bigquotes Most of the people here could get jobs at Porsche or VW, but they're here because they love bikes.


Chris Hilton


As far as history goes, SRAM's Drivetrain Development Centre in Schweinfurt has one of the deepest in our sport. While SRAM itself may have its roots in Chicago in the late 1980s, the story of their drivetrain division goes right the way back to 1895. Ernst Sachs and Karl Fichtel began producing ball bearings and bicycle hubs under the name Fichtel and Sachs in the small, Southern German town. Two years later they expanded into freewheels and by 1911 they already had around 7,000 employees. Yet as the years passed Sachs became more focused on drivetrains and chassis for automobiles and motorcycles, the bicycle division became a small concern amidst a vast company. On the other side of the Atlantic a rapidly growing SRAM realized that a century of expertise would be a huge boost to their range and come 1997 they acquired Sachs' bicycle division.

You can best understand that merger by looking at the product that emerged from it: the SRAM 9.0 SL derailleur. Before the merger SRAM were producing the 9.0 derailleur and Sachs the Plasma derailleur. On holding the products in your hands you can see the way the two designs were put together - the cable routing from the SRAM design combines with the knuckle from the Sachs offering, their engineers took the best of each design and produced a derailleur that was only truly superseded with the introduction of XX1 in 2012. Talking to Bernhard Johanni, his surprise at how it played out is evident - nearly 20 years later he still jokes that he "must have known something useful as they didn't fire me." Most of the older guys in the building have little plaques sitting somewhere in their workspace proudly announcing 15 years of service with SRAM - a sign they were with Sachs before the merger, the knowledge of more than a century of drivetrain components has stayed firmly within the company. For the newly-merged company a new building was needed and with all the heavy machinery acquired with Sachs already in Schweinfurt, it was the obvious location for the new centre. All of SRAM's drivetrain expertise was brought together under one roof in a brand new, custom-built facility.



SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015
SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015
SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015



To think of Schweinfurt in these terms misses the point though. In our sport the growth from a few guys with good ideas to a global organization is a tricky one, especially in people's minds. In a small, community-based sport the idea of a financially successful company spanning the planet is for many an intrusion into our quiet world. The tin foil hat brigade can all too readily imagine the accountants watching over everything as the daily shipment of puppies is brought in to be ground down for oil to keep the hellish machines running.

"Most of the people here could get jobs at Porsche or VW, but they're here because they love bikes." That's how drivetrain product manager, Chris Hilton describes the people he works with. You have to take a step back and look at the German economy to put that into perspective. Germany is undoubtedly the engineering powerhouse of the Western hemisphere. They were the first major nation to emerge from the 2008 financial crisis; while the US motor industry lurches from crisis to crisis VW, BMW and Mercedes are powering ahead; as Europe staggers onwards into, well whatever the Eurozone problems are leading too, Germany is more or less carrying the whole continent. In short, now is a good time to be an engineer in Germany. There is money to be made if you're willing to follow it. Yet that money never makes it as far as the bicycle industry. It never has, the reality has always been that by choosing to work on mountain bikes you are choosing to earn tens of thousands of Euros or dollars less than you would if you went into a more mainstream industry.



SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015
SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015
SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015



There is only ever one reason people choose to work in the bike industry - they love bikes. It's a well-worn adage, but it seems to be somewhat forgotten for the people behind the scenes - especially for your drivetrain, which you shouldn't even notice when it is working well. Most of the time nobody asks, "Who designed the ramps and chamfers on my cassette?" They haven't met Matthias and seen the excitement as he hand-cuts a blank cassette in his lab, meticulously sculpting the gear changes you take for granted, which all need to be precisely shaped and placed to make shifting possible at all. Or Robert, who started with Sachs more than 20 years ago, and still keeps the Sachs Quartz derailleur he designed in the late 90s by his desk. Grinning he shows you his legacy, his sole focus for all these years - the derailleur - he has literally worked on nothing but derailleurs and his joy in designing them seems undiminished by time as he shows you his latest creation, one step closer to perfection. What about the Dealer Service Centre, where a room of highly trained and tattooed guys in their early 20s blast loud metal and service up to 250 cases in a single day for customers all over Germany?

In mountain biking we tend to prefer our engineers to be men in sheds or garages. We like them slightly socially awkward, excitable and brimming with clever ideas. Yet what is sometimes forgotten as a company expands is that it was those kind of men who started SRAM. Today those same people still run the company, and, on the evidence of the people you meet in Schweinfurt, they have filled it with people just like them.









Once the decision is made to turn an idea into a product the project is passed to the dedicated team who deal with that component. There is a team for chainrings, another for cassettes, one for rear derailleurs and so on for each sort of component they make here - people who dedicate their working lives to a single component. Development starts with what they know. In the case of their recently-launched direct mount chainrings a blank chainring was the starting point. They knew what the attachment would the crank would have to look like and that it would have a standard number of teeth on the outside, so they started prototyping from there - then the development process shaped the form for performance, strength and weight. Going through the iterations they then started looking at the extremes - the lightest design possible, the strongest, finally working towards the design with the best compromise between the two.



SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015
SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015
SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015



Once they have a design to test the idea comes down here to the prototype lab. It is on these machines that every SRAM drivetrain development since 1997 has taken shape. When we talk about putting resources at the engineers' disposal, this a big part of what that means - there is no need to improvise, almost every manufacturing process can be done here in-house, just on a far smaller scale than a production facility. Many of the guys working in this part of the building are a bit older, with decades of experience in machining to the highest standards. It's fascinating to see their approach to their machines, alongside brand, new cutting-edge CNC machines that look like something shipped straight from a design convention, you have others dating back to the 1950s and a drill all the way from 1928. In many ways it says a lot about German engineering - these machines are still going strong after the best part of a century. As well as the more recognizable machines, there are some here that are a whole lot rarer; like a wire saw that runs on 0.25mm metal wire to cut precise shapes in metal too thin to CNC (apparently it is so sharp you wouldn't even feel it as it cut your finger off) and an EDM cutter.



SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015
SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015
SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015



Some prototypes need input from the engineers before they are ready to move onto the next phase. Cassettes are a good example of this - the very act of changing a gear is part-science, part-art. To make it work you need a complex, interconnected series of ramps and chamfers. The ramps allow the chain to smoothly move up to the sprocket above, and the chamfers both catch the upwards-moving chain, and allow it drop down again. However, to make the cassette work smoothly as a whole is mind-bendingly complicated. Working on a repeating pattern, that pattern needs to repeat and line up across the different-sized sprockets so shifting feels consistent all the way across the block. Working on a hand crank, the cassette is first marked to set the basis for the pattern, then each ramp and chamfer is lovingly sculpted by hand, tested, then re-sculpted until each shift is slick and easy. How difficult this process is can be seen with the XX1 project. Their original idea was that it should feature a 9-36 tooth cassette, but testing showed that a 9 tooth sprocket was both difficult to make work in terms of shifting performance and longevity on the bike, so they backed off to a ten tooth on the small end and added the extra range at the top of the cassette. Hand-cut cassettes are then taken upstairs and modelled on a computer so they can be produced by a machine next time.



SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015



Once the prototypes are ready testing begins with the "Wire Donkey." Its name is a joke that doesn't quite translate over from German - although the name still seems fitting. The premise is simple - to test something you first need to know what you are testing for. For example, to understand the forces that go through a crank during hard acceleration they roped in one of their 4X racers and had him do hill sprints on the bike (well, a mountain bike version of this bike which wasn't in the office when we visited). Using that kind of real world data they can then design the most appropriate lab tests to simulate them and repeat them over and over again in a controlled environment.



SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015



Once the test team know what they are looking for they head downstairs to the test lab to put the prototypes through their paces. Before testing commences in full the parts are mounted on a hand crank setup that allows them to test the basic functionality - does it all work together? Do the gears shift? Does the chain stay on? When they are sure of that it moves onto they move onto the other machines to test the parts to the their limits and beyond. They are looking to answer questions like: How long will it keep working for? How much force can we put through it in this direction? How much stress can the chain withstand? When it fails, how does it fail? Failure is a big issue that most people don't stop to think about, because if the testing process is done well and they kit is used sensibly, the chances are they won't experience a dramatic failure. All parts have a failure point though, the design process looks to compromise strength and weight - for instance, they could make a near-indestructible chainring if you were happy pedalling around with a kilogram of metal attached to your cranks... The important thing with failure is that it happens in a controlled way. While we were in the lab they put a direct mount ring attached to XX1 cranks through a load test. The ISO standards state that a crank and ring need to be able to withstand a load of 1,500 Newtons - as a matter of policy SRAM far surpass such standards and they loaded the crankset with around three times as much weight. After the test, sure, the cranks were no longer straight and the chainring was pretty heavily deformed, but nothing broke off and the chain actually stayed on the ring. If that had happened on a ride you'd probably have had a nasty landing and you'd be walking home, but you wouldn't have an ankle full of shards of carbon and splintered chainring - a critical difference.



SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015
SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015
SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015



To fully understand what has happened in testing the parts are sent to the measurements lab. In fact, they are sent here before testing for baseline measurements too. Using microscopes, precise 3D modelling and scales so sensitive they can detect the weight of your breath on them, they can detect the precise effect of testing on the parts - for example, using powerful microscopes they can examine how the testing has affected the very make up of the material. Data from the measurements lab is sent up to the design team who compare the results with their 3D models and FEA analysis to make decisions on how the next iteration should look. The whole process to this point will then be repeated, new prototypes will be designed, produced, tested and measured until they reach a point where they feel the part satisfies the goal they set out at the beginning of the project. All of this is accompanied by real world testing too, because as good as the machines are they, the engineers know that nothing can completely substitute for having a part used out on the trail. The testing and measurement phases don't stop with the prototypes either, all the way through the life of a product it samples will come back to these labs as part of the quality control process - working to make sure that what is sold to customers meets the standards they reached in development.



SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015
SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015



When the engineers reach a point where they have a product that works in the way they want, and meets their strength and weight criteria, the final stage is that it goes to the industrial design team. As brilliant as the engineers undoubtedly are, they consider the product solely in terms of function, and as consumers, if we're paying top dollar for a part, we expect it to look good too. Maybe the best-known example of the industrial design team's work is the XX1 derailleur. On its launch SRAM were showing the media the pre-production prototypes - an angular, industrial-looking metal contraption. In terms of function it was almost identical the derailleur that you see on people's bikes today, yet if you're truthful, would you really want that hanging on the back of a bike you've invested time, love and money into? Industrial design add sex appeal to the engineering. It is their job to turn the solid block of metal into swooping angular designs and add colour to the whole affair. With the XX1 derailleur they cite the Audi R8 as one of their major influences, and as a ridiculous an idea as it may sound at first, when you look at the finished product next to the shapes and colours that influenced them, you can really see how they carried the design language from the car over into a derailleur.



SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015
SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015

SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015



Once the look is finalized, the process moves away from Schweinfurt to SRAMs facilities in Taiwan, where they begin pre-production and then production of the product. The development of a product takes time - the rear derailleur alone for XX1, which featured a complete re-design of their existing products, started in February 2011 and was released to the general public in August 2012. If you run any SRAM drivetrain component on your bike, whether it's a derailleur, shifter, cassette or chainring, these are the people who designed it, and this is how it was developed.



SRAM Drivetrain Development Centre Schweinfurt visit January 2015




See additional images in the gallery.


www.sram.com

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200 Comments

  • 142 31
 It's really a shame, that people in the bicycle industry aren't paid better. There are margins on bikes that nobody in the automotive industry would ever dream of, but still a lot of people don't get their share.
  • 86 22
 What exact margins do you speak of?
Ever worked in the bicycle industry?
If there are this big margins, I wonder why the big bosses are not driving the big expensive cars and live in big expensive houses and [...]
I'm sorry to dissapoint you, but the big money is made elswhere in the business world.
If there wouldn't be this passion and love for bikes, I bet most of the people who are now working in the bicylce industry would work in a better paid job.
So:
Thank you Mr. Karl Drais for the invention of the bicycle. The greatest thing invented, ever!
  • 7 0
 I went for a design job at a company called Pektron many years ago. It is amazing at an automotive sub contractor design house (ECU's) how little they want to pay.
Be very good at an SME and you will get paid ok to well but nothing to compete with oil and gas, medical also pays well and comes with the bonus that you are doing things that help people's lives Massively.
  • 12 37
flag Xyphota (Mar 9, 2015 at 0:41) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah, the margin you speak of doesnt exist. The bike from store to customer is typically only marked up 25-35%. On cars this 100% and up almost always!
Im not sure about cars per say, but the fact that bikes change hands a few times doesnt help and gets marked up a little, every time along the wa. Ex: From Manufacturer -> Distributor -> Bike shop -> Customer.

