SRAM announces 11-speed “22” groupsets and hydraulic road disc and rim brakes
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Monday, April 15, 2013

SRAM announces 11-speed “22” groupsets and hydraulic road disc and rim brakes

by Ben Atkins at 1:35 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tech News
US company makes “only improvement required” to its top road componentry


Following its April 1st Youtube teaser from two weeks ago, US component maker SRAM has confirmed the creation of new “22” versions of its top road groups. Red and Force will now be available with 11 sprockets, bringing it into line with rivals Campagnolo - who introduced 11-speed in 2008 - and Shimano - who presented it in 2012 - and will include all of the current 10-speed groups’ characteristics.

The eleventh sprocket is described by SRAM as “arguably the only improvement required” to its Red group.

Perhaps the bigger news, however, is the introduction of all-new hydraulic brakes for road bikes in both caliper and disc form.

Many changes to the Red and Force ones are incremental to include the extra sprocket, but the ErgoFit body of the new 11-speed brake and shift lever has been given a reduced diameter to give better grip and finger wrap, and provide better control; a longer B-knuckle in the rear derailleur gives more clearance for 28-tooth sprockets; while the front derailleur includes an integrated chain spotter to keep the chain in place when it’s crossed.

The 11 sprockets are obviously spaced closer together than the existing 10-speed ones, to fit the new cassette in the same width freehub, with the hollow steel dome construction maintained. The chain is also narrower, and weighs in at a claimed 242 grams for 114 links.

SRAM’s trademarked ‘Yaw’ front derailleur cage means that all ring and sprocket combinations are possible, making it what the company proclaims is a truly 22-speed group. The Red chainset - and corresponding Quarq 22 powermeter - features narrower chainrings to accommodate the new chain, but is otherwise unchanged from the 10-speed version.

sramWith its new hydraulic brakes SRAM becomes the first of the big three to produce a hydraulic disc for the road; although Magura has already produced a hydraulic rim brake in collaboration with Cervélo for the P5 time trial frame. The levers have a pronounced horn at the front to house the all-new master cylinder, while the standard DoubleTap functionality has been retained from the standard mechanical levers.

The new Red Hydraulic disc calipers have been optimised for road and cyclocross, with lower hand forces required than for cable brakes, with the weight coming in at 449 grams per wheel. The rim calipers have been similarly optimised, and include a similar quick release system to the cable version; rim brakes come in lighter at 387 grams per wheel.

Disc brakes are currently not allowed in road competition and, until there is a mass take-up in the professional peloton it’s unlikely to feature in a big way due to compatibility with neutral service. With Shimano rumoured to be also developing road discs, however, and frame manufacturers beginning to introduce disc versions, it surely cannot be too far away.

SRAM-sponsored teams may well begin to use the hydraulic rim brakes, however, which are fully legal.

Discs are legal in cyclocross, however, with a number of US riders - including national champion Jeremy Powers - seen using SRAM prototypes over the previous season, and this is where early sales are likely to be concentrated.

SRAM has also introduced S-700 versions of the hydraulic brakes, for backwards compatibility with SRAM’s existing 10-speed groups; including Rival and Apex which do not get the additional sprocket this time.

The 11-speed changes made to Red have also been rolled out to its second tier group, Force.

SRAM 22 and road hydraulics will be available from July 2013, with mechanical groupsets priced at $2,618 or €2,328 for red, $1,358 or €1,207 for Force, with hydraulic discs at $1,122 or €998 and rim brakes at $968 or €860, and S-700 discs at $796 or €708, and rim brakes at $572 or €508.

For a gallery of images of the new SRAM 22 components click on the thumbnails below




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