Following the release of the Campagnolo EPS system and apparent rumours that Shimano and Campy had cooperated to keep pesky upstart rivals SRAM away from the battery party, SRAM have given us first look at their new electronic shifting system – currently dubbed the Shocka. SRAM are anticipating that in conjunction with their road lever hydraulic disc system, the new technology will elevate them beyond the reach of the old guard.
The Shocka™ is revolutionary in that while it runs normal SRAM red shifters, cables, derailleurs, cassette, and chains, the electronics have been incorporated into the rider’s hands. An electrical terminal under the rider’s middle fingernail is activated by pressure on the thumb against the brake hood, resulting in a massive convulsion of the finger – thus initiating the shift. Lighter pressure causes an upshift as per normal double-tap function, while increasing the pressure leads to a downshift. Braking is said not to be affected enough to be that big a deal unless you’re on a really sketchy alpine descent.
Sramuel Ohm, head of electricity at SRAM, revealed that the system added significantly less weight than their competitors’ electronic groupsets, and also had the advantage of continuing to function when the battery had lost its power.
“Initial feedback from riders has been interesting, with many of their preliminary knee-jerk reactions simply a result of interference from power cranks, causing their knees to actually jerk. Following extensive trials we were able to eliminate all negative rider feedback just by integrating higher voltage ancillary electrodes into the basal ganglia.”
The inclusion of ANT+ connectivity means that shifts can be automated as the rider approaches STRAVA segments or if power output drops below pre-set levels.
Mechanics who have acupuncture and home appliance certification are being recruited to roll out the new system, with installation while customers are under local anaesthetic being the preferred method.