ShMektronic drivetrain: The parts bin is alive!
The mad scientists at Fair Wheel Bikes have cobbled together their own Frankenstein monster of electronic bike shifters.
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When it comes to electronic drivetrains, Mavic was the first. Shimano is the best. And now the mad scientists at Fair Wheel Bikes in Tucson, Arizona have cobbled together their own Frankenstein monster from the two: the world’s first ShiMavic — or ShMektronic — drivetrain.
It’s a beast that takes the reliability of Dura-Ace Di2 derailleurs and pairs it with the unmistakable brake hoods and shifters of Mavic’s long-deceased Mektronic drivetrain. If you don’t know what Mektronic is, that’s because it was only on the market briefly after its introduction in 1999. The wireless drivetrain was plagued by radio interference that caused ghost shifts, so its demise came swiftly.
Despite Mektronic’s troubled past, Jason Woznick, one of Fair Wheel’s owners, says the frankendrivetrain works quite well. “We did this probably seven or eight months ago. Both derailleurs are hooked up to the right shifter. The buttons on the hood shift the front derailleur, and the buttons behind the brake paddle shift the rear derailleur.”
It may look like a pretty complex wiring job, but Woznick says it was actually pretty easy. “The original Di2, 9070 I believe, it’s easy to replace buttons. Just cut and splice.” So by all means, try this at home.*
The cannibalized drivetrains aren’t just for show, either. One of the wheel builders at Fair Wheel will be sporting Shmektronic on his Huffy-branded custom Ti Cycles frame from builder Dave Levy. “We made custom gussets and decals for it,” says Woznick.
Don’t hold your breath for the ShiMavic monster to hit stores soon … Actually, don’t expect it ever. The experiment was just for fun, after all.
No word yet on when Fair Wheel will introduce MektronTap by SRAMvic.
* You probably shouldn’t try this at home.