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Is it worth taking electronic change on a mountain bike?

Is it worth taking electronic change on a mountain bike?

Is it worth changing to an electronic change group in Mountain Bike? The world of cycling is always in continuous evolution and brands have to reinvent themselves day by day incorporating technological innovations. Some of them set and others do not. In road cycling Electronic change is increasingly common. Both Shimano and Campagnolo and SRAM, main manufacturers of change groups, have electronic ranges. This does not happen in mountain cycling, where until recently Shimano was the only great manufacturer that offered electronic changes in his rally ranging groups for Mountain Bike. With the entry of the new SAM Eagle Axs ranges, the options are extended. SRAM XX1 EAGLE AX In this article we will try to clarify doubts about electronic changes and whether or not they have come to stay. Is it worth changing a mechanical group for an electronic one? Before taking a decision, The first thing we must do is list the pros and cons Of each of the changes, then each cyclist will have to weigh what factors it gives more importance.

Pros and cons of mechanical change

Arguments in favor

  • Economic: Without a doubt this is the strong point of this rate of exchange, it is cheaper; both buying it new and any replacement that he had to do throughout his useful life.
  • Weight: Although every day they are equalizing more in the weight, Mechanical changes are still lighter than electronics since, among other factors, they have to have the extra weight of the battery.


  • Image: They are more susceptible than electronics to imbale. These changes work with the tension of a cable, so With the use and deterioration of the components, it usually loses this tension.
Cleaning of the Bicycle Change

Pros and cons of electronic change

We must distinguish between two types of electronic changes: those that work with cable and wireless. The former work with a cable that It transmits electrical impulses (for example, the Ultegra di2 of Shimano for road or the XTR di2 par mountain). In the second, The connection between the handles and the change is through an encrypted wireless connectivity system. This is the case of the SAM Red ETAP AX group, which uses an exclusive brand protocol. Sram has moved this wireless technology to mountain cycling.

Arguments in favor

  • Reliability: Electronic change is, in any of its modalities, much more reliable and stable than the mechanic. After many kilometers of use we can say that Electronic change is very unlikely to be mismant, whereby the chain is always going to the right place, perfectly engaging in a much thinner way than with the mechanic and thus Less wear of components is achieved, such as cassettes or dishes.
In addition, it must be borne in mind that the operation of change is much faster and more soft, which facilitates our pedal when changing.
  • Maintenance: While it is true that changes do not usually need very rigorous maintenance, With electronic change we forget to be pending shirts or cables.


  • Battery: Synonym for dependence. Our bike will become a Gadget more in our life about which to worry about whether it is loaded or if the battery that you have left will give us to finish the next route.
But we must clarify that it is not a feeling as overwhelming as that of a mobile, because in cable electronic systems The battery can last between 1,000 and 2,000 km, depending on the model and the use that we later give.
  • Price: Like any evolution or technological innovation, initially it will always be more expensive. For this reason the brands are riding it in the highest ranges, although They are already being seen in some medium ranges.
SAM Battery Red ETAP

Is it worth taking electronic change in MTB?

All the advantages we have previously listed on electronic changes are undoubtedly magnified if we talk about Mountain Bike, since we should put in the equation the variables of the mud, the stones, the vibrations, the blows, etc.

Electronic change vs mud

Who has not happened to him that on routes with a lot of mud the change has been locked stopping working, neither for one side nor for the other? In the mechanical change in mountain it is very important to have the shirts and cable in perfect condition For the sliding to be soft and there is not much friction, a problem that disappears with a cable that works with electrical impulses and with more reason; In a Wireless system. Mountain Bike

Imbalances for irregularities of the land

In mountain cycling, the changes suffer much more than on the road due to the vibrations caused by the irregularities of the land. This generates at least the change in change loss of cable voltage that arrives from the handle to change. This problem is solved by having an electronic change.

Desajustes for blows

Due to the position of the change on the bicycle and its proximity to the ground, it is normal to suffer friction, stones or branches, etc. To solve these possible (and always inopportune) mishaps, there are electronic changes, such as the Eagle Ax ax of SRAM, which has a Antigolpe system (Overload Clutch), What what it does is deactivate its internal gears in case of impact, so that the change is free and Thus breakage or mismatch is avoided. A few moments later he is engaged alone and returns to his position of origin. MTB wheels


In summary, Electronic changes provide us with reliability, comfort, speed and softness. On the other side of the balance we have the price and, as the battery is not loaded alone, it seems that they are not made for clueless people. After these valuations, in our opinion the electronic change in mountain cycling is a new advance in this exciting world and comes to Improve our experience on the biketo. In high bicycle ranges and professional cycling is more than implanted and gradually it is also entering the middle ranges. So in the absence of being adjusting prices, no doubt It will be an element that will accompany us in our departures in the coming years.
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