SRAM’s long awaited wireless electronic groupset has been spotted on Kristin Armstrong’s time trial bike at the USA Pro Challenge last week. The groupset still has no public release date or even a name, but it’s another step forward.
From the photos released on Bike Radar it looks like the shift buttons on the extensions and base bars connect via wires (yes, I know) to a junction box, which then transmits the signals wirelessly to the front and rear derailleurs. The junction box also has it’s own buttons, but it’s still unclear what these are for (looks to me to be another shift point although I’m not sure why you’d want or need them there).
A single button on each side controls shifting. One side shifts the rear derailleur up and the other side shifts down the cassette. Pressing both buttons at the same time shifts the front mech in either direction. The shift button “pods” look like they could easily be retro-fitted to older style bars that aren’t designed for modern electronic groupsets.
There’s been a lot of negativity towards wireless groupset tech, but I personally think it could be an interesting step forward, especially for time trial and triathlon bikes.
Now I don’t think I’d ever go electronic on my road bikes, but on the TT bike it makes more sense. Shifting from both the base bars and extensions would be an advantage on lumpier courses and climbs. Hopefully we’ll see this come to market later this year or early next year. Shimano also have patents for wireless groupset technology so expect to see something from them too.
Arguable performance benefits aside, having ridden a few electronic groupset equipped bikes it’s undeniable that the “tap, tap, tap” of electronic button presses and the “zzzt” sound as the mech instantly selects the next cog is just so damn cool…
NEW UPDATE! First look video from the GCN guys!