EB16: SRAM Red eTap HRD gets official with all-new hydraulic disc brake design

2017 sram etap hrd disc brake electronic shifting road bike group details and actual weights

2017 sram etap hrd disc brake electronic shifting road bike group details and actual weights

SRAM’s HRD program started all the way back in 2010, looking at everything from mechanical-to-hydraulic adapters to full hydraulic systems. They spent three years testing it before the initial release in 2013. After some initial stumbles, the SRAM HRD hydraulic road disc brakes really made it to market in 2014. And they were good. But immediately, they started working on the second generation (which was teased here after so many spy shots and leaks made it on to the Interwebs).

The new Hydro HC hydraulic platform is all about control, which, in their words, is what makes speed possible. And based on our first test ride through the rolling, curvy hills of southern Germany, they do indeed improve upon an already very good system. Here’s what’s new…

2017 sram etap hrd disc brake electronic shifting road bike group details and actual weights

As good as the braking on some carbon rims is getting, SRAM’s brake product manager Paul Cantor admits further development on that front delivers diminishing returns. Disc brakes are the future, which is why they’re putting so many resources into making their disc brakes better.

For now, Hydro HC will only come on Red eTap HRD, the other hydraulically braked groups (Red, Force, Rival, etc.) will continue using the original HRD design.

2017-sram-etap-hrd-disc-brake-road-group-brake-lever02

The hood shapes are refined, moving and tilting the master cylinder further forward to make more useable room on the hoods. They have reach and a new contact adjustments, and the lever feel also gets updated. Lever stroke is a bit lighter, but the return is a little quicker.

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Reach adjust is fairly simply, using an allen bolt to bring the lever closer or further from the bar to fit different size hands or personal preferences.

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Contact adjustment is tweaked at the top of the hood and moves the timing port placement within the master cylinder.

2017 sram etap hrd disc brake electronic shifting road bike group details and actual weights

Dial it down and you’ll move the the timing ports down, further away from the the cup seal (orange and black thing at top of spring), so you’ll have to pull the lever further before it closes the system and the fluid starts moving the pads toward the rotor. Dial it up (counter clockwise), and you reverse that, making it so there’s less lever pull required to initiate braking. On the right, you can see the reach adjustment rod running up from the lever to the piston.

2017 sram etap hrd disc brake electronic shifting road bike group details and actual weights

The battery and Blips/Clics button wire ports are on the outside of the lever.

2017 sram etap hrd disc brake electronic shifting road bike group details and actual weights

2017 sram etap hrd disc brake electronic shifting road bike group details and actual weights

A new Stealth-a-majig hose connector fits into the hood body and lets you more quickly reroute the brake hoses or install a system from scratch by letting you run the hose up through the frame and then simply connect it to the lever. It’s recessed into the body of the lever, so you don’t feel it under the hoods.

The lever’s bleed port on the lever sits far above the hose entry point, which makes it highly unlikely that any air in the system will get pushed into the hose during normal use either…or even when you store the bike hanging from the wall.

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Size wise, the eTap HRD levers are virtually the same as the rim brake models, and the brake lever pivot is in the same spot, too, so they should feel right at home if you’re upgrading from another SRAM road group.

2017 sram etap hrd disc brake electronic shifting road bike group details and actual weights

They’re offering post- and flat mount versions of the new Mono-block (one-piece) caliper. It’s a forged, one piece unit, which improves rigidity over the two-piece forged design on standard Red HRD. They’re sticking with the commonly available and proven DOT 5.1 fluid.

2017 sram etap hrd disc brake electronic shifting road bike group details and actual weights

Heat management is improved by adding a stainless steel heat shield (not shown on cutaways) between the pads and the caliper body, which blocks a lot of heat from transferring into the caliper.

