impressed! Installation took about a half hour with another 20 minutes devoted to fine tuning the adjustments. Once set, the D1X holds your adjustments perfectly even when the batteries are changed. Shifting is quick, smooth and more "positive" than any cable system I've used. The handlebar mounted remote comes in light or firm button actuation pressure and is a huge benefit for anyone with finger or hand issues.

I won't get into the details since most are well explained in the link above. I'll simply highlight a few points that aren't clear in the instructions.

In my case, I had to mount the shifter on the seat stay since there are cables & electrical connectors in the way on the chain stay. The cable supplied was too short so I had to buy a longer piece of Bowman cable.
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Once installed, the shifter is adjusted using a free app available for Android or iPhone. Micro adjustments along with temporary "overshifting" make the shifting process as smooth as butter! One point that isn't clear in the instructions is, you need to pair the shifter with the app BEFORE pairing the remote. The app will not work when the shifter is paired with the remote.
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The Bluetooth remote can be mounted on the left or right, which ever is more convenient. As a precaution, I moved the cable shifter mechanism out of the way temporarily and left the cable in place rather than remove them. That way, it could be easily reinstalled should something happen to the electronic shifter.
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My only real complaint with the Archer D1X Trail is the way the batteries are installed. They are a snug fit in the shifter and it needs to be removed from the chain stay to change them. This is a tedious process and difficult to do on the road or trail. It is sometimes possible to remove the battery cover, lift the rear wheel and tap the side of the shifter. If you're lucky, the batteries will slide out but most of the time, they don't. I found a way to simplify the process by using a magnetic pick up tool to extract the batteries. I carry it in the spare battery kit that Archer sells for $15.
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Changing the battery on the remote is almost as difficult. It is almost impossible to do without removing it from the bike. This requires carrying the proper size Torx wrench in your tool kit. The small Allen wrench needed to open the case and extra screws are part of the spare battery kit which is a recommended accessory.
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The system operates for around 80 hours per charge which means the average rider won't have to change batteries more than a few times each season. As an example, the picture of the app battery meter above, taken after 300 miles of riding, shows them to be about half discharged. In this case, I rode around 50 miles on 6 different days during a 30 day period.

Is electronic shifting really necessary? I suppose it depends on your needs and abilities. Aside from it's ease of operation for those with health issues, the biggest advantage is the time saved having to constantly adjust your derailleur. Many riders aren't able to do this themselves and rely on a bike shop to do the work. Unlike cable actuated systems, the performance of electronic shifters does not change over time. There is no cable & shifter mechanism to clutter up the look of your handlebars.

Is it worth the money? In my case, yes but not everyone will agree.

I apologize if this post seems to be a product endorsement. In a way, I guess it is but aside from being a satisfied customer, I am in no way associated with Archer Components.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I was all in until I got to the "program with any phone" part. I have a $50 stupid phone, to avoid as much as possible commerce that benefits Pres Xi. No apple or google smart phones in my future. The phone company doesn't even know my name or address.
My diy electric shifter that runs off the 48v battery is on hold. The burglar carried off the two 48-24 v converters, 2 of three 24 v actuators, the arduino computer & accessory boards, the up-down switch buttons, the metal sensors. All to the copper scrapyard for $200 a ton I suppose. I'm still repairing hifi & PA components to replace what he carried off. Can't listen to LP's or CD's yet. No time for a shifter yet.
My shifter would adjust with a flat blade screwdriver. # of speeds part of the program.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
I was all in until I got to the "program with any phone" part. I have a $50 stupid phone, to avoid as much as possible commerce that benefits Pres Xi. No apple or google smart phones in my future. The phone company doesn't even know my name or address.
My diy electric shifter that runs off the 48v battery is on hold. The burglar carried off the two 48-24 v converters, 2 of three 24 v actuators, the arduino computer & accessory boards, the up-down switch buttons, the metal sensors. All to the copper scrapyard for $200 a ton I suppose. I'm still repairing hifi & PA components to replace what he carried off. Can't listen to LP's or CD's yet. No time for a shifter yet.
My shifter would adjust with a flat blade screwdriver. # of speeds part of the program.
The D1X Trail can also be programmed using the remote. The app isn't required but it makes the process much easier.
 

