SRAM Red wireless electronic road group closeup photos from Gravel Cyclist at Tour Down Under 2015

Spotted by Jayson of GravelCyclist.com while riding along with the AG2R during training in Australia prior to the Tour Down Under, these SRAM wireless electronic front and rear derailleurs are looking pretty darn polished.

Mounted to Christophe Riblon’s Focus Izalco Max road bike, there’s at least one detail we hadn’t quite picked up on in the already profuse collection of photos and technical data we’ve amassed on this group. The tops of each derailleur appear to have a similar looking hatch, which we’re guessing hides the charging port. Micro-USB would be our guess, since it would allow both charging and firmware updates. Plenty of closeups and links below…

SRAM Red wireless electronic road group closeup photos from Gravel Cyclist at Tour Down Under 2015

SRAM Red wireless electronic road group closeup photos from Gravel Cyclist at Tour Down Under 2015

One interesting note is they appear to be running the base-level SRAM PG1130 cassette rather than X-Glide. With rumors that the new electronic group is the lightest battery-powered shifting system to be offered (when, of course, it actually is offered), could just be that the heavier cassette helps team bikes meet minimum weight limits.

SRAM Red wireless electronic road group closeup photos from Gravel Cyclist at Tour Down Under 2015

Electrical tape covers the wire ports. Bike manufacturers may have to start putting the wire ports in less conspicuous locations if this stuff takes off!

SRAM Red wireless electronic road group closeup photos from Gravel Cyclist at Tour Down Under 2015

The black tail end of both derailleurs look very similar, suggesting those are the battery packs and are likely replaceable. That would be a nice feature considering team mechanics could quickly swap out batteries from the car in a pinch, assuming it’s a tool-free process. Either way, it’s a nice precaution for pro-level use and for anyone doing RAAM.

SRAM Red wireless electronic road group closeup photos from Gravel Cyclist at Tour Down Under 2015

Want more? Check out the closeups of the derailleurs and shifters, including commentary from some of the racers using it, here. And check our patent coverage for tech details on how it functions.

Huge thanks to Jayson for the pics!

56 COMMENTS

  1. You can see the hole drilled for the pivot, it’s quite clearly a latch to hold the battery in place and not a charging port cover. I assume you will get a charging station to keep in your house and you’ll remove the batteries from the derailleurs so you can leave the bike in the shed.

  2. This is really cool, I think Sram has more than answered the frequency issue, the only thing I can think of is the hassle of charging all of those batteries…

  3. Nice group. So if SRAM has the same charging intervals as Shimano Di2 and those are the top ‘latches’ to remove/install batteries, only has to be done 4-6 times a year for pros, 1-3 times for us mere mortals.

  4. Colin, I have a feeling that only the rear mech will need frequent charging. Most people only shift their FD a few times a day…I practically never use mine…its a small ring ride or a big ring ride for me most of the year when I’m not in a race(but that’s just me). The shifters should rarely need charged. Actually, if they’re rechargeable, they’ll probably burn themselves out more from sitting still when you aren’t riding than the actual signal being sent when you are riding. The signal to shift will use VERY LITTLE energy, the moving of the motors is what will use 95% of the battery life

  5. Have to agree they look like latches. Also, notice the symmetry between the front and rear derailleurs: They seem to be using the same box on the back, which looks to be a removable battery pack.

  6. Hatch???? What are you smoking?

    Did you expect the battery to be held on to the derailleur with smoke and mirrors? gravity? glue? The so called “hatch” is clearly a battery retention clip. The batteries will be removable and interchangeable for front and rear deraileur. I would also venture a guess that the derailleurs are “dumb” receivers and merely change gears when a they receive a signal and therefore would never need a firmware update of any sort, thus negating the value of a micro-USB port. The “brains” of the system are likely located in one of the levers, where there is more free space.

  7. Now all we need is for SRAM to come out with wireless disc brakes so we eliminate all wires completely! Hopefully it’s not too far away!!!

  8. I would bet they are batteries you can remove to charge. This would let you pull a dead pack and put a fresh one on without waiting to recharge. Since they’re smaller, I would bet they could pull off that thought with less cash than the bigger Shimano system. They also probably don’t last as long between charges. Sounds like a decent engineering decision: shorter battery life but easier to simply swap and through the dead batteries on the charger while you’re out. Kinda like the rechargable hand tools we’ve got now. One spare battery is probably $40.

