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SRAM Red electronic road group: more images and info

By:
James Huang/BikeRadar
We initially thought the rear derailleur was a roughly machined prototype but now that we can see the contours more closely, it looks much more production ready.

We initially thought the rear derailleur was a roughly machined prototype but now that we can see the contours more closely, it looks much more...

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This article first appeared on BikeRadar, and is a follow-up to the first sighting of electronic SRAM Red in the wild.

SRAM continued in-house testing of its upcoming electronic group this past weekend with at least two employees – Mike Hemme and Scott McLaughlin – running the prototype bits at the Midwest regional championship event in Chicago, Illinois. SRAM kept the bikes under wraps until it was time to race but we still managed to get a few fresh images to share.

So far, it looks like everything we hypothesized in our earlier article is holding true: SRAM is sticking to a one-button format for the levers and there are separate wires joining each derailleur to a combination 'brain'/battery up front. Currently, there is definitely no clutch on the carbon fiber rear derailleur pulley cage, which at least for now is wholly shared with the standard Red 22 unit.

The front derailleur shares the current Red 22's hybrid aluminum-and-steel construction along with a different version of SRAM's trick "Yaw" angle-adjusting geometry. While the mechanical version's sliding pivot mechanism is visible from the outside, the electronic version appears to have it tucked away in the inner pivots. As a result, SRAM's system shouldn't need to automatically trim depending on rear cog position as does Shimano and Campagnolo.

We now believe that the box mounted atop the stem is a combination rechargeable Li-ion battery and 'brain' as there still appears to be no additional connection to an internally mounted power source. The current electrical tape mounting system is obviously a stopgap measure but perhaps we while see tabs for an o-ring style attachment method. What's still in question, however, is where SRAM intends for this box to go. Road racers will likely be able to tuck this underneath the stem but as these images show, 'cross riders running cantilever brakes might not have sufficient room.

What's also interesting to note is how small the unit is. Shimano and Campagnolo have both had to battle with consumer fears that an electronic drivetrain would prematurely run out of power but now that both systems have proven to last far longer than they really need to, we can't help but wonder if SRAM has taken the aggressive position of downsizing the battery to save weight. The inclusion of the Yaw-style front derailleur should help in this department as that cage will only have to move during an actual front shift, thus reducing the power drain on the system.

What we didn't expect to see at all, however, is how production-ready everything looks. Several of the aluminum pieces still bear a pretty rough finish but others appear to have come out of more mass-manufacturing-friendly tooling. This seems to point to an electronic group that is getting close to production.

mroli74 10 months ago
Given the teething problems with the hydraulics and the Red WiFiLi, I think I'll give this a while to settle in before being tempted (and I ride SRAM).....
beaknpop 10 months ago
If this fails say goodbye to SRAM...and I ride and love SRAM. Fingers crossed
devlin 10 months ago
SRAM just need to stop trying to make the lightest and just try and make the best functioning parts. Who cares if a group set weighs 100 or 200 grams more if it works flawlessly for a long time.
MavicMoto 10 months ago
Still hoping it's wireless......
EVORider 10 months ago
Why WHY WHY... nothing is wrong with cable!!
fishey72 10 months ago
Because Di2 works better. Even on a Cyclocross bike covered in 3" of mud because it has no cables, it shifts flawlessly with the touch of the button. People whine about having a battery, Di2 ones last 4 months with 4-5 rides a week. Just charge it the first of every months, it takes 10 min.
nepetalactone 10 months ago
Why WHY WHY have a name like EVORider with that mindset?
EVORider 10 months ago
Ive seen friends Di2 go south, Ive seen EPS go south, and I rode with a guy in Hawaii who said he wishes he stayed with cable... Im just not convinced the bugs are worked out yet... that and Im not buying a new frame to have the "latest and supposed greatest" Nibali and Cancellera sure seem happy with cables!!
njspanasonic 10 months ago
@devlin There is a company that has been doing that already for a LONG time. You might have heard of it, CAMPAGNOLO for life!
Raoul Duke 10 months ago
Campagnolo is really a company whose gruppo's inspire the rider and rider loyalty, especially for us old geezers who started on it back when there was nothing else that could touch it. Even though Shimano et al make a great product now, I cannot conceive buying other than Campy, would sure love a set of their Bora Ultra 35 wheels.
fishey72 10 months ago
SRAM, I got tired of the Force and Red mechanical shifters failing every 12-16 months. The shop I dealt with had a weekly basket full of them to warranty. Durability must get better before I return.
Raoul Duke 10 months ago
nothing beats comments from those with experience of the brand in question. Thanks for that. When the darkside whispers, "buy SRAM you cannot afford Campy", I will just not submit.
Charles Léveillé 10 months ago
Been riding RED for 2 years now on 2 different bikes and I must say I'm pretty satisfied. I think Sram gets a lot of hate from people who've never had Sram components and it seems out of proportion. I work in a bike shop and we dont have baskets full of broken Sram parts, nothing like that. Maybe its just me, but I like rooting for the underdog and in my mind it seems kinda normal that Sram, who's the newest comer in road groupsets has a steep learning curve...I'm buying Red 22 for next year and I can't wait to see how better it'll be.
Raoul Duke 10 months ago
why I hope SRAM survives and prospers, freedom of choice! Buy what you love, let us know how it works out for you
simo1733 8 months ago
If anyone is an underdog it must be Campagnolo.
lostintime 9 months ago
Battery operated is great for the Pro, who aways has the latest. For the consumer, great if you always ride the latest. If you keep your bikes and parts for the long term though, the battery issue will reveal itself. Will you be able to get a battery in 5-10-15 years ? The way Companies plan obsolescence, I bet not.
Raoul Duke 9 months ago
Once a good mechanical system is developed, it works well without changes for a long time. Anything with a battery, electronics and software will always have changes to better batteries, software updates etc. Hasn't Campy already done this moving from the downtube box to an internal battery? Shimano also upgrades the electronics from the old Dura-Ace electronic to the Ultegra then put the improvements into the new 9700 Dura-Ace. I would like to try it, but not buy it. But it is a money thing as well as philosophical. Having to recharge a bicycle somehow just seems wrong to me.
_rubye 9 months ago
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