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Shimano Forces Hammerhead to Remove All Di2 Related Functionality From Karoo

Effective next Thursday, Hammerhead will remove all Di2 functionality from the Hammerhead Karoo series, via firmware update. This is at the request/demand of Shimano, who according to Hammerhead, now sees them as a competitor. This means all Di2-related functionality including Di2 battery status, gear indicators, page changes via Di2 hood buttons, and shifter mode, will all be removed.

Here’s a quote from Hammerhead outlining the issue:

“The changes come at the request of Shimano. Shimano provided a license agreement whereby Hammerhead was granted permission along with technical details enabling the connecting of the Hammerhead devices with the Di2 system. Hammerhead offered to continue supporting Di2 users with full functionality after the SRAM acquisition, but ultimately, Shimano identified SRAM as a competitor and the contract was terminated at Shimano’s request.”

In other words, this is entirely a result of SRAM acquiring Hammerhead earlier this year. Hammerhead goes on to say that “Hammerhead has reached out to Shimano and is open to resuming support of the functionality.” – however, in talking to Hammerhead, it doesn’t sound like this has gotten anywhere. As for Shimano? I’ve tried to reach out to them, but I’ve yet to hear back.

Hammerhead has had this functionality in their Karoo products for nearly three years. They first announced it back on October 15th, 2019, CEO Pieter Morgan of Hammerhead said at the time:

“Continued updates are a cornerstone of Karoo’s operating system, which lives on the most capable and future-proof piece of hardware available in the head-unit market. This partnership with Shimano allows the Karoo to serve racing cyclists better than ever and further secures Hammerhead’s position on the leading edge of the industry” – Oct 15th, 2019

At this point, you may be wondering why a partnership is necessary at all? After all, you seamlessly connect your power meter, heart rate strap, or other gear shifting sensors to any bike computer you want, all without thinking about it. Unfortunately, this isn’t quite like the rest of those items.

How the Sausage Is Made:

DSC_0498

It’s important to understand that the way bike computers connect to Shimano Di2 gearing is somewhat of an industry quirk. You see, back when Garmin and Mio first started connecting to Shimano Di2, there was no such thing as the standard ANT+ Gear Shifting profile. Instead, there was Shimano’s wireless implementation over what’s called ‘Private ANT’. Private ANT is basically just a proprietary channel/language made atop the ANT wireless network. Countless companies will stuff extra information into private-ANT. Sometimes big things, sometimes little things.

For example, when Garmin first rolled out Cycling Dynamics for Garmin Vector pedals, they did so over private ANT. Eventually, they became standardized as ANT+. The same was true for the Varia radar profile, now standardized. Or Running Dynamics, now standardized.

And ultimately, that’s actually what kinda happened for gear-shifting too. Except, Shimano never played ball. Instead, we saw SRAM and Campagnolo jump onto the ANT+ Gear Shifting profile (along with Garmin and every other company) and support that. The theory back then was that Shimano would eventually transition to it over time. In the same way, Garmin made minor behind-the-scenes software tweaks to transition to standard versions of their previously private-ANT things.

DSC_0495

While that lack of Shimano movement was annoying from a standards standpoint, it frankly wasn’t too big a deal for most people. Industry folks could easily adopt both, and Shimano made them available with relative ease. Consumers didn’t really care, and some bike computers didn’t even separate out the difference from a consumer-facing standpoint. So in the grand scheme of things to be annoyed about, it was a giant shrug.

In fact, even Shimano’s own Di2 connected partners page from 2021 (thank you Internet Way Back Machine) proudly displays Hammerhead along with a dozen other partners. Everyone used it, and the world gears kept spinning.

Shimano-Not-Friends-Anymore-list

And while technically speaking Shimano isn’t doing open-standards ANT+, they like to often blur that line into making you believe they are doing open-standards ANT+. On that same page, if you scroll to the top, they refer to ANT+ here. When in reality, it’s very much not. In industry-speak, it’s analogous to the difference between saying you operate a for-profit business, versus a non-profit charity.

Shimano-Not-Actually-ANTPlus

What makes this particular dispute so interesting is the competition angle. Generally speaking, the sports tech industry has done a good job of avoiding that particular angle when talking standards and implementations of those. As much as people often like to allude to Garmin owning ANT+ and such, the reality is, they actually held a week-long event every single year for over a decade purely to try and get competitor companies on standards. And it worked. It worked tremendously well.

Of course, there were always quirks and minor disputes. Or outright slowness. But by and large, the fact that your bike computer actually works with the power meter you bought, is due to the work of all the companies that created and adopted those standards – no matter how they compete, and no matter how big or small. But over the last 2.5 years since that conference stopped being held (primarily, but not entirely, due to COVID). And as a result, we’ve seen a steady slide away from supporting standards. One only need to look at the numerous attempts by Zwift over the last few years to force licensing agreements on companies for things like steering or wired connectivity, despite the hardware companies being the ones that actually came up with these standards.

But it’s also on these same hardware companies to put in the time to actually create proper standards, and stop kicking the can down the road. They all got spooked with Zwift’s hardware plans, and created a consortium of the core indoor trainer companies working on standards agreements for some of the areas I just mentioned. But that’s mostly being held on the side. There isn’t any formal ANT+ or Bluetooth working group around that. And perhaps that’s because ANT+ TWGs (Technical Working Groups) have a well-deserved reputation for slowness, but again, it’s perhaps that slowness that ultimately ensures success.

And that’s not to knock that group at all. After all, I’ve heartedly encouraged it behind the scenes. But to point out that such efforts really only succeeded in the grand scope of time if they’re formalized by standards bodies that are seen as authoritative in their industry, by both companies as well as consumers.

While Garmin has tried to shift components of the ANT+ Symposium into the Garmin Developer Summit, the reality is, that just hasn’t happened. Nor, has it worked. There’s a core reason why those two events should remain separate, and both continue onwards. As countless people have said, trying to get competitors to come inside your headquarters in Olathe, is very different than getting two hundred industry people meeting together in the woods of Canada at a neutral hotel with Molson in hand.

Going Forward:

Shimano-HammerheadV2

The reality of Shimano’s apparent decision is that it doesn’t really hurt Hammerhead as a company, as much as it hurts Shimano users. After all, the people getting screwed here are the ones that looked at Shimano’s own website and saw the Hammerhead logo listed as a compatible partner. From there, they may have bought a Di2-equipped bike because of it, knowing the integration existed.

Shimano doesn’t gain anything here competitor-wise by this move. It’s petty at best, and just kinda stupid at worst. Take for example a Cannondale Synapse bike I’ve been testing lately for an unrelated post. I like it, and it’s equipped with Shimano Di2 and the latest R9200 Dura-Ace drivetrain. And, I’ve even been using it with the Hammerhead Karoo 2 as well. In fact, this is one of the first times I’d actually consider buying one of the bikes I’ve been trying out. Except now, I won’t. Simply I’m not going to buy into an ecosystem that limits what I can use with it.

Right now, that bike is only offered equipped with Shimano Di2. For what I do, I want open operability. Plus, who’s to say that Shimano won’t decide Wahoo or Garmin are next? After all, they both make power meters too. Sure, it’s likely Shimano is upset at Hammerhead because SRAM makes drivetrains. But, in that quest for vengeance, they’re only hurting their own customers, and their own potential sales.

And ultimately, this little kerfuffle is likely just the beginning of more spats unless companies come back to the plate on standards. Without them, we’ll see more and more compatibility issues for an area that frankly we haven’t had to worry about for years.

With that – thanks for reading

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211 Comments

  1. Daniel Jones

    This is a horrible move by Shimano. I have Di2 on my road bike, SRAM on my mountain bike, and am a Karoo user. In the past I was relatively indifferent to Di2 vs. SRAM, but no more. Like you said, I will not buy into a system that limits my options.

  2. youpmelone

    1 that’s why i always tell people to stay with Garmin..
    2 ” I’m not going to buy into an ecosystem that limits what I can use with it.”
    That’s Apple and why i stay away from Apple but hardly anyone seems to care, Shimano might be taking a page out of that playbook

    • Don

      No! Don’t reward Shimano. It’s not hammerhead ‘s fault. Users shouldn’t go to Garmin, they should leave Shimano

    • Heinrich Hurtz

      I’ve long used the word imperious to describe Apple. Seems like it’s now a good descriptor for Shimano too.

    • Neil Jones

      I think the difference with Apple is that its ecosystem always was a walled garden. Here, Shimano have started to build a prison around the people who happened to already be in the grounds at the time.

    • Sean

      Yea, and just like Apple, people are going to pick Shimano. It’s going to annoy the Shimano users to no end, but at the end of the day I think people are going to stay with Shimano.

    • Chris

      Short term? Yea. I can’t replace my Di2 drive train because of this. I can replace my Karoo and will have to.

      Long Term? No more Shimano for me. I prefer Di2 but it won’t be an option in 5 years when I replace my bike if this is still Shimano‘s stance.

    • Tommy

      I could understand this if Shimano had their own computer tech and didn’t support SRAM in it. For me this is a bad move and is more likely to do I’ve people towards SRAM for their next groupset.

      That said I’m Garmin and Shimano so I’m not overly bothered

    • John C Tonetti

      I’m betting this is a short term problem that you can side step for a little while by not taking HH’s bi-weekly software updates.

      It will impact functionality with respect to new features, so you’ll have to weigh that.

    • TedP

      imperious and impervious

    • Cam Halkier

      Agree its a bad move, I have both Shimano and SRAM and have now decided that I will no longer purchase Shimano products given their killing of Pioneer power meters and now the removal of Di2 info from Hammerhead…. really idiotic on their part

  3. Gilbert

    This is stupid. Shimano has alienated local bike shops and now consumers like myself. I’ve long preferred Shimano Di2 groupsets for a variety of reasons, but this is petty and stupid.

  4. Don Rhummy

    So this does is hurt consumers. Screw Shimano. When I buy my next groupset, I’m going to remember they decided to screw over consumers.

    Ray, please tell them that.

  5. Takura

    Wondering whether there was no negotiation at all or whether Shimano tried to obtain a license fee and SRAM/Hammerhead declined?

    • I asked Hammerhead, and their answer seemed to imply there wasn’t any room for discussions. Hammerhead, as quoted above, is open to having discussions.

    • Takura

      Thanks for the reply! Just hypothesizing: the only reason I could imagine for Shimano being that pissed would be SRAM being their strongest rival not for components in general but in wireless shifting and the communication protocol for head units being – maybe not technically but at least on first sight – too similar.

    • IP license agreements invariably contain change of control provisions giving one party the right to terminate if the other undergoes a change of control. SRAM’s acquisition of HH was a CoC so Shimano exercised their right to terminate. They didn’t have to, but they did. I’m not saying it was a smart business move (I don’t think it was) but that is almost certainly the legal basis for what happened.

