SRAM Red 2012
If there’s one thing you can bet your life on people saying when a new groupset comes out, it’s that “the other manufacturers better get cracking or they’ll be left behind.” This has been even truer since Shimano released their electronic, Di2 and especially since the Ultegra version.
The feeling seems to be that the Campagnolo and SRAM manufacturers have been sitting in their offices with their hands on their cheeks and mouths open like Munch’s The Scream moaning, “What are we going to do?”
Well, obviously these sorts of companies don’t just rest on their laurels. They’d be out of business pretty quickly if they did. Rather, they have many staff who are constantly at work on research and development. We saw Campagnolo release their EPS groupset late last year and now SRAM have put the updated Red groupset onto the market.
Here at Bicycling Australia we’ve been pleased to have one of the pre production versions of Red to test for a few weeks. The groupset is one of two sent to Australia by SRAM mounted onto a Cannondale Evo Super Six with a pair of Zipp 303 Firecrests. While the Zipps aren’t that surprising given SRAM took over the company in 2007, a cynic might say the Cannondale was a wise choice if you wanted to make the groupset look good. Not only is it a lightweight frame (6.4kg complete bike weight including the Zipps for the 56cm), its matt black paint job makes the finish of the Red absolutely look the goods. To me, it’s a shrewd move.
Personally, I was very interested to test this new Red. SRAM to me has always been a love it or loathe it groupset, though I guess you could say that about all groupsets. Some people like the DoubleTap shifting, others don’t. Other people may have felt that the hoods were a bit low, but if there was one criticism that you heard regularly it was the action of the front derailleur. It has been said to be hard to move back into the big ring, fussy to adjust and prone to going out of trim. And while it can’t be denied that a groupset that has helped a large number riders make the podium on the Champs Elysees must have a number of good qualities, urban myths and internet fancies are hard to ignore. So let’s have a look at how SRAM have improved the new Red for 2012.
SRAM Red has always been a player in the lightweight stakes, so weight weenies will be please to know that the new groupset weighs 1,739 grams, about 150g less than the previous incarnation. Here are the individual weights:
Rear Derailleur: 145g
Front Derailleur: 86g
BB30 cranks: 557g
Bottom Bracket: 53g
Cassette: 135g (11-23T)
Cranking It Out
There’s some interesting stuff happening with the cranks to help that weight loss along. They’re completely hollow and in the same way that frame manufacturers use oversize tubes to add stiffness, SRAM have made these pretty beefy. What’s new is not so much the fact that the cranks are hollow, but that the hollow section extends right into the carbon spider. This is still a five-bolt construction, however, one of the bolts is hidden behind the crank arm.