Skip to main content

SRAM Red hydraulic disc brakes-First look

Image 1 of 9

We spotted SRAM's new Red hydraulic road disc brakes at a local cyclo-cross race near the company's brake development headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

We spotted SRAM's new Red hydraulic road disc brakes at a local cyclo-cross race near the company's brake development headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
Image 2 of 9

The new SRAM Red hydraulic levers feature a prominent bump up front to house the master cylinder.

The new SRAM Red hydraulic levers feature a prominent bump up front to house the master cylinder. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
Image 3 of 9

The new SRAM Red hydraulic brake levers have the same outward cant as the mechanical version.

The new SRAM Red hydraulic brake levers have the same outward cant as the mechanical version. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
Image 4 of 9

Despite appearances, the SRAM Red hydraulic levers feel nearly identical to the current version. If anything, the bigger bump up front should provide a firmer grip on a hand position many riders already use, anyway.

Despite appearances, the SRAM Red hydraulic levers feel nearly identical to the current version. If anything, the bigger bump up front should provide a firmer grip on a hand position many riders already use, anyway. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
Image 5 of 9

While the current SRAM Red lever hoods are textured, this version of the hydraulic levers are smooth.

While the current SRAM Red lever hoods are textured, this version of the hydraulic levers are smooth. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
Image 6 of 9

The SRAM Red hydraulic disc brake caliper is impressively tidy with a keen two-tone finish that matches the rest of the group.

The SRAM Red hydraulic disc brake caliper is impressively tidy with a keen two-tone finish that matches the rest of the group. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
Image 7 of 9

SRAM will build the new Red hydraulic disc brake caliper with two-piece forged aluminum construction. Hardware appears to be titanium throughout.

SRAM will build the new Red hydraulic disc brake caliper with two-piece forged aluminum construction. Hardware appears to be titanium throughout. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
Image 8 of 9

The new SRAM Red hydraulic disc brake calipers will make do without Avid's signature CPS washer system. As such, the system will be less tolerant of out-of-spec mounting tabs but it should be easier to set up.

The new SRAM Red hydraulic disc brake calipers will make do without Avid's signature CPS washer system. As such, the system will be less tolerant of out-of-spec mounting tabs but it should be easier to set up. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
Image 9 of 9

Pads are top-loading and held in place with a threaded pin (note the security clip mounted in between the caliper halves, too). The pad doesn’t appear to be shared with any other Avid caliper, though, but the pad spring looks to be thicker and beefier than on Avid's BB7 mechanical brake.

Pads are top-loading and held in place with a threaded pin (note the security clip mounted in between the caliper halves, too). The pad doesn’t appear to be shared with any other Avid caliper, though, but the pad spring looks to be thicker and beefier than on Avid's BB7 mechanical brake. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)

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