SRAM Brand Introduction
If you wander west off the corner of Halsted and North toward the Chicago river, you’ll end up in a warren of small, winding streets that used to be Chicago’s docklands—known as Goose Island. Despite the recent addition of high-end restaurants and a Whole Foods, this small pocket is still dominated by hundred-year-old brick warehouses and docks where river barges tie up to be loaded. Tacked onto the side of one of these warehouses on Kingsbury Street is a small sign, so small you could almost miss it: SRAM Bicycle Components. Inside this non-descript building in a largely forgotten part of town, however, is where some of the most exciting innovation in cycling is happening. Hydraulic road brakes, Grip Shift, XX1, and DoubleTap have all gotten their start here.
By all-rights, we should only be riding either Shimano or Campagnolo, were it not for the determination of Stanley Day Jr., his younger brother Frederick, and an engineering buddy named Sam Patterson. Stan Day had become frustrated with the way road bikes at the time forced riders to shift. With the help of his brother Fred, Sam Patterson, and three other friends, he formed SRAM (an acronym for the first and middle names of some of the founders), and in 1987 they produced their first product: Grip Shift. It was almost an immediately market failure. Road riders of the time simply weren’t interested in the product. But Frederick, who was an avid mountain biker, figured out a way to make Grip Shift work for mountain bikes, and the product took off. Soon, SRAM was a major player in the mountain bike scene, and in 2006 they entered the rarified road bike market with their revolutionary DoubleTap shift system.
Today, SRAM is recognized as a leader in cycling technology, and their components can be found on many of the best road, mountain and cyclocross bikes. They’ve outfitted bikes for dozens of pro teams and riders like Mark Cavendish and Nino Schurter, but also offer tons of local support for racing around the country. With their acquisition of Zipp Wheels, Quarq powermeters, Avid brakes and Rock Shox suspension systems, they offer a diverse array of components that can meet the needs of any cyclist.
If you’d like to learn more about what SRAM has to offer, read on below.
SRAM offers many different levels of road and mountain bike drivetrains for every level of rider. When purchasing components, SRAM recommends you pair only 11-speed components with 11-speed components, 10-speed with 10-speed, etc… SRAM drivetrain components are not compatible with either Shimano or Campagnolo parts.
|SHIFTERS: SRAM offers many levels of shifters from 11-speed carbon fiber DoubleTap road shifters to MTB trigger shifters, and their proprietary Grip Shift technology. For road bikes, the DoubleTap lever is integrated into a unit with the brake lever. For MTB, the Grip Shift/trigger shift unit is separate from the brake lever. All SRAM shifters feature 1:1 cable actuation, and are only compatible with SRAM 1:1 cable actuation derailleurs.
|REAR DERAILLEURS: SRAM has arguably the most extensive rear derailleur offerings of any of the major manufacturers. They produce short cage road derailleurs, their amazing new WiFli medium cage road rear derailleurs, and several options for mountain bikes.
|FRONT DERAILLEURS: SRAM only offers double front derailleurs for the road, and double and triple derailleurs for MTB. The big news from SRAM has been their YAW technology, which fundamentally reimagined the way front derailleurs worked, for improved front shifting performance.
|CRANKSETS: SRAM has long led the way in producing the world’s lightest cranksets with their EXO-GRAM technology. There a many, many levels of SRAM cranksets available, in both carbon fiber and alloy, for any budget, bottom bracket standard and chainring combo.
|POWERMETERS: SRAM’s Quarq powermeters are among the best in the industry. The powermeter is built into a lightweight crankset for precise, accurate power measurement. They are ANT+ compatible, and available in 10- and 11-speed varieties for SRAM/Shimano drivetains.
|CASSETTES: SRAM cassettes are among the best—and most affordable—available. They are lightweight, have a wide selection of available gearing, and great shifting performance thanks to some nifty engineering and design. They are fully compatible with Shimano drivetrains with the appropriate number of gears.
|CHAINS: SRAM has possibly the easiest to install chains out there. With their revolutionary PowerLink technology, you simply cut the chain to the right length, put in the missing link, click into place and go.
|BRAKE LEVERS: SRAM brake levers are available for both the road and MTB, in mechanical and hydraulic varieties, for both rim and disc brakes. Their revolutionary new HYDRO system has brought hydraulic braking systems to the road, and their Avid MTB hydraulic brakes have long been an industry standard.
|BRAKES: SRAM makes some of the most innovative brakes in the world, thanks to their Avid brand. They offer hydraulic disc calipers, hydraulic road calipers, mechanical disc calipers, mechanical road calipers, and cantilever brakes.|
|ROAD WHEELS: SRAM’s acquision of Zipp gave them access to perhaps the fastest wheels on the road, as well as some of the most advanced R&D facilities on the planet. Zipp wheels are available in alloy, carbon fiber, and carbon/alloy varieties.
|MOUNTAIN WHEELS: SRAM MTB wheels are among the best on the planet, and are specially tuned for XC, AM, and Enduro riding. They are available in 26”, 27.5” and 29” flavors, with either rim brake tracks or IS 6-bolt disc mounts.|
|FORKS: SRAM’s Rock Shox brand offers a full line of suspension forks that are designed for all types of mountain bike riding, with plenty of travel options to choose from. They are available for 26”, 27.5”, and 29” wheels.|
|REAR SHOCKS: Rock Shox also offers rear shocks for full suspension mountain bikes. They are available in several stroke lengths to fit your bike.|
|SEATPOSTS: Rock Shox dropper posts give you a whole new way to tame tough trails. These remote operated systems are available at several pricepoint options to suit any rider.|