If the bicycle industry was more profitable, we would no doubt be much farther ahead in technology, such as gearbox mtgs etc.
  • 21 2
 Medical does pay well, but comes at a cost. Corporate shenanigans, high stress, and discontent is all I will say (I just deleted quite a few sentences) but the bonus of saving lives gets lost in translation and sometimes used as a business tool for low morale, leaving a sour taste for those who see through the jargon. I may be jaded or had a unique experience but bottom line, you have to be HAPPY doing what you do for a living and I would gladly work for a company like SRAM and take a pay cut.
  • 38 5
 @Xyphota: The 25%-35% margin is the margin a bike store makes, if it sells a bike anywhere close to its list price, which still happens quite a lot for mountain bikes. Can't talk about anywhere else, but in Europe this margin usually is around 2% for a car dealership after the usual discount...

In the bike industry you can still have a hardtail frame made in Taiwan for $40.- including paint and sell it for $400.-...

Yes, it doesn't work that way for all the parts, batches are still much smaller in the bike industry compared to automotive, supply chains less sophisticated... but people really should stop going around telling everybody that there is no money to be made in the bike industry, which is simply not true.
  • 39 1
 It really grinds my gears that everything seems to come back to money so often.
  • 20 1
 I hate when people create blank profiles just so they can say negative things..
  • 3 5
 Exactamente por eso. Más plusvalía = menos salario.
  • 18 5
 Difference there is that a car dealer's make it up in service costs, and those silly "dealer prep" fees, not to mention they charge the buyer for the freight costs of receiving the car in the first place from the manufacturer. Also the sum total of parts in your typical car, if you had to replace every single one of them, thru a dealer, will exceed the initial price tag of the whole vehicle usually by a thousand percent. With bicycles? Buying the parts individually would only add about 30-40%. As to buying frames in asia for $40 and selling for $400... you've never had to ship frames overseas at your own expense have you? Freight costs will quickly eat into those mythical profits you imagine exist. As will import duties/taxes.
  • 6 2
 It's not even close to fair to compare to the automotive industry. Hardly anyone rides bicycles when you compare that to how many cars are sold. Dealerships are (if well run) highly profitable but very little mark up on the actual new car itself. Money is made on the back end (repairs) and financing. The manufacturer makes money on each unit and on the sale of parts. Margins do not need to be sky high due to the volume. Nobody.. from the corporate top to the bottom shop employee .. is getting fabulously rich of selling bicycles. They are there because they love it.
  • 3 2
 @deeeight: Is that supposed to say, that bike dealers don't make money from service? And of course there's freight costs to consider. Not quite sure a car is cheaper to transport, though...

@DARKSTAR63: The comparison to the automotive industry is (quite prominently) right in the article.

And most people in the auto industry are also there because that's where they want to be. If there wasn't money to be made there would be no such thing as a mountain bike industry. Complaining about not getting fabulously rich is an entirely different thing from complaining that there's virtually no money to be made at all. If we can agree that the first is what bothers people in the bike industry I'm with you.
  • 2 1
 @FuzzL: You're forgetting about the whole development process! There's a lot more investment needed in developing a bicycle product, than producing it (in most cases at least).
  • 7 2
 By the way, I don't know if DC981 addressed me above, since I don't really consider anything I said to be "negative"...

However, I would also like to include something entirely positive: I really like the "Inside..." articles series, its always good to read about the companies behind the products.

In my eyes it's just a pity that there seems to be some kind of obligation to say that there's "no money to be made" in every article about the bike industry.
  • 6 0
 Hit the nail on the head about new cars there @DARKSTAR63, not as much of a mark up as people think (unless you are porsche). They make lots of their money through finance deals, which most people do with new cars, people do need to stop comparing Bicycle and car selling.
  • 15 1
 uhhh I love butterflies and peanut butter
  • 8 0
 @deeeight @xyphota

I work for bmw as a service technician. I can assure you the majority of the money we make is from bmw paying us to perform warranty repairs.

Generally, the markup on a new car is between 3-7%, with the majority being in the 4-5% range. The state of utah makes approximately 8% on sales tax. Yes, the state makes more money than we do when we sell a car. Key to keeping the dealership afloat is to keep the cars that we sell coming back to us for service.

The dock and destinanton fees generally pay for shipping the car to the dealership. Used car dealers that charge these are generally covering accounting costs and time/effort/money that goes into title, registration and state safety/inspection items as well as auction costs.
  • 2 0
 I would honestly have to argue that the automotive industry is much more lucrative and attracts more people as such. Of course car industry guys likely got there because they like cars... but to work in the bicycle industry when you have the skills to earn a lot more elsewhere means you are passionate. No question. @FuzzyL
  • 14 0
 Revenue of Giant Bicycle: +/- 2 B$ (World's biggest bike company) , Specialized: +/- 500 M$,
Revenue of Toyota: +/- 22 000 B$ (Yes 22 Trillions), Hyundai: 90 B$.

We are not dealing with the same kind of number here, I find it hard to compare those 2 industries. Cars sells by volume so they don't need high margin, bikes doesn't have the same volume of sales at all.

I'm not saying there is no money to make at all. But if you are planning to get rich, you might want to go work for another industry...
  • 1 2
 another thing that effects costs are quantities...would like to know how many units of each component they produce and sell a year.
  • 7 0
 @FuzzyL The reason the insider articles explain that there is nobody getting rich in the bike industry is that the comments section in every new bike or part article is full of "These greedy bike industry guys need to stop price gouging us! I can't afford a $300 derailleur and that is my only option now because it is the best one." It is as if they think there is some group of fat cats sitting in ivory towers laughing as they add extra zeros to the price of bicycle products.
  • 1 0
 Totally agree, prices on bikes and components go up and up, but our pay stays relatively the same. And what's worse is the customers complain about the prices on everything even though what they are getting is a world apart from what things used to be.
  • 1 0
 Actually FuzzyL is right, AL-Alloy Fatbike(single frame, anodized) frame can be bought from an intermediary for 50€.
And now look at the prices the customer pays...
  • 9 2
 As someone currently putting a business proposal together to take to a bank so my partner and I can go into further debt to open a bike store, I KNOW I'm not going to get rich selling/servicing bicycles. I also won't have time to ride bicycles anymore during daylight except while commuting to/from work. We'll be lucky if we can pay ourselves a salary at all the first year. Our best chance for survival is that the proximity of the store location to one of the major trail networks will bring in lots of "need it right now" service work.
  • 2 0
 Where a lot of money is made in auto sales is (1) the financing and (2) trade-ins - you don't really see either in the bike industry (I guess Visa and MC are making a metric butt-load on the financing side though...). When you buy a new car the dealer may make hundreds or a few thousand depending on incentives, but they'll make at least a couple thousand on a decent trade-in and get a commission on the financing you use for the new vehicle.
  • 3 1
 Truth is, most rich people are rich because of investment. Paychecks are seldom on the scale of millions for anyone, especially in the bike industry. Bonuses are usually tied to profits.
  • 13 1
 Rich people are rich because they don't spend their money. Read "Rich Dad Poor Dad".
  • 5 0
 ^true story.
  • 3 1
 @Morrrice, the boss of your local shop may drive a shit box, but I'll bet you the big CEO at SRAM doesn't.
  • 2 0
 When you think complexity, tooling cost, investments for the future it's easy to see why the profit margin favours the bike manufacturers.
  • 3 1
 Rich dad poor dad is about spending money on things that make you money. He would not approve bikes anymore than he approves of boats.
The execs of SRAM may drive fancy cars, but do they own fancy yatchs? And where do they get the bulk of their money? Many execs are from wealthy families that paid for fancy schools in management.
I am all for companies paying the low end better, but I am not going to throw these guys under the bus without knowing the facts.
  • 17 6
 The reason most people don't make much money in the bike industry is because so many people get into it because it is a personal interest, which makes it hyper-competitive. Local shops get the biggest shaft, especially with the emergence of mail order bikes that will likely continue to grow. But who really gets the shaft are bike mechanics, who rarely make a decent living and deal with the worst frustrations in the industry.

