SRAM’s much anticipated wireless groupset is nearing production, judging by the components on the AG2R team bikes at this year’s Tour de France.
We’ve reported on the groupset several times in the past, most recently a couple of weeks ago from the Route du Sud. Since then, SRAM has added graphics – albeit stuck-on graphics – and the groupset looks pretty much like a finished article rather than work in progress.
The wireless levers are about the same size as standard mechanical levers – nothing like the size of SRAM’s Hydro levers (which are so large because they contain a master cylinder for the hydraulic brakes).
Even with the batteries fitted, the mechs don’t look too dissimilar in size from the equivalent Shimano Di2 components.
We’re guessing that if everything goes well with the wireless groupset during the Tour de France, SRAM will line up a launch some time over the next few months, maybe even within weeks.
Each unit appears to be entirely self-contained, leaving the AG2R bikes looking very clean and fuss-free. There are, of course, still brake cables, although these run internally on many bikes these days.
The SRAM wireless system leaves cable stops and guides redundant. That’s particularly noticeable on the AG2R Focus Izalco Max because it has external cable touring. Holes for internal cable routing on other bikes can be covered over.
Assuming SRAM wireless becomes popular, bikes will eventually be able to be made without any form of gear cable routing at all.
With SRAM’s mechanical shifters, you change gear via a paddle that sits behind the brake lever. A short push moves the mech in one direction, a longer push moves it the opposite way.
SRAM’s wireless system looks similar but we can’t say for sure how you change gear because we couldn’t have a go with the levers. We could look but we couldn't touch.
It could be that the levers work in a similar way to the mechanical ones but we have heard rumours that one lever moves you up the cassette, the other down the cassette, and pushing both at the same time moves the front mech. We simply don’t know if that’s true or not.
All will be revealed soon, by the look of things.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.