Cycling doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be simple, straightforward, and all about the freedom of two-wheeled adventures. And while it may feel like cycling sometimes requires a deep wealth of technical know-how, the best components and bike technology require minimal thought. They work as intended, all the time.

Put another way, good technology meets its user where they are instead of asking the user to adapt to the technology. It’s in this spirit that Shimano has continued to develop Di2 customization options. FRONT SHIFT NEXT is the next addition to the large library of functions that can be assigned to Shimano’s electronic drivetrain switches.

Shimano Front Shift Next GRX Di2 12-speed gravel bike

This idea of simplicity, along with flawless performance, was the primary driver behind Shimano’s new FRONT SHIFT NEXT Di2 function, which utilizes a single switch button to shift the front chainring to whatever ring it is not currently using. If you're pedaling in the big chainring, just hit the switch, and your front derailleur will drop the chain down to the little ring. Then, hit the same button again, and it'll shift it up to the big chainring again. Easy, right?

The result is a more intuitive shifting for less-experienced riders and quicker decision-making for veteran riders in the heat of competition.

Shimano Front Shift next Di2 RX825 12-speed gravel bike

Utilizing Shimano’s user-friendly E-TUBE PROJECT Cyclist app, FRONT SHIFT NEXT is available as a firmware update for all double-chainring equipped 12-speed Di2 electronic shifting systems, including Dura-Ace, Ultegra, Shimano 105, and the new GRX RX825 series.

Along with this significant simplification of the gear-changing process, Shimano FRONT SHIFT NEXT functionality also frees up remaining Di2 switches to handle other tasks, such as controlling a paired head unit device to move through multiple screens or initiate lap buttons so you can keep your hands securely on the bars over rough terrain or when pushing to your max on a hard effort.

Shimano E-TUBE app for shimano GRX RX825 Di2

FRONT SHIFT NEXT is also useful during cold, wintertime rides when you’re wearing thick gloves. Instead of worrying about pressing the wrong button, you can assign FRONT SHIFT NEXT functionality to the auxiliary button on the hood of a dual control lever or to both main buttons on the lever blade. This lessens the chance of getting confused as to which button moves the chain into the big chainring and which drops it down, virtually eliminating the possibility of missing a shift. Instead, just press the assigned button (or buttons), and the chain moves to whichever chainring it’s currently not on, or the next one.

FRONT SHIFT NEXT also allows you to get more from Shimano 105 Di2 set-ups, which do not have an auxiliary button on the hoods. Instead of using both the left side lever blade buttons to manipulate the front derailleur, you can assign FRONT SHIFT NEXT functionality to one button and program the other button to flip through screens on your head unit.

Shimano GRX RX825 Rear derailleur front shift next

Yet another use case is on adaptive bikes, where you can set up your Di2 system to manage both front and rear derailleurs from a single 12-speed dual control lever. In this case, you could program the auxiliary button on the top of the hood to initiate FRONT SHIFT NEXT and have the two buttons on the lever blade instruct the rear derailleur to move the chain up or down.

So go ahead. Start exploring how you can use FRONT SHIFT NEXT and all the customization options available in the E-TUBE PROJECT app. It’s yet another way Shimano Di2 systems allow you to maximize your cycling experience.

Shimano GRX RX825 Di2 12-speed Front shift next