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What's so Special About Shimano Electric Shifters?

Bikes have come a long way, and often new technology hits the market to make cycling safer, easier, and more fun than before. One of the innovations that have become increasingly popular is the electronic shifter. This piece of tech has positioned itself at the top of the drivetrain market, and many cyclists consider it a must-have.

Electronic shifting on bikes dates back to the 1990s. It has become popular in cycling thanks to its success in competitive environments. Electronic shifters combine several pieces of technology to improve the performance of your bike. It gives precise and accurate shifting every time you change the gears. Since electronic drivetrains function without cables, it gives you the peace of mind that once you set the gears, they are set up for good. So, you will not worry about cable stretching, which can cause shifting to deteriorate.

Since its first introduction about two decades ago, Shimano Di2 technology has evolved to offer the most advanced shifting experience for a wide range of rider types and riding styles, including road, city, gravel, and mountain bike.

This guide will discuss everything you need to know about the Shimano electric shifters, including their history and benefits. We will also discuss some electric bike models that use Shimano electric shifters. Keep reading to learn more.

History of Shimano Electric Shifters

Shimano was founded in Japan in 1921. The company produces bicycle components, soft wear, and accessories. Whether you are a mountain biker, commuter, road racer, or just like your bike for fun, their products will improve your performance and make your cycling experience more enjoyable.

Shimano Di2 (Digital Integrated Intelligence) development started in the early 2000s and was launched to market in 2009. It represented a step-change in groupset micro adjustment. It was the first to replace the old mechanical cable shifting layout with a wired electronic system, all powered via an external battery.

Initially, it featured exclusively as part of Shimano's famed Dura-Ace groupset and was calibrated using a PC. To set up the system, you had to manually plug it into a computer. After the launch of the E-Tube app, the on-the-fly setup was made possible. This made technology more user-friendly for the average cyclist.

The transition from 10 to 11-speed came with the launch of DURA-ACE 9070 Di2. This groupset brought other groundbreaking changes, including smaller, lighter derailleurs, dual-pivot rim brakes, and four-arm chainsets. 

Shimano D12 uses wire to connect the shifters to the derailleurs. The wire passes through a junction box connecting to the battery, which can be stored within the seat tube, head tube, or frame. 

Benefits of Shimano Electric Shifters

The following are the benefits of Shimano electric shifters.

Increased Efficiency

Many bike riders who use Shimano electronic shifters tout the performance benefits as the primary reason for switching. Generally, electric shifters offer the latest and most advanced technology in cycling.

With a Shimano electric shifter, it will take less energy to shift since electric buttons are easier to push compared to mechanical levers. Shifting down or up is much easier since no mechanical force is required to move the shift lever or pull a cable to actuate the derailleur.

Shimano electric shifters are programmable. You can set them up to shift by two or three gears at a time with a single press of the shift button. Shimano electric shifters can provide more consistent shifting. You do not have to worry about more variables, such as cable stretch or cable housing contamination, which can affect the performance of a mechanical setup.

Shimano's Syncro Shift technology uses the right shifter to control both rear and front derailleurs. This changes the front derailleur automatically. The Syncro feature lets your system calculate the ideal ratio between the front and back cogs. For instance, for a 2×12, the feature effectively gives you continuous access to all 24 gears from a single shifter without the divide into two sets of 12.

With the Shimano electric shifter, you can move into the exact gear you want at the same rate every single time. 

Improved Comfort

Not only do Shimano electric shifters increase efficiency, but they also improve comfort. With an electric shifter, the system takes care of some practicalities for you. While mechanical drivetrains require force to move a shifter paddle and pull a cable to actuate a shift, Shimano electric shifters use small derailleur motors that do the work for you and instantly shift at the push of a button.

Shimano electric shifters make it easy for anyone to ride a bike, including individuals with physical disabilities. You can mount the shift buttons anywhere on the handlers where you are comfortable. For instance, if you have a problem with one arm, you may need the swift buttons to be positioned next to the other arm.