  6. This fairly short sighted for sure. I am looking for a new road bike and Di2 was the selection criteria but if they are going to play stupid games like this I cannot support them.

  7. Dave Stosic

    Wow! That’s BS! I use the d-fly buttons on my hoods numerous times per ride to switch data pages. At the very least let the d-fly button functionality stay!

    I hope they come to their senses on this issue and reevaluate.

    • Mark

      Agreed, this is the key feature that I use. For now I will ignore the software update, although I have recently detected higher battery drainage on the Karoo 2 and I suspect it has to do with the Di2 connection….

  8. Nick Wall

    Well articulated post Ray. Such a short-sighted move by Shimano

  9. DONOTRON3000

    Don’t like the mindset here by shimano, a dangerous gamble. Di2 is a great value, truly great stuff for what you pay. However, if this is still the case when (if bikes are even available ever again) I purchase a new bike next year, won’t even consider shimano group. Hope they lose more money than they make with this stupidity

  10. William Berhow

    Can hammerhead users simply just not apply the forthcoming update until this gets resolved?

    • Yes, you can decline the update. However, eventually, Hammerhead will release features you want, and you won’t be able to get them.

      And given Hammerhead is releasing features every two weeks, it won’t take long till there’s something you want. :-/

  11. Joe

    Doesn’t affect me personally as electronic shifting is only a pipe dream for me at this time, but what a dumb move by Shimano. Definitely won’t be looking at them any time in the future.

  12. Todd Streiff

    Looking at the technology industry, the way to compete is to innovate rather than use legal barriers. Shimano must be acknowledging that their drive train technology is behind and needs this boost rather than moving faster adopting and creating new ideas for their products. Also, as a consumer we sometimes do not have a choice what drive train is on a particular bike model at a price point we are considering. Well now, you may already have a bias on bike components and now there are more items to consider. And yes I do have a Karoo 2 and love how fast they innovate and bring new features to market via software updates rather than new hardware models – that’s competition!

  13. x

    How can Shimano force Hammerhead?

    • Robert

      It’s easy. As Shimano uses a proprietary protocol over ANT+, use of that protocol is subject to a licensing agreement (“Shimano provided a license agreement whereby Hammerhead was granted permission along with technical details enabling…”). This agreement certainly contains termination rights. All Shimano had to do was exercise those rights. From that point on, Hammerhead does not have the rights to use the Shimano proprietary protocol.

    • x

      So if they had reverse-engineered the protocol by themselves, all would be good? What if someone does that?

    • Adam

      This is a can of worms no company is willing to open. Technically, one might argue that communications protocols and software APIs are not protected by copyright (see recent SCOTUS decision on Oracle v Google), but it would take a huge company who is willing to invest / escalate such cases, and even then the outcome is not certain. And there are trade secret laws, etc. It’s not going to happen.

      And even then – all Shimano would need to do is a firmware upgrade that locks the DI2 protocol down with encryption and only allow their partners to obtain the necessary certificates in order to communicate with the system.

    • Sunday

      In this day and age it’s rather easy to build an encrypted communication way of talking to devices. They can obfuscate things until it’s no longer possible to replicate.

  14. Sean

    “The reality of Shimano’s apparent decision is that it doesn’t really hurt Hammerhead as a company, as much as it hurts Shimano users.”
    “Except now, I won’t. Simply I’m not going to buy into an ecosystem that limits what I can use with it.”

    This I disagree with. I think it’ll be the other way around for many people and will hurt Hammerhead more than Shimano. I would venture that more people are going to choose Shimano over Hammerhead. Shimano has a massive market share. I own 2 bikes with Di2. I’m 100% choosing my Shimano and Garmin (as a recent Karoo 2 convert and supporter). And I’d wager that when people are looking at drivetrains, they’re going to pick the one they want as the priority and solve the head unit problem with any of the various ones out there. The Karoo 2 would have to be the most amazing piece of technology out there and light years ahead of everything else for me to even think twice about ditching my preferred drivetrain. And it’s just not there. It’s awesome. I have one and use it as my preferred head unit. But faced with this new choice, I’m picking Shimano. The Garmin isn’t that far behind and Di2 functionality are a big thing to me. I’m building up a CX/gravel bike and will go with Shimano. I just like it way better than SRAM. And the drivetrain is way more important that the head unit.

    I hate that Shimano is doing this because I really like the Karoo. But it’s going to hurt them more if this doesn’t get fixed in my opinion.

    • dr_lha

      I tend to agree. I’m not a Hammerhead user or a Di2 user, but I sure do prefer Shimano drivetrains over SRAM, and the quality of my drivetrain is more important than my bike computer. At the end of the day riding a bike is about the bike, not the gadgety stuff, the ride comes first.

      So I’ll pick based on what drivetrain I want on my bike first, “open ecosystem” is a nice bonus, but at the end of the day it’s not a deal breaker for me.

      I agree it’s a stupid move by Shimano, but at the end of the day, it’s something that’s more likely to stop me buying a Hammerhead than a Shimano groupset.

    • x

      So many things happening at the end of the day. 😉

    • Steven

      I agree with Sean and think this does hurt Hammerhead as a company. Shimano, by and large, sells through OEM channels. Most people buy complete bikes, and Shimano is head and shoulders above SRAM with road bikes.

      The decision of Garmin vs. Hammerhead comes after the bike purchase, I think. And limiting Hammeerhead’s access will hurt SRAM more than Shimano.

    • Pierre Delionnet

      Should the bike manufacturers decide to replace all the Di/2 groupsets on the bikes they manufacture with SRAM, this would hit Shimano hard.

    • Paul S.

      Why would they do that just for Hammerhead? You can just by an Edge, and everything will still work.

    • Chris W

      And when Shimano decides to pull the plug on Garmin, or wahoo, or whoever they decide is now a competitor? You’re have quite a collection of bike computers if you are willing to ride-or-die with Shimano

  15. Nicholas

    Good thing I am looking at XPLR etap bikes then….
    And actually di2 batteries annoy me anyway and all the ports etc. appreciate that 9200 is relatively wireless but it’s also a lot of money when rival etap is pretty affordable.

  16. Darrell

    This is a petty move by Shimano that hurts Shimano customers. Like many posted here already, Shimano will lose groupset customers over this. How are they gaining anything? It looks like they are going to lose business, not gain business.

    I know I will look at bikes with non-Shimano groupsets in the future. SCREW Shimano!!!

    • Geoff P

      I agree, its a petty move by Shimano.

      That said, I strongly disagree they will loose any significant amount of customers. Sure, a few well heeled, i.e. DI2 Dura Ace, users may switch to SRAM or Campy, but where Shimano excels is in the OEM market. Most, not many, most new road bikes come with Shimano, as Ray alluded to in his write up, re Cannondale.

      That OEM situation is not going to change over this issue. Due to exchange rates and volume, Shimano simply dominates the OEM market and from there the average ride is just going to stick with what they have.

    • Mike Richie

      Yes, but the bike sellers will have to say: “No, this bike is not compatible with your Hammerhead computer.” And then many customers, like Ray, won’t buy it. Sure many might switch head units, but certainly some won’t. That, ergo, will hurt Shimano sales. Not a well thought out decision and was probably based on Shimano’s relationship with SRAM, not on making a proper strategic decision.

  17. Kevin Morice

    I still don’t understand how this is an issue. If the Di2 unit is broadcasting that information then someone reading and interpreting it is not something they can prevent.

    They can withdraw licences etc, and Karoo would have to rewrite their software to read those signals without using any of the proprietary information, but given it is just interpreting a broadcast data stream, with no data being fed back, reverse engineering that isn’t particularly difficult. The only complex part they have is hiring someone to do it and keeping them firewalled from any of the existing team and proprietary data that the company had access to.

    • Neil Jones

      “I still don’t understand how this is an issue. If the Di2 unit is broadcasting that information then someone reading and interpreting it is not something they can prevent.”

      I would imagine that the legal position would be similar to how I can’t just make and sell TV set top boxes that will receive and play Sky TV without Sky’s explicit permission, even if I could reverse engineer the encryption.

    • Robert Courteau

      They (Hammerhead) would not need to reverse-engineer anything, they already did the design, and Shimano is not changing the protocol. So technically, indeed nothing prevents Hammerhead from displaying that information; as a matter of fact, if you don’t update your Hammerhead unit firmware, you’ll still get the data.

      The issue is not technical, it’s legal. It’s the same as Disney telling Netflix they don’t have the rights to a movie anymore. Technically, Netflix still has the files, so they could still stream it, right? Sure. Except they don’t have the rights anymore, and if they do keep streaming it, the lawyers will walk in. Same with Hammerhead.

    • Alfred

      That’s not really a useful comparison. What Sky TV broadcasts is covered by copyright. Button presses and gear changes transmitted from a Di2 unit are not. The issue here would be the licensing agreements between the companies regarding the protocol itself.

    • Mark

      Yeah, they would have to do a “cleanroom” reverse engineering so they can prove they didn’t use any information previously provided by Shimano, but that’s what many tech industry companies have done in the past.

      But it also depends on the contract they signed with Shimano. There might be wording preventing such development effort even if access has been withdrawn, vs. the contract now being invalid.

    • Robert

      I have never seen a licensing agreement regarding software or protocols that does not include a “no reverse-engineering” clause. It would take really weak lawyers to forget that one.

    • Neil Jones

      @Alfred – I’d imagine my analogy still stands – Shimano must have some sort of legal ‘ownership’ akin to copyright over the data being transmitted, otherwise why would any third party such as Hammerhead bother licensing it off Shimano in the first place if they could just (legally) translate the protocol themselves?

    • Randomlymoving

      Quite a disappointing choice by Shimano. I do not have the expertise, but surely there is a way to create and side load an app onto our Karoo’s that will allow some of the functionality. I’m guessing that a savvy individual could reverse engineer the necessary code. There has been a jailbreak community working around Apple’s restrictions for years. Fingers crossed. Battery details and hood buttons will be greatly missed.

    • Mike Richie

      I suspect that they already did sign a licensing agreement that said that if the license is terminated they will no longer use the protocol, period. If they were a company who had not already had an agreement and reverse engineered it without access to proprietary information then they would probably be within their rights, based on recent SC decisions on the ability to patent or copyright an API, but it is still murky and they could still get sued. If they tried to reverse engineer any encryption they could be sued under the DMCA. This is in the US, other jurisdictions could be better or worse.

  18. AndyJ

    While I agree it is a dick move by Shimano, some of the blame lies with Karoo. They decided to sell to Shimano’s biggest competitor, they must have expected this might be the result and their users would suffer.

    • John C Tonetti

      My guess is that HH considered this possibility and constructed a way around it if it occurred… Just a guess though.

