SRAM go 11-speed with new SRAM Red 22 and Force 22 groupsets.
This article was orginally published on bikeradar.com
SRAM will go 11-speed with new SRAM Red 22 and Force 22 road groupsets, with hydraulic rim and hydraulic disc brakes as options for the top-end group. For those wanting to add hydraulic brakes to an existing 10-speed system, SRAM announced new S-700 hydraulic levers that can be paired to S-700 hydraulic rim or disc calipers and any 10-speed SRAM group.
SRAM claim all the new 11-speed groups to be ‘trim-free’, meaning you can use the full width of the cassette on either chain ring without adjusting the front derailleur or getting chain rub on the derailleur cage. In all cassette options from 11-25 to 11-28, what’s new is the 16-tooth cog, which makes for single-tooth differences from the 11 up to the 17.
SRAM Red 22: first top end group to include hydraulic braking
With Red 22, SRAM has planted its flag as the first major component company with an integrated hydraulic brake road group. While Shimano and Campagnolo have continued to expand their electronic shifting offerings, SRAM has stayed the course with mechanical shifting across the board.
With Red 22 mechanical, SRAM has also notched the claim to the lightest and (in most markets) least expensive top-end 11-speed group of the Big Three. A complete Red 22 mechanical group weighs a claimed 1,747g, compared to 1,885g for Campagnolo’s Super Record and 2,016g for Shimano’s Dura Ace 9000.
Red 22 shares a Yaw front derailleur, rear derailleur, crank options — including an integrated Quarq power meter — cassette options and chain across the mechanical and hydraulic configurations.
The Red 22 mechanical shifters are quite similar to current Red 2012 in ergonomics and function, with the exception of course being the 11th indent. The rest of the mechanical group follows suit: it’s Red 2012 technology tuned for 11-speed.
The Red 22 hydraulic shifter is largely identical to the mechanical shifter with the exception of the extended upper hood body that houses the hydraulic cylinder.
Designed to work with any wheel and any caliper-brake road frame, the Red 22 Hydro R caliper harnesses the power and modulation of a hydraulic system in a relatively svelte package. At a quick glance, the Hydro R calipers might not leap out visually for someone not looking for them. The Red 22 Hydro R disc brakes, however, are a substantial departure for road bicycles, requiring purpose-built frames and disc wheels. Both are sealed systems, which SRAM claims will prevent contamination and deterioration over time.
The Hydro R disc calipers use 19mm front and 18mm rear pistons, with 160mm rotors that SRAM says are required for road use, or 140mm rotors for cyclocross.
The Hydro R rim calipers have a quick release and a barrel adjuster, lending familiarity in feel and function with mechanical calipers. The disc calipers, however, have no tool-free adjustment option.
For their proclaimed benefits, the hydraulic systems also add weight, about 104g for the Hydro R rim system and 463g for the Hydro R disc, when you take into account the rotors and the additional weight of the wheel for the latter. Arguably, the frames could also increase in weight to account for the additional stability required at the fork leg and rear triangle.
SRAM Force 22 does not have any hydraulic options. The mechanical 11-speed group receives all the functionality of the Red 22 mechanical group, with slightly heavier materials and a lower cost.
The Red 22 and Force 22 components are not compatible with SRAM’s 10-speed groups.
10-speed hydraulic options
For those wanting to add hydraulic braking to an existing 10-speed group, however, SRAM will have the S-700 hydraulic levers, road calipers and disc calipers. This is not a complete group.
While SRAM says it will work with any SRAM 10-speed group, it will work best with a 2012 Red group that has a Yaw front derailleur because of the two-position left shifter. (Many front derailleurs have trim options to adjust the front derailleur in addition to shifting between the small and large chain rings.)
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