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Mark Cavendish never used Di2 despite its availability to him and his teammates for over two years. That has changed now thanks to Shimano’s latest accessory shifter, the SW-7972 Sprint Shifter.
The button can be placed anywhere deemed comfortable or convenient along the drop of the handlebar. The shifter trigger is mounted on a small plastic clip that is held in place with double-stick tape and the handlebar tape. There is no torque applied to the shifter, so this no-bolt mounting works just fine.
The shifters are hard-wired into the right side Di2 lever and a wire connects the left and right accessory shifters. It will be important for users to avoid clamping the wire in the stem when taking bars on and off.
Because it is so adjustable, riders can really fine-tune its placement. Some early photos showed the button placed directly under the brake lever. We found placing it a bit lower worked perfectly on the Enve handlebars used in the bike build.
Shimano includes a handy handlebar tape cutting guide with the shifters. This helps keep the bar looking as neat as possible. With traditional cork tape the aesthetic is quite clean, not quite as good with the Lizard Skins DSP tape.
All in all, the Sprint shifter is a great upgrade for Di2 users. Rumor has it that Skil-Shimano rider Kenny Van Hummel is the inspiration behind the shifter. After seeing the climbing accessory shifter he asked for a sprinter’s button. Job well done. Once Cav’ finds his winning ways again, more Di2 users are sure to shell over $95 for the SW-7972.