  9. The wireless part is appealing, but the cynic in me wonders if SRAM saw how much Shimano is asking for Di2 batteries and decided it was a good idea to require 3+ charged batteries to ensure a bike that can shift through all of its gears.

  10. re wireless hydraulic disc brakes:

    While I agree that Sam’s comment may have been in jest, electronically actuated hydraulics would offer a huge advantage over any other system because you could map virtually any fluid pressure curve to the lever travel.

    Of course, this could bring new meaning to “battery died.”

  11. Replaceable/removable batteries on both derailleurs. Not sure if they have improved the retention mechanism yet, but you can lose the batteries on a ride if they aren’t properly secured. They do have to be removed to charge, which can be a pain if you take off on your ride and forget to grab them. Makes setting up a bike a breeze, not having so many wires. Shifting is reliable and the levers actually took a little more force to actuate than I was expecting. Wonder if they break in a little over time.

  12. I’m just waiting for someone to hack the protocol. Suddenly everyone riding this stuff will be in there 53×11 going up Alpe d’Huez.

  13. I’d really like a magnetic charger with a batter that screwed on for security. You “could” take it off for easy of charging, or just have your bike near a charger. If done right, this could be one solution to waterproofing a charging port. I’ve had plenty of lights leak water into the charging port when getting past the dinky covers from multiple brands.

  14. So cool. Here’s hoping speeds are just set via software and there’s no more BS about derailleur speeds like Shimano did w/ changing 10 to 11.

  15. Can’t wait to see if lights interfere with the shifting.

    I have Di2, the wires are not so bad to hide that I would want 3 extra batteries to get rid of them.

  16. The shifters likely won’t need any more than a little CR2032 or similar each. A Garmin HR strap uses a CR2032, has a strong enough signal to reach a couple of meters away with ease, transmits HR data four times per second, and lasts well over a season for us regular mortals.

    A shifter would only need to send a signal once every few minutes on average. A CR2032 would likely outlive the shifter itself!

    And the signal hacking, nothing a digitally encrypted protocol can’t prevent

    I’m no fan of SRAM groupsets, but I’ll follow these with interest.

  17. From what I saw when I was wheelsucking Christophe Riblon on the training ride, the groupset worked like a charm. I would like one. Unfortunately, I couldn’t ask any questions, as my French is non existent; also, it was near impossible to take any sneaky photographs of the shift levers, etc.

  18. Randall –
    re wireless hydraulic disc brakes

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that brake feedback will be a very, very difficult thing for e-hydro brakes to get anywhere near a hydro system, or even a cable system.

    Feedback is critical to proper braking. It is not critical to shifting an indexed gear system.
    E-shifters and wireless shifters solve some issue and increase performance. I don’t see how e-hydro brakes solve anything, especially with internal cable routing. Mapping a pressure curve is likely only a benefit for those with severely limited grip strength and I’d wonder if such a person could ride a bike anyway. Furthermore, such a system is travel based. The best brake systems are pressure based – makes it much less likely you don’t inadvertently “grab” way too much brake in a panic situation.
    I guess technically one could put a pressure sensor and make an e-hydro pressure based, but it would seem to be taking a “Rune Goldberg” approach to achieve what standard hydro brakes achieve.

  19. Regarding battery life, yes the signal to shift uses very little battery, but won’t there be some additional drain compared to a wired system as each derailleur must constantly scan for a shift signal? Not that it is insurmountable or even an issue. Just sayin

  20. Why would wireless brakes need to continue being hydro? If they’re wireless, why not just use little servo motors instead of hydraulic force to squeeze the rotor?

  21. I don’t see what is the big deal of having two derailleur versus one. Just charge all of the derailleur batteries at the same time. It looks like they’re easy enough to remove.

  22. @PT
    Your correct, servo motors could be used.
    I’d still question how much feedback could be provided, although improvement are always being made (see something like electric steering)
    And I still question what problem sans bleeding maintenance is being solved by going this route. Finally there would be the cost of a servomotor and accompanying feedback controls required to coordinate with desired braking pressure.

  23. While still uncommon…I have heard of a few Shimano batteries getting jostled around and loosing its contact points. This would suck but wouldn’t be the end of the world with shifters, basically you can stop and fix it.

    With brakes…well…uh…you can’t stop and fix it because you can’t stop.

    I would NEVER EVER want a brake without some kind of direct, physical relationship with my brake levers!!! Cars have fail-safes for brake by wire systems but they can still act in a way that’s less than idea but at least you’re in a car. On a bike, on a descent or in a race with 150 dudes next to me…I would not want some brake brain to gradually slow me down when there’s a failure(better than not stopping I guess). I’d much rather have a cable(or hydraulic).

