Innovation can cause more confusion
Updated: Mar 28
This month the two biggest parts manufacturers both released new drivetrains. The desire from both manufacturers was to provide innovative new solutions that were robust and cutting-edge, Shimano was also hoping to consolidate it's current line up and simplify it's entry-level range. However, for customers, innovative new solutions such as SRAM'S shiny new T-Type Transmission and Shimano's new Cues range only bring more confusion.
"Do my old components fit with these new options?" This is currently the most asked question with the introduction of these new components. However, the answer is that none of these new components are backwards compatible, SRAM AXS pod aside. What this means it there is now a whole new layer of options on display to customers as they browse for replacement components for their current bike.
It is easy to be tricked by a new Shimano Linkglide 10/11 speed chain (which is part of the new Cues range), not realising that this will not fit your current 10 speed Shimano Hyperglide cassette. Or to see the new SRAM XO Eagle Transmission Flattop 12 Speed Chain and not know that this is not the same as a SRAM XO1 Eagle 12 Speed Chain!
That being said, the advancements of these new drivetrain systems put them miles ahead of their non-backwards compatible predecessor. The installation of the new SRAM T-Type drivetrain can be performed in less than 5 minutes and it can be installed at home in your garage with only 3 basic tools and a torque wrench. It provides riders with the most robust derailleur on the market, and for the first time in history there are a wealth of spare parts available to keep this derailleur running in the event of mishaps and crashes. However, the question of, "Will this fit my bike?" remains, as only bikes running a SRAM Universal Derailleur Hanger are suitable to run SRAM T-Type Transmission. With no options out there to retrofit this to bikes that are running a standard derailleur hanger, it is a select number of riders that will be able to make this upgrade for now.
So is innovation good or bad? Well with the innovation of Bike Matrix the industry can continue to push boundaries and re-invent the wheel and it will be there to provide bike specific compatibility for the future.