Found: Talbot Frameworks Integrates Circuits into Paint, Eliminates Di2 Wires

Talbot Integrated DI2 Circuit PaintThe Talbot Frameworks name dates back to 1940s, but it was only recently that customer frame builder Matt McDonough bought the naming rights. Since then, he’s produced everything from a balance bike to a Rofloff equipped touring bike, but perhaps his most interesting frame to date is the Dalsnibba.

Named after a mountain in Norway, where an annual duathlon takes place, the frame is constructed from a mixture of different tubing, which are mixed and matched to meet individual rider needs.

What makes this frame particularly notable is it’s unusual Di2 integration. Rather than running internal housing, this custom frame has pure silver laid onto the paint to create circuits.

*Updated* At bottom of the post with info from the builder!

Talbot Frameworks DalsnibbaThe frame is available in both mechanical and electrical configurations, and with disc brakes if you’re willing to flout the UCI.

Talbot Frameworks Dalsnibba DI2 front derailleur solder workThe splicing and soldering could have been implemented in a cleaner (and more protected) fashion, but there is something to be said for the uniqueness of the current design. Our major concern would be accidentally ripping out a cable or having the copper connections corrode.  

Talbot Frameworks Dalsnibba DI2 Circuit DetailsComplete builds with an Enve fork start at £2,499, and go up from there.

Talbot Frameworks Dalsnibba DI2 Circuit Details Rear TriangleJust don’t scratch the paint. 

Talbot Frameworks Dalsnibba DI2 Circuit Details Rear derailleurDo you like the idea of conductive paint and integrated circuits?

As you have correctly ascertained, the model you have on your site is a proof of concept, built with the wiring exposed to allow us to easily demonstrate what exactly was happening with the design. The wiring/conductive paint  is only exposed in such a way to allow people to see what is happening. We have designed 3D printed collars for the junctions which will hold the wires in place using crimping bolts, whilst having contact pads in contact with the conductive strip.

In the model you have seen, we used conductive silver, which is painted on in an acetate solution, the acetate evaporates, leaving a conductive silver strip. We used this as we were working with 7970, which has a multitude of wires to replace: Power, rear mech signal, front mech signal, ground and position. This meant we needed to use something conductive enough to be used in thin strips along the frame, and be able to applied in such a way as to be able to follow lines of the frame. None of the lines could cross obviously, so this led to quite a lot of thought going into the application of the silver. 

It is also worth noting that we did this on an obsolete groupset. We did this for two reasons. The first is that we have a fair amount of experience hacking 7970 in various ways, and so felt more comfortable working with this on our first prototype. The second is that 7970 is an inherently simple systems, consisting of circuits being maintained or being broken, which made it easier for us to work with.  

We are at this moment putting the finishing touches to our second prototype, which will be running Di2 9000. As you will be aware, this uses the E-tube wiring system, which has both benefits, but also issues when used with our system. On the one hand, it uses a mechanically very simple 2 controller area network datalink. However, what we gain in mechanical simplicity, we lose in signaling complexity. The silver conductive ‘paint’ just didn’t have nearly a high enough fidelity to work with the E-tube system. We have therefore moved over to gold leaf, which resolved all fidelity issues. This version will also be using the band on connectors.

 Both the silver solution and the gold leaf are under a heavy lacquer, and could even be under everything except the primer if required, again the bike you have seen was left with everything exposed as an explanation of what was going on, so it should be relatively durable. If you chip all the way through the paint, then yes the shifting will stop working, but for small breaks in the circuit, the silver solution resolves this on both systems. 

Will it change the world of cycling? No. Will it be a massive success, with thousands of people queuing up to buy it? I hope not, It is incredibly complicated to get mechanically, electronically, and aesthetically sound. Will it be obsolete in two years time. Most definitely yes. We did it mainly because we thought it sounded fun, and because we wanted to see if we could. It was fun, and we can do it. ” – Matthew McDonough

Via Talbot Frameworks


Lodz - 05/22/14 - 3:44pm

Super cool idea – once they figure out how to make it look clean, I can see this becoming popular. Why silver instead of copper?

Dude - 05/22/14 - 3:49pm

Neat idea, definitely not a clean execution. I would have the Di2 wires be soldered into a clamp that goes around a given frame tube and makes the contact to the frame, to clean up the visuals and protect the connections from accidents.

T - 05/22/14 - 3:51pm

Great idea. That way when Shimano changes the wiring, or you want to switch to SRAM or Campy you can throw away the frame.

Steffen - 05/22/14 - 3:53pm

Brilliant idea, wonder why we haven’t seen it until now! Only needs better execution and finish. Where did the hide the rear brake?

BT - 05/22/14 - 3:54pm

Obsolete once wireless Di3 comes out

Chris - 05/22/14 - 4:07pm

When it rains, it stops shifting.

eB - 05/22/14 - 4:11pm

what happens if your “shifter paint” chips?

