SRAM’s Road Group Presence at Races Versus The Real World
SRAM sent out a press release out this week about the majority of teams in the Amgen Tour of California runnign their RED drivetrain group. As luck would have it, I had just spoken to SRAM’s road PR manager Michael Zellman last week about their road group sales for both OEM and aftermarket.
Launched in 2006 with Force and Rival, SRAM’s road side now has four complete groups, RED, Force, Rival and Apex, along with a smattering of non-group, triathlon and time-trial parts. There’s no doubt that SRAM’s groups have become a common sight in the pro peloton, especially following Lance Armstrong’s buy in to the company and subsequent sponsorship.Â The fact that the RED group is currently the lightest full group on the market by a good margin doesn’t hurt, but at the elite pro level, all of the bikes are bordering on the UCI-mandated minimum weight limit (as we’ve proven by weighing them at the U.S. Pro Championships*), so the uptake among pro teams is likely due to both preference among riders and the business side of sponsorship dollars and agreements.
Among the 16 teams racing this year’s Amgen Tour of California, seven of them (44%) are running SRAM RED groups. Bissell, Quick Step, LiquiGas, BMC are running Campagnolo (25%) and HTC-Columbia, Team Type 1, Spidertech, Garmin-Transitions, Rabobank shift with Shimano (31%).Â How does this reflect reality?
Well, on our local group rides, it’s rare to see a SRAM equipped bicycle, so I asked Michael how their sales were doing.Â He said that it’s only been in the last 18- to 24 months that they’ve managed to get most bike brands to spec options with their groups, which puts them in showrooms and on the manufacturer’s websites that we all love to waste time on. As for aftermarket, there wasn’t a clear answer, but he said they now have about 20% of the market.Â How that breaks down between OEM and aftermarket, or where that data comes from I can’t tell you, but it helps illustrate the length of time it takes even for a major brand like SRAM to make inroads in a new market.
That said, Michael was quick to point out that their new Apex group, which replaces the triple ring crankset found on lower-end and touring bikes, has been a hot commodity among manufacturers and should start showing up everywhere as OEM this fall.Â What will be really interesting is to see what Shimano’s rebuttal will be..perhaps a reconfigured 105 double?
Press release after the break, and leave a comment: What groups are you and most of your riding buddies running?
SRAM RED-equipped teams â€“ 2010 Amgen Tour of California:
Team Saxo Bank â€“ (ProTour points leaders) â€“ SRAM RED & Zipp wheels
Cervelo Test Team â€“ SRAM RED & Zipp wheels
United Healthcare p/b Maxxis â€“ SRAM RED Team RadioShack â€“ SRAM RED
Fly V Australia (NRC points leaders) – SRAM RED
Kelly Benefit Strategies â€“ SRAM RED
Jelly Belly p/b Kenda â€“ SRAM RED & Zipp wheels
The 2010 Amgen Tour of California (ATOC), taking place May 16-23, will feature one of the most talented start lists in its five year history, with 16 top national and international squads taking part. Seven of those teams will be equipped with SRAM RED, the Worldâ€™s lightest, fastest, and most ergonomic componentry groupset.
Top contenders on SRAM RED include Team RadioShackâ€™s three-time defending champion, Levi Leipheimer, who is completely focused on winning his fourth consecutive title. Team Radio Shackâ€™s Lance Armstrong will unquestionably lend his support to Leipheimer. Saxo Bankâ€™s lead challenger is likely to be Paris-Roubaix champion Fabian Cancellara, racing his third ATOC. He finished 4th in 2008. Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck, also of Saxo Bank, will hunt the overall if the opportunity presents itself.
SRAMâ€™s initial participation in the Tour of California began with the inaugural race in 2006, when Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada rider and SRAM test pilot Ben Jacques-Maynes rode with pre-production SRAM componentry. With the official product launch only months away it would become SRAMâ€™s original entry into a major stage race with a full gruppo, and serve as the proving ground SRAMâ€™s innovative technologies including DoubleTap and Exact Actuation.
SRAM soon followed with two complete road gruppos, SRAM Force and Rival. Since that time SRAM has introduced enhanced versions of both as well as best-in-class SRAM RED, and most recently, SRAM Apex.