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What happens when a retired world and Olympic champion’s Di2 time trial road bike starts to collect dust?
Well in the case of Kristin Armstrong (recently un-retired), her husband Joe Savola decided to appropriate the components and with the help of Jason Bauer, a local bike shop pro mechanic; James Saculles, a mechanical engineer; and Savola’s partner in the AceCo Sport Group (maker of the K-Edge) Eric Jensen, the Ki2 mountain bike kit was born.
When 2×10 groups became more and more prevalent, Savola saw an opportunity to build a mountain bike using Shimano’s Di2. This isn’t exactly new territory. FairWheel Cycles built a sequential shift mountain bike for last year’s Interbike. But Savola’s approach is much less one-off and much more production oriented. He plans to sell kits to consumers interested in building themselves a Ki2 mountain bike rig.
Pricing is yet to be determined, but the product seems to be decidedly refined. After several prototype phases, the gold anodized (other colors to be offered) parts allow the rear derailleur to shift up to a 36-tooth cog without worry. Instead of a sequential shifting pattern, K-Edge decided to stick with a more traditional setup. The shifter pods mount a Shimano satellite shifter to the brake lever similar to SRAM’s MatchMaker. Like SRAM’s mountain bike pairing of brake and shift lever, the Ki2 cockpit is impressively clean.
Luckily Savola is willing to part with his Ki2 Niner for at least a short period of time. It’s headed to our offices soon! Check back for a full review.