Wireless electronic shifting offers a variety of advantages over mechanical shifters including micro adjustments, faster shifting, and cleaner installations. The added technology doesn’t come cheap though as SRAM and Shimano electronic shifters require specific derailleur and shifter combinations as well as proprietary batteries and chargers. Archer Components is seeking to change that with their affordable electronic shifter kits that can be installed on nearly any mechanical drivetrain setup. The Archer Components D1x Trail Shifter w/ Paddle Remote that we have in this review is one of their latest versions and retails for $429 with standard batteries and $449 with Sprint batteries. One of the main selling points is the new ergonomic paddle remote which offers haptic feedback and on-the-fly micro-adjustments. The Sprint Li-ion batteries offer the fastest shifting setup (50% faster than standard batteries) and a 25 hour claimed runtime.
The Archer Components D1x Trail allows you to convert nearly any mechanical rear derailleur to a fast-shifting wireless electronic setup.
|Retail Price||$429 / $449 (with Sprint batteries)|
|Claimed Weight (in g)||235|
|Likes||+ Ergonomic paddle remote|
+ Retrofits onto nearly any mechanical derailleur setup
+ Per gear micro adjustments and full customization via app
|Dislikes||– Difficult to hide bulky battery pack|
– Shifter and remote have to be manually turned on
|Where to Buy (US)||Archer Components|
The Archer Components D1x Trail comes in a compact cardboard box with specs and branding printed on a label. Inside the box you’ll find:
- D1x Shifter
- Paddle remote
- Sprint batteries
- 4-battery charger
- Instruction manual
- Shifter cable, housing and ferrules
- Zip ties + brackets for shifter
- USB charging cable
- Micro USB charging cable for the Paddle remote
Everything is well packed with environmentally friendly paper padding and cardboard dividers to keep everything safe during shipping.
FIT & FINISH
Archer Components motto is to “keep derailleurs stupid” which is why they strive to separate the electronics from the derailleur. This hybrid approach lets you use more affordable mechanical rear derailleurs and allows the D1x to be installed on nearly any bike drivetrain setup. It’s perfect for new bike builds or retro-fits as you don’t have to go through a expensive full drivetrain swap to get the benefits of electronic shifting. Instead, the D1x replaces your rear derailleur shifter with the paddle remote and reroutes the shifter cable into the D1x shifter / batter box. This non-integrated design means the Archer Components D1x Trail can be installed on 8 speed budget bikes or the high-end 12-speed setups equally easy. The setup consists of two components: the paddle remote and the shifter which houses the batteries and the linear actuator to shift the derailleur.
The shifter housing is approximately the size of a power bank and can be either mounted horizontally on the chain stay or vertically onto the seat stay depending on your preference. This is probably one of the biggest downsides to the retro-fit approach as it lacks the sleekness of SRAM or Shimano electronic setups. The larger size is partially due to the fact that the D1x requires more power than integrated electronic derailleurs as it has to pull a mechanical cable instead of directly actuating the derailleur. Although it’s a bit of an eyesore, this approach keeps the electronic components better protected on the frame and avoids having to replace expensive electronic derailleurs after a crash.
One of the headline features of the Archer Components D1x is the “new for 2022” paddle remote. This is a major upgrade from the previous two button setup and offers a 3D printed paddle remote with intuitive upward/downward motions. Not only is the textured finish and Cerakote coating color options more visually attractive but it’s also more ergonomic with haptic feedback. The spring loaded design offers a crisp click that makes each shift feel satisfying. The remote has an integrated battery which can be recharged using the provided micro USB charging cable. Archer Components offers the remote in a variety of matte color finishes that can add a splash of color or match most bike color schemes. The remote also has a small switch on to do micro adjustments per gear to fine tune the shifting performance. Note, Archer Components offers an optional bottle cage mount for the shifter which looks a little cleaner.
Designed as a retro-fit kit, the Archer Components D1x Trail can be quickly installed onto existing rear derailleurs without the need for any special tools or skills. The entire process can easily be done in under thirty minutes with as little as an Allen key and wire cutter. The first step is to find an appropriate position for the D1x Shifter which requires about 6” of space and should have sufficient space to not interfere with your pedal strokes or come into contact any spokes. Once you’ve located a spot, you measure the distance to the shifter and cut down the shifter housing. Next step involves removing the existing shifter and routing a new cable from the derailleur to the shifter (i.e. remove the maintenance cover on the rear of the shifter to attach it). After that, the shifter is secured to the bike using the provided cables and shifting is tuned using the provided app. Then you can install the remote shifter onto the handlebars and adjust the position as you see fit. Finally, using the app you can install the remote shifter and pair them together.
Archer Components also offers an app on both Android and iOS to configure and even shift the D1x. The app has a simple user interface but offers a number of helpful features. The homepage shows the list of currently available shifters from which you can select to either create a new configuration or update an existing one. For a new install you can use the new configuration option to set the number of gears and adjust the indexing between gears. There are also a number of convenient features such as the “get me home gear” which sets the gear the D1x should revert to if battery levels are critical. You can even customize the quickshift feature to set the number of upward / downward gears to skip along with the time delay. While the app user interface is pretty simple, it’s easy to navigate and intuitive to use.
ON THE ROAD
We installed it on our E11even Fitness bike which came with budget L-TWOO A3 shifters that left a lot to be desired. The A3 shifters have a clunky feel with dual tab paddle and long throws. The combination of fast shifting with the Sprint batteries and ergonomic Archer Components D1x paddle remote is a significant upgrade that transformed our budget bike. The quick shifts and paddle remote made the bike feel more premium than the original retail price would have suggested. While we had no complaints about the shifting, the main usability issue is you have to turn on the shifter and paddle remote manually before each ride unlike Shimano or SRAM drivetrains which automatically turn on. If you’re used to SRAM eTap or Shimano Di2 interface, it’s easy to forget this and only realize the shifter is off mid-ride.
Overall, we found the Archer Components D1x Trail shifters to be clever and well designed electronic shifting kit. With the updated ergonomic paddle shifters, the D1x is not only a budget friendly way to upgrade to electronic shifting but it’s now intuitive to use. Unlike proprietary SRAM or Shimano electronic drivetrains, the D1x can be fully configured for nearly any number of cassette gears or mechanical derailleur configuration. The “keep derailleurs stupid” approach allows the D1x to be retrofitted or built onto any mechanical setup without having to upgrade the entire drivetrain. The latest Sprint batteries offer quick and reliable shifting along with the micro adjustment features and programming options that make electronic shifting so desirable. The main downsides of D1x is the bulky battery that is hard to hide and the fact that the shift / remote need to be manually turned on before riding. That said, if you’re looking to upgrade an existing bike or do a budget friendly bike build consider adding the Archer Component D1x Trail shifter.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Archer Components. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.