This might strike as a fairly minor update, lacking the ‘pizazz’ of a brand new set of gravel forks (opens in new tab) or a complete groupset refresh (opens in new tab), but it does stand to bring a couple of quite pleasing updates.
First, is the obvious one: no wires. Setting up the shifters is as simple as clipping them on and connecting them up – gone is the need to route wires and unravel bar tape. This might not have been the largest inconvenience in the world, but its obviation opens up some new possibilities.
Now wireless, the idea of attaching Blips for specific events is a lot more palatable. You might not want satellite shifters either side of your stem day to day, getting in the way of lights or bar bags. But on a cycling holiday to the mountains (remember those?), it would be nice to easily swap in the ability to shift from the tops.
Similarly, should you have a long distance epic planned and want to reap the increased comfort and efficiency of a set of aerobars. Or want to have the option of shifting from the drops in a race, but not wanting the extra clutter day to day.
At $100 / €100 / £90 for a pair, they’re unlikely to be one of the first upgrades anyone makes. But for those looking for complete optimisation, they do come in less than certain brands of chain lube (opens in new tab).
One other notable consequence of ditching the wires means that SRAM’s third tier groupset, Rival (opens in new tab), is now compatible with satellite shifters. Previously, the shifter/brake units didn’t have the necessary ports for wiring in the previous generation of blips. Now, that’s not an issue and it opens up a range of different riding and application of SRAM’s cheapest 12-speed dropbar groupset.
However, to make the Wireless Blips as small as possible, while also meeting IPX7 waterproof standards, they have been designed with a non-replaceable coin cell battery. Once the charge runs out you’ll need to recycle the product in line with your local electronics recycling program.
SRAM does guarantee the shifters for two years of use, and claims that they can last from four to over seven years, pending how many times you press that button.
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