What surprises me about SRAM, considering how they are bragging about their long history and how many of their drivetrain employees are highly qualified engineers that could work for Porsch, is that their products don't have a very high level of engineering to them. The only thing they have accomplished in their drivetrain history is making minor improvements on the index shifting system that Shimano invented about 25 years ago. They are still sticking with the archaic chain & derailleur system that is absolutely the weakest link on a mtb and the biggest cause of mechanical frustration for consumers. Especially now that tubeless tires have become so reliable. History will hopefully prove that these hideous looking humongous 42 tooth cassettes are one of the most laughable moments in mountain bike technology.

Considering that fact, I am completely not impressed with this article or their accomplishments. And I won't hold my breath for a 'Inside SRAM' segment on Avid brakes.
  • 2 1
 You make a great point. Supply of labor is high and demand is steady or even falling. One should expect low and falling salaries at that point.
On the bright side, derailleurs ensure work for bike techs. Once those are gone what will techs fix? Brake bleeds and wheel truing will be all that is left and even those are less important than before as brakes get more reliable long term and rims change material.
Before long you will send off a removable gearbox for annual service along side your fork and rear shock.
When I am a teacher what am I going to do for a summer job? Sell tacos and beer at the trail head?
  • 3 2
 Stan actually doesn't drive at all. He rides a bike to work every day.
  • 3 2
 @redbaronmulisha
What about turtles?
  • 5 1
 Protour is spot on.

This article shows SRAM have been working on derailleurs for 20 years and have not come up with a better way to allow riders to change gears.

That old derailleur looks very similar to todays derailleurs. This shows how little progression we have seen in the last 20 years. Innovative, I think not.

I rode SRAM 11 speed for the first time this weekend on my new bike and was amazed at how similar it felt to my 1x10 setup on shimano. It's hardly groundbreaking and I wouldn't pay fot £££ for one extra cog on my cassette.
  • 3 1
 as a former bike shop mechanic with friends who are still bike shop mechanics, my observation is that majority of bike shop mechanics complaints on servicing parts is #1 FSA anything and #2 SRAM drivetrain/brakes and #3 RS reverbs. Back in my days I would agree #1 was FSA anything, while I totally gave SRAM a chance in their early days so I had no qualms at the time.
  • 2 0
 To me, it seems that it's a lot a matter of market size. Tons of people are willing to pay for an expensive fancy car. Not very many would even consider paying $400 for a bicycle yet alone a frame. I grew up on $20 yard sale and Toys R us bikes for maybe $100 when I was lucky. There just is not a big enough market share for huge money to be made in bikes. That's slowly changing every day though as the sport grows and grows!
  • 51 1
 Pity that it doesn't work the other way round. I work at VW, I'm an engineer and would love to get the job by SRAM, because I trully love MTB. Applied 3 times but always failed.
  • 60 0
 Keep trying.
  • 18 45
flag poah (Mar 9, 2015 at 2:44) (Below Threshold)
 maybe the janitor roles at SRAM are tougher than those at VW Razz
  • 31 0
 You need to include a glamour shot. Always include the glamour shot.
  • 18 2
 Perhaps he is including glamour but they are looking for something more...gratuitous. I am pretty sure Sram is looking to receive unsolicited dick pics from perspective employees.
  • 4 1
 That should go over well
  • 9 3
 funny that the tag line didn't read "they could get a job at shimano" because that wouldn't be true. oh snap.
  • 4 0
 I too hope to one day get a job working for a bike company in materials selection or failure analysis. I work in medical now and money is good but waking up every morning knowing I am going to work on bicycles would be amazing.
  • 11 0
 (Multiple vw owner here)

SRAM and VW. Makes sense to me... both of their product's perform well, but they require a ton of maintenance. Haha.
  • 8 0
 Lol. Yeah now that sram is adding an electrical system to the mix you really got a look out. Older vw and audi owners know what I am talking about.
  • 3 0
 Ah great... digifant shifting. Haha.
  • 3 0
 My lady drives a 2005 GTI and the largest issue it has gone in for is the 100k timing belt and water pump. Maybe we got lucky. I have a soft spot for air cooled VWs. Having wrenched on air cooled VWs Ferdinand Porsche sure did know how to design a car. Just full of VW love here, anyone wanna nerd out feel free!
  • 1 0
 Of course when the water pump goes in a vw (at least in the old ones) you have to pull half the engine out to do do anything about it. Might as well have to redo the head.
  • 36 3
 Great article, enjoyed reading it! Beer


Now that I know Sram is German, I will probably pronounce it with a German Porn accent from now on Big Grin
  • 30 3
 Where's the gearbox???
  • 18 2
 Right next to Hammerschmidt-in a museum Wink
  • 6 0
 Good question. Maybe it's a little too long term and long service life for a company like SRAM.
  • 9 3
 With all due respect if the only thing Matthias has done in 20 years of engineering is to add another hand cut sprocket to the cassette every few years he should be ashamed of himself… maybe even go work for Porsche… I here there is a vacancy there because those guys left to start Pinion :-)
  • 3 0
 Boom.
  • 1 0
 Ride-More!!!! You win! Hahahahahahahahahaha! Yeah, put that sh*t on your resume! Imagine you just got a new boss and that was the sum of the value you added over the last 2 decades. The door couldn't smack your ass fast enough on your way out!
  • 3 0
 Poor Mathias has polished a turd so bright over 20 years that it now sparkles and has bluetooth. Problem is, the derailleur is still a turd. If I was the boss of SRAM, I would be really embarassed at seeing such a lack of innovation and big picture thinking. These guys need to get a fresh perspective and ditch the derailleur.
  • 19 0
 for all those who are interested "wire donkey" means "drahtesel" in german ,which is an old term for bicycle
  • 13 0
 A joy to read! Always immensely fun to take a trip through the facilities of the folks that make bikes work. Maybe some day we'll be able to see into the Fort Knox that is Shimano too!
  • 30 18
 Get these guys to sort out the Reverb, the most unreliable piece of kit ever made ..
  • 23 5
 Neg prop away , my current ones back at sram, #7
  • 9 27
flag mountainbiker929 (Mar 9, 2015 at 5:55) (Below Threshold)
 Everything they make is unreliable
  • 15 14
 @mountainbiker929

yeah, found their rear derailleur to have terrible durability (in the mounting bolt that attaches derailleur to frame's derailleur hanger) on anything below X-0 level.

