SRAM DoubleTap 10 Flat-Bar Road Shifters
SRAM introduced their handlebar mounted, road bike twist-shift system in 1988. Dubbed Grip Shift, the system saw immediate success in the competition arena, if not necessarily in the commercial market. But with the release of their mountain bike system, the Chicago upstart company gained a significant foothold in the world bicycle market. With a reputation for innovative products that competed with those of the industry leaders, they continued to grow.
In 2003, SRAM unveiled their own unique version of the mountain bike trigger shifter. Their Impulse Technology shifters (X-7, X-9 and X-0) featured two paddles, but both could be actuated with just a flick of the thumb. Not only did they offer more control by allowing the rider to keep their fingers on the grips, the shifting was noticeably more positive than the competition. SRAM attributes this to their Exact Actuation, which means that the amount of cable pulled by the shifter is equal to the movement at the derailleur (whereas the competition is approximately 2:1). Each shift resulted in a crisp, audible click. SRAM followed up on their success with the introduction of their Force and Rival road bike shifters. The road bike systems featured a new technology called Double Tap, which uses a single paddle shifter mounted behind the brake lever to shift up or down. It moves in one direction only, with the distinction being how far the lever is pressed. Although it sounds confusing on paper, in practice it’s remarkably intuitive.
Much to SRAM’s credit, they noticed a gap in the market, and took a chance on releasing a niche product—a high-performance shifter for flat-bar road bikes. Typically people think of flat-bar road bikes as “hybrids” and write them off as bikes for less-than-serious cyclists. But in reality there are serious cyclists who recognize the benefit of combining an upright riding position of a mountain bike with the quickness of a road bike. Or realize that their prefer to run a mountain bike style handlebar on their cyclocross bike. Enter the SRAM Double Tap 10 flat-bar road shifters.
SRAM has essentially combined the best features of their road and mountain shifters. You activate the shifting with just your thumb, using just one paddle that moves in a single direction. The shifting is as fast and accurate as with any of SRAM’s other shifters that utilize their 1:1 actuation ratio—upshifts result in an audible click, downshifts result in an even louder snap. The paddle is adjustable like that of the X-0 shifters, which allows customization for large or small hands. Multi-gear upshifts are no problem (I can easily shift three gears at a time) and downshifts are lightning fast.
The construction is solid, with all the precision and quality you would expect from a high-end shifter. My one complaint, which may not actually be valid, is that SRAM chose to use carbon fiber for the clamp. Keeping in mind that I don’t have a degree in engineering, my intuition tells me that an alloy clamp would be more durable in the long run and less expensive to replace. But to SRAM’s defense, I’m overlooking the performance aspect—the carbon fiber saves weight. And anything made from carbon fiber tends to lend an aesthetic value that says, “This is high-end.”
The DoubleTap 10 shifters retail for $172 per pair. Visit www.sram.com for more information.