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Red launch

  • By Caley Fretz
  • Published Feb. 1, 2012
  • Updated 2 hours ago
As the derailleur moves outwards, it pivots to better match chainline. No trim is needed, and shift performance is drastically improved. Photo: Caley Fretz @ VeloNews

Improved shifter ergonomics

Hood shape has evolved, rather than been recreated. Those happy with current SRAM hoods will be happy with the new ones as well. SRAM worked with fit specialists from Retül and elsewhere to perfect the relationship between the wrist and hand, and important element in maintaining control, and the result is a very flat transition from bar to hood, and a number of small tweaks to allow customization for individual hand size and strength.

Grip security is improved thanks to a taller knob, which also juts up at a tighter angle, and a textured surface. The knob remains smaller than the bulbous Shimano levers, though. Hood to bar transition has been improved as well, creating a much flatter transition from bar to hood.

Both brake and shift levers have been slimmed down, allowing for an easy three-finger wrap between the levers and the bar. The brake lever is longer, and curves nicely to provide excellent touch points both when on the hoods and in the drops.

Both brake and shift levers are adjustable using a 2.5mm hex.

Lighter, stiffer crankset and chainrings

The new crankset is Zipp Vuma-esque, but is from from an exact replica. It’s all hollow carbon, and uses a hidden 5th chainring bolt behind the crankarm to effectively eliminate the weight of that arm as well as help stiffen things up. Of course, that means that third-party rings will have to be updated to work.

The new chainrings borrow much from the excellent XX mountain rings, particularly the upshift rivets and ramp/pin timing. They are optimized to work with the Yaw front derailleur, and are claimed to be significantly stiffer than the previous chainrings, which were less than excellent, to put it nicely.

The new crankset will drop a full 100 grams over the current BB30 Red crank, while apparently being much stiffer and shifting much better.

Also on offer is a Red Quarq power meter, designed to blend into the rest of the crank very nicely. A few nifty features are included, including an LED indicator to signal on/off and zero setting. A system called Ominical ensures easy chainring swaps.

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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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