Brian - 05/22/14 - 4:12pm

This is obsolete already, that is the Dura-Ace 7970 group which does NOT use e-tube wiring like 6770, 7870, and 9070 do. Wire harnesses from that group are hard to get anymore.

Wolfie - 05/22/14 - 4:22pm

Clever, but definitely not mass-market. Changes are happening too fast for anything but a custom job on this. I do love the Tron-inspired look, though.

Pete - 05/22/14 - 4:25pm

More importantly what happens when it rains? This is an electrician’s nightmare…

Mike - 05/22/14 - 4:26pm

Used for years in home audio equipment. You can use special conductive tape as well. Grest to see it on the bike :)

Dave - 05/22/14 - 4:31pm

I understood this particular bike was a prototype build for the Bespoke show in London to garner interest in Talbot Frameworks and the exposed wiring was to show off the concept and what they could do ..

Saris Mercanti - 05/22/14 - 4:45pm


Thanks for the info, I have reached out to Matt to learn more about the build, and will update the article with his responses.

Eyal - 05/22/14 - 7:22pm

These wires should be part of the skin of the bike. Also Each bike should have a computer built into it and things just plug in.

gumby - 05/22/14 - 7:35pm

Wire ‘s ?? WTF WHY ?? BlueTooth is the future …

ZiDD - 05/22/14 - 8:03pm

its a prototype…neat idea…

Wireless would be better.

grog - 05/22/14 - 8:19pm

all i know, is I don’t even care for road bikes, but that seatstay section is PURE SEX.

Jonny - 05/22/14 - 9:41pm

Why not use the latest version of Di2…? the 7970 is completely obsolete and useless to try to improve…

Tyler - 05/22/14 - 10:29pm

I think this is very clever. Don’t care that it’s not e-tube, don’t care about rain. I just care that someone thought outside the box and have the bike a super clean look

Tokyo - 05/23/14 - 12:59am

Cool Idea for someone that wants to be unique.

@Steffen its under the BB

drkrvr - 05/23/14 - 2:55am

Very nice idea! The contacts need little redesign (aesthetically as well).

I do not like bluetooth, wifi and other wireless systems, the r unreliable and radiate.
Pollute the anyway (messy) air. Cables are nice. Turn off your wifi devices, routers, notebooks, tablets, smartphones during the night, at least. You will have calmer sleep and nice dreams :). Radiation is not good for humans. Radiation free houses, homes, offices, cars ! .) Bluetooth substitutes laziness – in most cases. Prefer cables over wifi / BT (routers). Try to medidate about that .)

Nash - 05/23/14 - 4:07am


Non-ionising radiation is not the same as ionising as it has no recorded health effects at the level emitted by blue tooth devices. Even without man made radiation from all our modern toys there is still a great deal of back ground natural radiation to keep from having sweet dreams.

Duane - 05/23/14 - 8:36am

Could someone with an electrical engineering background comment on the feasibility of running the signal over a Titanium or Steel frame? I don’t know the conductivity properties of these metals, but this would be rather convenient.

Nils - 05/23/14 - 8:51am

I prefer wires as well, its simpler, easier to troubleshoot and only one battery is needed. If everything was wireless you would have to make sure to have 4 batteries charged at all times for your gears to be functional.

The lanes are properbly coated with a lacquer to isolate them. Also, as long as there are a sufficient number of lanes any cable could be soldered to any type of cable.
(As long as the current is reasonable)

Dave - 05/23/14 - 9:12am

It is a fun prototype > The actual production bikes would have the ‘strips’ under paint and the electronics hidden.

Dave B - 05/23/14 - 9:23am

“Used for years in home audio equipment. You can use special conductive tape as well. ”

Home audio equipment never gets rained on or hit by stone chips or climbed on and off of. One scratch in the top tube paint and nothing works again. A clever but very vulnerable idea.

J - 05/23/14 - 9:23am


You must be fun at parties. Also, how do you protect yourself from radio waves on the AM/FM band? Or cellular? Just because your device is off does not mean radio waves are constantly hitting your body. Unless you live in a remote place that is.

That being said, this proto frame is a great concept. Maybe not practical, but a great concept.

oldmanridley - 05/23/14 - 10:27am

Kudos for the build! Of course you’ll get the negative Nellie comments….the bulk of these are from non-innovators.
Keep pushing on to V 2.0! Innovation is seldom pretty.

nightfend - 05/23/14 - 12:41pm

What could possibly go wrong with this idea?

Jim - 05/25/14 - 7:16am

So when’s somebody (probably shimano?) going to bake the wires / circuit into the carbon fibre frame ?

JCLARK - 05/26/14 - 11:29am


Psi Squared - 05/27/14 - 5:25pm

“We did it mainly because we thought it sounded fun, and because we wanted to see if we could. It was fun, and we can do it.”

That’s the best reason for doing it. Cool project.

Fin - 05/27/14 - 7:53pm

Superb idea – looks great too

Please before commenting, actually bother to read the article…

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