    • Bruce Burkhalter

      “Blame” seems pretty strong. “Consequence” might be more accurate. I would bet they didn’t think Shimano would do something as petty as this. And even if they, they wouldn’t call off the sale because of it. In the end, the sale will do more for their customers than having the Di2 feature.

      And, as Ray said, will Shimano demand Garmin and Wahoo remove it because they compete with Shimano on power meters? Or tell Bryton to drop eTap support if they want to keep Di2? It is all so petty and anti-customer.

      And I doubt Hammerhead has a reasonable “Plan B”. As others have said, they might be to do a “clean room” reverse engineering of the private protocol. But will take time and money. But more importantly, Shimano would probably sue just to waste more time and money. I’m sure Hammerhead would rather just work on new stuff and hope public opinion forces Shimano to reverse their decision.

  19. C Schultz

    I have a DA9200 bike on order, but between the parts availability/wait and now this absolutely stupid move, I’m trying to change it to just a frame set on order.

  20. Smitty

    Very interesting and sad at the same time. I’m a Hammerhead K1 & K2 owner and I have several bikes with both Shimano and SRAM groups. My primary road bike is a Specialized Roubaix that’s about 6-7 years old and equipped with Shimano DI2 though it doesn’t transmit. I’ve been considering upgrading my group to a newer DI2 setup. But, after this news I’ll be looking at SRAM instead. Shimano will suffer from this decision, I hope.

  21. Brian D.

    Well, there goes any chance I build a new bike with Di2. No reason to believe they won’t decide to force other head unit manufacturers down the line to remove support.

  22. Chris

    Sales idea: “Karoo owners, swap out your Di2 for etap at half the price”. Who’s with me:). I’ve had Di2 for two years and love it but I also love the integration. Specifically the hood buttons and the battery level, its the boxes I had to check before leaving Garmin. Grr, I can’t see shimano increasing its revenue with isolation tactics in this day and age. I want my devices to work with everything and without an engineering degree to set them up.

    • Sean

      If you and others actually do boycott Shimano over this, I can’t wait to pick up a 12-sp Di2 group at a discount.

    • Chris

      Ha, I won’t be spending any money to upgrade, I will just silently be annoyed when I keep pressing the hood button

    • Bruce Burkhalter

      I doubt you will get a discount. Just cut a month off your wait time. 🙂

  23. Geoff P

    Ha!

    For a change it pays to be a 25+ year Campy user!

    Just another example of company (Shimano) with outsized power within an industry flexing it with no regard to its actual customers. Why? Because it can due to the nature of the vicious cycle – Shimano knows it owns a large chunk of the market, especially OEM, and can get away with it. It’s that simple.

    That all said, while I do enjoy my Hammerhead Karoo, I wouldn’t buy one now that SRAM owns it. I have nothing but contempt for the company.

  24. Robert

    The main issue in the article, which is hidden behind the Shimano decision, is the weakness of standardization in the industry. An ecosystem based on standards is very powerful, both for suppliers and consumers. Think mobile phones – in the early days, you had to buy a Verizon phone to operate on the Verizon network. Now you can buy any phone to operate on any network. That changes depends on a large set of standards – wireless protocols between the towers and the phones, frequency bands, SIM card standards, name it. Yes, you can create a walled garden ecosystem (Apple), but this works up to a certain point; Apple relies on wireless telco standards to sell iPhones, just as Samsung does.

    ANT+ being owned by Garmin is an obstacle; it can be overcome if they are careful about it.

  25. Jeremy

    I have been waiting to upgrade to Shimano 12-speed once Quarq has a 12-speed Dfour available. Glad to see I won’t have to wait anymore. SRAM eTap it is now!

  26. Martin

    I’m a lot more invested in running di2 (v other groups) than I am with my head unit. And I have to think that most people (outside of people on this site, perhaps) think the same way.

    It’s crappy for existing Hammerhead owners, but doesn’t change anything for most people.

  27. Andre

    As others said… Stupid move by Shimano… I have Di2 and will miss the functionality. Not planning to upgrade the bike or grouset in the short term, but when I do, I will vote with my wallet and will not reward a company that tries to hurt competitors by screwing customers.

    • Richard

      I’m a long term cyclist and tech user for 35 years and over those 35 years I’ve owned about 7 or 8 Shimano groupsets with the last 3 being Di2 based. I just upgraded to a 12 speed Di2 groupset and had I have known this, I would’ve likely have jumped to a SRAM groupset rather than go back to Garmin/other and away from Hammerhead.

      Total Dick move by Shimano here and they should be ashamed of this behavior given all the other open ANT protocols.

      I will likely hold off on updates for my Karoo, but I wonder if hammerhead could get round this by perhaps having an open app store and allowing the community to add support for it instead?

    • Andre

      Exactly. And honestly it has less to do with Karoo than with Shimano… I could change back to Garmin if they launch something better than the K2, but I would still be pissed with Shimano.

  28. marcin

    I wonder what would be the reaction of pro groups (like Israel Startup Nation that has/had official contract with hammerhead). I guess they can switch to wahoo or garmin easily but still – I remember Chris Froome praising Karoo2 on his new Factor bike…

    • Robert

      Pro teams use the equipment their sponsors provide. It’s not a matter of personal preference, except to pick which products within the lines provided by their equipment sponsors they will use.

    • Froome is more than a user, he was an early investor in Hammerhead if I recall correctly. Of course he would have been bought out when SRAM acquired Hammerhead, but he’s still an important industry voice.

  29. Michelle

    Anything we can do to help influence Shimano reconsidering this move? What’s to stop them from removing this functionality from Garmin and Wahoo in the future? I used my Karoo 2 to bike across America and it well outperformed the other computers on the trip.

  30. Fi

    Time to exfiltrate the firmware change and make a diff to get applied on firmware update, with all the decompiler it’s should not be much a challenge? i may buy a hammerhead just for that 🙃

  31. PAUL

    Bit of a D#@k move by Shimano. Probably few users using it but will bring a lot of c#@p media attention. Certainly makes you think differently about Shimano

  32. DavidW

    Shimano’s entire “competitor” argument is nonsense. Shimano and SRAM do not compete on head units. They compete on drivetrains and have for years. And their data has coexisted on head units for years. I can’t imagine anyone picking their drivetrain based on the head unit they use or vice versa. These are, for me at least, completely independent. Also, for me at least, the only useful drivetrain integration is battery life. I have never once wished for being able to view the gear I am in on my head unit. I have way more important things I’d rather watch. And it is trivially easy to know what gear I am in just by looking at the drivetrain. Which is faster and easier than switching to a shifting screen, looking at it, and then switching back.

    I think that Shimano has a history or making their own incompatibilities where they don’t need to exist. For example, 12 speed freehub bodies. Both XD and XDR existed for years before Shimano had 12 speed. And they worked fine. Now, you need to buy yet another freehub body for your wheelsets if you want to use them on both drivetrains. This is just a new standard that didn’t need to exist. And, rather than locking me into a Shimano ecosystem, it has made me LESS likely to buy anything from Shimano in the future. Shimano stuff isn’t way better in performance than SRAM, Campy, or anyone else. In a lot of cases they are worse. Like power meters. Which still don’t work worth a damn even on version 2. Why, because they can’t change their crank design so that it works. So, it makes me just that much less likely to buy a Shimano crank or anything else.

    • Joe

      As much as I hate what Shimano is doing, I suspect their argument would be that it’s not about competition with head units, but instead having to provide proprietary information on how Di2 works to SRAM out of fear it’d be stolen for eTap.

    • Sean

      “12 speed freehub bodies. Both XD and XDR existed for years before Shimano had 12 speed. And they worked fine. Now, you need to buy yet another freehub body for your wheelsets”

      Eh, that’s kind of a weak argument since XD and XDR are a SRAM thing. That’s like saying Ekar and any new 13 speeds have to use Rotor’s standard since they did it first. And even the new Shimano 12-sp cassettes fit on the old cassette bodies. So you don’t even have to change anything. A stronger argument would be why the old 11 speed shifters can’t control the 12 speed derailleurs since it’s just a button sending a signal. That’s purposefully designed to make you buy new stuff. The even let the TT shifters do it with a firmware update but not road.

    • John

      @DavidW SRAM went to proprietary 12-speed road chains/cassettes/chainrings and XD/XDR hubs before that, so let’s not go hold them out defenders of interoperability.

    • ancker

      Nothing about SRAM’s 12-speed system, in a mechanical sense, is proprietary.

      They had to move on from what worked for all other 10/11 speed systems to something that works for 12 speed. Just because something isn’t directly compatible with every other system on the market doesn’t make it proprietary.

      AFAIK, third parties are allowed to manufacture hardware that works with SRAMs 12 speed systems.
      KMC makes SRAM compatible 12-speed chains. There is a plethora of 12 speed compatible chainrings, etc.

  33. Hamfist

    Anyone have a CS email/number handy for Shitmano? I’d like to make my thoughts known.

    • Robert

      They are (like many large companies these days) pretty good at shielding themselves from customer inputs. No “contact us” on the US bike web site, for example. But – they are present on social media (Facebook, Insta, Twitter), where you can message them and they can ignore you.

    • Curtis Repen

      They also have a “Find a Dealer” widget. If enough dealers get complaints, maybe they will relay the message . . .

    • John C Tonetti

      I just sent this to Shimano here: link to facebook.com

      “Very upset that you have chosen to cut Hammerhead off from my Di2 information. I will expect you to send me a refund for the two D-Fly units I own. Once I receive your check, I will happily return the units. Thanks.”

      Shimano’s bot replied:

      John, thank you for contacting Shimano North America, serving the US and Canada. Office Hours are: M-F 8am – 5pm Pacific. Our customer service team can be reached at: (800) 423-2420

  34. Curtis Repen

    Last night I pulled the trigger on a new road bike with SRAM ETap, just to try it. (Happy new bike day to me in about 8 weeks!). That seems like a good call this morning.

    I was also thinking about upgrading my TT and trainer bikes to Di2 from 105 and Tiagra, respectively. I guess now I will look at SRAM for that too. Will cost more since I won’t be able to save the brakes and chainset on the TT bike.

    And I don’t even have a Karoo, I’m just worried about what/who else Shimano will excommunicate.

    Stupid, stupid, move, Shimano. SRAM drivetrain folks must be celebrating madly at this free marketing.

  35. Marc

    Curious about this link to bike.shimano.com

    I get the “private ANT” distinction, and how it may require approval of Shimano.
    Is this a standards based option for Hammerhead?
    If Shimano tried to squash an integration I’ve Bluetooth LE, could they get themselves in trouble with the Bluetooth consortium?

    • Bruce Burkhalter

      The problem is Shimano only transmits the Di2 info using the private ANT+ channel. So they are no other ways for Hammerhead to get it.