  24. this is great. think it’s a big jump. I hope the security protocol is inaccessible to hackers, would be nothing good that someone handle the changes.

  25. @Jbikes, why are you trying to make sense of this or any other guessing about things which could be (such as wireless braking). These are businesses that happen to make bicycles or components. Do they do it because of some altruism, no, they do it to make money. (Didn’t you read then nonsense posted about tubeless and and the pundits on both sides droning on and on about its merits or demerits). It’s all about money and selling something to the public on the promise that its better!

    George Carlin summed it up when he said, “If you nail two things together that have never been nailed together before … some schmuck will buy it from you.” PON, Dorel, Trek, Merida, SRAM all understand this, we should too.

  26. This is great, because it will force shimano to improve their game a lot. Campy prices are way too high, so shimano is alone in the electronic groupsets right now.

    One thing I can tell you for sure, this new groupset is gonna be uber-expensive. Way beyond dura-ace di2; to start off, sram will have to cover themselves for any typical recall…

  27. ofcourse , everything is about money , for that reason we all work , but that does not mean that the product is bad, in fact it is amazing how advanced they are bicycles.
    and as for the prices , the value is commensurate with the quality and durability of the product.
    if you only use the bike to get around the city, but of course all this will seem unnecessary.
    I love them technological advances on bicycles .

  28. The patent describes communications chips that include encryption, which the protocol supports. I design and code encryption systems for a living. A quick read of the docs shows the tools are there to make a system that’s secure against the level of attackers who would care about cyclists or bike races. (i.e. not the NSA, who has many more resources).

    The communications protocol is an industrial control one designed to work in an electrically noisy environment. Much of the patent concerns ensuring the commands reach the deraileurs correctly. While that is not proof against inteference (“jamming”) it should be much more resistant than a naive imlementation. It looks like Sram did their research on this.

    My only concern is how the levers work- left for up and right for down on the rear, and push both to shift the front. Seems clumsy. But there’s no reason that Sram could not implement a sequential system where front shifts were automatic. If front shifts are reliable there is no need for the user to signal them manually. Hopefully the user could tune the crossover points to personal preference and gearing as is allowed on some of the Di2 systems modded to do sequential shifting.

  29. I really hope this will stir up the competition, resulting in lower prices and faster progress. Can’t wait enought for moment when electronical shifting will achieve similar price level as mechanical. Imagine affordable 105 level wireless group, what a bliss.

    Besides, electronic means better cross manufacter component compatibility, since it’s easier to hack. It might be possible to use SRAM derailleurs with Shimano shifters or vice versa. This way shifters became effectively just brake handles.

  30. Electronic Ultegra is already about the same price as mechanical Dura-Ace. I think that’s pretty d*mn great considering that mechanical Ultegra and mechanical Dura-Ace work with basically the same internals but different materials that in NOW WAY deserve the markup that it gets. You’re getting a lot with Ultegra Di2 for the money. I couldn’t imagine 105 Di2 being much cheaper than $1600 with a big chunk of the difference being the crankset. I’d much rather spend a couple hundred extra bucks and have Ultegra Di2 with a 105 crank.

    That said, if this is anywhere near the price of Dura-Ace Di2 then its a game changer. I’m thinking it could be cheaper but maybe not. For all the people out there with older but quality bikes with external housing…this is the best way to get electronic shifting without stupid tape holding down your cables. I’m guessing this will be lighter than mechanical Dura-Ace which is already lighter than Di2. Remember…both Dura-Ace and SRAM RED have an extra $300msrp tacked on for a light cassette that isn’t essential for functioning well. An 11spd 105 cassette or 11sspd Rival cassette will really cut down the price of the groupo

  31. @eric – SRAM did state this system will have sequential shifting. They said that the right shifter will equate to harder gears and actuating the left shifter will equate to easier gears. They stated that if the rider would like to manually change the position of the front derailleur, the rider can push both levers inward at the same time to make this front der. shift.

    Idea: If it goes to electronically controlled braking, pull on one lever (you choose which) and the system intelligently uses both calipers to provide optimal braking. Once the rider pulls on both at once (slightly), it overrides this feature, turning it off for the current braking cycle, but the rider could typically use just one brake lever to actuate both calipers as determined by the speed of the pull on the lever and the distance the rider pulls on the lever…..

    but more importantly, SRAM needs to team up with the automatic shifting algorithm folks and incorporate that into their new component package!

