First, SRAM put out a teaser video that showed enough to seriously whet our appetite for more. Now, they’ve released a very dark full group photo that gives glimpses of some of the details we’d uncovered in that first post. Click on through for closeups…
Our source had previously told us the new group would have an emphasis on both weight savings and aerodynamics. The crank arms absolutely look smoother, and we’re glad to see black is the base color rather than gray. The back of the cassette (shown in the original post) and the chainring designs have a very strong (and odd) semblance to the current XTR brake rotors. Compared to the current generation, it looks like the big ring has a chiseled relief to save a few grams but likely without affecting rigidity.
The derailleurs also get heavily redesigned cosmetically, and the rear seems to have several major aerodynamic considerations. First, the upper parallelogram arm looks to have a physical shield dropping down just behind the cable mounting bolt, possibly to send air over the barrel adjuster port. The stop screws are in the same place as the current model, but they’re recessed into the upper arm.
The outer chainguide plate on the front derailleur looks slightly curvier, as though it would hug the outer edge of the chainring just a bit better. The outer parallelogram arm is much shapelier, and the stop screws are no longer visible from the outside, too.
The shifter and brake levers look like they cant outward at a bit more aggressive angle. The shift lever seems to be outward just a bit more, putting it flush with the brake lever edge rather than tucked slightly behind it on the current model. Graphics also flow from one lever to the next, a cosmetic improvement.
We’ve heard the brakes have a small cantilever where the cable clamps in. This would give them either more or progressive power (or both), but we can’t see anything to that effect on these photos. Of course, we’ve also heard with absolute certainty for several months now that there will be disc brake models, too.
As usual, more as we get it. We do have an official launch date of February 1 with samples available for testing in March if everything stays on track.