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New Red: Going a bit deeper

  • By Caley Fretz
  • Published Feb. 2, 2012
  • Updated 18 hours ago
The new Red shift levers have a much nicer transition from the bars, and more space for your fingers in between the evers and the drops. Photo: Caley Fretz @ VeloNews

Yesterday’s new Red overview was broad out of necessity, with more information than would fit in a web-length story. Today, for those interested in a bit more detail, I’ll focus in on a few features that warrant a closer look.

A closer look at Red gallery

For the weight weenies

SRAM says the new group will weigh 1739 grams. That figure is for the BB30 version of the crank and BB — swap to GXP and the total weight goes up to 1791g. Old Red came in at 1926g in its lightest form, and 1939 grams with a standard crankset.

Here are the individual part weights, first from “old” Red, then the new stuff. 2012 Red weights are claimed, 2011 are verified on our own scales.

Old Red:

Shifters: 319g
Crankset: 662g (BB30)
Bottom bracket: 53g
Front derailleur: 72g
Rear derailleur: 143g
Cassette: 165g
Brakeset: 270g
Chain: 255g

2012 Red:

Shifters: 280 grams/pair (-39g)
Crankset: 557 grams w/BB30, 172.5mm, 53×39; 609g GXP (-105g)
Bottom bracket: 53 grams (BB30); 105g (GXP) (No change)
Front derailleur: 74 grams (braze on); plus 12g chain spotter (+2g, +14 w/chain spotter)
Rear derailleur: 145 grams (+2g)
Cassette: 135 grams (11-23t) (-30g)
Brakeset: 240 grams/pair (-30g)
Chain: 255 grams (114 links) (No change)

So the vast majority of the weight loss comes from the crankset, which has adopted a design similar to the super light Zipp Vuma, and from the cassette which has been redesigned entirely.

Using different chainrings, front derailleur or shifters should work just fine given cable pull ratios, but SRAM claims the shift quality will be drastically compromised.

Given these supposed compatibility issues with going “outside the system,” which we won’t be able to investigate until we get a group in-house, it seems the best initial upgrades would be in a the new cassette and new brakes. Both offer performance advantages in addition to the weight loss — the cassette is unbelievably quiet, and the new cam-actuated brakes perform significantly better than the old version.

If those compatibility issues turn out to be less drastic than SRAM claims, then the true weight weenie may want to skip the new shifters and derailleurs and just pick up the new crank, cassette, and brakes. However, though the front derailleur actually gained weight, it has seen an enormous increase in performance to go along with those few extra grams. Anyone who actually likes proper shifting should forget about the extra 14 grams and get the new Yaw front derailleur and shifters before anything else.

For the watt weenies

The Red Quarq is not simply a SRAM 975 Quarq with an updated look: it has been wholly redesigned and is built around the new hidden-bolt Red crank.

The new meter is rather exciting for the wattage geeks out there, having upped its accuracy to an industry-leading +/- 1.5%, dropped a heap of weight, and added a bunch of handy features.

The electronics are now integrated and sealed deep inside the durable aluminum spider. The new spider geometry helps increase accuracy, and also allows for increased BB clearance.

To help with install and setup a new LED indicator blinks when the system first wakes up, and when it is sent a calibration command — no more guessing whether the thing is actually on.

The battery is now a CR2032, smaller than the old battery and now the same size as most heart rate strap and head unit batteries. 2032’s are much easier to find just about anywhere, too.

A feature called Omnical allows the user to swap chainrings without recalibration, from a 53×39 to a 55-tooth TT ring or 46×36 cyclocross rings with an error of less than 1%.

The Red Quarq is the first Ant+ meter to feature left/right power balance as well. It doesn’t measure power in two places, instead splitting the measured torque based on cadence, between the first half and second half of the stroke. The effect is about the same, and over our 4 hour ride yesterday I ended up with a 48/52 split left to right, just as I did last time I performed extensive indoor scientific testing. What can be done with this information is not really understood, though I’m sure there are bright minds working on that very problem right now.

Also on show was a nifty little forward mount for Garmin 500 head units, placing the unit in front of the bars like an SRM Powercontrol head unit.

Availability is set for April 1 for the 53×39 and May 1 for the compact, and it will set you back $1995 for the GXP version. No head unit is included.

For the wrench weenies

The new Yaw front derailleur offers up a crop of installation issues that mechanics have never had to deal with before, centered around the fact that the cage itself pivots as it moves between chainrings.

Alignment with the crankset is therefor a bit more difficult, and is not helped by the loose standards associated with where frame manufacturers put their mounts.

This necessitates that the Yaw derailleur be set up a bit differently. It comes out of the box with the limit srew dialed in to push the derailleur out to its big ring position. In this setup, a mechanic uses three reference marks, one on the inner plate, one on the tip and one on the tail of cage.

The tallest tooth of the chainring must fall within the inner plate mark. The tip and tail marks must line up with the big ring as well, setting rotational alignment. These marks may seem a bit silly, but the new front derailleur is apparently particularly picky when it comes to alignment, and so they will likely prove extremely useful to the home mechanic.

After proper alignment, the limit screws can then be let out and adjusted as usual. Some re-alignment may be necessary. From there, any good mechanic can probably figure out the method, but if you’re struggling SRAM has provided an excellent solution. On every box is a QR code, scannable with your phone, that will take you directly to a well-done how-to video detailing the complete installation and use of that part. Or you can pick up the videos on youtube with your regular computer.

Take a look at the product gallery

FILED UNDER: Bikes and Tech TAGS: /

Caley Fretz

Caley Fretz

Tech Editor Caley Fretz can usually be found chasing races along the backroads of Europe or testing bikes and gear in the mountains outside Boulder, Colorado. If you can't find him there, check the coffee shop across from VN World Headquarters.

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