Does voice operated gear shifting solve an invented problem or break down barriers to cycling?

Probably not an innovation suited to tightly packed pelotons, but perhaps a simple 'shift down' command could help more beginners feel comfortable on the bike

SRAM parent voice operated shifting
(Image credit: Future Publishing/SRAM)

Voice operated shifting is an innovation we never imagined ourselves referring to - but it could be on the cards, according to a new patent filed by US groupset manufacturer SRAM. The new technology described by the patent looks to simplify existing wireless shifting systems, with either a voice operated function or a wearable device in the form of a cycling glove.

The patent describes “shift control devices” that “provide a means of wireless control of multiple devices without the rider changing hand positions on the handlebar”.

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Freelance writer

Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for twenty five years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He has been a cycling enthusiast from an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a keen follower of bike racing to this day as well as a regular road and gravel rider.