Its shocking when you try to PDI a brand new bike out of the box and the SRAM X-5,X-7,X-9 rear derailleur has so much 'slop' in that bolt that the gear indexing is unreliable, and I am claiming warranty from SRAM on a brand new, unused rear derailleur

In contrast, even Shimano's low end derailleurs are bomber solid, and give good durability.

SRAM is a great innovator, but the end result of their off-shore manufacturing facilities's QC does not, perhaps, meet the standards of their prototype equipment built domestically in Germany.
  • 11 1
 Is there a reliable dropper post in the market right now? My just broke yesterday.
  • 6 4
 FWIW, I've found the FOX post to be flawless. Their suspension leaves me wanting these days(& I never really liked their forks much in the first place,) but the seatpost has been great.
  • 9 7
 KS Lev
  • 10 2
 You're on crack. Even PB has noted in reviews that Levs are hit or miss, especially the integra version.
  • 6 1
 Haha. I think he was beig sarcastic
  • 3 1
 Hmmm, maybe. I guess I assumed from the fact that I also got downvoted, that a fanboy had come to tell us the gospel of KS. There's a lot of hate towards the FOX post for some reason, go look at the comments on the article where PB recommended it during an "Ask Pinkbike" for someone who wanted a more reliable dropper, as an example. The only catch is that some people don't want fixed positions. I'm the opposite: I want a dropper to stop at the same position, every time. last thing I want is to be distracted by the post being a little higher or lower than I want.
  • 6 0
 @ Narro2 ... try a Thomson Elite Covert, shear quality ! ... not cheap though but I guess quality comes at a price
  • 4 0
 I bought a Reverb in August of 2011. It lasted only two months. They honored the warranty, gave me a new one, and it has lasted ever since, with only one or two bleeds. I ride it and use it A LOT. 800-1,000 miles a year? The thing has been solid and reliable for three and a half seasons now. So maybe I got a good one. I don't know. But I do know I would recommend it to anyone who asked.
  • 4 0
 @ TheR ...I have a Reverb Stealth and a Thomson Elite Covert, I've not had problems with either apart from a bleed for the Reverb, the difference for me is in the feel of the post, there's absolutely no lateral or rotational movement in the Thomson
  • 2 0
 @fedz -- Maybe I'm not as sensitive to the little jiggle in the Reverb, but I don't feel the lateral movement, and I've definitely had no rotational movement. I know there's some play, but when I'm riding, I don't feel it. I can see some people might have a problem with it, though.
  • 8 6
 TheR - people who have problem with play of reverb may be connected to those who have problem with stiction on Fox products - extremely sensitive parking lot master testers
  • 1 1
 ha ha yeah waki, check out my latest photo upload ... doesn't much look like a parking lot to me ?
  • 8 2
 Sorry I cannot understand how can someone have issue with play of reverb when it has nothing to do with how it functions. If it was causing leaks, was felt during the ride as any form of inconvenience, I'd get it but I am willing to pay half of the thomson price for the finer operation (ok that's personal) and that elusive discomfort of play when I hold it with my hand, which happens extremely rarely. Your ass does not feel the play, your hands do. But well we all have our own priorities. I don't fold my socks, nor do I iron the underpants Big Grin
  • 2 0
 lol, my girlfriend ironed my socks one day with no reason, now every time I see a wrinkle on my socks I give her a hard time. I have had the same problem with my seat post since day one, there's a little jiggle that I only feel when i move the saddle with my hand, but it doesn't affect my riding at all, so i have never cared.
  • 4 0
 The KS actually is actually super reliable, but the Thompson is the best of the bunch currently.
  • 3 0
 KS LEV. mine works flawlessly. Ti version is super light, and the cable routing is good. Just change the cable/housing every now and then and it's pretty reliable. I must have gotten a good one (knock on wood!). great i bet i'll be posting tomorrow about how mine blew up on a ride tonight hahaha.
  • 4 2
 I bought first generation Reverb and had many issues with it, I just got it overhauled for half price and will sell it. If I did not have a friend who works at a workshop, over those 3 years I am having it, I'd easily pay double the value of it. I just bought the second generation Reverb beause I was a bit tired of the first one. Do I moan about reliability? No - why? Because it gave me lots of fun, enhanced my riding like no other component (maybe FS frame, Minion tyres or Saint brakes). I don't moan despite having those problems with first batch as they were no surprise to me, I was willing to pay that price, and so am I with the second one. Because it has shit loads of elements unlike a normal post (which even today, some companies fail to do well) so I know that it will freaking break from time to time, only a lunatic will expect otherwise and search for the holy grail that will take away all pain forever an ever, happily ever after. People get problems with all sorts of forks and shocks that are evolving through years now, and a freaking dropper post would be different?! Maybe if Marzocchi made a dropper around 2003 it would go on forever, it would weigh 1.5kg but it would be as bold as their forks from that age, but it didn't happen. We are in Rockshmox CTD era with condom equipped dampers so embrace the compromise - nobody gets everything Big Grin Cheers!
  • 1 0
 Giant Switch. No problems.
  • 2 0
 Giant Contact Switch? Can't. Tell. If. Ironic. Or. Serious.
  • 1 0
 I'm serious. I've had one of the first generation and two of the second and have had no problems. Each one I've owned did thousands of kilometres and was dropped or raised thousands of times.
  • 2 1
 Then you should perhaps peruse the hundreds of threads on MTB sites about people having no end of trouble with them, & then read up on confirmation bias. I only recommend the FOX because it's not just MY experience of it being reliable: the mechanism is built in a way than can withstand more abuse, & the vast majority of users haven't had problems with them, not just myself. I mean, seriously, I just googled "fox doss broken" & every thread I clicked on was "hey, my RS/KS/Giant broke, what should i get instead?" Conversely, this is the first thing that comes up for "giant contact switch broken" singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/giant-contact-switch-servicing
  • 2 0
 And nobody mentions the first dropper and easily most reliable? There are people still running the first iteration of the Gravity Dropper and there are some of those who probably have never even done any service on them. Just keep the boot on. Hell, I would bet the $100 Chinese knockoffs are more reliable than the KS, Thomson or Fox.
  • 1 1
 that would be a poor bet to make on your part: forums.mtbr.com/turner/another-broken-gravity-dropper-447541.html
  • 3 0
 On a Google search, I could only find this guy from 2008, one other photo posted of one that snapped and one that bent, in terms of major damage. Someone posted that the Turbo's are 500% stronger according to GD. Compare this to any one of the hundreds of threads on Reverbs (or any of the other posts) and you will finds dozens of people bitching about their broken posts. Literally, any one thread will contain more reports of broken posts from these others than an entire Google search on broken Gravity Droppers will. There is really no comparison in terms of reliability. But a lot of people like the endless adjustability and don't like the looks of GDs.
  • 2 0
 KS is a chinese company. R&D and manuf all in Shenzhen.
  • 1 3
 @Rubberelli Literally, huh? my point still stands, as no one has contradicted my point about the FOX: I literally couldn't find anyone complaining on the first page of a google search. Every other dropper, I agree with your statement. & I'm even suspicious of the fact I can't find anybody with problems with the FOX. But there it is: first page of search for every other post shows people with broken ones, FOX doesn't.
  • 6 1
 Relax guys. You are taking this too seriously.
  • 2 0
 @groghunter www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktJW41gE66Y I have the same problem with my DOSS seatpost. Try googleing "Fox DOSS Issues." From my experience Gravity Dropper is the most reliable, but it is a bit clunky.
  • 2 1
 So it still works... but it makes a noise. I'll take that over a post that breaks. FWIW, yes, mine does it too, but I hardly ever notice it, & it's not the only dropper that clicks at the top. The rest of the issues on the first page of google search "fox doss issues?" all references to that same video, except for a vital reviewer that didn't like aspects of how the post functioned (he didn't like 3 fixed positions, or the lever.) Really, I don't care, I just think it's kinda lame to tell people to buy what you did, without seeing if you happened to get lucky. I'd tell someone to buy a Gravity Dropper honestly, if that's the dropper that tickled their fancy. But we had people in this thread recommending some posts that have been known to be nightmarish maintenance monsters, just because theirs didn't fail. I mean, we're only missing someone recommending a Joplin or kronolog, FFS.
  • 2 1
 Sounds like the Doss tickles your fanny. It would tickle mine only if it were 26in long. Wait are we still talking about mtn biking?
  • 1 0
 Do we really need to agree which post is best? If yes, I will go to war with you brother, we will kill them all!
  • 1 0
 This one is on top of my list:

