Had a very interesting morning yesterday. It all started with a bright-and-early 7 A.M. breakfast with a representative of SRAM (which was super fun to wake up for after the premiere of and party for Kranked 7: The Cackle Factor held Sea Otter in Monterey over the weekend).
After some bacon and eggs I was thrown into a van driven by Tyler Moreland (are Canadian free riders really just allowed to drive in this country? Shouldn’t’ there be some special licensing involved? Waivers? Anyone?).
Anyways we arrived at the Embassy Suites in Monterey and I was led past a security guard to a dark room. There an attractive young girl blindfolded me, and I know what you’re thinking—girl, blindfold, dark hotel room? This is where it gets freaky! And how!
But this was really, really freaky. (And because we’re talking about mountain bikes here the girl quickly disappeared…)
But once inside I was told I had 30 seconds to ride a bike set up on a trainer. I knew what to look for (figuratively speaking, I’m still blindfolded at this point): the front shifting.
This whole elaborate rouse was set up by SRAM as the first real taste of a “revolutionary” front shifting system SRAM has been working on for months now. The shifter only had two positions, and by feathering the rear brake and shifting at the same time I could feel the gear ratio changing. What I didn’t find was the clackety-clunk of a traditional front derailleur in action. Instead the shifting action came smoothly, via the same sensation you get from an internal 3-speed beach cruiser hub.
So that’s all the info we have for now, but there you have it. SRAM’s Hammerschmidt, which we teased HERE last month, promises to take the front derailleur out of front shifting. The possible benefits are many. (Think single-ring, go-anywhere bike with a bashguard/chain retention device of your choice.) Stay tuned.