It’s finally here…almost. One of our product reps stopped by last week with a SRAM Red Electronic group set, or at least the shifters and derailleurs, and they look slick.
Some of you will no doubt have been following this latest development in electronic shifting but for those who haven’t let’s bring you up to speed:
The biggest single feature of this new SRAM technology is that the shifting is completely wireless. No more shifter cables of any kind running over or internally routed within your bike’s frame.
Note: The wires pictured coming out of the brake hoods in the photo above lead to secondary shift buttons that can be positioned anywhere on your handlebar, or they can be removed if you find then unnecessary.
The second big feature in our opinion is that the batteries are discreetly integrated into the derailleurs themselves. This is by far the most minimalist full drivetrain set up we’ve ever seen.
The shifting is very crisp. The shift levers feel pretty much like their mechanical cousins with a similar throw or ‘tap’, though as you’d expect with electronic shifting the effort is reduced. Here’s the significant difference though: There’s no more double tap to gear up vs gearing down. Now, to put yourself in a harder gear in the rear you tap with the right lever, and to make the gear easier you tap with the left. Yeah, that might take a day to get used to but we suspect it’ll make sense quickly.
What about front shifting? Simply tap the left and right levers at the same time. Because the front is only shifting between 2 chainrings it’ll know whether to shift up or down even though your input is the same. Pretty elegant.
At the moment this new shifting is meant to be used exclusively with a 2×11 set up, so if you’re running a 1x drivetrain at the moment you’ll have to be patient. The rear derailleur has a fairly short cage and is not intended for larger 1x cassettes (there are other more technical reasons why it’s not suited to a 1x set up too, but we won’t bore you with all the facts here).
We don’t have a cost on the group yet but we’re told pricing will be made public soon and bikes spec’d with this componentry will start arriving mid-2016. Stay tuned!