vecnum.com/produkte/moveloc/features
  • 1 0
 So, my work blocks the site in english, but not in German(WTF, right?) But If I'm reading correctly that they have a 200mm drop version, they've got something that quite a few very tall people really want.

@WAKIdesigns No. But it would be nice if people would at least understand confirmation bias, instead of holding their own experience sacrosanct, while ignoring all evidence to the contrary. I honestly had, & have no desire to sit here & champion one product over another to the degree that I have here, but I'm easily baited when people tell others to buy something because "mine was fine, everyone else who broke theirs must have been using it wrong."

Heck, I'll rip on the FOX post right now: their remote is garbage if you don't have room to mount it underneath the bars, & is both ugly, and prone to collecting mud underneath the bars. Furthermore, the fact that it's been on the market for 2 years, & they haven't designed a new one, or at least some i-spec & matchmaker compatible brackets, is pitiful.
  • 5 0
 groghunter - I was just pissin around, but you have to admit that majority of internet discussions are filled with people trying to estimate what is best, among extremely comparable items and that's... silly. Like wondering whether 275 is better than 29" or Enduro against Nomad... people demanding shoot outs as if we could just chose this one best bit and live happy forever after, forever and ever... and they we btch that a tester is biased hahahaha Big Grin In such way give them to God - what would Jesus do? What would he ride?

"Hello my children: I ride a Single speed fat bike without a dropper... on water... dig that suckers!!!" (and Bee Jees Stayin alive tune comes along - God joins Jesus on a Fixie which is even more impressive considering minimized aqua planning - he hands a joint to Jesus and flies away - meanwhile on the beach, devil looks at them and tosses his carbon nomad into the water with anger, smoking a Galouisse and saying "merde!")
  • 1 0
 @groghunter You're reading that correctly. They offer the choice of 140mm, 170mm and 200mm drop!

And to continue the German theme, engineerd etc. in Germany and reputed to be of very high quality. It's mechanical and with a cable operated remote, but just in case there is an overide switch on the post itself so you can continue to operate it. Only drawbacks I can see are the price and availability, they're sold out in an instant, high demand, low production. It's not infinitely adjustable, something like 4 positions, but that's no drawback to me. Fixed cable is nice too. And service just takes 2 or 3 tools and a bit of grease. The saddle clamp looks very sturdy too, see that as a big plus aswell.

Almost forgot, this is a good option too: yepcomponents.com/EN/index.aspx
  • 1 0
 Yep components is blocked from work as well, yay! super curious about the point5 pulse, personally, as infinite adjustment, but with indexed drop, sounds pretty awesome to me. hydraulic vs mechanical, though.
  • 2 0
 Jesus doesn't exist so nobody knows - but I would guess a Liteville
  • 2 0
 But only the xs, small, or medium sizes. Because 26inch. Duh
  • 11 0
 I really like these kind of article matt
  • 11 0
 A fantastic insight into an innovative company. Great article .
  • 2 1
 @chriskink - Innovative my arse kinky chris! I'll be impressed when I can throw my rear derailleur in the trash and go gear box (at a reasonable weight penalty), even if that means a new frame/bike!

Er, I guess I can already throw it in the trash but my weak body needs the range! Oh well, maybe next decade. For now I've gone to a wide range 1x10 with the help of OneUp.

Anyway, adding another f*cking cog is not (that) innovative. "Hey, here's an awesome idea....... how about..... wait for it..... wait for it........ we ADD ANOTHER COG TO THE REAR CASSETTE!!!!!!" (um, props for nw rings tho, can't believe we weren't all using those a decade ago)
  • 2 1
 But seriously, no disrespect to SRAM and I love to see articles like this.

