Sure, SRAM’s road-going wireless group might be polishing itself up for primetime, but there’s a pretty decent chance they’re secretly working on a mountain bike equivalent, too. What’s particularly interesting is just how long they’ve been thinking of it.
Almost 30 years ago, SRAM started with Grip Shift as an alternative to the trigger and index shifters available at the time. Then they rebooted the design in 2012 with modern 10- and 11-speed options. Surprisingly, they had considered an electronic version of it more than five years prior!
These patent drawings show two variants of a patent awarded to SRAM in 2007, one with a rotating “switch” set perpendicular to and offset below the bar (Fig. 5), and a version that puts the rotating switch around the bar (Fig. 6, handlebar marked as “12″). It’s a pretty forward thinking concept considering Shimano’s Di2 didn’t hit the market until 2009…except that it actually cites a 1997 patent application for electronic mountain bike shifters from Campagnolo!