SRAM effectively took home two tech categories in this year’s Reader Poll with not only its innovative Red eTap electronic group as the best new product but also the idea behind it as the best tech innovation of 2015. Streaming electrons across strands of metal is so 2014 – according to Cyclingnews readers, wireless shifting is where it’s at.
This may come as a surprise to some but wireless electronic shifting is hardly a new thing. In fact, Mavic released wireless electronic rear shifting way back in 1999. However, SRAM appears to be the first company to develop one that operates both derailleurs but also actually works reliably.
Red eTap could potentially move the needle in a few rather significant ways. It greatly eases bicycle assembly, for example, and designers could potentially ignore shift cable routing altogether. SRAM also introduced a novel way to shift gears that fully exploits the flexibility of an electronic transmission: you press the right-hand lever to move to harder gears out back, the left-hand one for easier ones, and you push both simultaneously to toggle between chainrings.
Whether it’s actually better than current offerings from Shimano and Campagnolo is up for debate but SRAM should be applauded for taking the risk nonetheless.
Cyclingnews readers still can’t get enough of power meters, it seems, and certainly not the burgeoning crop of lower-cost options that provide critical performance data without breaking the bank. Stages Cycling got that ball rolling in 2012 but newcomers such as Watteam, Limits, and 4iii have quickly followed. Even well established players such as Powertap and Quarq have recently dropped their prices.
As the technology improves, the barrier to entry is bound to drop further still.
Many of you don’t want to wait until after your ride to see your updated Strava rankings, either, as the company’s new Live Segments feature landed in a solid third place this year. Now, Strava users can see nearly in real-time how they fare against the competition (provided they’re somehow connected to the web). Too much information? Perhaps, but for riders who need to compete against something on every ride, it’s just about the best thing ever.
Results - Best Tech Innovation of 2015
|2||More cheap power meters||22|
|3||Live Strava segments||11|
|4||Flat-mount disc brakes||9|
|5||Ultra-bright daytime LED flashers||7|
|6||Fashionable high-visibility clothing||6|
|7||Range-extending cassette sprockets||5|
|8||Plus-sized mountain bike wheels and tires||3|
|9||Wireless dropper seatposts||3|
|10||Boost hub spacing||1|