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Scott Laughland: First time riding with XTR Di2

We’ve known former pro rider Scotty Laughland for a long time so when he asked if he could tell us about his latest bike build we were all ears. He’s riding a Santa Cruz Bronson with Shimano XTR and PRO components. Take it away Scotty…

Why I ride Shimano XTR?

Hey, what’s up guys? Welcome to my first blog on RideShimano. My name is Scotty Laughland. I’m a professional mountain biker, adventure athlete and now a #Shimanorider. I’ve been lucky enough to take my bike across Europe, from the Alps to the Highlands of Scotland, so my bike has covered many a mountain.

As athletes we all strive to be the best, to be the fastest and to push our limits. And we need our equipment to do the same. So when the option of riding with XTR Di2 came about, it was something I couldn’t turn down. Racers I know use the Di2 version and they rave about it, so I couldn’t wait to give it a try.

I built up my Santa Cruz Bronson and was immediately impressed with how easy it was to mount the Di2 components. The battery I placed in the steerer tube of the fork, and the shifter, rear mech and head unit all easily connected together. I also chose PRO’s Tharsis bar and stem, which was designed for Di2 and made for seamless integration with the cables running through the bars. It makes the system look almost wireless, it’s super neat. 

The first time you shift with Di2 is something you’ll never forget. The noise it makes is so unique but yet so satisfying, as the stepper motor engages precisely on each change. I became an addict of pressing the buttons and shifting through a couple of gears when waiting trailside just to hear the engagement of the derailleur. The shift was so simple, crisp and light to actuate – it was a joy to shift with.

The best part was the lack of maintenance required after riding. When you come home, it’s a quick rinse of the bike, dry it down, clean and oil the chain, and you’re set for the next ride. There is no need to adjust derailleurs or worry about adjusting cables to get perfect shifting – it just works every time.

One of my favorite rides of the year was in the north of Scotland. Torridon is a remote village in the Highlands. When you enter the valley you are surrounded by vast rugged mountains. In my mind this was the ultimate test for the electronic Di2 system because once you leave the village, for the next 5 to 7 hours and 55 kms, you’re unlikely to see anyone, except for a few hikers. 

On the bike you’ll tackle arduous testing terrain, rocky descents and be surrounded by breathtaking scenery. The conditions were not favorable when I rode and anyone you tell that you’re riding with electronic gears is likely to ask whether or not the system is waterproof. This ride was the ultimate test as it had rained heavily for the past 24 hours and the route was waterlogged. Some puddles were so deep that as I pedaled through them the water splashed up over the seat stays of the bike completely covering the Di2 wires, soaking it entirely, but it remained flawless, shifting without a problem.

Once I dried off and rejoined civilization I headed out to Finale Ligure in Italy, home to the final Enduro World Series round. My week ahead would be in stark contrast to the Scotland ride, with dry, hard-packed and dusty trails testing the Di2’s durability during high speeds, big compressions, rocky terrain and dusty conditions. During my 10-day stay, the system shifted flawlessly without any required maintenance. I always had so much confidence that I’d be able to shift exactly into the gear I wanted without losing any power or making any half shifts.

Speeder Bike down Finale's Roller Coaster 😈 @gopro #hero5 #karmagrip

A post shared by Scotty Laughland (@scottylaughland) on

Scott’s bike build specs:


Follow Scotty at for more of his adventures! 

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