Bicycle Times visits SRAM’s California research and development lab

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In 1998, a small group of California engineers developed bicycle components and called the company TruVativ. Six years later, the mighty SRAM purchased the San Luis Obispo company, followed by the company’s introduction of its Rival, then Force, then Red road group sets. We were in the area for a Zipp 30 Course wheel introduction, so on the way out of town we toured the new SRAM lab, a brand-new 20,000-square foot facility across from the SLO airport, about a mile down the road from the original 8,600-square foot building. Thirty employees—engineers, lab technicians, marketing, public relations and machine shop wizards—share a custom work space which might be the envy of the industry.

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The SRAM SLO lab is where drivetrain components, seat posts, cranksets, handlebars and stems are developed, prototyped, and tested until failure. It’s in the early stages of development, and we weren’t able to take photos of the early development stuff, but one thing stood out: engineers have the equipment necessary to create a carbon prototype crankset in-house and have it on the stress test machines the next day, a process that just a few years ago would take months.

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And yes, SRAM breaks a lot of stuff. They break stuff so you don’t have to!

And with the recent introduction of its expanded 1x drivetrain platform, it was cool to watch their chainline test, which took cross chaining to the extreme.

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Shifting and all it encompasses includes too many variables for a feeble-minded journalist to count, but SRAM built its own test mule to cover all possibilities.

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Zipp brand manager Declan Doyle—based in Indianapolis—hails from the Emerald Isle, and was pleased to see a conference room named in his honor.

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This man gets to build prototypes, and has the world-class equipment to play with every day. Can’t wait to see how his workspace evolves over the next few months.

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