The pro season is well underway, which means Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 SW-7972 Sprint Shifters have had their first airing in the peloton – and the top sprinter of them all, Mark Cavendish, has given his seal of approval.
The new electronic technology allows for quick rear shifting while riding on the drops and is developed specifically for sprinters, to keep a firm grip on the handlebars while switching between gears.
A small button can be placed anywhere along the drops, with the right side of the ‘bars for shifting down and the left for shifting up – each button performing a single task.
And, despite opting not to use Di2 for the past two seasons, sprint king Cavendish has made the switch and given Sprint Shifters the thumbs-up.
“They’re good,” Cavendish told VeloNews. “I wasn’t that keen on switching to electronic because I liked the feel of the gear changing.
“My biggest problem is that I’ve got little hands and sometimes it was hard to change – I could just about reach the inside button to change down a gear.
“If you’re coming into a corner with a 90 degree bend with 300 metres to go, you’d be in your 11 [sprocket], at 70 k/ph, and you’d need to slam down two gears.
“So I needed something where we could quickly move back up and Shimano came up with this and it works perfect because you can stay on the drops.
“I’ve been using them since the December training camp and it’s a good idea so I don’t think I’d go back now even if I had the choice.”
Sprint Shifters plug and play into the existing Dura-Ace Di2 Dual Control Levers, although a hole must be hand cut into the handlebar tape for the button to sit.
There’s no firm word yet on cost for your average punter, but Sprint Shifters are due to be available this month.