Shimano introduces 12-speed XT Di2… for e-bikes only, includes new Free Shift and Auto Shift features

It’s finally time for Shimano to introduce 12-speed Di2 for mountain bikes…maybe not like you thought. The new XT Di2 groupsets are e-bike only, meaning you’ll need to pair them with one of the new EP6 or EP8 drive units for the groupset to work properly. This may disappoint some non-mountain bikers who have been waiting for an electronic version of Shimano’s 12-speed drivetrains, but on the e-bike side, the announcement includes some exciting new technology.

11-speed (LinkGlide) and 12-speed (Hyperglide+) XT Di2 – e-Bike only

The last time we saw Shimano XT Di2 (first unveiled in 2016) was 11-speed. There’s still an 11-speed version, but it’s now part of the LinkGlide family. As a reminder, when LinkGlide was introduced Shimano claimed it resulted in a 3x more durable drivetrain. With Deore XT Di2 LinkGlide you should retain this increased durability, only with the benefits of a modern electronic drivetrain.

Additionally, while Di2 has not been available for traditional Shimano mountain bike drivetrains since they were 11-speed, Shimano’s e-bike drivetrains have continued to offer a Di2 version that relies on the battery. of the e-bike itself for power. It continues here, and maybe why we still don’t see Di2 options for non-e-bikes.

lighter Shimano 11-speed Linkglide cassette

Along with the addition of Di2, Shimano has introduced a new CS-LG700 11-speed cassette for LinkGlide groupsets that is 200g lighter than the previous CS-LG600.

Shimano XT Di2 LinkGlide 11-speed derailleur

For the most part, the 11-speed LinkGlide and 12-speed Hyperglide+ derailleurs look nearly identical. The biggest difference seems to be in the design of the pulleys.

Deore XT Di2 LinkGlide 11 Speed ​​Features:

  • Precision electronic Di2 shifting
  • Central battery supply and charging
  • Durable and consistent LINKGLIDE 11-speed drivetrain
  • Activates all-new FREE SHIFT and AUTO SHIFT modes WITH MANUAL OVERRIDE

Specifications:

  • 1 × 11-speed with 11-50t cassette
  • New CS-LG700 cassette – 200g lighter than previous CS-LG600
  • RD-M8150-11 Di2 11-speed dedicated e-MTB rear derailleur
  • SW-M8150-R/IR SHIMANO DEORE XT Di2 and I-SPEC EV Right Shift Switch

Available shift modes:

  • Fully manual shifting
  • Fully manual shifting with FREE SHIFT activated
  • Automatic shifting while pedaling and coasting with AUTO SHIFT WITH MANUAL OVERRIDE

Compatibility:

  • SHIMANO EP600 and EP801 drive units

XT Di2 Hyperglide+

Shimano XT Di2 hyperglide+ 12-speed derailleur

While LinkGlide has the edge on durability, the new Deore XT Di2 Hyperglide+ 12-speed groupset seems to have the edge on shifting performance. Designed to use the current HG 10-51t 12-speed cassette and chain groupset, the groupset has its own dedicated 12-speed rear derailleur with a small 12s printed on the clutch cover.

Shimano XT Deore Di2 shifter new Shimano XT Di2 shifter

The 11- and 12-speed groupsets use a new Di2 shifter with an interesting dual-thumb lever setup. We haven’t actually seen how this shifter would work, so currently it’s just speculation based on the photos. Considering that availability is not expected for some time in 2023it will be some time before we find out for ourselves.

Features Shimano Deore XT Di2 HyperGlide+ 12 Speed:

  • Precision electronic Di2 shifting
  • Central battery supply and charging
  • Smooth 12-speed HYPERGLIDE+ drivetrain
  • Activates the brand new FREE SHIFT mode

Specifications:

  • 1×12 speed with 10-51t cassette options
  • RD-M8150-12 12-speed Di2 rear derailleur dedicated to e-MTB
  • SW-M8150-R/IR SHIMANO DEORE XT Di2 and I-SPEC EV Right Shift Switch

Available shift modes:

  • Fully manual shifting
  • Fully manual shifting with FREE SHIFT activated
  • Automatic freewheel gearshift

Compatibility:

  • SHIMANO EP600 and EP801 drive units

Shimano EP8 drive unit with crankset

New and updated drive units

Note that both groups list compatibility as requiring the new EP600 or EP801 control units. The EP6 series is all new and intended to bring EP8 performance to a mid-range price. For the most part the specs are the same as the top end EP8 drive unit, although the overall weight is 300g heavier.

Shimano EP600 Specifications:

  • Max torque 85Nm
  • Continuous power rating: 250 watts
  • 3.0kg. total weight
  • CAN port for extended compatibility
  • Maintains assist up to 28 mph for US Class 3 e-bikes for comfortable e-City and e-Gravel riding

Compatibility:

  • XT Di2 HYPERGLIDE+
  • XT Di2 LINKGLIDE
  • Di2 TAILS
  • Di2 specification of internal hub gears
  • Mechanical transmissions

Shimano EP6 and EP8 drive units

Although not completely new, the EP801 has been updated to be compatible with the new shifting modes as well as the new “Fine Tune mode” on the E-Tube Project app which lets you will allow you to customize the power profile. Like the EP600, the EP801 receives additional accessory CAN ports to “ensure future-proof compatibility for Shimano EP platforms”.

Shimano EP801 Specifications:

  • Max torque 85Nm
  • Continuous power rating: 250 watts
  • 2.7kg. total weight
  • CAN port for extended compatibility
  • Maintains assist up to 28 mph for US Class 3 e-bikes for comfortable e-City and e-Gravel riding

Compatibility:

  • XT Di2 HYPERGLIDE+
  • XT Di2 LINKGLIDE
  • Di2 TAILS
  • Di2 specification of internal hub gears
  • Mechanical transmissions

Gear shifting even when coasting

When you combine the new Deore XT Di2 groupsets with the new drive units, Shimano’s all-new Free Shift mode unlocks the ability to change gears without pedaling. While it’s not the first system we’ve seen that makes this claim, the Shimano EP platform does it in a unique way – it’s the whole engine. Say you’re descending a hill and want to shift into a harder gear so you’re ready to pound when it levels out, with Free Shift you simply change gears as usual, without pedaling.

Instead, the derailleur moves the chain to the chosen gear, while the motor spins the chainring without moving the cranks. The freewheel in the crankset makes it all work, allowing the motor to drive the chain and rear cassette, and you end up with a bike that can change gears at any time… and it may even change for you.

Fully automatic shifting with manual override (LinkGlide only)

If you prefer to have the bike handle the shifting, the new automatic shifting with Manual Override technology will gladly take care of that for you. Note that while Free Shift is offered on 11-speed LinkGlide and 12-speed Hyperglide+ groupsets, only LinkGlide groupsets will get the full Automatic change function. Shimano tells us that 12-speed groupsets can still Auto Shift while cabotage, but they are unable to perform automatic shifting while pedaling. For this feature you will need the LinkGlide group.

Availability and prices

Since all of these components will only work together as a complete system, Shimano will not be offering them individually at first, but only as part of a complete e-bike. We are sure there will be spares available at some point, but at this time individual pricing is not available.

If you want an e-bike with the new Di2 system, you’ll have to wait…until “late spring or early summer 2023”. However, we’re told there will be new e-bikes on display at Eurobike with the system, so we’ll at least have an idea of ​​where you can expect to find the systems next year.

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