Video: SRAM’s electronic groupset spotted at Tour of California

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

by David Arthur   May 12, 2014  

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...

13 user comments

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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.

posted by othello [279 posts]
12th May 2014 - 10:13

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ha ha that sounds quite cool actually

posted by russyparkin [579 posts]
12th May 2014 - 13:31

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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.

posted by Cyclosis [35 posts]
12th May 2014 - 14:28

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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..

posted by Nick T [790 posts]
12th May 2014 - 15:10

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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?

posted by giobox [270 posts]
12th May 2014 - 16:31

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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.

posted by bendertherobot [268 posts]
12th May 2014 - 17:34

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I don't know how they would go about patenting how an electronic button works though.

posted by Nick T [790 posts]
12th May 2014 - 19:16

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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.

posted by giobox [270 posts]
13th May 2014 - 1:35

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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.

posted by Cyclosis [35 posts]
13th May 2014 - 9:20

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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...

posted by othello [279 posts]
13th May 2014 - 10:04

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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-electronic-group-41023/

And do you believe that?

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1479 posts]
13th May 2014 - 14:43

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*awaits recall*

posted by Gromski [39 posts]
14th May 2014 - 18:27

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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-electronic-group-41023/

And do you believe that?

Great call there David...

posted by giobox [270 posts]
16th May 2014 - 18:19

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