Featuring the new Shimano D-Fly Data Management system, the new SM-EWW01 wireless component adds another dimension to the Di2 experience by wirelessly connecting riders to their real-time Di2 data – displayed through their GPS/cycling computer.
First, let me answer the #1 question that I get asked all of the time, “Will the EWW01 allow me to shift wirelessly?” Currently, the answer is No. This often leads to the second question. “Why not?” Well, in order for Shimano to change the gears wirelessly, each side of the wireless communications system (Front Derailleur, Rear Derailleur, Shifters) requires a separate battery, so if any 1 battery goes down, the entire system will probably go down. Also, that’s a lot of batteries to keep track of, not to mention all of the unplugging plugging back in each battery after a recharge, etc. The second issue is interference. Current wireless technology has come a long way, but still needs to go further to solve this issue. For example, I run a small wireless CAT EYE cycle-computer. Its transmitter is mounted on the fork less than 18” from the handlebar mounted head unit. Next to the head unit is a high powered light. Every time I turn on the light, it completely blows out the cycle-computers wireless transmission so that it stops registering. If all of this interference could be eliminated, then each of these two systems would work perfectly together. So, at least for the time being, I don’t believe there will be a completely wireless shifting system available from Shimano.
The SM-EWW01 is a compact wireless data transmitter compatible with Dura-Ace 9070, Ultegra 6870 Di2 and Ultegra 6770 E-tube road shifting systems. With its plug-and-play features and ease of installation, you will be up and running in no time.
Via the Shimano D-Fly proprietary private ANT wireless protocol, this unit transmits Di2 gear position, battery life, as well as some other common rider data functions that can be received and then displayed on the Garmin Edge 1000 and/or the Magellan Cyclo 505. It is powered by the same Di2 battery that powers the Di2 shifting system. Battery options can be either External or Internal.
In order to take full advantage of the Di2 system, the EWW01 is required. Is it necessary? No, but its a really nice to have and a great training aid. When running a Garmin Edge 1000 or a Magellan Cyclo 505, the cyclist has real time data such as Di2 battery level, and gear selection without having to look down at the drivetrain to physically see which gear you are in.
But, there’s a small caveat: In order to get the EWW01 to work with the latest Di2 and GPS units, you will need to perform a firmware upgrade to the latest version. This is a fairly simple matter provided you have the right tools…isn’t that always the case… In order to upgrade your firmware, you will need;
1.PC running Windows Vista, 7, 8 or 8.1
2.E-tube Project PC application – down-loadable from the Shimano website
3.Dura-Ace 9070, Ultegra 6870 Di2 or Ultegra 6770
4.PC linkage device: SM-PCE1 or SM-BCR2 depending on which front junction box you have
Updating firmware is kind of like doing Microsoft Windows updates. If your firmware is several versions behind, the system might need to the update several times. Don’t worry since the E-tube Project PC application seems very robust and will keep running until it has determined that all of your firmware is updated. Once updated, the Di2 system runs rock solid, shifting flawlessly and reporting data through the GPS/Cycle Computer.
Overall, installation was very easy. But, there was a small issue that I will talk about later. In all of Shimano’s documentation, the EWW01 is installed on the right seat stay. Not only that, Shimano seems to be very specific as to exactly how far from the top of the dropout the EWW01 needs to be mounted.
Now, I’ve taken quite a few Electrical Engineering courses in college, and to me, this really doesn’t make much sense. Having recently rebuilt my bike with the latest Di2 components, it’s clear that all of the components are on the same system bus meaning that there is a connection box inside the Bottom Bracket shell that all of the components plug into. So why should it matter where you mount the EWW01. It extracts Di2 information from each of the individual components via the wires, then wirelessly transmits this information out into space, and, after pairing your EWW01 to your GPS/cycle computer, you will be the only one to see your data.
This means that the closer the EWW01 is mounted to your GPS/Cycle Computer, the less chance there is of dropped data.
To verify this, I made a call into Shimano, and they verified that the EWW01 can be mounted anywhere externally on the bike. He mentioned two other good areas to mount the EWW01, (a) under the rear water bottle cage and (b) under the stem next to the front junction. He said that the diagram that everyone refers to (see above) is actually a RECOMMENDATION. The bottom line, you can mount the EWW01 anywhere you want as long as it’s NOT mounted inside of any tube.
There are quite a few reviews on the Internet and I have read most of them. The only ‘ding’ on this product is the fact that you will also need to purchase separately a 150mm – 300mm wire. Most reviewers feel that Shimano is ‘Nickel-and-Diming’ them. In Shimano’s defense, Shimano can’t really offer a wire of a certain length since they don’t know where the customer will mount the EWW01.
We will be evaluating the Magellan in an upcoming review but a couple of the features that make this an ideal GPS cycle computer for a Di2 equipped bicycle is;
1.You can create multiple profiles
2.For each profile, you can create custom and/or different info boxes.
3.The Cyclo 505 integrates to all 528 ANT+ devices. To see if yours is included, go to http://thisisant.com
4.Magellan tracks time (%) spent in each gear.
5.The Shimano CM-1000 Sport Camera is also an ANT+ device!
After snapping in the wires to the EWW01, there was no Di2 information available. I figured it was time for a firmware upgrade. Being fortunate to have everything I need to update the firmware, the E-tube application determined an error in the EWW01. The application saw the EWW01 but couldn’t talk to it. I then swapped the 2 wires that run into and out of the EWW01, plugged back in the USB cable and BAM – everything came up clean and in less than 10 minutes, the latest firmware was loaded. If you run into this issue, try swapping the leads to see if this will help.
Helpful for training and studying which gears you ride in during different grades and conditions. Coupled with heart rate and power data, this is a very useful training aid!
All in all, a nice little tool and, for the price, highly recommended!