Cyfac can make any frame Di2 compatible. The Absolu V2 comes with Di2 integration and there are options on where to put the battery. Well all external options. The owner of this Cyfac Absolu wanted something a bit different and asked to have the battery put inside. No problem I thought. Shimano Di2 has been around for a few years and there are a few aftermarket batteries available. How hard can it be?
Turns out aquiring a custom Di2 battery is not so easy. Firstly there are loads of forums filled with ‘Di2 tuners’ but was their customisation a backyard job or a long term well-thought-through design? This customer wanted something that was ‘legit’ (as possible) and made by the experts. Easy, I’ll get in contact with Pat from Icarus Lights from the US….
Well after one month of promising set-up followed by two months of waiting and no replies (to this day) I had to go elsewhere and what better place to start than our own Aussie backyard. After a few enquiries and a few confused responses (“bicycles have electronic gears??”) I finally found a battery expert worthy of the task. After showing James the battery guru the frame in question, attached groupset, schematics of the competition and the desired specs he set about designing the ultimate Di2 battery. Was it worth it? Yes
Let’s look at the competition:
Shimano Di2 battery
- Cost: AUD$101+ (plus you need the Shimano charger and cable + $127.95)
- Capacity: 530 mAh (1600km’s – temperature and shift frequency dependent)
- Chemistry: 7.4v Li-Ion battery
- Weight: 68g + mounting hardware
Artisan Cycles custom battery
- Cost: AUD$249 ($349 installed)
- Capacity: 1700 mAh (300% more than standard = 1+ years hopefully)
- Chemistry: 7.4v mAh SANYO Li-Ion battery with Battery Management System
- Size: 100m x 22mm
- Weight: 84g with enough wire to feed from ISP to BB
Pat was extremely helpful to start off with but he just disappeared off the radar. It would be nice to have the Icarus casing but A. it won’t ever be seen and B. the casing was the problem in the first place as the battery was to wide to fit in the Cyfac’s aero ISP. So, shrink wrapped and foam-wrapped again to protect the battery (from impact and peace of mind from the elements) will do the job.
Our custom battery has been wired at both ends for a reason. One is so that it can be mounted high in the integrated seat tube (for easy access in the future) and two so that it can be left there for recharging. A simple male/female plug was put on the short end to recharge the batttery in the frame whilst the other end was left for us to do a few ‘minor’ alterations to the Di2 wiring harness. Red wire goes with red wire, black goes with black.
Then it was time to test. Battery was connected and no explosions or smoke seen eminating from the (very expensive) front and rear mechs. Good sign. The signal box wasn’t flashing crazy colours. Another good sign. Next step, press the buttons AND BAM the derailleurs jump to life! Great.
Longevity with something like this is never assured but the customer was happy to take a few risks. Having a battery expert rather than the original idea of just purchasing an RC-car battery with the same voltage and bigger capacity off the internet was a good move. We are able (and told to) have a PCM – some sort of circut protection and battery management system installed which meant peace of mind. Then we could get the battery package to suit us then all put into a neat little package. Sanyo batteries and professionals should mean long-term success. Time will tell.
** Bike has now been ridden in Melbourne’s famous “sunny one second, raining the next” conditions with no problems + a wash. Good start.
“Fast” – does this mean the shifting or the package? We’ll have a longer review soon hopefully.
Contact Artisan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 03 9078 4753 for more information.