Well, maybe a little disrespect to SRAM. Your low/mid range brakes are seriously half-assed when pitted against Shimano's similar offerings. Fix your sh*t. Love the Pike tho.
  • 8 1
 Dear Mr. Wragg,

It's ironic that you have such adoration for precision & process, and have composed such a lovely & informative article, only to underkutt it with all sorts miss pellings an and granmatical errors.

Seriously though, respect your own hard work and SPELL CHECK FOR GOD'S SAKE!!! It takes 5 minutes! Please don't contribute to the further retardation of your audience. They're knuckle-draggy enough as it is sometimes. (Yes, knuckle-draggy is a made up word, but I'm not claiming to be a bike journo, so I can do it all I want!).

I feel the articles here are just as interesting as in any print bike magazine. But what those magazines have that PB doesn't is attention to detail. Yes, they have budgets, but surely you've got a friend you could run your work by before posting? C'mon Matt! I BELeEV in u!.,
  • 3 0
 Hear hear! It just tarnishes an awesome article. Like someone laying logs across a landing.
  • 20 10
 All of that and I still prefer Shimano Wink
  • 5 3
 hah i was about to post, all of that and their drivetrain is still mediocre.
  • 11 1
 i love these articles so much... great job pinkbike!
  • 1 0
 word!!!
  • 8 0
 Really cool to see how much the technology in the bikes we ride has progressed over the years.
  • 5 0
 Awesome article, but it really needs an edit guys. There are a lot of "hanging" words in the middle of sentences, and I think the "1500 N [units]" thing was a note to someone who didn't catch it. Great look into the SRAM machine though!
  • 5 0
 Notice how there are no road components here - the German office seems to only do the mountain bike parts. Guess which has less complaints?

That shot of the XX1 rear mech combined with knife and R8 sketches is pretty hot.
  • 4 0
 Agreed! Good insight into how a product comes to it's form.

The super reasonable PB engineers and PB Masters of Science and Technology, those making only sensible decisions (like buying a right priced 6" bike with PIKE) must have hard time accepting that SRAM didn't stay with the prototype look... bloody designers ruin everything!
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns - WAKI if you spent as much time working on developing a viable gearbox mechanism as you do commenting on Pinkbike, you might actually be one of the few to make some $ in the industry (whilst also giving the people what they want, coincidentally).

Just a thought. I'm sure as hell not going to do it. (but I would consult you on this project at the very reasonable rate of $80/hr).
  • 1 0
 WasatchEnduro - free will and being a master of your own fate is the most overrated product - for many people it is a Super car bought to be driven in a neighborhood with 10mph speed limit and speed cameras every 30 yards... this is what my life feels like. Writing is a desperate attempt to do anything bike related. As to a gearbox, I like this idea of a cheap one. Hi, I want a light, reliable and affordable gearbox - why would you like 3 gearboxes?
  • 1 0
 Scary analogy with some truth..... and the gearbox for the masses is no easy task. One can dream......
  • 7 1
 And we complain about these parts being too expensive... WelI can definitely understand why now
  • 7 2
 Correct. The price of an item is not what it cost to manufacture. If it's was your 10k bike should be 2k.

Take one part, any part. It's ready for sale. Finished.
Price is from total cost to get to the finished stage divided by estimated items sold (anything under sold you loose money) add a few % for profit.

If the product is a hit it makes money to pay for the 10 other items that are a flop.
  • 5 2
 You can't pay your mortgage on good vibes. Different "lifestyle" industry same shit. People who work in these types of jobs are not easy to find! the perfect mix of education, experience and exposure is worth more. Rant done.
  • 10 3
 Now I know why all the SRAM's stuff is so horribly expensive.
  • 8 1
 ...and here is the cheese out of which we make all our products.
  • 6 1
 Loved the info you guys shared with this. One question I would have liked answered is why we are even still using derailleurs?
  • 12 0
 It is because of the oil lobbyists. They are preventing breakthrough bike technology from coming out because it would shut down the auto industry. It is a sad ordeal.
  • 8 0
 Bush lied gearbox died.
  • 4 0
 Coming from a Robotics Engineering background I love seeing articles like this. I just started working at a bike shop last month and although I took a big pay cut I couldn't be happier.
  • 7 0
 ...so has the front derailleur development team been laid off?
  • 8 0
 Nah they are hiding out in a stealth bunker, thinking of new ways to ruin Andy Schleck's life.
  • 4 2
 What is this "front derailleur" that you speak of? You running down tube shifters errr?
  • 4 1
 All those European precision testing and prototyping equipment wasted on junk manufactured in China and Taiwan. All those pretty photographs wasted too. If I'm buying a Porsche it had better be made in Stuttgart...not a Jiangling motors product at Audi prices.
  • 2 0
 If SRAM stuff was made in Germany, it might cost 2-3x as much. A Powerdome cassette for $800. Shimano manufactures most of their stuff in Malaysia, and most of the bike world does their business in Taiwan. Its not about the location - its about the workers, quality control, owning the factories and equipment, and having robust product development processes.

Depending on what kind of Porsche you might be shopping for, you might be dismayed to find that the supply chain ranges from Slovakia, to Leipzig, to Uusikaupunki (Finland).

Reminds me of a conversation overheard at the local big box electronics store. Old coot asking the sales girl "if any of these TV's are made in the USA? I want an American-built TV, not a Korean or Japanese TV!" Must have woken up from a thirty-year nap.
  • 1 0
 Posches haven't actually been made in Uusikaupunki for a few years now, no idea why.. They make Mercs now (A-class).
  • 1 0
 Thank you @toaster29 for the clarification. It seems the contract with the Finnish factory was up, and they moved Cayman product elsewhere.
  • 2 0
 Sooo, a Santa Cruz Nomad is upwards of 7 grand....its made in China...and dipped in Taiwanese parts... waiting to see the price drop in line with electronics you speak of...a thirty year nap is better than a advertising induced coma. These Bike parts are made with the highest margin possible in mind and priced to what ever the market will bear, and whoa! its bearing a hell of a lot, especially if everyone convinces themselves that China is the land of high quality. Please bear in mind that Campagnolo still make their road components in Italy and they are comparable to Shimano and Sram as far prices go...so I think your Pie in the sky estimations of 2-3 times as much might be a touch on the high side.This is a smoke and mirrors fluff piece for those who just cant get enough cool aide....but hey...settle for less.
  • 6 4
 XX1 over priced and wears out in under 500 miles you can achieve the same concept with 10sp using Onup components and have a 40/42t 1X10 drive train that last longer and is under $300.

