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First Look: SRAM’s 2012 Red Group

March 20, 2012

I don’t think much about bicycle weights.  Yes, I’m readily impressed by incredibly light bikes, but often times, I’m mostly concerned about fit and feel—the bike’s ride quality and balance—as well as finish.  Those things really get my blood pumping.  Of course, I also take my road bike out and point to towards places like the Mansfield Dam Loop, Courtyard, Jester, River Hills, Lost Creek, and some other “secret” climbs in and around Austin.  This past weekend’s ride on some of these roads got me thinking, “I wonder how light the new SRAM Red group really is?”

Chances are you’ve seen much of what’s been written about the new SRAM 2012 Red group.  Billed as the world’s lightest road component group, the kit also boasts some impressive improvements over the previous iteration.  Those improvements include a quieter running system thanks to some ingenious work on the completely redesigned cassette, a redesigned and lighter crank set—that adds stiffness to improve pedaling efficiency, as well as what many are touting as the biggest gain—much improved front shifting thanks to stiffer chain rings and a completely new and quite ingenious front derailleur.

Shifter ergonomics and other changes are part of the new Red group too.  While I haven’t had a chance to ride the group, I have gotten a hold of the new kit, in stock at our Lamar location, and set out to weighing the group “in the real world” so that I could see what is potentially the biggest “wow” factor of the new SRAM Red–it’s weight, or lack there of.

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Many folks are also wondering about the compatibility of various parts of the 2012 SRAM Red kit with the prior kit.  The folks over at Velonews have done some compatibility tests as set forth in this article.

I’m leaning heavily on our parts an accessories buyer to get me a demo set-up of the new SRAM Red.  (Kelly, if you’re reading this, I’d love to try it out on a new cyclocross bike from say, September to January—that happens to be cyclocross season in these parts for those of you keeping score.)

Stop in and take a look at SRAM’s 2012 Red.  As much as I enjoyed riding SRAM’s Force kit this past ‘cross season, I’m sure the improvements to their top-tier group would be a great boon to my performance—not to mention providing a bit of help getting up some of those hills out West of 360.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2012 9:57 pm

    I’d really like a Red groupset, but for the cost. This wasn’t something I gave much thought to when I bought my bike. I can’t agree more that weight isn’t the most important factor in a road bike. Comfort, handling, and all sorts of things trump weight. Still, I upgraded my frame (for reasons like handling and power transfer) to a Cervelo R3, and now it’s a shame to weigh it down…

    • djcurtin permalink
      April 13, 2012 6:48 pm

      Hahaha! Yes, it seems that an R3 would be best with a light grouppo. And while the new Red kit is expensive, compared to other top-end kits from Shimano or Campagnolo, it looks like a bargain. I haven’t had the chance to ride the new Red yet, but friends who have say it is a real improvement over what was already a nice component set. If you get it, let us know how it rides!

      • April 13, 2012 7:31 pm

        Well, you’re right that Red is less expensive (along with less heavy!) than DA or anything Campy. It’s more expensive that sticking with what I have, though, which is Ultegra…

        My plan is still hatching, but I’m going to slowly replace my componentry with either Dura Ace or Red, and I’m not entirely sure which. I’m leaning toward Red, but haven’t had enough chance to play with it. I’ve been on a bike with Red before, but not for very long… I know that it does/has everything I care about, but the ergonomics are an open question for me at this point.

        I need to figure out soon, though, because I’ve worn my cassette down. I know the Red cassette is a piece of beauty.

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