Previewed: SRAM Develops XX Group

SRAM is good at marketing. Its quiver of brands (SRAM, RockShox, Avid, Truvativ) feature some of the best graphics around. The ads are great. Even their catalogs win design awards. The company is also pretty skilled at viral marketing and isn’t afraid to tease riders in the hopes of building anticipation for new product. Well, get ready to be teased.

SRAM is developing a new cross-country group called XX that it will introduce next summer. The group reportedly will include parts from all the SRAM brands and be labeled simply XX. But we’re not sure. So far, company officials are saying only that the group will feature some “amazing technologies” that will “exceed the demand of cross-country athletes.”

So we’re assuming it will be lighter, better, and probably more expensive than anything we’ve seen. But what about the name? XX? Could mean a bunch of things. Maybe it’s simply the evolution of X.O. Or could the Roman numerals XX represent 20, as in 20 gears, as in a 2×10 set up. Hmmm, we thinks we’ll take what’s behind door number 2.

If so, that raises another interesting possibility. Has SRAM developed a lightweight version of its Hammerschmidt internal transmission? The company only recently unveiled a heavier duty version of the system that allows riders to instantly shift between two front gears via a planetary gear system and a single chainring. The system was designed around a 2×9 set up, but would be perfect for a 2×10, if engineers can lighten it up. That might be less feasible than a conventional 2×10 derailleur system, but it’s an interesting idea and you can bet it has crossed the minds of SRAM engineers.

There will surely be improvements to the cranks, brakes, forks and shocks, but given the name of the new group, we would expect most of the innovation to focus on the drivetrain.

Stay tuned. There’s definitely more information to come.

What do you think XX is? Leave a comment below.