Sound Check: Is the New SRAM Red Cassette Quieter?

We were curious how much of a difference the new chiseled design and the elastomer bands made to quiet the notoriously noisy (but oh so wonderfully light) SRAM Red cassette. On my first ride, the noise reduction was obvious. Now, thanks to Parlee, we’ve got a road bike in the test stable with the full group for long term testing. Surprisingly, the video didn’t pick up the same noise reduction as is evident when riding, but the change in pitch is. Perhaps that’s what makes it seem quieter?

Comments

18 thoughts on “Sound Check: Is the New SRAM Red Cassette Quieter?

  1. I suspect it would be much quieter in shifting, the old Red cassette sounded like a tin cannon every time I dropped a gear. Another aspect is that perhaps the new design is naturally more quiet, but they added the elastomer bands to make it even quieter and also to show the consumer that the issue has been noted and addressed.

  2. Yeah I think they were going for a serious reduction in shift noise… That old one was pretty ridiculous on carbon rims. Those rubber bands in the cassette cushion the chain’s landing from cog to cog….I think.

  3. The video camera probably had automatic gain control, which levels the volume. Unless it’s a high-end rig with manual gain control explicitly set, everything will sound the same.

  4. sometimes when you record video, there is some sound leveling, so it may play back at similar volumes even if they were completely different live.

  5. imho, greg’s probably correct. it would be find a camera that didn’t dynamically normalize sound levels; otherwise, most of the recorded audio would be useless.

  6. the damping funktion is only provided within the impact area when the chain engages. The chain rollers only hit the right spot when load is applied and so the chain has a defined position on the cog. Try the same test with a little braking…

  7. Fisho– sound means or lost energy (sort of like friction, but not really). Energy that goes towards producing sound is energy not going to the pavement. It means the system isn’t operating ideally.

  8. greg – I thought about that, and it could be, but in person standing over the camera they still sounded pretty similar…the video is a pretty fair representation of what I heard. I’ve only got one ride on it so far, but when I’m on the bike (and my head is 3 to 4 feet from the cassette instead of right over it), the noise reduction is more apparent. BTW, it was filmed with a Sony HDR-SR11 – good, but definitely not pro.

    All – we’ll pick apart the bands on the cassette when we get further into the review.

  9. Patrick – Really? uh, while I agree that sound in the world of physics is energy dissipation… are we really worried about that amount of energy? That would be so infinitesimally small that it will not change anything in the world of a CAT4 race or the local century ride.

  10. @Bikerumor – I’ve read that the elastic bands are replaceable… Can the bands be retrofitted?

    the damping funktion is only provided within the impact area when the chain engages. The chain rollers only hit the right spot when load is applied and so the chain has a defined position on the cog. Try the same test with a little braking…

    —Sometimes I hate this industry.

    It doesn’t matter what sound it makes. Dunning-Kruger Effect. Go ride your bike and stop talking about them

  11. What he said…the Dude abides.

    I just bought a used old-style Red cassette…can’t wait to hear it!
    Maybe I’ll use some spray foam insulation inside 😉

Leave a Reply