In the wake of recent news that Shimano's new Dura-Ace is likely going wireless, similar documents pertaining to SRAM suggests that its third-tier road groupset, Rival, is getting a similar treatment.
Like with Shimano, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved two applications from SRAM, which suggest that the brand's Rival groupset will join the AXS family, and be given wireless shifting technology.
The two certifications are entitled 'shifter with AIREA and BLE radios', prefixed with left and right, respectively.
- Certificate: Left shifter with AIREA and BLE radios
- Certificate: Right shifter with AIREA and BLE radios
AIREA is the name given to SRAM's proprietary wireless radio protocol used for its eTap AXS groupsets. It operates on a different frequency to the more commonly-used wireless technologies such as Bluetooth and ANT+, allowing its wireless components to communicate with each other without interference from nearby devices such as power meters, head units and heart rate monitors. BLE stands for Bluetooth Low Energy, and would likely be used for connectivity to the SRAM smartphone app.
On its own, this information gives us nothing that we don't already know; that SRAM manufactures shifters with wireless technology built-in. However, when digging into the approvals, an attachment to each document shows digitally-rendered artwork of a Rival shift hood, giving us a big clue as to the groupset related to the approval.
At the moment, only Red and Force groupsets are given the wireless AXS treatment within SRAM's drop-bar groupset ranges, with an equal number of wireless groupsets available in mountain biking form.
- SRAM road groupsets: Range, details, pricing and specifications
- Road bike groupsets: A comprehensive guide
What could Rival AXS look like?
When SRAM Force eTap AXS was launched, it entered the fray as a lower-tier road groupset but has found an audience in the gravel scene. Rival is already a popular groupset in gravel circles and it could be conceived that it will be repurposed into a gravel-specific option in response to Shimano's gravel-specific GRX range. However, with the cross-compatibility of SRAM's AXS groupsets allowing all sorts of road-and-mountain combinations to be built, the gravel scene is largely covered by the current offering.
SRAM has played up this cross-compatibility so far, but it seems unlikely that it would offer a third road-going version where the headline features are the same (12-speed and wireless) but the materials are slightly cheaper/heavier.
It could be that Rival remains 11-speed, offering a technological leap to wireless for customers who don't have the means to upgrade wheelsets and entire groupsets.
Cyclingnews has reached out to SRAM for details and will update this article when further information is available.
What do you think new SRAM Rival will feature? Or what would you like to see? Let us know in the comments below.
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Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.
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