  36. GLT

    Not entirely unexpected for Shimano to consider, and there is logic to parts of it, but likely one of the less optimal choices they could have made.

    Even if this is the lead-up to a Flight Deck reboot, there were better ways of going about it. Letting others pay to play with Di2 while they made a backward-compatible premium successor would have been interesting.

    At this point they’ve forced the Hammerhead development team to focus more of their resources on SRAM electronic shifting. Arguably that was going to happen either way, but it is a certainty now.

  37. Lee

    Dick move from Shimano, no other way to put it. I’ve got multiple di2 bikes and the hammerhead integration for battery levels and the hood buttons is great.

    Here’s an F to common sense and consumer friendliness.

  38. Roger

    As a former antitrust lawyer and professor seems to me a pretty clear violation in US and EU, assuming Shimano has a dominant market share. Whether it is worth the effort for private parties to sue is an entirely different issue, And government enforcement agencies I believe would not get very excited about this market sector, although great opportunity to make interesting law.

  39. Bob

    Dumpster fire.

  40. JimH

    No, there is still all of the legalities of it. Shimano tells them to stop using the proprietary protocols. If they don’t the next call is to lawyers to start ‘proceedings’.

  41. ekutter

    As a Connect IQ developer, I’ve run into this before. Garmin doesn’t support shifting features on the E130/E130+ for example, so I wrote a CIQ DF to show your gears. This relies on the standard Shifting Ant+ protocol. There is no way I could add support for DI2 because of Shimano’s use of a private Ant protocol. But I do have a lot of happy SRAM AXS users. This will definitely make me think twice before buying another bike with DI2.

  42. JimH

    For everyone complaining about this and threatening to stop using Shimano, I wonder how many are Karoo users?

    I bought a Karoo 2 and ended up retiring it after horrible saga of a cracked screen on the 2nd ride and attempting to navigate the crash replacement process. I ended up with $700 invested into the device, and not using it for fear that if I bump it the wrong way I will crack the screen again.

    • ancker

      Your experience with a HH head unit is irrelevant to this discussion.

      The issue is that Shimano can decide to do this to any other head unit in the future. If I’m putting thousands of dollars into drivetrains, I’m going to pick the one less likely to make this sort of decision again in the future. Whether you use garmin, wahoo, stages, cateye, HH, etc. You are at Shimano’s mercy. With SRAM, they’ve committed to using the open standards that anyone can integrate.

      Shimano is using their weight and use of proprietary protocols to hurt a competitor. In reality, it hurts consumers.

  43. Mark Smith

    Hammerhead’s release said it “is just a small subset of features” being taken away, namely “on-screen battery status and shifter mode data, front and rear derailleur indications, and Karoo screen control via the Di2 hood buttons from Shimano Di2 drivetrains”.

    Ha – isn’t that everything? Like my car mechanic saying my car has lost just a small subset of functionality, namely, steering. Everything else still works great though!

    Love my Hammerhead, but this bums me out. But changing drivetrains for the sake of an onboard computer is the cart pushing the horse.

    • ancker

      No, it’s like your car no longer being able to play audio CDs.

      The CD slot is there, the technology is there, but the “owner” of the CD copyright decided they didn’t like your car manufacturer anymore, so they took away the license to play them.

      Maybe you care or don’t care about CDs. But obviously there are a non-zero amount of people who liked that feature and are going to stop buying CDs in the future in protest.

  44. David

    This is worth spending some time to let Shimano know that as a consumer I’m frustrated and will consider no longer purchasing their products. The Di2 info is the primary data I pay attention to on my bike computers so eliminating that functionality is a big issue for me. Also a bit miffed at how Hammerhead has characterized the features as “small subset”, this is pretty much all of the Di2 data.

    Who at Shimano do we need to put on blast? This is so frustrating.

  45. Paul S.

    Technically, Ray, you can get a Synapse without Di2. I have one! And when the rear derailleur cable broke last year, I had to take it to the shop to get it replaced, since I couldn’t easily see how the cable routed through the 105 brake lever. But yeah, back in 2020 when I got the Synapse (and apparently still) the only choice was Shimano of various flavors, and I had to go up to a carbon frame (not my original choice) because of the bike shortage. My MTB (the non-electric one, I’ve since acquired an eMTB), a Cannonade Habit 5, came with Shimano brakes but a SRAM drivetrain because they provided 1×12 and I think Shimano didn’t have that back then (2019). Now my favorite local shop has been acquired by Specialized, so no more new Cannondales for me.

  46. Debbie

    With all the complaining here it bears reminding that sometimes mommies and daddies get divorced. If my Varia and Wahoo stop working together, am I really going to throw a fit? No, I would say it was a nice partnership while it lasted. Never buy anything (especially anything digital) on the assumption that inter-brand compatibility is guaranteed in perpetuity.

    • Bruce Burkhalter

      Why wouldn’t you get mad at Garmin and Wahoo? I have a Varia and an ELEMNT and I would be pissed off if my Varia no longer worked. It would be $150 down the drain.

      These companies are not our “mommies and daddies”. We are their customers and we should be held in esteem and treated with respect. If they don’t, we have a responsibility to let them know. And to take our money elsewhere if they don’t want to listen to us.

    • Curtis Repen

      They didn’t get divorced, Shimano kicked Wahoo out. I’m choosing not to purchase something from a company that, for no apparent reason other than pettiness, removed functionality.

      Yes companies have the right to choose who they interoperate with, but it is a sign of bad faith to revoke that interoperability after consumers have invested in products supporting it.

  47. Otto

    Dang. You weren’t kidding when you mentioned there’d be a few more “unhappy” reviews this week.

    Looking forward to some Edge 140/540/840/1040 happiness whenever the embargo ends on those!

    • I think we’re done with unhappy things for a bit. I mean, I could rant a bit about silly announcements that happened in the last 24hrs. But, they’d be just more poking fun. Plus, I’m woefully behind now on other things.

  48. Pascal

    Hi there,

    Shimano, WTF are you doing ?
    More than 70% of the global market share of bike components and you are cutting me from getting simple data on my Karoo2
    If that’s not a dominant aggressive market position, I don’t know what it is….
    On top of that I spent more than 100€ a few months ago for a Shimano wireless box plus a ridiculously expensive cable to connect my bike computer… Are they going to refund me ?
    Anyway, shame on you Shimano !

  49. Richard Burton

    This is surely anti competitive by Shimano and I hope they are sued by industry regulators. I just bought the wireless unit to use my Dura ace Di2 with my Karoo and now it won’t work. Glad to say that my bike is running SRAM eTap which works flawlessly. Shimano, you just lost yourself a Dura ace customer!

  50. Vern

    Cynical me, but perhaps Shimano have a computer primed for release …

  51. Franck

    Let’s hope they will support tyrewiz instead … stupid move from Shimano, but hammerhead is probably still a niche product and I do not think the decision will have any impact on Shimano. Such a pity, it did not hurt anybody and was good to have more players in the bike computers games.

  52. Dan L

    Dick move by Shimano, and there’s nothing Hammerhead can do about this.

    Except…

    Hammerhead should enable a feature to downgrade current firmware to the last version that supports Di2 (and make that firmware downloadable) in case one accidentally updates, and for new buyers whose devices come with newer, non-Di2 firmware.

    Also reading comments from various places, it seems that folks are more upset that Di2 hood buttons will lose the ability to zoom/switch pages from hoods. Perhaps Karoo or some other 3rd party can come up with stand-alone accessories to do just that.

    • RIchard

      ….Other than the hood buttons, its battery life info that I’m most annoyed about losing.

    • Richard strange

      There are already third-party devices that can use the buttons, however, that only replaces page swipes, etc, so it’s a bit more limited

  53. Toby

    Dirtbag move. Senseless to given is making the UX of Di2 significantly worse. Petty dick move Shimano. I bought the new Di2 precisely because it integrates directly with other systems… morons. Software updates on my Karoo2 now disabled.

  54. Anthony Perry

    What petty crap…that’s why I bought Di2 to sync with my Karoo…..@&#$ Shimano

  55. AC

    Shimano seems determined to make themselves the next Suntour.

  56. Nik

    Came here to say I love my Hammerhead and I heavily use the Di2 hood buttons and the gear indicator. If Shimano are reading then you should know that i’m up for a new bike in 6 months and I dont even like the sram shifters but I like the hood button operation on the computer more so i’ll be buying sram.

  57. Mtngoat6421

    Retired Cat. 2 Roadie here, with thousands of miles of touring experience and commuting as well. Call me a Luddite (which would be ironic given my chosen profession) but I’ve always seen not only the electronic groupsets but the tubeless tire industry as marketing shoved down enthusiasts’ throats as if they had to have it to be competitive. Competitive maybe if you’re competing with the other guy sprinting for 21st place, or the Sunday morning town line prime. They both add an unnecessary, and not inexpensive, and apparently territorialistic layer of complexity to something I always admired for its elegance and simplicity.

    I ride a 2013 Domane that I bought off eBay after some very unpleasant experiences with local bike shops trying to buy a new one. It came with a couple hundred miles on it, is immaculate and love it and I like my Ultegra mechanical components, but I have no need to impress anyone with bling and will continue to purchase out of the normal supply chains so as not to enrich these corporations Even though I could easily afford DI2 and disk brakes I’m sure as hell not going to buy into their “subscription” for a continued stream of funding as more tiny overpriced parts and fluids (priced with healthy profit margins) are needed.

    As someone who’s been more than a cycling enthusiast for 50+ years, rider beware of bicycle salespeople bearing shiny things.

    • Paul S.

      So you still use a screw on 5 cog “cassette” and downtube friction shifters? I’ve been riding for nearly as long as you, and there have been a lot of improvements over the years that I wouldn’t want to give up. Disc brakes are certainly one of them. Indexed shifting built into the brake levers is another. Not having a flat that I had to sit on the side of the road and fix in over two years is another (thank you Kevlar belts). The various electronics that I ride with (sensors, Edge 830) are a vast improvement over what was available before. I haven’t tried tubeless (don’t want to deal with sealant) or electronic shifting. But riding home with 2 not very usable gears when a cable breaks has more than once made me think about getting electronic shifting. (If someone would create an unbreakable shift cable, I’d be very happy.). From what I’ve read, shifting is more precise and accurate with electronic shifters.

    • Mtngoat6421

      Not here to argue, Paul.
      My innocuous point is summed in my last sentence.
      (and I do still have a few wheels I built back in the day with Regina and Suntour freewheels, and I’m sticking with my second Edge 500, and not on Strava, and you’ll need to use force to separate me from my Veloflex tubulars)

  58. Tom

    Could Hammerhad implement some CIQ like plug-in system and make all private ant data stream accessible for the plug-ins to use?

