From what the guys at SRAM are telling me, Australia is the first market in the world for the new 2012 Red groupset to land. Yesterday I had the chance to watch the guys at Bike Gallery to build up a new BMC Team Machine SLR01 and took it out for a short spin.
This BMC doesn’t have an owner yet but when Lincoln and Cam from the Bike Gallery gave me the heads up that they were building this I had to swing by to take a look. Bikeshops all over Melbourne dropped everything in a race to get the first bike with the new SRAM Red built up. Hampton Cycles were building up a Specialized Venge, Cyclespeed put together a Colnago C59, Kaos Custom Bikes built a sub 6kg Cannondale EVO, and I’m sure there were many more.
The BMC Team Machine SLR01 is basically the same frameset that Cadel used to win the Tour de France in 2011. The seatpost has changed from their clever “Streampost” to a more traditional design and they’ve gone from a BB30 to BB86. Since the BB30 cranksets haven’t arrived yet, this BMC was a good candidate to be one of Australia’s first builds.
The SLR01 is a terrific foundation for this build, however the new SRAM Red takes the spotlight today. The first shipments have been dispatched all over the world and we’re the first to have it commercially available. I was a SRAM Force early adopter in 2006 and has been the groupset I’ve used ever since. I’m currently riding Red on my race bike, but Di2 on my “good weather” bike.
As this bike is only a few hours hold and doesn’t have a home yet I couldn’t take it out for a good ride to get a feel for the groupset improvements claimed by SRAM and the early reviewers.
The front mech, shifters and crankset are all meant to work together as a system and aren't backwards compatible to Red, Force or Apex. The brakeset, rear derailleur, cassette and chain are all backwards compatible Red, Force, Rival and Apex.
The wonderful thing about the new SRAM Red is that the price has stayed the same while making many improvements. You can expect to pay approximately $2600 RRP in Australia if you’re purchasing separate from a bike (i.e. not OEM).
Is it worth the money to run out and replace your old Red groupset? For me, it wouldn’t be a logical decision – but I can’t think of many bike related purchases I’ve ever made that are logical…
The Build: BMC SLR01 frameset, 2012 SRAM Red groupset, ENVE 45 tubular wheelset, Deda bar & stem. $11,500, but buy Lincoln a slab of VB and he'll give you a good price.
The "Yaw" front derailleur cage pivots as it moves between chainrings match the chainline so that no trim is needed.
The rear derailleur gets reshaped but functionally stays the same.
The newly designed cam-actuated brakes are said to perform better than the conventional dual-pivot brake calipers, but I didn't take it for enough of a ride to really find out for myself.
Left: The new cassette uses elastomers which reduces that hollow noise of the old one. Right: You can tell immediately that the front shifting is an improvement. As the derailleur moves outwards, it pivots to match the chainline so that no trim is needed.
The barrel adjusters are a nice new design (shown top left in the "open" position)
The new Red crankset has gone away from that original foam-core and now has a hollow cross section. Redesigned ramps and pins on the chainrings (on the inside, not shown) are said to help improve front shifting.
Left: Old levers and hoods. Right: New levers and hoods. The biggest difference I can feel with ergonomics is that the new hoods have a nice tactile feel and a slightly more square shape. Not a massive difference, but noticeable. The transition from the bars is slightly different and there's a bit more space in-between the levers and the drops
(Top Left): The old Red cassette 169g, the new Red cassette 148g. (Top Right): The new cassette (back of picture) has been redesigned to be quieter and lighter. (Bottom Left): Complete build 6.18kg without pedals. (Bottom Right): The complete groupset weighs in on our scales at 1827g (claimed by SRAM to be 1739g (but that's with the BB30)
The first thing the new owner will need to do is SLAM THAT STEM