Skeptics decried electronic transmissions on road bikes are unnecessarily complicated and an assault on tradition. However, it turns out that they do actually offer plenty of tangible benefits and have now been widely adopted. Now, the technology is coming to the off-road side with the release of Shimano's groundbreaking XTR Di2 group – and you've voted it the best new product of 2014.
XTR Di2 promises the same appealing features as with Shimano's Dura-Ace and Ultegra Di2 groups: the prospect of robotically perfect and ultra-quick shifting mile after mile with no maintenance required aside from the occasional recharging of the on-board battery. Shimano has upped the ante with XTR Di2, however, with a slick sequential-shift function that lets riders enjoy the range of a two-chainring system but with just one shifter that does all the thinking for you.
Landing in second place is Garmin's latest GPS unit, the Edge 1000. Bigger and bolder than its predecessors with a more generously sized and sharper display, smarter navigation functionality, and quicker connection to orbiting satellites, the Edge 1000 may be expensive but it's clearly still an object of desire – because if you didn't record your ride on GPS (and upload to Strava), it clearly didn't happen.
Rounding out the top three this year are Campagnolo's new Record and Super Record mechanical groups. While much of the attention has been directed at the new four-arm cranksets, what's really interesting are the revised derailleur geometries with increased chain wrap out back and a longer cable arm up front that yields shorter lever throws and less hand effort than before. We've just started evaluating our own test sample and so far, the new bits seem more than worthy of a spot on the podium.
Results - Best Product of the Year
|1||Shimano XTR Di2 electronic mountain bike transmission||19.24%|
|2||Garmin Edge 1000||16.91|
|3||Campagnolo Record/Super Record road group||14.68|
|4||GoPro Hero 4||12.30|
|5||SRAM Force CX1 1x11 cyclo-cross bike transmission||11.50|
|6||Giro Synthe aero road helmet||8.53|
|7||Schwalbe ProCore tubeless tire system||5.77|
|8||Zwift virtual group ride indoor training system||5.27|
|9||Speedplay SYZR pedal||4.00|
|10||Fabric ALM saddle||1.80|