Hot on the heels of Shimano's Federal Communication Commission request
spotted earlier in the week by Cycling Tips, we've also been pointed in the direction of similar requests from SRAM.
Unlike Shimano's request, which seems to have been for wireless transmission, this one is instead related to suspension, shifters and power meters. SRAM, of course, already has its wireless transmission dialed thanks to the AXS system, but it seems like it's not stopping there and is exploring what other uses it can use cable-free technology for in the future. On January 31, it posted six applications for wireless technologies for the following components: front suspension, rear shock, a pedal sensor, a power meter, and left and right shifters.
Anyone who's up to speed with the Shimano story won't be surprised to hear that SRAM have been granted some confidentiality around the application by the FCC. That request includes any pictures of what might actually be approved, but there's still plenty we can gather from what's going on here. Firstly, the confidentiality is set to lift on July 29 this year, a date conveniently just after the proposed finals of the Tokyo Olympic mountain bike event, making us strongly suspect that this is a product range with XC in mind.
Our best guess at this point for the suspension applications would be a remote lockout that doesn't require cable operated triggers or GripShift like SRAM's current offerings. The advantages here are a cleaner cockpit, an easier to operate system and some crucial gram saving. For most riders that may not seem like a huge deal but in the world of marginal gains that is elite XC racing, every advantage counts.
Looking at the rest of the components, we've already seen some athletes playing around with SRAM's existing AXS system to make their lives on the bike easier. Most famously, the Scott-SRAM team ditched the AXS paddles for blips on the underside of their grips that meant Kate Courtney
and Nino Schurter could change gears without changing their hand position and without interfering with their Twin Loc systems. Could the left and right shifters be an official SRAM version of this with one button for upshifts and the other for downshifts?
The final piece of the puzzle seems to be a pedal mounted power meter. Currently, SRAM produces power meters through Quarq and we've seen a Blackbox chainring meter
on a number of pros' bikes this offseason. Generally, the greater the distance between the power meter and the source of power, the more power can be lost so pedal power meters are often considered the most accurate. The pedal sensor combined with the power meter in the FCC requests could be an evolution of SRAM's power meter line for a more accurate tool for its riders.
All the wireless applications use AIREA transmissions, which is SRAM's proprietary wireless protocol that has 128-bit encryption. They also use Bluetooth, which will most likely be used for software updates and setting controls, and ANT+for communication between devices. We imagine that all of the products will also be integrated into SRAM's Web Tools
to allow riders a greater level of analysis about their rides.
We've reached out to SRAM for further information and will update you if we hear anything more.