Patent Filings May Show New Dura Ace Wireless

Speculation is running wild that the next generation of Shimano’s vaunted Dura Ace component group is coming soon – likely sometime this year, to align with both the usual four year product cycle length for Dura Ace  (bumped to five years due to COVID19), and Shimano’s 100th anniversary. Will that include Dura Ace wireless shifting?

The big rumor is that it will. I’ve written about this before, based on Shimano patent applications showing wireless transmitters in the shift levers, and wireless  receivers in the derailleurs. I wrote for that some sort of Di2 wireless-ness for transmitting shift commands seems like a good bet, but the number of batteries and their locations was a significant question mark. Would each derailleur have its own removable, rechargeable battery, like SRAM’s etap?

Patent Rights

Perhaps SRAM’s patents make a battery in each derailleur complicated or impossible for Shimano – any freedom to operate and patent infringement opinions are of course highly confidential and sensitive internal communications that those outside a company will never see. Such risk assessments aren’t even acknowledged to exist, except with a company’s outside patent attorneys. Or maybe the reason isn’t competitors’ patents, but instead Shimano thinks a central battery is preferable. A central battery could have greater capacity (though with it more weight too) than two small batteries, may only require a single wireless receiver, and other possible advantages.

More Shimano patent applications have just published, and they’re all pointing towards a system that uses wireless shifters, with the front and rear derailleurs cabled together to a central battery. The battery is described as being located inside the seatpost – with the usual patent-speak wiggle language that the battery also may be positioned elsewhere. Please see the above drawings from Shimano’s patent applications.

Specifics about the battery connections are shown and described, including a “third vehicle” cable from the battery, which may power an electric seatpost (dropper style presumably) or suspension.

Stay tuned to your favorite cycling news source for any product announcements about Dura Ace wireless shifting – here at Green Mountain Innovations we’re all about patents.