Apparently ‘tis the season for leaking and teasing. Most likely because of the splash Campagnolo made with their surprise double electronic group launch. You can read about that here
and watch a video with Campy North America’s Tom Kattus here
We typically stay away from leaked proprietary documents from unknown sources, it has the potential to truly mislead the consumer as products change rapidly during their development cycle. Perhaps worse, if accurate it can result in a lousy Christmas season for your local bike shop if riders put off their purchase. But as SRAM themselves posted a teaser video for the February 2012 launch of the next generation of Red, we had to take a look, and compare what we saw to the information leaked to Bike Radar. Admittedly, we didn’t see much, the video used an ample supply of black screen and creative focus to give us very little to go on. You could draw more conclusions from the Zapruder film.
What does seem clear is this is not simply an update of the current RED group, it is an entirely new group still named RED. Every image from the video shows a completely new component, beyond a simple tweak here and there, and certainly more then a new color. The overall effect seems to be a focus on lightening the group and making it more aerodynamic. It also appears to be mechanical. SRAM clearly feels there is plenty more in the mechanical well, and with their engineering depth they seem ready to prove it. But we didn’t expect two electronic groups out of Campy either…
Fact Number One: It is still ten speed
Fact Number Two: Well, there is no fact number two, the rest is wild speculation and reliance on leaked info from unknown sources. While the front derailleur geometry has potentially been changed, that wouldn’t surprise us, as the front derailleur shifting under load has been a SRAM weak point.
Another big change, obvious from the video, is the move to an XX style mountain cassette and its machined cogs. This would achieve two goals, lower weight and improve shifting in cross applications. The Power Dome cassette lacked the real bite to the teeth possible with machined cogs and it had a habit of hanging on to mud.
Most of the speculation and excitement comes from another bit of leaked info, rather than go down the electronic path, SRAM has apparently decided to tackle braking and the road worlds inexorable march to hydraulic disc brakes. Some of the leaked documents seem to point at both mechanical and hydraulic disc and rim options. This could actually be more of a race changing technology than the move to electronic. Think about descending with a buddy on dirt, your rim brakes versus his disc brakes. Now take that same performance gap to the Alps. That could easily win a race
All in all, the video and other leaks make us more excited than ever for the release of SRAM Red 2012. We’ve been fans of double tap since our first shift in the system, lower the weight, improve the front shifting, make it aero and give us a huge advantage pointing down? We’ll take it.
Of course, this is speculation based on leaks and fuzzy video. Take it for what it is. To access the original story based on those leaks at bikerader.com, click here
The SRAM Teaser: Click Here