We’ve seen some pretty crazy mods to Di2 over the years, from single button up-or-down shifting that automatically selects the best gear combo to custom buttons integrated into non-stock placements. Those are cool, but for most of us, just being able to fine tune the Di2 we already have is all the hacking we’re comfortable doing.
Fortunately, Shimano makes it pretty easy for dealers to help you customize your system. Unfortunately, they’ve not done the best job spreading the word to riders that such options are available, largely leaving it up to the bike shops and resellers to convey the message at the time of purchase.
To do that, they need the software and SM-PCE1 adapter from Shimano, which connects their computer to the Di2 system. Those allow them to run diagnostics, updated the firmware and customize the way it works. Our local Trek Bicycles Greensboro just happens to have the device, so we brought in our 6770 Ultegra Di2 group for a long overdue update.
Shift past the break to see how it works and what your options are…
The SM-PCE1 is the relay between a PC and the Di2 battery holder and shifter.
To connect it, remove one of the auxiliary plugs from a shifter to free up a port, and connect the other cable to your battery holder. It’ll sense the parts by being hooked up to just the shifter, but we had issues getting it to consistently work (kept trying to update just the battery holder) until we connected both cords.
The first step is a Connection Check. It shows all the parts in your system, then works its way through the system to ensure it can properly communicate with everything.
They’ll become outlined in green to confirm it can talk to each part. From here, you can select some or all of the parts you want to update, but best to just get them all modernized together.
If it then shows up yellow, it means the parts have an update available. Hit “Finish” and it’ll tell you what updates are available and allowed. Hit OK and Update and away it goes.
Parts will turn green as they’re updated, and a progress bar lets you know how it’s going. From start to finish it only took about 10 minutes.
After the firmware update completes, run another connection check to get this screen so you can customize it. On the image above, we had unselected the battery, which is why it is gray, and it wouldn’t let us customize anything. We were trying this because we kept having it tell us the battery holder needed to be updated, but plugging in the second cord directly to the battery holder solved the problem. So, your screen should show everything green if you want to be able to customize it.
Hit “Customize” and you’ll get to this screen with three options: Switch Shift Functions, Rear Derailleur Adjustments and Multishift Mode Settings.
Switch Shift Functions brings you here and lets you dictate which buttons do what. If you want the little button to perform upshifts for both front and rear, or switch rear shifting to the left hand, you can do it here. Climber buttons can also be tweaked if you have them.
The Rear Derailleur Adjustments mimics what you can do on the bike with the controller box included in the Di2 system. The Adjustment Setting simply fine tunes the derailleur’s position on the cog. You can then click the buttons on the screen to shift to test out your adjustments.
The next screen is the speed settings and on/off toggle for Multishift.
Multishift gives you the option of holding down the rear shift button and having it run through multiple gears. Depending on which Di2 group you have, it may or may not be turned on out of the box. The first option lets you set the speed at which it’ll shift between gears in Multishift. It does not affect the speed of individual shifts when you’re just tapping the button once.
The second lets you set how many gears it’ll run through – two, three or unlimited. Honestly, you can tap the buttons manually to shift two or three times faster than Multishift will do it, so No Limit makes more sense. No Limit will continue shifting for as long as you hold the button, from one end to the other.
Here’s a video comparison showing Multishift on the slowest and fastest option:
Shimano’s tech reps say “Fast” is probably best. Fastest runs the risk of having the chain float on top of the cogs if you’re really hammering. That’s also why they don’t make it shift any faster. We’ve shown you before that you can still shift through the entire cassette faster by pressing the button rapidly, but the convenience sure is nice.
Once you’ve got it set the way you want it, you’ll run the Complete Setup procedure to lock in the changes. It’ll then bring you back to this screen. If the red line through the graphic goes away, you know everything can be safely disconnected. Then just run your bike through the gears to make sure it all works as expected.
The updates and customization shown here can be performed on any E-tube Di2 system. That means all but the original Dura-Ace 7970 Di2. The 6770 Ultegra Di2, which we have here, was released prior to the multishift option, so to get it you’ll have to update it. The newer DA 9070 comes with Multishift turned on and the speed set at Medium. When the new Ultegra 6870 ships later this year, it’ll also be programmed with it on. You can also update Alfine Di2.
For bikes that come with the new internal BCR2 seatpost Di2 battery, the charger doubles as a PC connector for owners to be able to upgrade the system at home.
Don’t have that? Check the Dealer Locator on Shimano’s website for a list of authorized service centers. Shops that have it are required to maintain updated training on it, and anytime the software launches, it alerts the shop if there’s an update necessary before it’ll run.
Huge thanks to the Trek Store Greensboro for running us through the process. They charge $25 for an update, or free if you bought the parts or bike from them. It takes about 20 to 40 minutes.
Semi-related: As we learned when we rode the new Shimano hydraulic road disc brakes, you can drop the new hydro Di2 levers into an existing E-tube system without having to change the rest of your drivetrain. The rear mech tells the system how many gears you have and the shifters adapt accordingly…but you do have to run a full update as shown here to make it all work.
And if you want to get crazy, contact Fair Wheel Bikes.