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Hydraulic road shift levers still rare

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — In February, SRAM somewhat reluctantly revealed that it was working on a a Red-level PowerTap brake/shift lever that would work with hydraulic disc or rim brakes, which promised to provide something of a Holy Grail for proponents of disc brakes on road bikes.

At the time the company also said it was working on a hydraulic rim brake, and said they would be ready in the fall of 2012.

Well, 'fall' in the cycling world generally starts with the Eurobike tradeshow, which is being held this week here. And SRAM's PowerTap hydraulic levers are a no show in the Messe Friedrichshafen.

SRAM road marketing manager Michael Zellmann said the company continues to "forge ahead" on developing the levers and brakes.

"There is no time table for their release. We will release them when they are ready," he said.

Shimano also is said to be working on a hydraulic STI lever, but the company has given no sign that it will be available anytime soon.

Major brands are itching to test the waters for road discs, but most are waiting for a hydraulic option from one of the big component companies. 

Meanwhile, some brands are going to market with cable-pull disc calipers.

And there are other options.

Colnago and Formula have developed shift levers and a hydraulic disc brake for the road. The companies had six test bikes at the outdoor Demo Day at Eurobike, and dozens of testers took the bikes for a jaunt. 

Shimano's new Di2 wiring has thrown TRP and Colnago/Formula a curve.

The Colnago/Formula levers will be available in two versions. One is compatible with Campagnolo's EPS electric shifters, and the other works with Shimano's 10-speed Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain.

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