2017 sram etap hrd disc brake electronic shifting road bike group details and actual weights

Insulated hollow aluminum pistons (C) replace the full phenolic pistons, but they do use a phenolic cap (B) between the piston and the pad (F) to reduce heat transfer. The combination provides the best result because they can better control the surface finish of the aluminum, which is then coated with a Kashima-like treatment so it slides very, very smoothly in and out of the seals (Guide Ultimate and Level Ultimate mountain bike brakes also use this design). It’s a more expensive parts and manufacturing list, though, which is why it’s only on the top end. Lastly, they opened up the pad pocket to let more air flow through. Also shown are the piston seal (D) and bleed port (A).

Inside the forged caliper body is a revised fluid path (E), similar to their latest mountain bike brakes, letting the fluid more easily fill the ports without having anywhere for air bubbles to hide during bleeding. It uses the Bleeding Edge bleed port adapter, which drastically simplifies the bleeding process.

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The 6-bolt (two piece and one piece) rotors carry over, joined by new two-piece Centerlock rotors. All three come in 140mm and 160mm sizes. They recommend 160mm for most applications, but the 140 is there for cyclocross. And daredevils.

RED ETAP HDR ACTUAL WEIGHTS

2017 sram etap hrd disc brake electronic shifting road bike group details and actual weights

Select parts were on display, so we weighed what we could. Above, the rear brake and shifter lever comes in at 383g. Expect the front to be only about 10-15g lighter.

2017 sram etap hrd disc brake electronic shifting road bike group details and actual weights

The 160mm rotors come in at 103g (2-piece 6-bolt), 108g (1-piece 6-bole), and 117g (2-piece Centerlock).

2017 sram etap hrd disc brake electronic shifting road bike group details and actual weights

Other than the shifter levers’ incorporation of the hydraulic brake master cylinder, the drivetrain parts remain the same as mechanical-brake eTap. You can check the full tech story on eTap here. Chainset side of the cranks was 361g, the non-drive with spindle wasn’t available, but these weights should be the same as what we’ve weighed before. Pressfit BB30 bottom bracket is 72g, and the 11-26 cassette is 158g. For now, there’s still no WiFLi cassette – we asked, and the muffled answer amounted to “it’s coming soon”. After all, #crossiscoming, though we’re not in any way suggesting we know that it’ll deliver in time for this season…the HRD parts don’t even ship until early next year.

2017 sram etap hrd disc brake electronic shifting road bike group details and actual weights

Claimed weight for the SRAM Red eTap HRD kit is 960g with rotors, and it comes in a claimed 285g heavier than the equivalent mechanical-rim-braked eTap group.

PRICING

The complete Red eTap HRD kit will be available in early 2017 and includes:

  • shift/brake levers and calipers ($490 / €450 / £379 each)
  • front derailleur w/ battery ($370 / €345 / £281)
  • rear derailleur with battery ($590 / €550 / £487)
  • power pack charger ($70 / €65 / £55)
  • 160mm Centerline rotors with Ti hardware ($72 / €76 / £64)
  • USB firmware update dongle ($50 / €45 / £38)
  • TOTAL: $2,204 / €2,057 / £1,707

Assuming you’re not adding it to an existing SRAM 11-speed group, the mechanical drivetrain parts to finish it off are:

  • SRAM Red GXP crankset ($406 / €427 / £362)
  • Red 22 hollow pin chain ($43 / €45 / £38)
  • 11-28 Red cassette ($251 / €272 / £232)
  • GXP Team threaded BB ($36 / €37 / £31)
  • MECH PARTS TOTAL: $736 / €783 / £663)

A full ride report will come after Eurobike, but suffice to say the changes aren’t just impressive on paper, they translate well to the road. Braking power comes on slightly faster than before, yet its performance remains more linear and predictable than competing systems.

SRAM.com

Comments

38 thoughts on “EB16: SRAM Red eTap HRD gets official with all-new hydraulic disc brake design

    1. I don’t know where SRAM gets the 960g number. Based on your scales, it is over 1300g for the two shifters, calipers, rotors, and front and rear der.

    1. Exactly! Contact adjust is essential in my eyes, I cannot handle pads dragging on rotors it drives me insane! I’ll let a few people drop some coin to test this new set up first though as the old Elixir contact adjust was close to useless.