Bakunin

New Member
Region
USA
You might have been able to convert to Di2 for less than you suggest. Universal Cycles (Portland) is selling the first generation brake/shifter for $250 (or occassionally for $199). You can also find XT Di2 front/rear derailleurs that are highly discounted, and they work with the road levers. An 11-speed 11-34 Ultegra cassette will work on a 10-speed hub (leave out the included spacer). That basically leaves the junction box, battery and wiring. I've had those levers on a non-e-bike since 2014; they work great. They come with post-mount hydraulic calipers (essentially re-labeled XT).

I may convert my wife's ebike (currently 105 mechanical). I bought an extra set of shifters, so I am part way there.

She also suffers arthritis, and I am hoping this could help. I find it very hard to go back to mechanical shifting after using Di2 for seven years (and I don't have arthritis).
 

Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member
@6zfshdb, I'm seriously considering purchasing an Archer electric shifter, so your review is very helpful.
I really miss the smooth Di2 shifting on my road bike and I find the Deore XT shifting to be very clunky on my Cannondale Topstone Lefty 3 e-gravel bike.

I've heard Archer is working on a newer model, so hopefully they're going to do away with having to take off the equipment to change the battery. Personally, I'd rather have a built-in battery that can be recharged with a USB cable, similar to what I have on my Di2 setup.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
@6zfshdb, I'm seriously considering purchasing an Archer electric shifter, so your review is very helpful.
I really miss the smooth Di2 shifting on my road bike and I find the Deore XT shifting to be very clunky on my Cannondale Topstone Lefty 3 e-gravel bike.

I've heard Archer is working on a newer model, so hopefully they're going to do away with having to take off the equipment to change the battery. Personally, I'd rather have a built-in battery that can be recharged with a USB cable, similar to what I have on my Di2 setup.
I'm not sure if there is anything else in the works but the D1x Trail with micro adjust remote is a newer model that recently replaced the original D1x with standard remote. The newer model lets you make micro derailleur adjustments using the remote without the app.

Although a built in USB rechargeable battery would be convenient in some respects, it would strand you if it goes dead on the road. I suppose you could recharge it from the bike battery if it has a USB port but you will have to wait while it is charging. I prefer a replaceable battery so I can carry a spare. Swapping batteries isn't that big a chore if you carry the tools mentioned above. The ideal setup would be to power the shifter directly from the bike battery. That still leaves the wireless remote to deal with though.
 

Bakunin

New Member
Region
USA
I've had Di2 on a bike since 2014, and the only time I ran the battery down was when I did it deliberately to see what would happen. Briefly, it gives you ample warning. If you ignore the red light that comes on when you shift for several weeks, eventually it gets to the point where the front derailleur won't shift. You still have plenty of time (hours, perhaps days) to charge it before the rear derailleur stops working. I charge mine about once every 4 months ( and could easily get away with twice a year).
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
The D1x advertises 80 hours of battery life but this obviously depends on the amount of shifting you do. E-bikes require much less than a conventional bike. It powers off automatically after a pre set period of time and "wakes up" when a remote button is pressed. It also shifts into a preset gear just before the battery dies.

With 500 miles on the D1x now, and half the charge remaining, I estimate I'll have to swap batteries 2 or 3 times per season.
 

WattsUpDude

Well-Known Member
Archer is having a 20% off Father's Day sale. This was the incentive I needed to order one. 🥳 👍 🥳
I'm so tempted. Are you using this with dropbars? I think that's the biggest thing in my way of purchasing these. I would like a way to shift when I'm riding in the drops and there doesn't seem to be a way to mount the remote in that position.
 

Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member
No, I've ordered the flat bar model.
My drop bar road bike has Di2 shifting, which I love. I don't expect the Archer unit to be as good as a Di2 unit. I'll be happy with 'close'.
 

SMeBikers

Member
Region
USA
City
Santa Monica
Yes, quality ebikes and all that they entail are expensive. Don't tell my "wife" how much two bikes, the hitch, the carrier, etc. cost!