Review of the SRAM Red TT groupset
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This article originally featured in February 2009ís ďCycling WeeklyĒ Magazine
In the beginning many were sceptical about SRAMís ability to cut it against the might of Shimano
and Campagnolo, but it has shown steady progression and taken a larger than
expected market share. This season, several
top pro teams are using its flagship Red group, and the combination of big
stars riding big tours meant a time trial groupset warranted attention.
The best inventions are often the most obvious and SRAMís R2C shifter falls into this
category; itís amazing that no one has done it before. R2C basically says what the lever does Ė it
Ďreturns to centreí after each shift. This has two clear benefits. First, and quite significantly, the lever always returns to its most
aerodynamic position, instead of pointing up or down and catching more
wind. Thatís pretty vital given itís one
of the leading edges of the bike. Second, the rider never has reach for the lever to change gear, itís the
same small movement every time, and the hands and arms can remain almost
The shifters can be rotated from a central bolt through 40 degrees of adjustment, making it
possible to fine-tune a preferred position, or maintain a horizontal position
even if the aero bar extension points up. In this way the levers can always be as aero as possible.
So, thereís at least a couple of significant positives, but the R2Cs may not appeal to those
who use the lever position to know what gear theyíre in; a small point, but
relevant nevertheless. The lever shape
is significant, and the R2C levers are carbon, sculpted into a super-thin
aerodynamic and very minimalist shape. Itís nearly half the size of the Campagnolo bar-end shifters that are
widely used by pros. You canít argue with the benefits this must deliver in terms of drag.
The R2C shifters weigh 175g a pair compared with 178g Shimano and 163g Campagnolo. Thereís no significant weight penalty for
having the R2C mechanism, mainly thanks to the carbon and titanium hardware. They are also compatible with all leading
brands of aero bar extensions.
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