    Additionally offer function to switch page / show gearing / show battery and so on.

    Then as a plug-in creator I’d just need to connect both ends ( = interpret the private ant data stream and call some appropriate function).

    So the Di2 Feature could be on the hammerhead without hammerhead doing it.

  59. Steve

    Nobody talks about the functionality issue at stake – pages control by the hood Di2 buttons.
    This is where SRAM year after year has totally failed. This feature is brilliant and almost a requirement for gravel riding. Removing a hand to swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe is dangerous while going 20mpg on washboard gravel.
    When I’m discussing a custom build for a client we go over AXS and Di2 options. 95% of the time they choose Di2 when they learn about the computer control. Riders will continue to choose Di2 for this feature and just not get a Hammerhead. Shimano will not suffer from this – Hammerhead will.
    However, if SRAM finally brings pages control to AXS for Hammerhead, Garmin, Wahoo & Bryton then the one great feature Di2 holds over AXS is gone.
    No, AXS road shifters don’t have 3rd hood button but they’ve always had blips and now they have the tiny wireless blip to place anywhere. So no more excuses from SRAM about computer control.
    As a side note, the mere location of a button should not be patentable. This is why SRAM doesn’t have a other button under the shifter hood (unknown if true but said by a SRAM rep at Interbike around 6 years ago when etap came out).

  60. Iivari

    I just ordered Hammerhead Karoo 2.

  61. Franck

    I just dropped an e-mail to bikeservice@shimano.com.
    No need to insult them but just to inform them that customers want to have free choice and not to be dropped by them in the middle of their journey.

  62. Dave

    My god…you’re waaaayyy out with your assumptions that this is going to hurt Shimano…lol…almost laughable!!!
    Shimano is a huge company, are you seriously suggesting that people won’t buy a bike, like a Cannon Dale you mentioned, PURELY because Shimano doesn’t support the Karoo???….ermmm….seriously????
    I think you will find that people buy bikes BECAUSE they want Shimano gearing, NOT because they want a Karoo. The Karoo is just a bike computer, plenty of others out there that support Di2.
    I highly doubt people will stop buying Cannondales because ‘the Karoo doesn’t support Di2’…lol, what world are you living in Ray. Take a hay-fever tablet because those tulips are affecting your judgement.
    This will kill Karoo for some users, I would put money on it. No rider is going to spend thousands on a Shimano Di2 equipped bike and then buy a Karoo if it doesn’t support it.
    You have this all backwards.

    • Out of curiosity, where did I say this was going to hurt Shimano?

      It’s almost, almost, as if you had challenges reading. Say perhaps, this line here:

      “The reality of Shimano’s apparent decision is that it doesn’t really hurt Hammerhead as a company, as much as it hurts Shimano users.”

      Which, doesn’t talk about Shimano at all, but Shimano users. Which, it does hurt.

    • Seth H. Shaw

      Nicely and gently said, Ray.

      Dave: feeling better now? Next time write a draft post, sit on it for 24 hours, then edit or delete it IF you want to be effective.

  63. Geplagter

    SRAM must be quite chuffed when Shimano finally see them as serious competitor.
    This is a completly stupid move but it just seems to fit their philosophy of trying to create und push their own standards and use their big market share to control the market.
    I already disliked Shimano with a passion for sveral reasons but revoking the license from Hammerhead is just another bad example of how they aproach things.
    As a customer using Shimano Di2 and a Hammerhead device I would be quite miffed.

  64. rgurney

    Shame on Shimano……..Greedy bastards.

  65. David

    Exactly as you eloquently put, Ray – I won’t buy into a system that limits my choice on puerile and childish grounds. What’s to stop Shimano falling out with Wahoo next, or Garmin? Not interested. I like the Karoo and think Hammerhead deserves every chance to succeed, and the right way for me to do that is for my next bike to have a SRAM groupset.

    Shimano users have already been bitten by the company’s spare parts shortage over the last 18 months.

  66. duncan balfour

    When’s the Shimano head unit arriving

    im all in , my 530 drives me mad

    haha

  67. Tom

    SRAM should start a heavily marketing it’s drivetrains using open standards and protocols that are futureproof to use with any bike computer in contrast to other vendors.

  68. Craig

    I have been a Shimano man for 30 years and ridden their average gear, good gear and great gear. I bought SRAM Force AXS on my last bike 2 months ago. With this decision of Shimano I’m not going back. Why? I love my Karoo and look forward to greater SRAM integration.

  69. John C Tonetti

    So it occurs to me that a way around this is for HH or SRAM to build a BT device that would stand in for the D-Fly unit. After all, doesn’t the encrypted private signal come from the D-Fly? I don’t know whether that’s feasible but I’m spitballing here… Or perhaps HH have decided that the shift info isn’t so important that they want to go that route.

    It seems to me that the issue is that Shimano won’t license the D-Fly decryption. So you remove the D-Fly and substitute in a new device to send the signal. I have NFI… I’m not an engineer, but it seems like it could be a solution.

    • It is possible. Bit of latency.

      The big problem is ANT+ Shifting doesn’t support remote buttons…. yet That latency is mainly the buttons problem.
      (“Generic Remote control” doesn’t count because there are 3 public functions and 3 “private” garmin only we no share functions — also reverse engineered)

    • Richard

      Question is though despite the latency, would you consider doing this Keith with the Kommander?

  70. Gary Zim

    Shimano’s move is very short sighted, but really surprising as for those of us who regulates the good buttons to change pages on the Karoo- taking this away from us raises safety concerns. It’s much safer riding with both hands on your handlebars. Forcing us to take our hands off the hoods to change pages is unarguably less safe. Seems Shimano doesn’t care about our safety or playing nice in the sandbox of the rapidly growing wireless devices. I was very impressed that Garmin allows their Varia to work with my Karoo – Shimano needs to take a page from Garmin – SAFETY FIRST! my next bikes surely won’t have any Shimano on them

  71. Antler

    Hammerhead Just needs to Update their Software to Allow “Plugins” for proprietary protocols along With some documentation. 2 Weeks later you have an Anonymous GitHub which solves the Problem. Just crowdsource it. The FCK Shimano crowd will do it

  72. jww

    To say DCR is the authority on this space is the understatement of the century. What a great read.

    And absolutely nailed the bottom line conclusion, that Shimano HQ apparently didn’t consider.

  73. LoneLeaf

    Since the underlying issue is open industry standards, and Shimano’s lack of adoption of them for their electronic shifting, then I think an interesting option is for all of the tech companies that participate in the ANT+ standards effort to simply suspend support of any private ANT protocols, starting with Shimano’s Di2. Imagine what would happen if Garmin, Wahoo, etc all joined Hammerhead by releasing firmware updates for all of their devices that immediately disabled support for Shimano Di2? Strength in numbers maybe. Perhaps more subtly, signalling a united willingness to do exactly that might be as effective to get Shimano onboard as actually doing it.

    • Neil Jones

      Do you think Garmin and Wahoo users would be happy to be used as pawns like that ‘for the greater good’? Just look at the reactions relating to loss of functionality on here already!

      As current world events show, sanctions always tend to have a backblast.

    • Matthew

      Maybe not happy in the short run, but I’m in total agreement that I wish Garmin and Wahoo would drop support for the proprietary Shimano shifting protocol and tell Shimano to upgrade to the standard. Same with Shimano on the power meter side.

      Long term for users, and for Wahoo, is to stop supporting proprietary protocols once a standard has been announced. Garmin is too big for Shimano to cut off, but Shimano could cut Wahoo off at anytime.

  74. malvo

    It certainly is a d!ck move to revoke support for existing products.

    The outcry though… Are there really people shopping for a Di2-level bike matching their head unit, or is it maybe the other way around?

    Then the argument about all other companies possibly getting locked out too is really a slippery slope. It is clear that SRAM now has a full cockpit ecosystem and Shimano wants to distance Di2 from that.

  75. James Wright

    Interesting one when I first started cycling seriously Campagnolo was king of the hill and then Shimano came along and they became King of the Hill big style. SRAM have taken a chunk of the market from Shimano hence Shimano see Sram as a growing threat. So it is little wonder Shimano will hit back them as no love is lost between the two. It what it is. Me thinks Shimano will however always remain King of Hill. So a wee protest by a small minority Hammerhead users will not harm them. So glad I stuck with Garmin for a load of years.

  76. Gaz753

    Back to campy only setup then

  77. J Schriesheim

    If Shimano were to release a cycling computer with better integration with their shifting and power meters, that would make sense and be motivating to customers. For them to undo benefits that their customers already enjoy is petty and small minded. I hope they take the feedback that the community is sending and reverse this ill-informed decision

  78. David

    This is an interesting one. How many non 12 speed Di2 units are impacted? Of all the people that have Di2 around me none of them knew about the EW-WU111 and why it was something good to have (battery level and screen left/right are the two that I use every ride). I hope they figure it out but until then I’m glad I have my Bontrager Garmin :).

  79. John Schwenk

    Thanks for the interesting analysis. I always love your thorough reviews. The Di2 connectivity is something that I have come to rely upon, and the availability of it was a factor in my decision to purchase a Karoo2 (since both of my bikes are Di2).

    I replied to Hammerhead, and although the problem is not caused by them, it is attributable to their now parent company (SRAM). I asked the Support guy (Franklin) about how to return my Karoo2 for a refund. He declined to provide one. Might this become a class action lawsuit?

    • I can’t see any scenario where Hammerhead would be liable for a class-action lawsuit. It sounds like something that I’d focus my efforts on Shimano.

    • j schriesheim

      I wrote to Shimano customer service:
      As a Shimano Dura Ace Di2 owner and Hammerhead Karoo 2 user I’m upset with Shimano’s decision to cancel licensing for integration of Di2 information and control with Hammerhead computers. This is anti-customer as much as anti-Hammerhead and does not reflect well on Shimano’s support of its customers. If there is more to the story than business rivalry disrupting customer access to features, I’d like Shimano to issue a meaningful statement. I am obviously not going to sell my bike due to this move on Shimano’s part, but it does cause me to think of the company and it’s relationship to customers in a different way. I haven’t done anything to Shimano other then buy your products but am being negatively affected by this change. From what I have read on social media, many Shimano users feel this way and I would like you to change this policy.

      Here’s the reply I received:
      Hello,
      Thank you for reaching out to us.
      We have no further information at this time.
      Sincerely,
      Team Shimano

    • John Schwenk

      I don’t disagree with you, and I have emailed Shimano expressing my sincere disappointment with their action.

      It would be SRAM’s place to sue Shimano, and that would take years. But if SRAM acquiring Hammerhead is causing problems to its users, then perhaps SRAM should offer a return and refund option to disappointed customers? That would also be the honorable thing to do IMHO.

