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SRAM was founded on a single product in 1987 and introduced the Grip Shift (or twist shift) shifter to the road bike market in 1988. In 1991 that technology was adapted for mountain bikes, and SRAM quickly grew. 

In 1995, eager to expand, SRAM introduced their first mountain bike rear derailleur, dubbed ESP, that featured a new and unique 1:1 cable actuation ratio that was more tolerant of cable contamination and easier to set than the competitors. The new derailleur was designed to pair perfectly with SRAM’s ESP Grip Shifters, and this was a critical first step for SRAM toward producing a complete shifting system.  

SRAM was eager to grow, both by acquisition and product development. By 1997, SRAM purchased Sachs, a legendary German manufacturer with expertise in chains and gearing. Sachs provided SRAM with a group of experienced metallurgists and engineers as well as a successful chain and internally geared hub production line. 

SRAM’s released its first XO rear derailleur in 2001. It was a complete redesign of SRAM’s existing ESP derailleurs, and the goal was to be undeniably best in class. The introduction of SRAM’s first high-end derailleur marked a turning point for the company’s mountain bike groups.  

In 2002, SRAM acquired suspension manufacturer, RockShox. RockShox was one of the most recognizable brands in cycling and an industry innovator who introduced suspension and reshaped mountain biking for the entire world.  

Avid was SRAM’s next acquisition in the spring of 2004. Avid produced popular hydraulic disc brakes and gave SRAM more means to compete in the component market. Later that same year SRAM purchased Truvativ, a crank, bottom bracket, and chainring manufacturer. With Truvativ as part of the SRAM family, the company could finally sell a complete drivetrain.