SRAM have unveiled two new 11-speed groupsets, dubbed SRAM Red 22 and Force 22, with the former also available with hydraulic rim and hydraulic disc brake options.
Gaining an extra sprocket sees SRAM play catch-up to Shimano and Campagnolo by offering at least one 11-speed groupset – more significant, however, are the two new hydraulic braking systems, which SRAM say offer increased power and modulation over traditional, cable-operated brakes.
Hydraulic brakes for the road market have been touted for some time but SRAM are the first of the three major groupset manufacturers to make the move to a fully integrated group.
SRAM Red 22 is also available with mechanical brakes, with the only difference between it and the recently updated 10-speed group being the allowance for an extra gear. Continuing SRAM’s tradition for super-light groupsets, it’s also the lightest 11-speed group on the market at a claimed 1,747g, compared to 1,885g for Campagnolo Super Record and 2,016g for Shimano Dura-Ace.
The hydraulic setup, however, uses an all-new Hydro R shifter which is significantly taller than the existing SRAM Red shifter in order to accommodate the hydraulic cylinder.
The same shifter is used for both hydraulic systems, dubbed Hydraulic Road Disc brakes (to be used with a disc-ready frame, fork and wheels) and Hydraulic Road Rim brakes (compatible with any frame and wheels). Both are fully sealed systems.
First up, the Hydraulic Road Disc system is the most significant departure from a traditional setup. The disc calipers use 19mm front and 18mm rear pistons, with 160mm rotors for road use and 140mm for cyclo-cross.
The Hydraulic Road Rim setup, on the other hand, has tool-free calipers with a quick release and a barrel adjuster, giving them the same usability as existing mechanical brake calipers. SRAM say they are more powerful than their existing Red brakes, but with not as much power as the new disc brakes.
Hydraulic brakes needn’t be limited to machines equipped with the complete Red 22 groupset, however, as SRAM have also announced new S-700 hydraulic levers that can be used in conjunction with S-700 hydraulic rim or disc calipers on any existing 10-speed SRAM groupset.
As for SRAM Force 22, that doesn’t currently have any hydraulic brake options as a complete groupset – you just get an 16t extra sprocket, same as Red 22 – but the group has had a big overhaul compared to the previous incarnation of Force and otherwise it essentially offers the same functionality as Red 22. As a result, SRAM say both groupsets are the first to offer trim-free 11-speed shifting thanks to their Yaw front derailleur.
There is a weight penalty, however, with a complete Force 22 groupset weighing a claimed 2,149g, compared to 1,747g for Red 22. It’s worth noting that no 11-speed components from either Red 22 or Force 22 are compatible with existing 10-speed SRAM groupsets.
So when will we see hydraulic braking in the pro peloton? While disc brakes are permitted in cyclo-cross, current UCI regulations restrict their use in road racing, however SRAM say their sponsored teams will be running SRAM Red 22 hydraulic rim brakes by the summer.
As for the rest of us, SRAM Red 22 will be available from July, with SRAM Force 22 hitting the market a month later.