The future is here and shifting your bike involves a battery. Those of us who have been around a while remember a certain French company that failed with electronic shifting in the 90’s. The new products from Shimano and Campagnolo are very different and infinitely better.
Beyond the ultra “cool factor” of these shift systems, there are many advantages. It is a quick, accurate and reliable system. You can have multiple shifters located in many places, including on aero bars, on the bar tops near the stem, and other places limited mostly by your imagination, making shifting even more convenient. The shifting is almost effortless, just a touch of a button. The system is very weather resistant, so you will have flawless performance in the worst of conditions. This system requires less maintenance, you will not adjust for cable stretch. The system is expandable, if you want to add a third shifter location in the future you can. The system is up gradable, if the manufacturer adds a feature in the future, you will be able to program that feature into your bike. The system is customizable, if you want your right hand to perform all shifting duties you can. If you want to down shift two gears every time you down shift, just program it in that way. It is all very sophisticated and has been tested and proven by the Pro Tour riders.
It is not necessary or needed in a literal sense. Let us be clear with ourselves. We enjoy the technology of bicycles as well as riding them. Few, if any of us use a single speed coaster brake bike for our main ride, which in literal terms is all “we need”. We do not need electric windows in our cars, but we use and appreciate them.
One common concern is battery life. What happens if I am miles from home and the battery dies? I have heard of riders getting a whole season of out one charge! Most riders will charge their battery two or three times a season. There is a charge indicator, so you can always see how your battery is. In the event you ride until the battery goes low, it is programmed to shut off the front derailleur. You will still have rear shifting available.
So consider letting electrons do your shifting. All your effort will be put into making your wheels go around.