Riders from the French Ag2r-La Mondiale team are testing further prototypes of SRAM's new wireless electronic transmission system at the Tour Down Under, suggesting that the revolutionary groupset could be close to going into full production.
The SRAM levers and gears were first spotted during the 2013/14 cyclo-cross season in the USA and then at the Tour of California last May, where they were camouflaged with cables to hide the wireless capability. However, Bikeradar and Cyclingnews tech editor James Huang discovered that SRAM had filed documents about wireless transmission technology to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He captured further images of the transmission on a bike used by the Bissell Development team at the USA Pro Challenge last August.
Huang revealed that the SRAM gears would be a fully wireless system that could weigh less than the wired electronic drivetrains from Shimano and Campagnolo. It appears the new group will also usher in a new type of shifting — a button on the left lever will move the rear derailleur one way and a button on the right lever will move it the other way; pressing both will shift the front derailleur.
Cyclingnews was able to capture these images of Domenico Pozzovivo’s bike at the Tour Down Under as a mechanic washed the bike but SRAM refused to give any further details. It seems that up to four riders at Ag2r-La Mondiale are using the wireless transmission, testing it in race situations against possible interference from other wireless systems.
The shape and design of the gears and levers remains similar to the those spotted last summer. The black block on both the front and rear mechanism is the battery that powers the gear changes and captures the electronic signal from the gear lever. The levers are a more refined and better finished version of those first seen in May. The gears and levers have SRAM logo on them but there is no indication of the name of the transmission and groupset.