SRAM’s wireless electronic groupset won’t be in the 2016 model year the company has told road.cc - in a statement that suggest the groupset is still at least two years away.
Since the Bissell Development Team were spotted earlier this week riding bikes equipped with a SRAM electronic groupset - then revealed to be wireless - we, like the rest of the bike media have been pestering SRAM to tell us when it will be available.
We got our answer in an email statement earlier today:
“Yes, the technology is wireless.
“But it is NOT a Model Year 2016 OEM product however.
“This product technology is still in a long development phase with much testing and refinement yet to occur.
“As soon as we develop commercialization plans, we will provide an update.”
That means we wouldn’t expect to see it on bikes until the back end of 2016. That in turn raises another more immediate question: Why has the Bissell Development Team been racing on at at the Tour of California in clear contravention of article 1.3.007 of the UCI technical regulations which specifically states that teams can not use prototype equipment unless it is going to be available for sale within 9 months of its first use in a race.
There are three possible answers to this question.
The first is that the Bissell Team haven’t been racing on SRAM wireless, but have just been riding it around at the start/finish area of the stage for the purposes of generating publicity for SRAM. That’’s the most likely scenario - teams do turn up to races with prototype bikes and equipment prominently displayed on team cars from time to time.
The second is, that for whatever reason UCI officials at the Tour of California have not been enforcing their own regulations properly. While many think the UCI rule on use of prototypes detracts from the excitement of racing the fact is it IS a rule.
The third, and the least likely is that while the facts in SRAM's statement are correct - they are throwing a curve ball in terms of the interpretation most people are likely to give it and that it won't be part of the 2016 model year because even with all that work still to be done it will be in the 2015 model year.
Were it to be the case that Bissell Development are racing on SRAM’s prototype groupset other teams and equipment manufacturers might rightly question how UCI race scrutineers can spend so much time checking the angles of rider’s saddles and yet miss the fact that a team’s bikes have no wires on them?
We will be asking both SRAM and the UCI to clarify whether Bissell Development have been racing on the prototype groupset.
The other observation to be made about the SRAM statement is that if their wireless groupset is not going to be available for another two years that hardly constitutes catching up with Shimano or Campagnolo - who will surely have developed their respective electronic group sets further by then. We already know that Campagnolo has major plans for the 2016 model year when it comes to it’s top end groupset and disc brakes which they have hinted will be a big leap forward too. Interesting times ahead.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.