    • Mike Richie

      I was just about to comment that it would appear that the only “legal” avenue here is if an enterprising attorney started a class action suit by Di2 customers who have a Hammerhead head unit. Shimano clearly advertised compatibility with that head unit and is now removing that compatibility. This certainly damages that class. I would think that the only way Shimano could defend against that is to allow Hammerhead the use of it’s current protocol (so they can still upgrade current units) but change the firmwear on new Di2 or successor units to use a (perhaps only slightly) different protocol which Hammerhead is not licensed to use – and remove all references to Hammerhead compatibility. Or they could settle and pay people off. Not sure how they would win. Di2 customers are not a party to any agreement between Shimano and HH.

    • John C Tonetti

      I was thinking the same thing. I own 2 Di2 bikes and specifically bought shifters and D-Fly units for both at a total cost of about $1500 so I could use the head unit functionality. I bought a Karoo2 because Shimano told me on its website that it was compatible. I relied on Shimano’s representation, which has turned out to have been deceptive, I have suffered a material loss, and Shimano has unfairly eliminated the usefulness of their product to me after misleading me into purchasing it. Sounds like a violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act to me.

  80. Scott taka

    F*ck Shimano. They are bunch of d*cks. Way to build customer loyalty. SRAM here I come.

  81. Takura

    Having read some of the comments here, I see – how should I put this – some people with only partial information convinced to be on the side of justice making themselves feel better by venting their anger, picking once again on foreign-to-them cultures or trying to force the perceived wrong doers into submission.

    While I agree that this hurts consumers, that Shimano should adapt Standards and think they need to up their PR and Customer Relations game to understand Western consumers and be better understood by them and also improve their global operations to match their responsibilities coming from their huge market share, some of the reactions here make me think that there is a huge misconception about Shimano being a global giant company working with huge budgets, led by arrogant, high-earning white collar management. I also see there might be a questionable belief that a company doing business in Western countries should adopt Western values.

    What I see living at this moment in Japan is this: Despite huge market share in cycling and fishing components, Shimano is still a very Asian, down-to-earth, regional company located in an area of Japan that has a lot of manufacturing but is less Westernized or sophisticated than the Tokyo-area, still led by the founder family, recruiting from the local workforce and operating with surprisingly small engineering teams and budgets. Doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes or that they should not be criticized, just hoping to give some more perspective.

    Is revoking licenses when circumstances change common business practice? Sadly yes. Do we really need to fear Shimano escalating this to other companies? Difficult to say but I would think Sram is “special” as they compete with Shimano on wireless shifting which is more related with wireless gear information than other stiff. Will a public outcry make Shimano change course? Again difficult to say but different than if they were a Western company. Was this only Shimano’s fault? Again difficult to say from the available information, maybe not. Should HH have informed consumers better about potential effects of them being acquired by Sram? Likely. Would Sram/HH adopt standards if they were huge? Again difficult to say, maybe not. Would I be pissed if I was a Di2 and HH user? Actually I have both but I also know and anticipate these things sadly happen so have other head units too to make sure something always works. Would it be nicer if everything worked and kept working? Hell yes.

    • As someone who has worked for years in this industry and still do mostly (consulting) you posed some questions, however your speculation on the answers isn’t what I’ve seen. You sound closer to the culture, I while I’ve worked in this industry for about 10 years.

      Shimano isn’t part of the startup world, but cycling is now the world of startups and growth but not in the historic important bit — groupsets. Groupset sales are stagnant and market mix of how they are sold is stable. Recent pandemic volume growth is now receding. Companies haven’t adapted to this. And Shimano is only semi wireless with the option for wired still due to… well… pro teams can tell you the reasons. So the wireless-ness has nothing to do with it. And the other side is D-FLY doesn’t generally come on ANY DI2 equipped bike in almost any market. 8k USD bike? + 100 USD for “private ant”. But also, the BLE is not obfuscated in ANY WAY. You can openly figure it out.

      Will Shimano change course — likely not, not unless forced given the historic evidence related to how protocols worked in this. Area – Case study of Suunto and Polar who were similarly large incumbents. One tried private, one tried proprietary. Both died in those area only to claw back by joining standards.

      Was this only Shimano’s fault? Yes, 100% percent. As is what is happening that few people know about in the background related to protocols, reverse engineering, etc. They didn’t invent this protocol ANT, they licensed it from Garmin (well, pre Garmin acquisition), built their own poorly written protocol (see SUUNTO) and then there was a standard built and they choose specifically NEVER to participate. They had opportunity a year ago on what’s happening behind the scenes and declined.

      Should Hammerhead informed better. From what I’ve heard, they couldn’t. The cancellation clauses can be enacted with VERY little time on these contracts. I’ve not read this one, but I’ve read other Shimano contracts. Yes. It’s Shimano and it’s ASAP. Do no pass go. Do not collect 200 dollars. 100% Shimano fault on that one.

      SRAM / HH have been HIGHLY active in building new standards from what I’ve seen this past year. Opening working with people and actually answering emails unlike Shimano.

      Would it be nice if it kept working. 100%, and it was 100% Shimano as provisions in these contracts withstand acquisition generally, so cancellation had to generally be actively enacted normally.

      Some other points you mentioned don’t hold water. Shimano has 10x engineering staff over Campagnolo for instance, while both have a similar number of groupsets.

    • Dan L

      Wait. So if the BLE data from the D-Fly is not obfuscated, can’t HH just use that to display Di2 gear info instead of dealing with the ANT+ private protocol? What am I missing?

    • John C Tonetti

      Apparently, the signal that is on a private ANT+ network is the signal from the shifters.

    • Takura

      Keith, appreciate your reply as I think you really read my whole comment – almost feared that no one would – and then spent the time to write a response. Maybe I am wrong, in which case I will correct my position – but I don’t see that yet.

      My main point is: Everyone can make as many guesses as they want, and as much as I too wish Shimano hadn’t taken away that functionality, if someone declares now that Shimano is petty and bullying, I think we are on thin ice, which ironically makes that declaration an act of cyberbullying against Shimano and against a different a culture.

      So, what are the facts again?

      (As an aside, I’ve not been in the cycling business but am pretty familiar with the technological side of ANT+ – and thereby also some of the politics.)

      It seems clear that, had Shimano adopted the ANT+ standard, this would not have happened, Unluckily their private protocol came earlier than the standard. Shimano might have 10 times the engineers over Campagnolo, but cycling is only one part of Shimano, performance oriented groupset a smaller part, DI2 an even smaller part and D-FLY? Almost neglible with respect to resources – though, as we found out, unluckily not legally. I too wish Shimano invested more in R&D – but that’s just an opinion. Your statement that they had over an year to do so is also just an opinion. Both are neither right nor truth nor justice – in my view, no objective fault by Shimano.

      It’s clear that, had Shimano not asked HH to withdraw, this would not have happened. Shimano clearly has pulled the trigger and some users including myself have lost out. But what do people mean by saying and how do they interpret hearing that it’s Shimano’s fault?

      Some have concluded that it’s petty bullying by Shimano against HH/Sram. Maybe it is. Maybe Shimano feels their honor is threaned by Sram – if we apply a cultural stereotype. I wouldn’t call that bullying given the importance of honor in some cultures but at this point this is just a hypothesis anyway. As I and some others have suggested, we can’t exclude the possibility that it simply is a standard legal move. Shimano and Sram are not just competing in group sets but are strong competitors in wireless shifting. This being about wirelessly communicating shift information at least legally may make this specifically related, revoking the license may therefore be a standard legal procedure. Some might call that petty, but that’s subjective.

      One emotion involved seems to be that this came unpredicted to some,which may trigger enemy feelings and could be the reason for excessive speculation like the fear that Shimano may revoke licenses from other companies too. Believe me or not, my first reaction to the acquisition was literally, “Shit! Sram and Shimano compete in wireless shifting, this will end badly!” I do understand that Shimano amy appear maleficent to those who didn’t predict this, but that doesn’t make Shimano objectively bad.

      Totally agree that SRAM/HH is more active in standards. Seems natural as they depend on standards. Does that make them right and Shimano wrong? As I wrote, I too am for standards, but that’s just personal opinion.

      Should Shimano and HH work out an agreement? Yes please, 100%! Can we blame Shimano for not having worked on this yet? If HH assumes that English is the common business language, then I would disagree. If HH hires Japanese lawyers and Shimano refuses any talk, then yes, Shimano is not doing fair business. English may be the main global business language, but the reality I see in Japan is that for almost any Japanese company even with worldwide offices, fluency in English and possibly the perception to be in a weaker position having to use a foreign language is a huge barrier.

      My recommendation to HH: Come to Japan, put yourself in Japanese shoes – not sandals anymore, hire Japanese negotiators and lawyers, that’s when talks can start. Try to find common ground, talk about your love for cycling, be humble and talk about how Shimano parts got you into cycling, how the acquisition puts HH in a difficult position and earn rapport. And don’t try to “teach” them that standards are the “right” way.

      So, the question from “the other side” would be: Is this worth that much to HH? If not, who’s at fault, given that HH and Sram have changed the situation and triggered this issue, not Shimano?

      Actually, I don’t think that Shimano would take that stance, probably they’ll say, if they say anything, that they are sorry to cause to trouble to customers. So I believe it’s best to not assign fault to anyone – yet. It’s fine to dislike what Shimano did and not to buy, but declaring Shimano petty and at fault seems trigger-happy. The only point where I believe we can objectively assign fault to Shimano at this moment is how they handled this mess from a PR perspective.

    • Takura

      PS:
      >But also, the BLE is not obfuscated in ANY WAY.

      Isn’t that actually proof that this is just a standard legal procedure for revoking confidential information from a partner (HH) that has been acquired by a competitor (Sram), and not an act of Shimano bullying HH?

      >Will Shimano change course — likely not, not unless forced given the historic evidence related to how protocols worked in this.

      Not sure that Shimano needs “to change course” and should be “forced” to do so. Afaik, there is no information yet that this is a more-or-less temporary legal maneuver in reaction to Sram acquiring HH. Given that Shimano has adopted many other ANT+ profiles, why assume they will never adopt the shifting profile? Whether they do it fast “enough” for some is obviously another matter though – but that again seems subjective.

    • Curtis Repen

      Hi Takura, I respect your position, but I think you are missing the point. Shimano has chosen to punish a competitor even if it hurts their own customers. That says something about Shimano’s attitude towards customers, and it’s not good. I will consider that in future purchases.

      In an era of interoperability, a company’s openness to work with others is a feature, not a bug.

      Those defending Shimano by pointing to Apple are missing the boat – Apple has created a massive ecosystem involving thousands (millions?) of other companies, many of whom may compete against Apple in some way. If Apple were to have suddenly banned MyFitnessPal when they launched Apple Health, they would have a point, but they didn’t.

