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Red launch

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After much teasing, gossip and leaks — official and accidental  — the new SRAM Red group was put to its first open test under a crew of international journalists on the Spanish island of Mallorca on Wednesday.

The new Red remains 10-speed, and will still be a mechanical system. However, the entire group has been re-designed from the ground up, with particular emphasis on a “system approach” to front shifting, noise reduction, simple, low-profile looks, aerodynamics, and low weight.

Aftermarket availability is scheduled for February 24 of this year, though the group won’t begin showing up on complete bikes until the 2013 model year, or later summer. The price is $2575.

The previous Red group’s front shifting has always been its Achilles heel, and, rightfully so, the most dramatic changes occur within the front derailleur. Low weight and reasonable cost (in relation to its top-tier competition) were hallmarks of the old group, and remain key attributes of the new. Total weight is just 1739g, the lightest group by about a quarter pound. According to SRAM, the new group is 527 grams lighter than Dura-Ace Di2, 311 grams lighter than Dura-Ace 7900, 359 grams lighter than Super Record EPS, and 445 grams lighter than Record EPS. It is only about 100 grams lighter than mechanical Super Record, though.

Read on for all the details, and first impressions after a four-hour ride through the hills of Mallorca.

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