  1. if I understand this system, this “reach ajust” wont affect the prake pad position… just the distance – you have to pull the brakelever – until you start to brake…

      1. no pad contact adjust feature from any manufacturer physically moves the pads. They all work by adjusting the lever piston’s relationship to the timing port. Having a “real” contact is impossible with how hydro discs work

    1. You’d think the company that developed “Wi-Fli” would have support for wide range cassettes but you’d be wrong (apparently a limitation of their eTap rear derailleur design).

  2. **The sounds of Shimano fans crawling out of the woodwork to critique and talk about how they could’ve designed a better product**

    The shifting / braking / overall aesthetic of this groupset is quite nice. The lever feel is incredible, and I’m coming off of ridng Hydro Ultegra for the last couple years.

    SRAM knocked it out of the park with this one.

  3. What is the max cassette size that this will accommodate? It would be nice to be able to fit a 32 tooth large cog for steep gravel rides.

      1. Pardon my ignorance, but wouldn’t an 11-32 cassette require a new/different derailleur with a longer cage, as opposed to a different cassette?

        1. No, you are right, but I think the article means announcing *support* for the WiFli cassette, as opposed to availability of the cassette itself. My first response was not at all clear. 🙂

        2. @JG: Yes, the rear derailleur is the issue, SRAM’s current eTap RD spec maxes out at 28t.

          TBH, I’m surprised they don’t have a long cage eTap rear derailleur to show this week, I fully expected a cross-specific wireless 1x groupset announcement in time for cross season, but crickets.

          Makes me think Wi-Fli eTap is a larger problem than anyone guessed.

    1. My understanding from another post (I think it was on BR somewhere) was that a hack using a Wolftooth link made the 32 work just fine, as long as you didn’t exceed the total capacity. Might have been a 1x system, but the RD was fine with a 32.

    1. Have you tried their Guide brakes? Simply awesome, and better than Shimano imo (and many reviewers). Bleeding of my CX1 brakes was easy and the process more refined than that used on Shimano mt brakes.

      1. Some of us got burned with the first generation of SRAM road hydraulics. Weeks to get replacement cable actuated brakesets and shifters installed, then months for the replacement hydraulics to come out. I wouldn’t be in any hurry to beta test their latest and greatest, maybe wait a year to see if they’ve gotten their …stuff… together…

        1. seriously? putting on a pair of rubber gloves is the massive barrier to calling it an easy process? No wonder we pay doctors so much, they wear those inconvenient gloves all the time!

        2. Why are you getting brake fluid on your hands? I haven’t had SRAM brakes since the Avid Juicys, but the one time in 7 years of ownership I needed to bleed them it was no big deal. And even if you do get it on your hands, what’s the big deal about washing some DOT fluid off? It’s not _that_ toxic, and it’s not particularly corrosive either. Mineral oil works fine, DOT works fine too, whether the brakes use one or the other isn’t a major point to base a purchasing decision on. If you want a wireless shifting system with disc brakes, then it’s DOT or nothing at the moment.

        3. I must be a real neat freak because I always put on gloves for bike maintenance. Why get mucky paws when you don’t need too?

      2. Well, I know a few people that couldn’t use their guide brakes after the bike sat in the sun for under 30 minutes. They worked fine after it was brought inside.

  4. I`m puzzled by this “stainless steel heat shield” that`s supposedly blocks heat. How is stainless steel, one of the most thermally conductive materials around can be considered a thermal insulator?

  5. @man of steel, probably an air gap much like exhaust heat shields. Reflects heat away from the caliper and uses the air flowing past to dissipate what heat it does absorb.

  6. @man of steel: I’m guessing at alloys here, but 6061 Aluminum has a thermal conductivity coefficient of ~167W/m-K, while 304 Stainless has a coefficient of 15W/m-K. That’s an order of magnitude higher rate of conduction. Therefore, it acts as a heat shield in this application.

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