SRAM launches all-new, lighter and improved Red groupset
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

SRAM launches all-new, lighter and improved Red groupset

by Ben Atkins at 8:58 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tech News
Total redesign comes with optional integrated powermeter from QUARQ; hydraulic road brakes in the pipeline

SRAM RedUS component giant SRAM has released an all-new Red groupset for 2012, which it claims is the lightest and most ergonomic yet. Unlike rivals Shimano and Campagnolo, the Chicago company has stayed away from electronic shifting, and is sticking with ten-speed, but has incorporated a powermeter from recently acquired QUARQ.

By redesigning several key components, and by using some lighter materials, SRAM has pared down the already light groupset to just 1739 grams for the BB30 version.

“New SRAM Red is not slight revisions of what we had, it is a new gruppo,” says SRAM’s co-founder and president Stan Day. “We took what we knew and then started over, a new approach to everything.”

With disc brakes now legal in cyclocross racing and tipped to be coming to road soon, plus with SRAM’s heritage in mountainbiking – through subsidiary Avid – the company also confirmed that it is currently developing hydraulic rim and disc brakes to form part of the Red range.

It looks very similar, but is very different and now comes with power

While the DoubleTap brake and shift levers look very similar to those in the existing range – aside from the new graphics – they have been completely redesigned, using what SRAM calls ErgoDynamics, with the aim of “perfecting the interface between rider and bike.” The SRAM Redlever body now has a narrower diameter to improve grip, and provide more control and a better transition to the bar; the hood shape has also been changed, with a more pronounced bump on the front, to allow for more hand positions. The brake lever adjust is now even more accessible to give smaller handed riders full control, while the ErgoBlade shift lever is larger to improve shifting in the drops.

The new Red rear derailleur has also changed considerably, partly through the use of ceramic bearings and a new hollow titanium cable anchor bolt. A longer “B-knuckle” now allows room for up to 28 tooth sprockets, while the newly designed tooth geometry of the AeroGlide jockey wheels is said to make shifting “super efficient and silent.”

The front derailleur meanwhile has also been completely reworked, using SRAM’s Yaw technology, which means that the cage rotates instead of simply moving from side to side. This, says SRAM, improves speed and precision, and eliminates the need to trim the front shifter, no matter which chainring/sprocket combination is selected.

“The new SRAM Red components have been designed with the twin goals of eliminating the superfluous, while focusing on overall synergy,” says Charles Becker, SRAM’s global road and tri category manager. “The Yaw FD and the X Glide R rings were designed together to eliminate the need for trim, while allowing full gear range selection.”

Aside from looking more ergonomic, the new Exogram crankset, with its new X Glide rings, has been further lightened and stiffened by making the arms hollow right up to the spider. SRAM continues to be the only one of the three big names to embrace the BB30 bottom bracket system – although a more standard GXP version is still also available – and is now also the only one to incorporate a powermeter.

While Shimano and SRAM versions of SRM’s crankset have been available for many years, the acquisition of QUARQ has allowed the Chicago company to completely incorporate its products into the Red range. Integrated electronics minimise connections, while the waterproof design – says SRAM – will stand up to the harshest weather conditions.

Improved stopping, with hydraulics on the way

As well as an improved performance, the brakeset has used a number of aerodymanic features – including an AeroLink arm, a reduced profile barrel adjuster, and a hidden quick-release lever – to make it cut through the air more efficiently.

There are currently few details on the in-development hydraulic brakes, and no images, but they are expected to arrive in the autumn, along with a new hydraulic double-tap lever. The disc version will use an all-new master cylinder and calliper, wth 140-160mm discs; while the rim version will take up to a 28mm tyre, and be compatible with Zipp’s Firecrest rims.

SRAM RedSRAM has further developed its Powerdome cassette cluster, with the middle eight sprockets continuing to be machined from a single piece of steel – making it lighter and stiffer than titanium – while the largest cog is made from aluminium. Using new StealthRing technology SRAM has adjusted the tooth profiles, and inserted elastomer rings between the sprockets, to eliminate vibration and noise from the engagement of the new lighter PowerChain.

The new Red groupset will be commercially available by the middle of this month, and available to consumers on March 1st. As usual, many of the components will be compatible with the company’s lesser groupsets, but the new levers, front derailleur and two cranksets will only work as part of the new Red group.

SRAM currently provides groupsets to five teams in the UCI WorldTour: AG2R La Mondiale, Astana, Liquigas-Cannondale, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, and Saxo Bank.

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