Rumored since Interbike last year, Shimano’s D-Fly wireless transmitter for E-Tube Di2 systems is finally official.
The minuscule ANT/ANT+ transmitter will plug inline anywhere in the system, providing plenty of mounting options. The unit will transmit system data like battery level, gear selection and a few other items, to compatible cycling computers. Initially, that’ll only be the new Shimano Pro SCIO ANT+ Cycling Computer, but units from MIO and others are on deck for spring 2014.
Essentially, the SCIO/D-Fly combo are bringing back some of the best Flight Deck features, namely showing what gear you’re in. Presumably, it’ll also show (or at least be able to show) the gear ratio and calculate cadence based on speed and gear selection. Full features list is yet to be released for the computer.
UPDATE #1: It can be installed anywhere inline, not just at the rear derailleur. But, it’s not recommended to install it inside a tube or stem as that could create interference or limit signal transmission and negatively affect performance. More updates as we get them.
Beam past the break for a closeup photo and more…
Actual size is 38mm x 25mm x 12.5mm. Weight is less than 5g. The unit will work with DA9070 and Ultegra 6870 and 6770 and is powered by the regular system battery. It ships in March for $79.99.
The SCIO computer ships in February in white or black for $139. Given the price compared to prior SCIO models, we suspect it’ll have all the bells and whistles like Altimeter, but not GPS. All the more reason to be excited that other computers will soon have access to their protocol. Because it’s ANT+ also, it should be able to pick up data from other sensors. Claimed weight on that is 80g, more on that as soon as we get it.
As of now, it won’t allow you to control your system wirelessly. That doesn’t mean it’s not ever going to do it – theoretically, it’d just be a different set of commands sent to the device. But that assumes it can receive as well as transmit. No word on whether it can or can’t, and we’ve asked.
Assuming it does, here’s your group ride discussion of the day: Sould it really be practical to have to worry about so many separate batteries on each shifter just to remove a few wires?
We could see training applications that could take advantage of it, such as letting your coaching program/app shift for you to adjust cadence and/or intensity…on the trainer, of course. Not on the open road.
Shimano’s using a private ANT protocol, meaning they control what data is sent. Check out our interview with several ANT+ consortium members for an in depth look at how that works. In a nutshell, it means Shimano can easily limit who can access that data. It also means they could limit access to shifting controls.