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Back at the Tour of California the SRAM electronic groupset was spotted on some of the Bissell Development Team’s Trek Madones but it was up for debate whether or not it was true wireless as anticipated, or if indeed there were cables. The prototypes we saw in California had wires coming from the front and rear derailleurs and a junction box on the stem, but were they fake? We found out later that they were.
We spotted a fresh view of SRAM’s new groupset (still in the prototype stage) at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado, and this time there are no fake wires or junction box. From what we understand, it’s as simple as putting on the derailleurs, adjusting, and off you ride. No cables to connect whatsoever.
No cables also means that each hood and each derailleur needs to have its own source of power. Whether this is a good thing or bad thing remains to be seen. It also means that the shifting signals need to be transmitted via Bluetooth Low-Energy, ANT+ or SRAM’s own proprietary wireless protocol. My guess would be Bluetooth LE so that it can easily interface with smartphones or computers for diagnostics or other information.
Also, from what we understand the way that the shifting works is that there is one button on each of the brake levers. The left lever shifts up, the right lever shifts down (or vice versa). Press them both at the same time and the front derailleur shifts up or down.
How far away from production is it? No idea, but it still looks like it’s in the prototype stage.