Stepping Up the Electronic Shifting
Game on the Road and Trail
Electronic gear-shifting for cycling has been growing in popularity for over a decade. The first generations of the concept lacked reliability but the most recent electronic technology has successfully dispelled all such quandaries leaving us with a thick dose of desire for the upgrade. Cyclists can expect faster, smoother shifting that performs quicker and even more precisely.
There are multiple shift points in the controls allowing riders to shift from multiple riding positions. This is particularly exciting for a time trial bikes allowing riders to shift when in the aero position electronically at the push of a button. Electronic systems also offer the benefit of being self-adjusting with automatic trim, eliminating chain rub and the tiring rubbing sound resulting from cable stretch. Additionally, cable stretch is becoming a thing of the past making for less overall maintenance, materials and the constant need for fine-tuning related to cable stretch.
Early this month SRAM released their newest wireless electronic groupset, SRAM RED eTap AXS. This second-generation RED eTap 12-speed electronic drivetrain is setting a new industry benchmark. The entire rethinking of electric bike gearing has everyone spinning. Most everything has changed and upgraded. The most prominent change is the jump to a 12-speed cassette, (formerly 11-speed) and a new “Flattop” chain design accommodating a higher gear ratio in the smoothest way possible.
One of our favorite features is what they call the Orbit, a silicone fluid damper which slows the cage’s movement and prevents chain bounce and improves chain security. This will come in handy when you venture out on the rough and ready Boca Roubaix loop this spring.
Among the many highlights is the power meter that is integrated directly into the chainrings for the lowest possible weight and highest possible accuracy. The first generation eTap had a reputation for shifting slowly. That all changed with the latest technology upgrades and it now shifts very quickly. This package binds nicely together to create the shift (😉) you’ve been waiting for.
Also just released is the SRAM X01 Eagle AXS Wireless Drivetrain for mountain bikes. This brings the real benefits of wireless electronic shifting off-road. The shifter and the rear derailleur simply talk to one another within their own wireless network. This removes the hassle of threading gear cables internally through the frame or worrying about cable stretch and wear. A key rough road feature is the “Overload Clutch” that allows the derailleur to move on impact without causing damage to the gearbox or motor before returning to the last known shift location. The new Eagle group set is on track to upgrade your mountain bike experience in some very good ways. We are all looking forward to testing the rough and technical Tahoe trails with electronic shifting to see what benefits we can measure against our favorite terrain.
Want to learn more? Come into Pacos, pull up a stool, and speak with our expert mechanics over a cold draught beer.