As you may remember, my initial thoughts were to route the Di2 wiring through the handlebar, through the stem and then down the fork to the downtube to connect to the internal junction. With having already made the holes for the wiring in the fork, I decided to test the theory by routing the cable. WHAT A NIGHTMARE! I spent hours trying to thread the Di2 wiring using everything from brake cable to string to picture wire. I just could not get the connectors to pass freely through the fork and into the downtube. I used thin picture wire to fish through the two holes in the fork and then connected it to a string which I was able to fish down the downtube with the weight of a nut. After connecting the wire and string, the cable was able to be advanced up to the second hole in the fork. It just wouldn’t go any further. I finally decided to bite the bullet and drill a small hole in the side of the downtube and have the wire route externally to there. In all honesty it looks very nice and possibly gives an even more professional look.
Initially, after getting the parts, I did a dry run. My ideal scenario was to run the Shimano ST-6871 as the only shifter for the Alfine Di2 setup. I couldn’t find anyone online who had setup their bike like this and when I asked Starbike.com, they had never put together a system like this either. This led me to scouring through Shimano’s dealer manuals. One of the manuals gives a compatibility chart between all of the di2 parts. According to the chart… It was supposed to work! So I preemptively bought the shifter as a single part (not pair) on Ebay.
The order of the connection: ST-6871 –> Alfine display –> Di2 cable to Internal Junction –> Di2 cable to the battery –> Di2 cable to the external motor unit
The first try… it WORKED!
This past week, I recieved the rest of the Genuine Shimano parts from Starbike.com. I should first give you a quick Starbike.com review. They are PHENOMINAL! Their website is straightforward and easy to use. After you order there is a webpage which shows you which parts are Ready for shipment and which they may be waiting on. Once they do ship, the tracking number is uploaded in a timely fashion. Also, they are very responsive via email. In less than one business day, I was able to get an order update, or add an item to my order. Once caviat is they don’t stock every single part they have on their site. Some items take 1-3 days for them to get. Just build it into your estimation when placing your order!
So my parts list from Starbike included the Alfine crank (45t), The tensioner, SRAM 971 chain, Alfine Di2 Motor unit, 20t cog, Di2 wires, Internal Junction, battery, Alfine screen, and wires.
The goal has always been to have as much internal routing of the cables as possible, but to hopefully not cause catastrophe by weakinging the aluminum. Besides the cleanliness of the look, this being a commuting bike means that the more internal connections there are, the less there is able to steal off the bike. The big thing is the battery, but external junctions are at risk too. I have two paths in mind for the routing. The first, is running the cable from the display THROUGH the handlebars, throught the stem and then down the fork meeting the internal junction in the downtube. This would be the cleanest way. Problems would arise with drilling holes in the aluminum bullhorn bars. There is definitely conflicting reports on both sides of the argument, but really why risk changing the structural properties of the handlebar and causing them to fail. I could just buy predrilled handlebars, but would still have to have a hole in the center of the bar opening them up to the stem. The second option, which may be a little safer, is to drill a hole in the down tube and route the cable there, bypassing any holes in the handlebars. SO far, I am leaning towards option ONE and made a few routing holes in the fork. If I stick with option one I will prbably get steel or predrilled bars for some piece of mind.
As you can see below, I used a 13/64ths bit to make the first hole which lets the di2 cable slide through perfectly. Then i opened up a 45 degree angle with a 7/32 to ease the angle the cable needs to pass through.
Yesterday has brought another gift in the mail. I was able to find a new Alfine Di2 hub and wheel on our favorite auction site for a good price. It arrived perfectly in tact and was packed professionally. It looks pretty clean! The next step is to wait for the rest of the parts to arrive in the next big shipment. Once I have all the parts, I’ll connect up the Di2 system and confirm it all works. After that… there comes the fun in routing the Di2 cables.
Step 3: Handlebars and Bar end Levers! Over the past 2 years, my commuting riding style with my drop bars has been 99% in a more upright position with my hands on the hoods of the shifters. Having a more head up position is just more comfortable and feels more safe as well. So for the new build, I decided to go for bullhorn handlebars since that gives me the position I’m always in. After deciding on bullhorns, I wanted to find the shifting solution that was the cleanest. I chose to go with the Ultegra 6871 Di2 bar end lever integrated shifter. It usually comes as a pair and is used for TT style bars, but according to the Shimano literature, once lever should work with the Alfine system. I haven’t tested it yet and couldn’t find anyone else that had done it, so I’m blazing a new path! The rest of the parts are on their way so there will be some nail-biting before hooking it all up!
Parts list thus far:
1. Motobecane Cross Frame
2. Generic Carbon fork which came with the frame
3. Fyxation Rodeo bullhorn handlebars 42cm
4. Ultegra Di2 6871 TT bar end shifter / lever
5. Shimano BL-TT78 — The reason I chose this is because of price. The TT79 lever would more closely match the 6871, but is just too expensive.
I’d like to take this moment to thank words for setting this mind free.