SRAM’s new-for-2012 edition of its range-topping Red groupset will be in the shops by the end of this month.
In marked contrast to the hen’s teeth availability that normally follows global launches of high-profile products, the latest incarnation of SRAM’s Red ensemble, unveiled yesterday, will be on the shelves before March.
Tim Bayley, UK brand manager for SRAM, told RoadCyclingUK the American manufacturer had timed its announcement to synchronise with product availability.
“The groupset will be in the shops by the end of February. It’s the first time there’s ever been a global launch so close to delivery of the product. It’s something that SRAM has deliberately tried to do. Normally you get the global launch and the product comes six to eight months later, but we’re looking at three weeks,” he said.
Placed yesterday before an invited audience of UK dealers, retailers were told the difference in weight between the new groupset and Shimano’s electronic Dura Ace Di2 was equivalent to a filled 500ml water bottle.
“We believe that the mechanical benefit offered by the drive train will offer people something they haven’t had before. The Yaw front shifting is bang on perfect. There’s no guess work and no trim. It’s easy to set up. Combined with the weight, attention to aerodynamics and the finish, that’s quite a benefit,” said Bayley.
Six brand new components grab the spotlight: shifters, front and rear derailleurs, brakes, chainset and cassette.
SRAM claimed to have scrutinised every aspect of their dual action shifter. The DoubleTap mechanism of a single lever with long and short actuations to shift up and down the cassette remains at the centre of SRAM’s shifter design. A new reach adjustment is included to accommodate a wider range of hand sizes.
SRAM have retained the Exact Actuation principle from earlier models of Red rear derailleur, matching the amount of movement in the mech to the length of cable pulled by the lever. New designs can be found in the cage and body in a bid to offer improved clearance from the cassette. A new tooth geometry on the “AeroGlide” jockey wheels are claimed to offer silent performance, while a hollow titanium anchor bolt is evidence of a design concept firmly focused on weight saving.
Those lucky enough to have ridden the new groupset have identified the front derailleur as an area of significant improvement over earlier editions. A rotating derailleur cage (“Revolutionary Yaw Technology” in SRAM-speak) is used to maintain a consistent distance from the chain, eliminating the need for trim. Steel and aluminum have replaced titanium as the cage material, presumably in an attempt to stiffen the mechanism and deliver more effective shifting.
Exogram is another of Red’s new year gifts to the lexicon of componentry, used to describe a carbon chainset hollow to the spider and mounted to X Glide R chainrings designed for use with the Yaw Technology front derailleur.
SRAM Red Quarq Power Meter
SRAM’s purchase last May of power meter maker, Quarq, has borne fruit in the SRAM Red Quarq Power Meter, offering reduced system weight, clearance for oversized frames, aerodynamic chainrings, and accuracy to plus or minus 1.5 per cent. TT chainrings can be fitted without recalibration, while an integrated design has been used to shield the electronics from the elements. Whether any amount of sleek design can save crank-based power meters from this year’s predicted released of pedal-mounted rivals remains to be seen.
The single pivot brake calipers are another new entity, smaller and more aerodynamic than their predecessors and equipped with an “AeroLink” arm claimed to deliver improved modulation and power. The quick release, indexed to four positions, is built into the barrel adjuster.
Powerdome X Cassette
A new design for the 10-speed cassette allows the middle eight cogs to be machined from a single block of high grade steel, delivering sub-titanium weight, according to SRAM. A rubber “StealthRing” sits between each cog to reduce noise and vibration.
A new chain for the SRAM Red groupset uses hollow pins and heavily contoured outer plates in a bid to deliver smoother and quieter shifting. With 114-links, it weighs 255 grams.