SRAM was founded in 1987 on the basis of a single product and introduced the Grip Shift (or Twist Shift) Shifter to the road bike market in 1988. In 1991 this technology was adapted for mountain bikes and SRAM grew rapidly. In an effort to expand, SRAM introduced the first rear derailleur for mountain bikes in 1995, called ESP, with a new and unique 1:1 operating ratio that was more tolerant of cable contamination and easier to adjust than the competition. The new front derailleur was designed to be perfectly compatible with SRAM's ESP grips, and this was a crucial first step towards a complete shifting system.

The Group was committed to growth, both through acquisition and product development. In 1997, it bought Sachs, a legendary German manufacturer that knows all about chains and transmissions. Sachs provided SRAM with a team of experienced metallurgists and engineers and a successful production line for chain and gear hubs. In 2001 SRAM launched its first XO rear derailleur. It was a complete redesign of the existing ESP rear derailleurs and the goal was to become the undeniable best in class. The introduction of SRAM's first high-end rear derailleur marked a turning point for the company's mountain bike groupsets.

In 2002 SRAM acquired the chassis manufacturer RockShox. RockShox was one of the best known brands in the Cycling and an industry innovator who introduced suspension and redesigned the mountain bike for the world. Avid was the next acquisition in spring 2004, and Avid produced popular hydraulic disc brakes and gave SRAM more opportunities to compete in the component market. Later that year they acquired Truvativ, a manufacturer of cranks, bottom brackets and chainrings. With Truvativ as part of the family, the company was finally able to sell a complete drivetrain.

Although SRAM started as a manufacturer of road bike switches, in 1993 the company mainly served the fast growing mountain bike market. By 2004, SRAM planned to return to the road and started to develop two new groups of roads. In 2006, the company launched Force and Rival, and Force was used in the Tour de France the following year. The group used a new proprietary switching technology called DoubleTap. This technology allows the rider to shift a derailleur gear in both directions with a single rocker arm.

In 2007 SRAM acquired the leading wheel manufacturer Zipp. In 2008 SRAM introduced the new RED premium road wheel group. In 2011 SRAM acquired Quarq, a manufacturer of power measuring cranks. By 2012, SRAM had integrated the power meters into its high-end RED road wheel group. Also in 2012 SRAM introduced with its XX1 group a wide range of 1x 11 mountain bike gears. The new group used a 10-42 cassette and a patented single front chainring that used both narrow and specially shaped wide teeth to hold the chain without chain guide. In 2014, this technology made its debut in cyclocross bikes with the introduction of SRAM Force 1 (originally CX1). The group expanded into other applications, including time trial, triathlon, road and fitness bikes.

August 2015 SRAM announced the launch of its wireless electronic 11-speed street bike group SRAM RED eTap. The group used derailleur gears with independent batteries to shift using wireless signals sent by the gear levers. The advantages of the system include more precise shifting, faster set-up and less maintenance.

Soon after, they announced a hydraulic disc brake version of their wireless road group called SRAM RED eTap HRD. SRAM's HRD technology used a hydraulic lever design with both range adjustment and lever contact point adjustment. In May 2016, SRAM also launched the new 1×12 drive technology called Eagle in XX1 and X01 versions. The new 1×12 drive train has a ratio range of 500%, which is comparable to many 2x drive trains available on the market today. In October 2016 SRAM launched the WiFLi (Wider, Faster, Lighter) version of its eTap rear derailleur, which is compatible with a wider range of gears than a standard rear derailleur.

In 2017 SRAM introduced the 1x 12 GX Eagle powertrain, the same technology as the Eagle XX1 and X01 powertrains at a more affordable price. February 2019 SRAM launched three new wireless electronic groupsets. This launch included a road group, RED eTap AXS, and two mountain bike groups, XX1 Eagle AXS and X01 Eagle AXS. All AXS groups feature Bluetooth low energy connectivity and an optional free mobile app called AXS that allows users to reassign and customize button functions.

The new MTB groupsets can be connected to the RockShox Reverb AXS seatpost in addition to their wireless electronic operation. SRAM's AXS app makes this possible by allowing the user to reassign button functions between the Reverb seatpost and the XX1 or X01 derailleur. The same AXS app also opens up the possibility of using RED eTap AXS shifters with an Eagle AXS drivetrain and Reverb AXS seatpost. Conversely, bikes with dropouts can be easily retrofitted with a mountain bike handlebar when using the Eagle AXS shifter with RED eTap AXS drivetrain.

SRAM launched a force version of its AXS group, which was introduced as SRAM Force eTap AXS. The Force offered the same features and benefits as the RED version, but at a lower price. SRAM Force eTap AXS has found specifications on almost all bicycles of the leading bicycle manufacturers.


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