Help SRAM Communicate their Stance on the Electronic-Shifting Trend

SRAM is currently work with local company Victors and Spoils to help communicate their stance on electronic shifting. Here are the project details:

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

The Assignment:
SRAM wants your ideas on how to position against electronic shifting in the consciousness of the cycling enthusiast.

The Situation:
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.

The Opportunity:
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 Target:
The bike industry. The bike lover. The Culture of Mechanical.

The Tone:
Smart. Confident. Simple. Thought-provoking. Positive. Not sour grapes.

The Mandatories:
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.

Some Reference:
The Culture of Mechanical Shifting
The Culture of Electro Servo Shifting
Tech Predictions for 2011

Get Started

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26 Comments

Di2 vs. Red

I'm curious if SRAM is taking a stand for good on this issue. While SRAM has been taking market share so fast Shimano's head is spinning, the reverse could quickly be the case if Di2 hit the same price point as RED. I don't know what rider that has ridden both that would choose Red over Di2 if price were no object

Are you friggin kidding me?

What a load of crap? Just because they can't make electronic shifting work, they spew this. Well for that matter, why don't we all ride steel bike with downtube friction shifters with 5-speed rear deraileurs? Or for that matter, a two speed rear wheel that we have to stop, pull out the wheel and flip it around to the other sprocket. And don't forget wood soled shoes with leather uppers and a cleat nailed to the bottom of it to put into toe cliped pedals.
Or maybe keep trying to make things better and advance technology. One or the other.

Shocker!

For a company built on marketing savvy, this is pretty shocking in its desperation.

Mechanical systems still have their place and budgets, but Shimano's electronic has proven to be pretty damn good. Have yet to hear someone who has actaully ridden it for a while who doesn't appreciate it. Even old school Campy is joining the party!

SRAM attempting to actively discredit totally viable technology AND soliciting outside assistanace to help them do it is pathetic and shameful. I was actually looking forward to riding their eventual electronic, but might be waiting a while!

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