    • Takura

      Curtis, thanks for your measured reply.

      To start with the common ground: I agree openness is desirable and that comparing with Apple seems weird. I also agree that, if Shimano intentionally chose to punish a smaller competitor and was so keen to do so that they disregarded the interests of some of their customers, that’s a red flag.

      But I haven’t seen any evidence that’s what happened. Have you?

      This article does not explicitly say that Shimano actively chose to punish a competitor. The closest is a hint calling a hypothetical future escalation to Wahoo and Garmin a “quest for vengeance”. Neither does it say Shimano chose vengeance over customer interests. In case there was confusion, it is not my intension to defend Shimano, I am only trying to point out logical fallacies and learn in case I am getting something wrong. Show me the evidence of your theory that I didn’t notice and you will have changed my mind.

      Until then: One reasonable possibility many people in most industries I believe will agree could be that Shimano just followed common business practice and their official Code of Conduct (as listed on their web page) and aimed to protect their IP while doing fair business, reluctantly taking into account that some customer will be hurt. As explained in the article, whatever they intended, it seems to have been badly thought through and badly executed. There surely are many other possible explanations, just saying we are missing facts to narrow in to just one version of what happened, and while it is not impossible it was some form of misguided vengeance, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence.

  82. Ken

    I find the whole situation frustrating as a consumer and recreational cyclist who tends to be a bit detail focused when purchasing kit. I spent far too much time agonising over Garmin v HH v Wahoo and compatibility with other devices e.g. Di2 was one of the functions i wanted to utilise and was built into my decision. If the Karoo 2 was not compatible with Di2; i would have likely gone with Wahoo or Garmin. That being said i am incredibly happy with the Karoo 2. I will delay updating the software for a while until i feel there is an update i really want and will more than likely consider SRAM for any future purchases; which i was probably going to do anyway. However, this latest change leaves a very bad taste and shame on both HH and Shimano for not working this out and leaving the consumer to suffer the consequences.

  83. Dan

    Thanks a lot Shimano (sarcasm font). While I don’t have the Hammerhead, I bought a new bike a year ago with Di2, and this loss of functionality means that the next time I buy a bike, I am likely to get a SRAM or Campy drivetrain

  84. Jay

    Not affected as I’m locked into Garmin’s health tracking ecosystem now, but this is such a douche move I’ll be sticking with SRAM from now on. They’re more innovative, cooler and take bigger risks.

    Always use SRAM for high end kit anyway, but sometimes so heater builds with some lower end Shimano for gravel etc. Never again.

    Thanks for the middle finger Shimano. Have one back.

  85. Steve R

    I personally don’t see it as an issue – companies do this all the time it’s part of the business world. Apple is the obvious analogy. Hammerhead isn’t all that broadly adopted (don’t know anyone using their computers) so I doubt it will hurt Shimano much, mostly Hammerhead and therefor the parent Sram. The average consumer buys a bike first, then a computer that works with it.

    Sram and Shimano Cycling compete and for both the drivetrain is probably their biggest money maker. Neither is going to want to help create revenue for their competitor’s R&D.

    I don’t own any Sram or Hammerhead stuff and don’t intend to just because of familiarity, Shimano and Garmin are what I use and I’ll stick with them.

    • Curtis Repen

      I don’t see your analogy. Apple didn’t suddenly ban MyFitnesPal when Apple Health was launched. Apple actually sells competitive product right next to their own on the Apple store.

      Shimano has chosen to hurt their own customers in order to strike a blow against SRAM. That tells me that Shimano does not take the best interests of their customers to heart.

      This is not about HH – I don’t have one.It is about the way a company treats customers. I will take that into account when making purchase decisions in future….

  86. Kevin Beckerdite

    I no longer buy Shimano components for any of my bikes. I’m aware that the Di2 system is fantastic, but in reality, Shimano has fallen behind SRAM in nearly every aspect of bike component tech (fit and finish is another story… SRAM kinda sucks there), and Shimano’s prices are outrageous. Shimano doesn’t offer much in the way of accessories, so a comparison to Apple’s ecosystem in not on par. Apple offers everything you need to be fulfilled and happy. Shimano doesn’t. In the end, this will only work to harden the alienation of Shimano by folks like me. I have SRAM mechanical on my MTB and eTap on two road bikes and they are functionally flawless. No more Shimano for me.

  87. Joerg

    What do you think should we go and organize a legal action against Shimano, and/or hammerhead?
    In the EU there should be the chance to fight for our rights collectively.

    I am so annoyed from the industry. You buy products because of there software features and by time the features are dropped by an update.
    In my opinion that’s not okay !

    In person, I went for the DI2 because of this product description of the WU101, and the custom button function of the shifters. The most important feature for me are,the DI2 buttons to control the bike computer.

    “E-TUBE Wireless Unit – D-FLY – 2-Port Junction SHIMANO’s WU101 wireless unit connects inline to a DI2 E-TUBE system enabling the use and connectivity of ANT+ and Bluetooth LE compatible accessories. It also allows the use of SHIMANO’s smartphone and tablet E-TUBE PROJECT software for maintenance and system updates.”
    link to bike.shimano.com

    Only i the details they mentioned that it’s a private protocol.
    For me thats misleading advertisment.

    Here the EU press release for collectively law suits.

    link to europarl.europa.eu

    I would be in.

  88. FBM

    Based off of the little comment we have seen from HH, my seemingly unpopular opinion is that I simply cannot come to the conclusion that the blame solely lies with Shimano. HH can imply it is Shimano’s fault but they don’t say that they tried everything in either the short or long term leading up to this to prevent this from happening. Today this is the HH reply on the official HH support forum posted on a few threads related to this issue:

    “Hi All, This is a Shimano led decision based on contract terms. We remain hopeful in pursuit of a new path to provide more software features to Shimano riders in the years ahead. Hammerhead has reached out to Shimano, however at this time there is no action from Shimano to allow Di2 compatibility in the future. If you’d like to help our efforts in building a new relationship, please feel free to reach out to Shimano Support and voice your concern”

    Their statement since goes as far as suggesting that this isn’t something that they are going to fix quickly as a matter of priority (“in the years ahead”) and reads like HH are just doubling down on their own unknown position on negotiation of terms with Shimano but placing blame solely with them too. Asking HH users to reach out to Shimano themselves is a new low.

    • “Asking HH users to reach out to Shimano themselves is a new low.”

      Why?

      It’s clear that HH asking directly isn’t working. And it’s clear that this impacts Shimano users. Why is asking those users to voice their displeasure to the company that broke it a new low?

    • FBM

      IMHO because HH haven’t admitted that they have exchausted their time and efforts in coming to a new agreement. I am just as upset as the next HHK2 and DI2 user. The PR is written in a way that doesn’t read to me that we have the full story and there are so many assumptions in the comments going as far as to suggest this issue is down the difference in negotiations culturally!

    • Dan L

      “IMHO because HH haven’t admitted that they have exchausted [sic] their time and efforts in coming to a new agreement.”

      Whether or not HH have exhausted their time and effort in coming to a new agreement doesn’t mean that affected users cannot also voice their displeasure to Shimano. It will likely take efforts on multiple fronts to get Shimano to reverse their decision.

      “The PR is written in a way that doesn’t read to me that we have the full story…”

      No, it’s likely that we don’t have the full story. But assumptions are being made, right or wrong. Including whether or not HH has made the requisite effort to arrive at a new agreement.

      I think HH/SRAM *would* be trying everything they can to do so. They want the Karoo to be the best bike computer, after all. And the are running a business. But that these things take time, and in the interim, asking customers to reach out to Shimano is not a bad strategy.

    • FBM

      Fair, and i accept that my position was wrong on reaching out to Shimano. I have messaged Shimano locally to find out what their position was with this with regard to all third parties given their position with HH. I’ve been a HH K2 user for two years now, but prior to that i was using the Edge 830, which i’ve still kept sitting around at home gathering dust, and then just two weeks ago I came across a deal on a Wahoo Roam – I like tech and testing out things myself. Now i’m looking at the other two thinking to myself what if Shimano deems either of those “competitors”.

    • Dan L

      I’ve emailed bikeservice@shimano.com, but it seems to have gone into the void.

      I do have a Wahoo Bolt v2 as a fallback if I should ever purchase a Di2 system, but with Shimano’s shenanigans, that will never happen.

  89. Tank

    If memory serves me, many years ago when I was young, didn’t SRAM sued Shimano over compatibility or some sort of unfair business practice?

    Yes, I found it. This goes back to the grip shift days, the early 90’s for the youngsters.

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    I think explains it shimano’s latest dick move and why I refer to their product as [removed]. They are still holding a grudge.

    • FBM

      [Removed] wow racist much? That’s incredibly offensive.

    • Takura

      Didn’t bring up Shimano’s black history as it seemed to me that Ray had intentionally avoided referring to that in the article in detail. Was a red flag for me then, didn’t buy Shimano for about 20 years after that and still had doubts when I picked up Di2.

      Had to smile when I recently looked up their website and their Code of Conduct that explicitly mentions fair business – as if they are keenly aware of their reputation? They had two new presidents in the 90’s, no idea whether that was related with that Sram debacle. Seems they appointed a relatively young president in 2021 so I guess it remains to be seen how much change that can bring towards better IT, compliance and improved PR?

      All that said, racist comments are, well, racist, offensive and don’t advance the issue.

    • Okey doke – let’s keep things clean here. No reason to resort to inappropriate language.

  90. Seth S.

    My apologies if this has been recommended previously:

    In addition to airing your grievances with Shimano through whatever mechanism, it’s imperative to reach out to bicycle manufacturers and direct sellers since they’re the ones buying Shimano drivetrains in bulk. We, individually, can do so much and given Shimano’s historical indifference to end-users I doubt it will listen. However, Specialized, et al, as the real customers will get Shimano’s attention, if only to voice displeasure over Shimano’s heavy-handed move. Why would they do it? Only if pressured by customers telling them we’ll not buy a Shimano-equipped bike from you anymore, and – this is important — if SRAM sees this as an opportunity to make inroads with the big names (think pricing and product.)

    Remember that Shimano made another boneheaded move last year (my opinion folks) by eliminating new Ultegra and Dura-Ace mechanical drivetrains. That’s an opening for SRAM. Were I advising the company I’d be all over them to negotiate with the builders by selling aggressively.

    In the end it all comes down to costs to the manufacturers if quality and performance are comparable. It’s first, last, and only about business. I’m beginning to believe the 800lb gorilla in Osaka is losing sight of what’s good for it long term. (See my next post, whenever I get to it.)

  91. Phil Cooper

    I am a Hammerhead Karoo user and I was recently informed by Hammerhead that Di2 integration will be discontinued on Karoo devices at your request. I am deeply disappointed to learn this, and ask that you reverse your decision.

