From Jan 2011
SRAM is currently work with local company Victors and Spoils to help communicate their stance on electronic shifting. Here are the project details:
Target: The bike industry. The bike lover. The Culture of Mechanical.
Objective: Create a groundswell against electronic shifting by focusing on the purity and simplicity of mechanical shifting.
Deadline: Project Ends In 7 Days from today (1/27/2011)
3 Winners will be awarded a $5,000 carbon roadbike with SRAM Red components.
SRAM website: http://sram.com
SRAM wants your ideas on how to position against electronic shifting in the consciousness of the cycling enthusiast.
A couple years ago, Shimano finally cracked an electronic-shifting offering for Dura-Ace - their top road group. Calling it “Di2,” this battery-powered, push-button shifting solution utilized mostly standard Dura-Ace componentry, but added all necessary auxillary power and servo functionality to produce an electronically activated, front and rear shifting component group that first became adopted by top pros, and has now become Shimano’s top-tier road component offering. Naysayers have been squelched, due to Di2’s proven performance and reliability on ProTour Shimano teams and adoption by professional racers/hardcore enthusiasts/bike builders. Di2 has taken the myth and hope of electronic shifting from the yesteryear’s failed attempts and made it real, putting it smack into the spotlight as a dreambike component group. On top of that, it simplifies initial install and self-regulates to help avoid return trips to a mechanic. Though these features come at a high price and add some extra weight (battery), their “set-up and forget” and “ease of use” benefits are also new to drive train products.
So why doesn’t SRAM have an electronic group? Is SRAM going to jump in? Bike geeks and the bike industry at large all want to know. And it’s time SRAM responded.
SRAM has not jumped into the electronic-shifting game because SRAM believes the bicycle is a pure, leg and lung-powered expression of utter simplicity and grace. And using a battery to power an essential part of the experience just isn’t right. Or necessary. Especially because the real performance benefits of electronic shifting really don’t exist. A rider still has to think about shifting and press on something. The only difference with electronic is you press a button instead of a shift-lever. It takes the same energy and thought. Furthermore, electronic shifting is so specialized and boutique that if you break it, you can’t always get service or replacement. Instead of adding benefit, all it really adds is a layer between you and the bicycle. An insulated, muffling, experience-robbing layer of “Rolls-Royce automatic cushiness” – when the essence of cycling has always been about the “Culture of Mechanical” – AKA the raw, tactile connection of the human animal to a beautiful, efficient, analog machine. So in short, SRAM believes its energy can be better spent in refining and moving forward simplicity and purity. Which is mechanical shifting. And SRAM believes the public’s energy – and money – is better spent in mechanical as well. Leaving room in the budget for true performance upgrades such as frame choices, wheels, tires, etc.
Create a groundswell against electronic shifting by focusing on the purity and simplicity of mechanical shifting. In the process, SRAM can take the higher ground and position Di2 for what it is: Glitzy, geeky, wimpy and free of REAL benefits. Show the world that SRAM is being smart and they should be too. Write ads. Think up web films. Think up stunts and events. Promotions, whatever. Consider using SRAM’s athletes. Consider leveraging SRAM’s history of simplicity. Craft SRAM’s response.
The bike industry. The bike lover. The Culture of Mechanical.
Smart. Confident. Simple. Thought-provoking. Positive. Not sour grapes.
You’re talking to an ultra niche: bike geeks. So you have to be a bike geek yourself. Be pro. Proofread. Don’t waste V&S’ or SRAM’s time with ideas that are fiscally irresponsible. Write up your ideas with a succinct, spot-on title. Be brief. Don’t oversell. Be clever. Original. Invent stuff that would be press-release worthy. Your ideas should be globally translatable.