So now VeloNews has the info out on the SRAM shifters. I guess it is officially ok to talk about the shifters and how they work now... phwew!
It's been killing me to not say anything... really. So now that everybody knows how the shifter works I can say that I was thoroughly impressed by the smoothness and subtle crispness of the shifting. The best I can describe it is like this; the shift has an audible and tactile "click" like a Campy shifter, but has the shifting smoothness of the Shimano shifters. It's really cool, I think.
During the presentation of the parts, they showed us a little example of the internals of the shifter, so you can see how the "leap-frog" gearing works internally. It was pretty darned cool and I forgot to ask the engineers just how many nights over empty boxes of pizza and empty cases of beer it took to get the design right. It is a pretty cool concept and really makes you think "how the heck did they do that?"
The other parts are cool too. Cranks look good. Derailleurs look good too. However, that polished brake caliper is decidedly one of the highlights to me. That brake caliper is awfully pretty and looks like it should be good and stiff too. We are all pretty well aware of just how good the SRAM chains and cassettes have been over the years, so that stuff should all work as well as it always has.
What does all of this mean? Well, I think it means that Shimano and Campagnolo will have some real competition soon. Mavic always meant well with its offerings, but they always came up a bit short. I liked what they tried to do, it just didn't quite work out. Suntour never even got to be a player in the marketplace, outside of track components, after about 1986. I loved their stuff too (Superbe Pro... yummy), but they too were a victim of responding too slowly. Now SRAM is coming out with a product that just might work and work well enough to get some use and spec. As I have said all along, I still love the products from Shimano and Campy, but they can both use a little shaking up since they have only been chasing each other the past several years. A reason to try even harder is always a good thing. What will happen to new product evolution? Hard to say right now, but I bet that things are about to get interesting... quick.