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It’s official, SRAM is developing an electronic groupset and it was spotted on a Bissell Development Team bike at the Tour of California + video

There has been much speculation in the past six months that SRAM have been busy developing an electronic groupset, and judging by the groupset on a Bissell Development Team bike at the Tour of California featured in this video by GCN, it appears the company is getting closer to launch.

Compared to the photos that appeared from the US cyclo-cross race last December, this groupset does appear to be nearly finished, some parts polished and even featuring the SRAM logo. That SRAM are putting the groupset on several Bissell team bikes suggests they’re keen to get some race testing, which can be invaluable when it comes to developing new products and getting some quality feedback.

It’s clear they’re still making final development tweaks though, some bikes featuring control units crudely taped to the stem, others simply zip tied. That aside it looks good to go we'd say. We can't imagine any company would put products on bikes at a race as high profile as the Tour of California if they weren't happy they were up to the task, and also happy to get the publicity they would obviously garner.

We can’t tell much from this video obviously. Some have speculated that SRAM are developing a wireless groupset, but the wires clearly attached to the derailleurs and control box and disappearing into the frame would clearly suggest this isn’t a route they’re going down. Also invisible is the battery, we imagine SRAM have fitted it internally, inside the seatpost seeming the most obvious location. Another possible explanation could be smaller batteries incorporated into each derailleur. But we could be wrong.

The big question this groupset raises is just how the shifting works. Unlike Shimano and Campagnolo which have separate levers for up and down shifts, the SRAM DoubleTap system uniquely uses one lever. Push it a little bit to get an upshift, push it further to get a downshift. How they’ve translated DoubleTap to an electronic system will be interesting to see, it isn't clear to see from this video. The brake levers do look very similar to SRAM's regular mechanical levers however, with only one shift paddle visible.

When can we expect to see the groupset actually released? Based on product and bike launches from other companies that have used races for final testing, it probably isn't that far off. We'd guess at a launch at Eurobike this September, making it a 2015 groupset.

We asked SRAM to comment on this groupset, and they simply told us: "New and innovative product development is a constant at SRAM. While we fully respect and appreciate the excitement surrounding new cycling componentry, this project is in the development and testing phase, and there is no timeline regarding its potential release. At this time SRAM will continue to reserve comment."

More news as we get it...

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

13 comments

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othello [382 posts] 2 years ago
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Rumour has it, you use the left lever to go up the rear cassette and the right lever to go down (or vice-a-versa, I'm not sure). Front changing is done with a long hold of the button.

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russyparkin [570 posts] 2 years ago
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ha ha that sounds quite cool actually

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Cyclosis [73 posts] 2 years ago
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othello wrote:

Rumour has it, you use the left lever to go up the rear cassette and the right lever to go down (or vice-a-versa, I'm not sure). Front changing is done with a long hold of the button.

No reason why Shimano couldn't allow this config with a wee firmware update. Would be interesting to try, and nice to have the option.

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Nick T [971 posts] 2 years ago
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...We can't imagine any company would put products on bikes at a race as high profile as the Tour of California if they weren't happy they were up to the task...

I wouldn't be at all surprised by SRAM rushing a product out before it's ready..

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giobox [360 posts] 2 years ago
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Nick T wrote:

...We can't imagine any company would put products on bikes at a race as high profile as the Tour of California if they weren't happy they were up to the task...

I wouldn't be at all surprised by SRAM rushing a product out before it's ready..

Haha my concern too! Is it recall number three we are currently on for the present generation of SRAM red?

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bendertherobot [1278 posts] 2 years ago
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Cyclosis wrote:
othello wrote:

Rumour has it, you use the left lever to go up the rear cassette and the right lever to go down (or vice-a-versa, I'm not sure). Front changing is done with a long hold of the button.

No reason why Shimano couldn't allow this config with a wee firmware update. Would be interesting to try, and nice to have the option.

Hmm. SRAM could try and patent this method. They need to have something different to the other two and DoubleTap rather limits their options.

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Nick T [971 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't know how they would go about patenting how an electronic button works though.

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giobox [360 posts] 2 years ago
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Cyclosis wrote:
othello wrote:

Rumour has it, you use the left lever to go up the rear cassette and the right lever to go down (or vice-a-versa, I'm not sure). Front changing is done with a long hold of the button.

No reason why Shimano couldn't allow this config with a wee firmware update. Would be interesting to try, and nice to have the option.

Shimano can already do this. If you have the DI2 pc connector (basally a USB cable that connects to the DI2 junction box), you can program the shift buttons to do whatever you like. A decent LBS will usually do this for you too.

I've heard of some riders adopt using one side for upshifts only, and the other for downshifts only, front and rear. The disadvantage is its massively confusing if you have to switch bike, which is why I'm not so sure SRAM will go down this route.

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Cyclosis [73 posts] 2 years ago
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giobox wrote:
Cyclosis wrote:
othello wrote:

Rumour has it, you use the left lever to go up the rear cassette and the right lever to go down (or vice-a-versa, I'm not sure). Front changing is done with a long hold of the button.

No reason why Shimano couldn't allow this config with a wee firmware update. Would be interesting to try, and nice to have the option.

Shimano can already do this. If you have the DI2 pc connector (basally a USB cable that connects to the DI2 junction box), you can program the shift buttons to do whatever you like. A decent LBS will usually do this for you too.

I've heard of some riders adopt using one side for upshifts only, and the other for downshifts only, front and rear. The disadvantage is its massively confusing if you have to switch bike, which is why I'm not so sure SRAM will go down this route.

Yeah, I can program my shifters at the mo (and have). But you can only use a long-hold for multiple shifts not to shift a particular derailleur.

I'd imagine it would be a simple software/firmware update to allow it though.

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othello [382 posts] 2 years ago
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Bikeradar are reporting (at some length) that the system is wireless, and the wires you see are fake.

http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/article/analysis-sram-wireless-electr...

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David Arthur @d... [717 posts] 2 years ago
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othello wrote:

Bikeradar are reporting (at some length) that the system is wireless, and the wires you see are fake.

http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/article/analysis-sram-wireless-electr...

And do you believe that?

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Gromski [53 posts] 2 years ago
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*awaits recall*

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giobox [360 posts] 2 years ago
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David Arthur wrote:
othello wrote:

Bikeradar are reporting (at some length) that the system is wireless, and the wires you see are fake.

http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/article/analysis-sram-wireless-electr...

And do you believe that?

Great call there David...