I don't believe my normal t.c reader will relate to this post much, but all the more reason to read just a little bit more - aren't you curious? I've recently built (yet) another bike. It was time to put together a decent road bike for the 6 weeks of summer weather here in MN, and boy howdy, did I ever get lucky!
What is pictured below is a carbon fiber road bike frame from Ridley (Belgians no less). It is also equipped with shifting bits, wheels, and bar/stem from the world's largest bicycle components maker (and fishing reel maker) - Shimano. The whole bike weighs in at a "portly" 16.5lbs, which makes me feel even more out of shape than I may be.
What's unique about the shifting equipment is that it's electronic. It's a realtively new shifting system known as "Di2", which stands for "digital integrated intelligence". The shifters do not use steel cables, like normal bikes, rather all shifts are done electronically, from shifter to derailleur through wires. This allows for very fast, powerful shifts thanks in no small part to the electronics and servo motors (located inside each derailleur). The rest of the parts on the bike are pretty standard road bike items; brakes, seat, tires, wheels, etc.
I've put a small amount of time on the bike and Di2 so far and it's been very interesting, performs well, and adds a new level of fun to riding. And yes, it works very well in wet weather too.
["pretty little maids all in a row"]
[this shifting system uses a normal bike chain and cassette ("gears"), but has a powerful electronic motor within the rear derailleur - zurt, zurt]
[you can see the somewhat larger front derailleur (which requires an even more powerful servo motor than the rear derailleur) and the tiny lithium ion battery just below the forward water bottle cage]