Reliable and Durable

Shimano electric shifters have fewer moving parts compared to mechanical ones. Therefore, it is difficult for most features to fail or wear out. This makes them incredibly reliable and more durable. 

Electric shifters are simple electric switches without moving parts inside. On the other hand, mechanical shifters have several moving parts that can easily wear out and fail. In addition, there are fewer moving parts in electronic derailleurs and linkages. 

Improved Control

One of the reasons why many cyclists prefer Shimano electric shifters is because of the improved control they offer. Electronic groupsets utilize derailleur motors that do the work for you, instantly shifting gears at the push of a button. You can even actuate multiple shifts with just one click. This allows you to find the correct gear quickly, with less movement, and without much energy.

If the small act of shifting is less mentally and physically demanding, an electronic drivetrain can allow the rider to dedicate more energy and focus to other tasks. Electronic drivetrains also offer shift modes that remove the need for bike riders to think about the front derailleur.

Shimano's D12 systems are entirely customizable. This means you can make any button do what you want, and it can be modified using their E-Tube software. Shimano also has an application (E-TUBE PROJECT) that is compatible with smartphones and Windows PCs. The application allows you to run diagnostics, change settings, and upgrade the firmware. 

Ebike Models that Use Shimano Electric Shifters

The following are a few examples of electric bike models that use Shimano electric shifters.

Ecotric Vortex

First on our list of e-bike models that use Shimano electric shifters is the "Ecoctric Vortex." This electric bicycle comes at a competitive price and has a super-high value. The bike features both pedal assist and throttle-only mode. With this bike, you will never have to worry about parking, spaces, traffic jams, crowded buses, or being pressed for time. Instead, you will have plenty of time to start your day leisurely.

The Ecotric Vortex UL Certified Bike is great for teens and adults that want a reliable ride for city driving. It features a proven MTB-inspired frame as well as a 36-volt, 350-watt motor inside the rear hub. It can hit a speed of 20 miles per hour. Besides, this electric bike comes with adorable 26-inch spoked rims with sleek road tires as well as a sizable 12.5 amp/hour battery for traveling long distances. 

The Ecotric Vortex has a 400-600 cycle battery life and a power lock and battery lock function. In addition, it has an ABS plastic cell box fixed in the middle of the bicycle frame.

Micargi Seco GT

This ultra-stylish electric bike allows you to sit upright for maximum comfort. It can be stored in places with limited space, thanks to its foldable frame. With the bike's front and rear disc brakes, you can instantly stop it without the need for excessive lever pressure.

The bike is powered by a 250W rear hub motor. The motor is located at the rear wheel, and it provides direct wheel power. The bike's battery is 4 to 6 hours or 35 miles, depending on the mode it is being ridden on. The speed sensor provides essentially six different modes to ride: 0 being full electric (throttle) and 1 to 5 being pedal assist. If you ride on full electric, the bike's battery will drain a lot quicker.

Senada Roamer

With this Senada Roamer electric bike, you have 1000W continuous power and 82 Nm of torque at your disposal! It has a high-speed brushless geared hub motor that can help you conquer the most rugged terrains easily.

The bike has a Lithium-ion 48V 15Ah removable battery that ensures high performance and a long lifespan. It has a backlight display that provides mileage, power, and speed. Besides, it has a Shimano 21 speed freewheel, so you can shift to a larger cog for uphill riding and downshift to a smaller cog at high speeds. 


Shimano Di2 puts cyclists in complete control and ensures a seamless interface between the rider and the bike, thanks to its accurate, fast, and reliable shifting performance. It comprises small junctions, batteries, wires, and mechanical units.

While it looks like a simple system, it is packed with intricate functions and leading-edge technology. Browse Electric Bike Paradise's collection of Electric Bikes that use Shimano Electric Shifters, and contact us for any questions.

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