    I also think that with electronic shifting and hydraulic braking, we no longer need the current brake lever design. A two finger trigger that you pull back into the hood could be more ergonomic, effective and aero….

  32. @pistelero. Might wanna put those guns away an consider this: SRAM had a recall on the Hydro brakes and a Small part of ten speed red wifli rear mech. And that’s about it!! Every company have recalls! Please judge companies on how they treat their customers in the period of a recall. As far I remember SRAM offered free mechanical brakes and money to bike shops..
    And yes: the Dreamliner was grounded for a period.

  33. “the new electronic group is the lightest battery-powered shifting system to be offered”

    Lightest in a category of one? Shocka!

  34. @Douglas F Shearer – EPS & Di2 are both battery powered, they just have wires connecting, so it would be a category of 3, not 1

  35. Before getting carried away, it must be noted that being ‘hack proof’ wirelessly doesn’t infer that its ‘jam proof’.

    Somebody can really play punk at a race with some 2.4ghz frequency jammers. Imagine being unable to shift gears for that 10 seconds up the steepest grades of the Alp d’huez or Zoncolan ….

    It won’t be a laughing matter when that happens.

  36. Maxx…while it would suck for the user. I do think hacking someone’s shifters would be pretty funny if they were going up a long/hard climb. So long as it’s not happening to me, I would get a kick out of it. Imagine if Contador had this when he attacked Andy Schleck with his chain problems, then someone makes his bike go in the 53/11….awesome!!!

    Now, if there were electronic brakes…I would prefer nobody to hack into those

  37. “@eric – SRAM did state this system will have sequential shifting. They said that the right shifter will equate to harder gears and actuating the left shifter will equate to easier gears. They stated that if the rider would like to manually change the position of the front derailleur, the rider can push both levers inward at the same time to make this front der. shift.”

    AUGH! Hopefully this is only an option, and not hard-wired into the system. It’s only marginally better than the double-lever usage of the last go-round. I understand they’re trying to stay with the single paddle lever that has become their trademark (with “DoubleTap”, which I hate), but really…

  38. @Vegan:

    Actually pure electronic braking wouldn’t make much sense due to the immense safety implications.
    Which is why, even at the very cutting edge, even for cars, there’s drive-by-wire, but no-brake-by wire.

  39. Why do we still need a front derailleur? With 11 cogs in back one could argue that a 1x system for road is now viable (10 gears were all Eddy needed!) It would be simpler and lighter. I think my dream drive train would be a 1x system with the power being provided by my dynamo hub instead of a battery. Not an ideal system for racing but then again 99% of riders don’t race.

    While we’re at, why are we still dangling the rear derailleur out in the open? Incredibly prone to crash damage and 11 speed drive trains are very finicky when it comes to hanger alignment. With everything going electronic the need for this is less and less. Would make more sense to mount the derailleur on the lower inside of the chain stay (as was done with Cyclo and Nivex derailleurs – Google them, newbies) or better yet inside the chain/seat stay junction (similar to disc calipers)

  40. @Ilya – electronic shifting systems are not easier to hack. Each company has their own proprietary standards that are not compatible with each other. This may change in the future.

    The real company that will change things up with electronic shifting is microshift.

    @- – wireless charging is not limited to one company. and these batteries are removable, SRAM is not trying to overcomplicate things by introducing wireless charging, and forcing people to put their bike near an outlet.

    everyone worried about charging these batteries: it will be 3-4 batteries, all removable. they will likely fit into a special charging dock that can accommodate charging all of them at the same time. you will NOT charge them on the bike.

    The batteries are held in by a latch/hatch sort of thing which holds the batteries very tightly and makes sure the connection is weatherproof and resistant to shocks/coming loose.

    The system is not charged while on the bike.

    it is very likely a micro usb will be used for firmware updates and configuration.

    and i highly doubt the shifting won’t be adjustable to user preference. if i had to guess, it will be very quick and simple to make changes to all kinds of variables within reason, to accommodate different riding styles and environments.

  41. I have UI2 and i guess it’s pretty good. Can’t see this would add value once it’s set up on a bike. It would make changing the group to another frame I suppose.

    The battery on DI2 last ages anyway, almost a waste to buy a spare. Unless battery tech improves in the next few years and Shimano up the capacity.

    When I originally thought about DI2, I looked at shimano’s know how with their servo tech from fishing equipment. Figured they know a thing or two about that. What’s SRAM’s angle?

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