Jan Frodeno won this year's Ironman Oceanside 70.3. As anticipated. But just as anticipated by the techie gear heads is the bike he brought with him. And, not just the bike, but the groupkit on the bike. Specifically, the wireless electronic TT group from SRAM. All photos below from Timothy Carlson.
SRAM, America's answer to Shimano and Campagnolo, would rather attention not be placed on this product, because it's not ready to sell or ship, or even show. Hundreds of hours have been ridden on SRAM's electronic system, by very select triathletes like Frodeno and by the AG2R Pro Tour cycling team.
So far, the reports are favorable. But SRAM was derailed by a costly recall on its road disc brake last year, tough for a company with a reputation for reliability. It doesn't want another experience of that sort, and so is making very sure this group is ready for prime time before releasing it.
These images were snapped post-race, so, if the bike looks grimy it's not because the German star acts emulates the behavior of the stereotypical triathlete when it comes to cleaning and maintaining his bike (whether or not the stereotype has merit).
As to the bike itself, Canyon is the brainchild of Roman Arnold, a friend of the Slowtwitch publisher for many years. This bike obviously honors the notion of a low, flat frame with pedestals supporting the rider well above the frame proper. It only accepts electronic groups, Frodeno is sponsored by SRAM, voilà, this is the groupkit that must be on this bike.
Look, ma! No wires! This shift system should not be analyzed too quickly. It's certainly optimized for function and testing, not for cosmetics. Still, it's interesting because it's not only electronic, but wireless. How does it work, as in, the brain? The logic? The battery(s)? Not known, at least not by this author.
Interesting is the front drink system. What brand? I don't know. Scott Plasma hack? No. The Plasma Premium's drink system has a different leading edge. Certainly pays homage to that company's drink system.
This athlete is aboard Bonts and Speedplays, a wise choice notes the author (based on his own equipment). No Zero Pavés or the new aero pedal. I am informed these are the Nano pedals, 50mm spindle versus the standard 53mm. And, standard cleats, rather than Speedplay's new walkables (I think he ought to switch to the walkables, but I'm also informed these may not be available to pro athletes quite yet).
Frodeno rides with a lot of drop. He pays a lot of attention to aerodynamics, based on his bike, his drop, his front and down tube drink systems, and the narrow width of his armrests.
SRAM has been making a lot of news for drivetrains for triathlon it has not yet released or even hinted at. Not only is this wireless electronic group the subject of intense interest, but SRAM's 1x (one-by), the single-chainring system. It's a natural migration into tri from its 1x mountain group (XX1) and its cross drivetrain (CX1).
SRAM always launches new product just before the Sea Otter Classic, so look for news inside of 2 weeks from now. We'll see what of all of this they launch (probably not this electronic group) and what they launch that they've managed to keep a secret.