This article originally published on BikeRadar
SRAM has yet to officially announce the upcoming Red hydraulic disc brakes and matching levers but we know they're deep in development. Now we've spotted them out in public at a local cyclo-cross race in Castle Rock, Colorado – not far from SRAM's brake headquarters in Colorado Springs.
While it still feels like there's some more refining to do (we only squeezed the levers and didn’t have a chance to actually ride them), it looks like they're tantalizingly close to being finished up. SRAM isn't officially discussing them but several details are revealed just by observation.
"Right now we are not really talking about it, but it needs to be out there and tested," said Avid product manager Paul Kantor.
Massive lever bodies with vertical hydraulic cylinders
The current SRAM Red DoubleTap levers don't leave much room inside the bodies for master cylinders so the new hydraulic levers sport huge extensions up front to house the additional guts. We weren't able to pull the hoods back to see what was going on underneath but given the packaging requirements, we're assuming the cylinders sit in a vertical orientation with the levers pushing on them from below – sort of like an Avid Elixir mountain bike lever turned sideways.
While the new shape may be off-putting to some viewers, the hood shape is still nearly identical to the current Red levers and if anything, the protrusion should lend a firmer grip to a position many riders already use anyway.
Otherwise, the shifter paddle looks and feels identical to the standard Red setup and we expect the usual independent brake and shift lever reach adjustments, too.
Lever feel was a little vague on the sample we played with but in fairness, it's still in prototype form. On the plus side, the lever throw seems admirably short and by placing the pivot point far away from the handlebar, we expect good leverage from the hoods, too.
Two-piece forged aluminum two-piston calipers
Barring any major changes moving forward, the new SRAM Red hydraulic disc calipers will use a very compact two-piece design with forged aluminum construction, titanium hardware throughout, and dual pistons. The new pads are top-fed through large windows for easy replacement and reasonable airflow, although by our eyes it appears that it's a new standard that isn't shared with any current Avid brake.
SRAM also looks to have fitted the new Red hydraulic disc caliper with a beefier pad spring – presumably to encourage piston retraction and boost rotor clearance – there's a rotating inboard aluminum hose banjo for more flexible routing options, and like Avid's latest mountain bike disc brakes, there are no CPS washers sandwiching the caliper.
Other details such as retail pricing, claimed weights, and projected availability are still unknown at this time but we expect more information no later than April.
The SRAM Red hydraulic disc brake caliper has a keen two-tone finish that matches the rest of the group