Just last week Sram launched its all new top tiered Red group from Mallorca as a majority of the cycling community looked on and drooled over their keyboards. Impressively, with the public still talking about the initial launch, Sram is already getting the new group out to shops in order for mechanics and owners to see it for themselves and get preorders in if they like. After hearing our local Sram rep was in town with a non descript black case, I was able to catch up with him at BioWheels Workshop, just down the street from my house.
There were a few parts missing from the case like the rear brake and a few crank options, regardless, I grabbed a scale and got to work.
Actual weights after the break.
The only complete new Red crank the rep had with him was the new standard GXP crank. It’s no heavyweight though, as the entire crankset is a measley 588 grams (for claimed weights, check out this post) . Add in the BlackBox ceramic GXP external bottom bracket and the whole system is under 700 grams! While all the parts shown were marked as display only, I was told they are extremely close to production pieces and shouldn’t affect the weight. The crank arms seem a bit fatter than the previous edition, likely from the new hollow construction, though ankle clearance didn’t look to be an issue.
The new rear derailleur is 145g which doesn’t drop any weight from previous versions, but the improved barrel adjuster is actually an improvement, along with the fact that the cable anchor routing is improved as well. As for the added aero benefits and quietness of the new pulleys? We’ll have to wait and see.
At 78g for the regular front derailleur, and 84 g for the chain spotter equipped model, the front derailleur actually gets heavier, though only by a bit. It isn’t all that surprising though, considering the derailleur cage has been strengthened to improve shifting, along with the addition of the Yaw trimless front shifting. However, the shifting promises to be much better and the chain spotter is very well thought out. If you’ve ever installed a chain watcher/catcher/spotter a la K-Edge or similar, it can be pretty tricky to get everything to line up just right since you’re adjusting the derailleur and the chain spotter at the same time. Sram’s chain spotter allows you to adjust the front derailleur first, and then attach and adjust the chain spotter separately. The secret is the hollow threaded braze on bolt for the front derailleur, which the chain spotter slips over and bolts into. Then you simply adjust the spotter with the 2.5mm Allen on the front, and you’re all set. Very slick, and nothing touches the frame.
If you’ve taken the time to watch the install video, you know what these lines are for. If not, Sram included lines in the finish of the front derailleur to use to properly align the cage with the chainrings. It’s important to note that you can only use the height set up line while the limit screws are at the factory setting. Once you adjust the limit screws, using the setup line is no longer accurate.
One of the big stars of the new launch would have to be the new cassette. While the old red cassette was a beautifully made showpiece, it’s amplification of sound caused many riders to trade down to Force cassettes instead. Enter the new X-Dome cassette complete with StealthRing elastomer inserts! I know, it sounds like an infomercial, but truth be told it looks really good. This happens to be an 11-28 cassette which makes the 158g even better especially with it’s 8 elastomer rings (no ring between the 11 and 12).
While Sram’s claimed weight for the previous Red shifters is listed at 280g, actual weight was more like 318g. So with the new shifter’s actual weight at 281g it’s pretty good. Other than the improved reach adjust that has already been mentioned, mechanics out there will be happy to hear that cable installation is now easier. I know, I tried it. Cables are still pushed through the smaller hole in the shifter body, but it pops out of the top without any creative bending, or cursing. Also, thanks to the silver insert in the brake channel, brake housing no longer needs a ferrule where it inserts into the shifter allowing easier installation and a smoother bend.
This is the front brake, hence the long brake bolt, so the rear should be a bit lighter. However, they still manage to drop weight from previous Red even with the new Aero Link. Red brakes now have spring tension adjusts on both sides of the brake to perfectly dial it in. While the new barrel adjuster has a lot of plastic, it is pretty well thought out and seems fairly sturdy. The barrel on top functions just as you would expect, with the lever sticking out the back the new quick release that rotates around the barrel adjuster to release the brake. The import thing to notice is that with the anchor bolt no longer connected to a plastic quick release, there is no chance of a mechanic over torquing the anchor bolt and breaking the quick release (which I’ve seen more than once).
All in all, the new Red looks good. Really good. Sram seems to have addressed all of the known issues and dropped even more weight at the same time. Sign me up (once the hydraulic disc brakes are out, of course).