Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday's Analysis: SRAM S-Series Wheels - R.I.P., Or Will They Resurface After A Redesign?

While not always in the forefront of "Roadies" minds when they are shopping for a new wheelset, SRAM had been offering a decent, competent series of wheels to the masses for a few years now.  Ranging from the alloy S27 and S30, to the carbon (alloy brake track) S40, S60 and S80 offerings, they have a been a nice, reasonably priced alternative to wheelsets costing quite a bit more.

However, something is afoot.  Something is askew.  Something is flat-out going on over at the Boys From Chicago, as road wheelsets have been missing from the SRAM website since March 2013, when I first noticed them missing from the company's product line.  At the sametime, Zipp (owned by SRAM) released two, new wheelsets called the Zipp 30 Clincher (30mm alloy) and the 60 Clincher (60mm carbon, with an alloy brake track).  They are marketed as a "Lower cost" alternative to the 202, 303, and 404 wheels (and. oddly,  are straight replacements for the S30 and S60, too), which can cost you as much as a month's mortgage payment.

But wait, there's more.  Through a warranty fix by SRAM, another clue has come to light.  I had my rear S40 sent back for a rebuild, and the SRAM box it was shipped in magically turned into a Zipp box when I got my wheel back.  A small clues, yes, but I consider it significant.

So, to paraphrase El Guapo in the movie Three Amigos, "What does this mean?"  Well, by this mild-mannered scribe's best guess, this can mean one of two things.  One, SRAM has decided to just get out of the wheel business.  They have Zipp, and with a full line of wheels available from them, why compete with yourself?  And, the second possible reason fo a lack of wheel offereings with the SRAM name on them?  They have decided, for the time being, to step back, and re-design the whole line-up for later release.

We shall see...

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