    I purchased my Hammerhead Karoo several years ago, well ahead of its acquisition by SRAM. Discontinuing the use of Di2 integration primarily hurts its users, not SRAM. All Di2 users have spent thousands of dollars by purchasing Di2 group sets, either as part of a bike purchase, or by purchasing the group set separately. In doing so, they have supported Shimano and its products. By discontinuing services to your products as a result of an acquisition, you risk your reputation among the cycling industry, and among users who utilize your products and services. It is petty and callous. I kindly ask that you work with Hammerhead to restore Di2 services as soon as possible. The decision to unilaterally do so without customer input was not wise, and only serves to damage your credibility. Thank you.

  92. Lee8w7

    This is a very disappointing and frustrating development. I embraced Di2 when they first offered 10 speed Ultegra and I just took possession of my first 12 speed Di2 equipped bike which brings my Di2 count to 6 (Yes, I may have a problem). I had the original SRAM eTap but found the front shifting non-intuitive. I also purchased a Hammerhead Karoo 2 after dealing with the glitchiness of Garmin for several years and then moved onto Wahoo until I ran into trouble synching various sensors. I chose Hammerhead because my close friend works for them and it’s nice to have an expert on my group rides. Shimano’s decision punishes those of us who have embraced their technology but happened to choose a head unit that’s now been purchased by their biggest competitor. This may hurt Shimano in the long run as new bike buyers may lean towards a SRAM equipped bike over fear of what Shimano might do in the future and the fact that AXS bikes are currently more available. I’d certainly advise a potential purchaser to consider SRAM.

    • Seth S.

      Lee, have you asked your close friend who works with HH for any insights you could pass on regarding a workaround or resolution without violating his/her trust? Thanks.

  93. Pierre Delionnet

    unfortunately probably the only way to redress this is to stress to the bike shops and manufacturers that we will refuse to further buy any Di/2 equipped bikes or components. having the manufacturers, whom Shimano may actually listen to, stress that fact, should get the higher ups to take notice.

    it’s pretty much the only way we can vote with our wallets in this case.

  94. Philippe Leduc

    I’m satisfied with my Karoo 2 and all of its actual features so I decided to stop future update in order to keep the Di2 function. Should I be worried about updating any of my R8150 component and indirectly block my head unit from reading the Di2 signal ?

  95. Nigel Boulton

    Thank you for the succinct summary. Perhaps Hammerhead should have seen something like this coming but overall, Shimano are the villains here. Convergence not divergence of tech is the way to go but like Garmin, who don’t allow direct uploads from Hammerhead to Connect, Shimano are saying the equivalent of “It’s my ball” and refusing to play. In the long term it’ll come back to bite them although their ubiquity and the infrequency of wholesale groupset changes for most people means that it will take a long time.

  96. Ray, as you can imagine there is much discussion about this on Facebook. In response to a comment I posted, someone else posted this reply and I was hoping you can confirm that his understanding is correct:

    “…but DC Rainmaker got that wrong which is what all of you are quoting. Garmin acquired the company that created the ANT and ANT+ protocols which is mostly just a different form of BLE. It’s 100% open source, and any company who utilizes ANT in any form to include the Shimano variety has to agree to the open source position of ANT. So technically, Shimano trying to enforce their “private” ANT( not what it’s actually called but everyone keeps quoting DC Rainmaker) is a violation of the agreement when using ANT. So what does it take to fix this? SRAM leveraging Garmin to force Shimano to follow the open source requirements. Think Garmin is going to do that for the competition? That’s why it hasn’t even been discussed yet.”

    • Matthias

      He is incorrect, which tends to happen quite a lot on Facebook.
      Shimano uses what is called a ‘private network key’

      link to thisisant.com

      “A private network key provides the greatest level of security, and is suitable for proprietary applications where interoperability is not required or desirable. A private network key provides full control over who can join the network and who can not; it also offers flexibility in terms of defining your own channel parameters and data format. Anyone with a private network key has total control over the network and can select who gets the key.”

      link to thisisant.com

      “f you are developing a product for sale, that you do not want to interact with other devices, then it is recommended that you purchase a private network key: this way you control the network rules.”

    • Thanks Matthias, very clear explanation.

    • Yeah, and honestly, most of the rest of their comment is incorrect too. Just seems like someone talking about something that doesn’t actually know that they’re talking about.

      As for calling it private-ANT, that’s literally how it’s called when you talk about it. Anyone who says otherwise sounds like someone that doesn’t actually work in the industry.

    • That’s what I figured, but I’ll let him wallow in his incorrectitude.

  97. Ralph

    I both use Shimano and Sram electric drivetrains on my MTB/Road/Gravel bikes. I use Garmin and Hammerhead in parallel.

    What a bad move by Shimano!

    If that situation persists, will definitely consider replacing all my Shimano equipment by Sram alltogether.

  98. TGKR

    A lot of people are saying they will choose SRAM over Shimano as Shimano have wronged consumers. But I feel SRAM have done this also by no longer supporting Red Etap first generation. There is no compatibility between any of the old and new components so if something goes wrong there are limited spares, so at some point a perfectly good groupset could be useless if a single part is damaged. I spent £1000s on Etap for my best bike that only sees good weather. Only to feel neglected a few years later.

    • Seth S.

      TGKR, did you update the firmware on your groupset last November which gives some backwards compatibility to newer components, and mitigates your concern?

  99. L Johansson

    Just got this reply from Hammerhead. It seems they are not gone pursue the issue further.
    So also no help from HH in regards of having further negotions with Shimano.

    “Thanks for contacting us to share your disappointment. We hear you and we understand how you feel. Many of us ourselves are also Di2 users and are struggling with this Shimano led directive.

    Hammerhead is committed to constantly improving in ways that benefit all riders, so please trust that we did everything in our power to prevent this from happening.

    It may help to watch this video by DC Rainmaker to understand the situation: link to dcrainmaker.com

    It is not possible to revert to a previous update and we would not recommend it if it were possible. With each update, come enhancements and bug fixes, so if you are not on the latest version we are unable to help with any troubleshooting or issues than may arise.

    We are sincerely sorry this change has directly affected you. We deeply care about our riders. We remain hopeful in pursuit of a new path to provide more software features to Shimano riders in the years ahead.

    Sincerely,
    XXXXX (Note: name delted by me)
    Hammerhead

    • I don’t read that to say that they are not pursuing it further, just that they couldn’t stop Shimano from terminating the license. I have no doubt that behind the scenes someone in the SRAM/Hammerhead organization is at least thinking about negotiating a new license with Shimano — it would be a disservice to their customer base not to.

    • L Johansson

      English is not my primary language, and therefore I might read the reply differently, but I hope that you’re correct, For me the di2 functionality is quite essential. I use it on every ride.

    • John C Tonetti

      I wouldn’t think that SRAM/HH have abandoned trying to talk with Shimano. But whether Shimano is responsive is likely something else.

      HH would obviously like to have Di2 information. They spent time and money to be able to display it. And, it’s in a competitive market. It’s something HH can’t offer that others can, which makes puts HH at a competitive disadvantage.

      But if you’ve ever done business with a Japanese company, you know how hard it is to negotiate with them. I assume it is something cultural, but I’ve found that it is rare that they tell you what you want, or even what they don’t want. You have to figure it out and offer it. Otherwise, you just get “We’ll consider it.” But they never seem to.

      It could be that there’s nothing that SRAM or HH could tell or give Shimano that would make Shimano relent. This is unfortunate on many levels, because it ensures that no one’s customers will be happy as it is the customer that will have to compromise.

    • Talks are occurring at the highest levels between both organizations now about it. You’ll start to see some specific wording changes in support responses over the next few days.

      What precisely that means for the future is still very much in the air. Whether that’s full resortoration, partial restoration, or no restoration remains to be seen. Not because I can’t say, but because it’s frankly still being decided, haggled, and worked out. And like any argument, sometimes there is no resolution.

    • Seth S.

      Thanks, Ray for telling us. Some hope has been rekindled.

    • L Johansson

      Really hope that there will be an agreement

    • Over a thirty year legal career I have negotiated countless times with Japanese companies and you’re right, it can be a time-consuming, laborious and at times frustrating experience. But, you usually get there in the end.

    • Flow

      So maybe Takura was right from the beginning 😉

  100. JR Yorkshire

    Totally agree. Am just about to purchase my first top end Road bike, and will now avoid Shimano and go for SRAM as I use a Wahoo ELEMNT and worry Shimano might close them off too. Really naive on their part.

    • I can’t imagine why Shimano would terminate their Di2 license with Wahoo — they don’t compete in the electronic shifting space; SRAM does, which I would surmise to be the reason why Shimano exercised their change of control rights in the HH license.

  101. Jim Surgent

    It would be nice if DC Rainmaker would post a link for us disgusted shimano consumers to make a complaint with Shimano. I looked for contact information but did not find anything. Does anyone have a good contact link? It would be nice for Shimano to get barraged with complaints, though it would probably fall on deaf ears.

  102. Kevin R

    Over on the Hammerhead forums, I saw a Change.org petition go up asking Shimano to reconsider.

    link to change.org

    It’s worth a try.

  103. Seth S.

    Jim Surgent-

    Here’s email for the Sr. VP in charge of American Operations, Yutaka Taniyama: ytaniyama@shimano.com. If you email him, I’d suggest sending it in English and Japanese using Google translate to show respect. Needless to say, ranting, remonishing or otherwise berating the company will not serve you or us well.

    I’m working on finding emails for corporate types in Japan.

    • John C Tonetti

      I would suggest focusing on not how Shimano may have impacted HH, but rather how you have paid for Shimano functionality in shifters and D-Fly units that Shimano has disabled through its actions. We’ve lost something that we not only paid for, but that Shimano previously endorsed on its website.

      I think this might be more impactful. Just a thought…

  104. Robert Altman

    Ray, thanks again for straight, honest, insightful commentary on cycling topics.

    This is crazy. I did call Shimano USA and let them know I’m planning to switch my next bike purchase to SRAM because of this move. I have a Karoo 2 and see no reason why I should be forced to switch to Wahoo or Garmin; and what if they are the NEXT victims of Shimano’s hubris.

    Ultimately, I think customer-focus is more important, and I’m not only willing to speak with my wallet, but also to make sure Shimano knows why they lost me as a customer.

  105. Al

    Hope Hammerhead sues Shimano!
    this is petty and stupid.

    • Sue them for what? Their license agreement will almost certainly have contained a change of control provision giving a right to terminate if either party was acquired by a competitor. (I spent nearly 30 years drafting such agreements). HH was acquired by SRAM, a direct competitor of Shimano, so they exercised their contractual right. Was it a smart business decision? That’s highly questionable. Was it a breach of contract giving rise to a right to sue? Almost certainly not.