Shimano Zee Derailleur
Shimano Xt 1X10 cassette
KMC X10sl Ti Chain
Oneup Components Radr Cage
Oneup Components 40/42t Chainring
Race Face Narrow Wide Chain Ring
  • 4 0
 The parallax on the first header and the bit of zoom on the second are really cool.
  • 1 0
 Really Interesting Read, sounds like a place of genuine innovation

I have one question though, what is the purpose of a direct mount chainring . . . to make a lighter and stiffer crank, probably?

The sceptic in me however says to make it harder for the smaller manufactures to make cheaper third party chain rings to fit SRAMs Cranks? Maybe ive been listening to too many Tinfoil wearing commenters . . . maybe not.
  • 2 0
 stiffer and lighter is what they say about every new standard in cranks, rings, bb. tbh, i now want to find an old super light square taper bb and run a carbon race face crank from the 90s. nobody is breaking spindles. i think the new standards are just easier to work on. except PF bb's.
  • 5 0
 I think direct mount rings have an advantage of chainring size. You could really go as small as you want, where as on a traditional 4-bolt 104bcd crank, the smallest you can go is 30T. For 'weaker' riders, being able to through on a 26t/28t might be a selling feature Razz

Otherwise, the fact that each company makes its own direct mount standards, is a little frustrating....
  • 2 0
 Stiffer, lighter, and one fewer thing to go wrong under pedaling force.
  • 3 0
 @Xyphota Good answer - but RF make a 28t, it actually costs more than the other, larger sizes because they have to start with a thicker chunk of aluminum, in order to offset the crank bolt mounting area. But yeah, can't go much smaller than that very easily.

When drivetrains started to go 1x then the need for crank bolts for doubles and triples just became superfluous, thus the direct mount. And yes, there's specific splines that match up to individual companies' cranks.
  • 2 0
 @twoserosix No offence but the ring you describe does not seem to exist. And it would seem that if it were as simple as that, more companies would make it.
If you look at the ring sizes on RF website, it does not list a 28t.
  • 2 0
 @Xyphota - you are correct, RF does not make a 104x28t ring. They do make a direct mount Cinch 28t ring, and also an 80x28t Turbine 2x10 ring.
  • 2 0
 @Xyphota @seraph OOOOPS yeah my bad - its the RaceFace 30t that has the offset built in.

For the past year I've tricked myself into thinking it was a 28t, which when combined with the largest 36t in the rear cassette still meant I was going to struggle on the steeps. My ego just got a small boost.

Thanks for keeping me honest.
  • 1 0
 @twozerosix haha no problem man! You should try a cassette add on!
If you are content with your lowest gear, you could go up in chainring size with your cassette add on and than have a higher top gear!
  • 4 0
 Soooo, this completely makes sense to why specialized will charge $14k for carbon dh bikes.
  • 4 0
 It is a shame that in New Zealand the sram sales reps are dicks when it comes to claiming on the warranty!!!
  • 1 0
 I have a suggestion on improving rear shifting.
Wickwerks and likely others, have released a decent price after market chain ring set. I immediately ordered a mtb triple set in anticipation of my ordered Moto Fly ti 29er.
I was curious about the supposed improved shifting because the front can be slow. Well, I am sold on their design which includes 11 shuft gates on my big ring(44T) vs 2 or 3 with the major players. Wick also use machined aluminum ramps directly from the ring body which aids in shifting and reduces effort while spreading the load on the chain over several links rather than shifting on a tiny pin catching a single chain link.
Perhaps I am wrong but why not increase the shift gates on the cassette also?
  • 3 0
 Interesting article, shame after all this time they still cant make decent gears and the brakes are utter shite.
  • 6 4
 I gave up on SRAM cassettes. Last one I had lasted 4 months, whereas I consistently get over a year out of an XT cassette.
  • 2 4
 They should be called SRAM foldable cassettes.
  • 3 1
 i like Sram keep up the good work, and one day you;ll get those brakes working like the old Juicy7
  • 3 3
 Dear Pinkbike, i would love for you to NOT post stories like these since they give a severe case of jealousy towards the people that actually get to work in dream jobs like these. Thank you.
  • 5 3
 Cool! ...but still for me: SHIMANO ALL THE WAY, because I love riding, not making money to be able to ride.
  • 1 0
 Just me, or does the "Development" Banner with the cranks+Direct mount rings on it, have a sort of optical illusion while you're scrolling?
  • 2 0
 It zooms as you scroll down.
  • 2 0
 Great article, thank you PB! I'm sure all of the mechanical engineers on the site enjoyed this
  • 1 1
 no, they're all confused as to why SRAM parts are still mediocre Wink
  • 2 0
 I get to go to the SRAM factory in Taiwan next week, stoked to see the manufacturing process in person!
  • 1 0
 Such an interesting article, and beautiful pictures! Unfortunately it's very poorly written. Run-on sentences, spellings errors, redundancy. You can do better!
  • 6 4
 Some those part are pretty shiny, almost look SRAMic
  • 5 6
 Why is SRAM using a set of nearly 6 year old MAVIC AKSIUM wheels on their road test mule??? Are their budget concerns so great that they can't afford a set of their own ZIPP wheels. It's the little things that make me laugh.
  • 3 0
 Sram you guys rock.
  • 2 0
 Loved the article, good read.
  • 1 0
 We should all be very thankful those underpaid folks still have drive and passion to keep all of us shredding
  • 2 0
 I'd give anything to be a toolmaker there. Great article.
  • 2 0
 This page makes me wish I had useful skills in life....
  • 1 0
 Can I have everything touching the log in the last photo please?.... Thanks.... I'll p.m. my address......
  • 3 4
 i luke those proto direct mount rings alot more than the ugly production ones,.... ill get an absolute bnlack or mrp , rf instead
  • 4 2
 Definitely recommend raceface narrow-wide chainrings. Been running one on a 1x10 set with a non-clutch derailleur and no chain guide for the last 13 month and am yet to drop a chain.
  • 12 1
 (That's a good sign you're slow)
  • 4 2
 lolololol
  • 1 0
 I'll take one of those chainrings, please.
  • 1 0
 So much work for a simpler drivetrain !
  • 2 0
 and I thought they were just "cogs"...
  • 5 4
 Cool but it's not shimano
  • 2 1
 So true, Shimano is 11x better Smile
  • 1 0
 Yeap! Shimano on MTB and Campa on the road are still the best of human engineering.... Oh yes, and rock shox (sram) on the front end
  • 1 0
 Eh the pike is overrated I prefer the 36
  • 1 0
 More of this please. Love the in-depth articles
  • 1 3
 Great : Shimano sucks ! !
  • 6 9
 FUK SRAM!
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