While SRAM continues to remain closed mouth about it’s prototype electronic groupset that was spotted at last weekend’s Illinois cyclocross state championships, a closer inspection suggests that there’s every reason to believe that such a groupset – is indeed under development.
Based on the "spy" photos, it appears that SRAM has followed the tenants of Shimano and Campagnolo with regard to motorized front and rear derailleurs that are powered by a small rechargeable battery via hard wiring. In addition, the levers smack of SRAM’s current Red 22 – with nearly identically shaped hoods and brake levers.
While still in the development stage, there are some design cues to be gleaned from the photos.
SRAM appears to have adapted it’s DoubleTap shift lever action to button form. In which case, the use of a two-stage button had to have been incorporated in order to mimic the company’s trademark push-push motion.
Additionally, the rear derailleur has an obvious motor attached to it. However, in the absence of a clutch mechanism and a short cage, it appears that the groupset is destine to be a "road" variant only.
Lastly, SRAM’s wiring system appears to differentiate itself from Shimano and Campagnolo, by virtue of the fact that two separate wires are used as opposed to just one. This might suggest that the "box" which is affixed to the stem may in fact be an electronic ‘brain’ – with logic boards hidden inside the lever bodies.
In any case, SRAM has been late with regard to joining the electronic drivetrain realm. With that being said, our prescience suggests that the prototype groupset is more than just a development exercise, but a likely a product that will come to fruition. I guess we can only stay tuned for now.
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