Every now and then, a relatively simple product comes along and solves a massive headache. In my case, being able to fit gears onto my singlespeed Soma Wolverine was providing harder than first anticipated. That was, until I came across a neat little item from Californian-based manufacturer Paul Component Engineering.
Late last year, we reported on the new trigger shifter adapter which would allow one to fit a SRAM trigger shifter to their drop bars. After receiving and installing Paul’s SRAM shifter adapter earlier this year, I’ve found it to be the perfect solution for my woes. Head on through for the full scoop!
As a brand, Paul Component Engineering is well-known for producing beautifully machined components. It’s a name that many of us would hold close to our heart, whether it’s from fond memories of retro rasta-coloured derailleurs, or from lusting after some of their newer products like the Klamper disc brake. (If you want to know a little more about the company’s history and the development behind their products, check out Anna Schwinn’s excellent interview with Paul Price). In addition to their range of schmick hubs, cranks and brake components, Paul also offers a number of ingenious problem solving parts such as their Melvin chain tensioner, Thumbie shifter mounts, and the SRAM trigger shifter adapter.
My Soma Wolverine had originally been built up as a belt-drive singlespeed, which was proving to be an absolute hoot on both the cyclocross race track and on my local trails. Faced with the prospect of riding the Dirty Gran Fondo (a dirt-road adventure event that’s held in Wandong just outside of Melbourne each May) and tackling the many steep mountain climbs along its 60km course however, I decided I needed some help. After digging around in my parts bin, I cobbled together a SRAM X9 Type 2 rear derailleur, a couple of X9 trigger shifters, a Shimano SLX front derailleur, 10-speed 11-32t cassette and a matching chain. This would have been the perfect combo if I was running flat/riser handlebars, but I wasn’t. Instead the bike was running Soma drop handlebars, with TRP RRL brake levers and HY/RD brakes, and I didn’t really have the time nor the cash to invest in a new cockpit setup. Thankfully for me though, Paul had a solution!
While the SRAM Shifter Adapter seemed like the perfect way to solve my problem, interestingly Paul had developed the adapter with a more specific purpose in mind. “I wanted the range of 10×42 XX-1 on a drop bar bike so I made some prototypes.” Paul explained. “The 10×42 is a huge range and perfect for just about any riding situation other than loaded touring up a long steep grade.” The conundrum that had originally presented itself to Paul was the fact that SRAM’s road shifters weren’t compatible with the XX-1 derailleur and the huge 10-42t range of the XX-1 cassette, and so there was previously no way for drop-bar touring and adventure bikes to enjoy the wide spread of gears that the 1×11 setup provides.
But while the SRAM Shifter Adapter was primarily designed to marry the 10-42t cassette to drop bars, it would also solve my problem of fitting SRAM mountain bike shifters and derailleurs to the Wolverine. I had originally asked Paul if they were going to offer the adapters in both left and right hand versions, as I was investigating the option to setup the bike in a 2×10 or 3×10 configuration. “We only make the SRAM Shifter Adaptor for the right side. After a year of prototyping & testing, we decided to produce some and that’s what we offer” Paul explained. And so that answered my question quite simply; 1×10 it would be!
Paul’s SRAM Shifter Adapter is made up from two pieces of CNC machined 6061 Aluminum. These two pieces clamp together around the 31.8mm section of handlebar just next to your stem. A third bolt then attaches the right-hand SRAM trigger shifter. While the adapter is designed for 11-speed SRAM trigger shifters, it’s also compatible with 10-speed trigger shifters as they use the same mounting design. This allows you to bolt the shifter onto the clamp using either of the two mounting holes, so you can fine-tune the lateral position of the shifter relative to your hand position on the tops of the bar.
Of course the real strength of the SRAM Shifter Adapter design is to allow you to fit a wide-range 11-speed mountain bike drivetrain to your drop-bar bike. For this purpose, it solves a problem that many riders out there may be facing, while also being a beautifully constructed piece of kit. However, it also works just as well for riders like myself who may simply be looking for a relatively inexpensive solution to putting a 1×10 drivetrain onto their bike without having to invest in road STI shifters. There are no real downsides to a product as well made as this, but I would like to see Paul Component offer a left hand version in the future, which would allow me to also fit a front derailleur to my Wolverine. That said, currently the 1×10 setup is delivering a great spread of gears for the 4WD tracks and fireroads I’ve been frequenting, and I haven’t had to touch the TRP RRL and HY/RD brake setup to get this gear range.
Whether you’re looking to build up a touring rig with a SRAM 10-42t 11-speed cassette out back, or you’re simply looking for an easier way to add gears onto your drop-bar dirt bike, the SRAM Shifter Adapter from Paul is certainly a winner, and a good-looking winner at that.
The SRAM Shifter Adapter sells for $36 USD and is available with more information at www.paulcomp.com