Bikes and Tech
The Yaw front derailleur rotates as it shifts up...

Wrenched and Ridden: Testing SRAM Red 22 with hydraulic road rim brakes

Lennard Zinn puts in time on SRAM's new Red 22 with hydraulic rim road brakes and finds comfortable touch and effective stopping
Testing SRAM Red 22: HRR hydraulic road rim brakes
The HRR (Hydraulic Road Rim) brakes are powerful and modulate very well. I’ve been riding a lot of mountain descents on them the past three weeks and find them to be confidence-inspiring. SRAM claims that Mark Cavendish said they saved him from crashing in the big stage 1 pileup in the Tour de France on Corsica. I had a jogger jump out in front of me on the Boulder Creek Bike Path and I stopped on a dime without skidding. Photo: Lennard Zinn |
Testing SRAM Red 22: Pad clearance
The HRR brake pad-clearance adjustment comes via a standard barrel adjuster that screws up and down on the hydraulic piston shaft coming up from the brake arm on the right in this photo. The bleed port is the little Torx screw on the front at the base of the piston cylinder. The hydraulic hose connects with a compression fitting behind the piston; it is hard to get at with an 8mm wrench — I found it easier to tighten and loosen by removing the caliper from the bike. The brake’s quick release lever is at the base of the barrel adjuster. Centering is old school, with a 13mm cone wrench on flats on the mounting bolt. Bleeding is done using the same SRAM two-syringe vacuum bleeding system as Avid and SRAM mountain bike disc brakes. Photo: Lennard Zinn |
Testing SRAM Red 22: Hyrdraulic lever exploded
Exploded view of SRAM’s hydraulic road brake lever. The piston and return spring are in red, and the Torx bleed screw is shown exploded out the top. Kantor’s hand is on the lower right and is not a standard part. Photo: Lennard Zinn |
Testing SRAM Red 22: Tall levers
I really like being able to wrap all four of my fingers around the front of the tall master cylinder sticking up from the brake lever. It’s a great position for pulling hard on a long, seated climb, especially on a hot day when my sweaty hands would otherwise be slipping around on the lever hoods. Photo: Lennard Zinn |
Testing SRAM Red 22: Levers flare out
The brake levers flare to the outside so that the shift paddle clears the handlebar even if the brake lever is pulled back to the bar. The levers each weigh 280 grams. Photo: Lennard Zinn |
Testing SRAM Red 22: Leve shaft exposed
Most of the lever body is hollow. The threaded piston shaft is on the left, and the shifter pivot pin is on the right. Photo: Lennard Zinn |
Testing SRAM Red 22: Signs of history
SRAM has been working on road hydraulic brakes for some time. This plug-in retrofittable stem with hydraulic master cylinders inside is from 2009. It could connect with any SRAM hydraulic disc brake. Photo: Lennard Zinn |
Testing SRAM Red 22: Master cyclinder
The cables from any brake levers plugged right into SRAM’s hydraulic master-cylinder stem from four years ago, and barrel adjusters allowed dialing in the cable tension. SRAM abandoned the retrofittable master cylinder stem concept because the shortest possible stem containing them was 110mm. Photo: Lennard Zinn |
Testing SRAM Red 22: Caliper sizes
Three years ago, after abandoning the retrofittable master cylinder stem, SRAM had gotten to this point with road hydraulic brakes. A smaller disc caliper carries forward to the present, although now the HRD (hydraulic road disc) brake caliper has larger, 19mm pistons in the front caliper than the 18mm ones in the rear caliper. However, the idea of a banjo fitting on the side of the lever died on the vine. Photo: Lennard Zinn |
Testing SRAM Red 22: Yaw limit screws
The Yaw front derailleur comes with the inner limit screw tightened almost all of the way in. This makes initial setup easy. Riders can line up scribed marks on tops of the bridges across the cage plate with the big chainring to get the rotational adjustment. Get the height adjustment by sighting over the top of the teeth of the big chainring at a scribed line on the inner cage plate. Photo: Lennard Zinn |
Testing SRAM Red 22: Yaw trim
The Yaw front derailleur rotates as it shifts up and down to offer no-rub function in all gears from either chainring without a trim click in the shifter. The tail of the front derailleur swings out more than the nose when shifting to the big chainring, and it swings inboard further than the nose when shifting to the inner chainring. Adjust the cable tension and outer limit screw so there is no overshift to the big chainring — the front derailleur stops when it barely clears the chain in the big-small combination, and it doesn’t settle back at all when releasing the shifter. Set the cable tension and inner limit screw so that the inner plate barely clears the chain in the small-big combination and the front derailleur begins to move with the slightest press on the shift paddle (SRAM calls this “ZeroLoss” cable engagement). Photo: Lennard Zinn |
Testing SRAM Red 22: Gear combinations
I have ridden this SRAM Red 22 HRR-equipped bike a number of times with both the 39-53 SRAM Red 11-speed chainrings shown as well as with Praxis Leva Time 36-52 compact 10-speed chainrings (rear cogs are 11-28). The shifting is great (and exactly the same performance) with either crankset. I found that I could adjust it with either setup so that it had only the slightest of chain rub — almost inaudible — on the big-small and small-big combinations. I had no chain rub on any other rear cog from the big chainring. From the inner chainring, other than a slight touch on the big cog, I also have no chain rub on any other cog, but the chain does hit the outer chainring in the small-small combination with either crank. The big ring’s pick-up teeth don’t lift the chain, but it rubs enough that I don’t feel like riding in that gear combination for long. SRAM claims that its 11-speed chains are 10-15 percent stronger and more durable than its equivalent 10-speed chains. Photo: Lennard Zinn |
Testing SRAM Red 22: Rear derailleur choices
The rear derailleur has SRAM’s standard cage and works great across the entire range of the 11-28 11-speed Red Powerdome X cogset, CNC-machined out of a single piece of steel, whether with 39-53 or 36-52 chainrings. It takes one fewer chain link on the latter setup, and the silver 11-speed PowerLock master link can only be opened with master link pliers. The SRAM Red 22 WiFli mid-cage rear derailleur and 11-32 Powerdome X cassette will not be available until 2014. Photo: Lennard Zinn |