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Editor’s Note: The leaked images have been been altered at SRAM’s request
Images of SRAM’s upcoming hydraulic road lever, hydraulic rim brake, and road-specific hydraulic disc caliper have been leaked online by UK website Road.cc.
The “spy shots” come from a brief PowerPoint presentation given to media at the 2012 SRAM Red launch in Mallorca last week. The images were put under embargo until the official launch later this year, a common practice. Thanks to the leak, we are now free to detail the new components and provide images.
SRAM road product manager Bill Keith insists that the hydraulic lever shown in these images is not final, but given the mid-summer release timeframe we can assume it is quite close.
The hydraulic lever is based off the new Red shift mechanism (so no hydraulic shifting, sorry), meaning no trim for the front shifter and the longer and more ergonomic brake and shift levers. It uses a new master cylinder, completely redesigned around road and cyclocross use, and is designed to work with both the new disc brake caliper and the new hydraulic rim brake.
The hood shape changes compared to a regular Red lever to allow room for a hydraulic master cylinder, extending upwards considerably more than the mechanical version. SRAM marketing manager Michael Zellman noted that SRAM has been working to minimize this tall knob since the engineering process began.
SRAM’s Charles Becker claimed that the new lever would remain at a competitive weight during the presentation last week. “It’ll be a bit heavier, but not as much as you think,” he said. We have no further information on weights at this time.
Road/cross disc caliper
“This isn’t just a mountain brake stuck on a road bike,” insisted Becker. “It’s designed specifically around 700c use.” It doesn’t even carry the Avid brand name, but rather fits the style and graphics of the new Red group.
From that we can infer that the whole system will be slightly less powerful than SRAM’s top mountain brakes, with a greater focus on improved modulation. Such a change becomes vital with a road disc system due to drastically decreased tire contact patch and subsequent ease of overpowering the tire and locking up a wheel.
Rotor sizes will stay 140/160, same as most current cross country brakes. SRAM says that going any smaller negates some of the benefits of going to discs in the first place, and so 140 is as small as they’ll be going in the near future.
As of now, the caliper will use a regular post mount, but Becker hinted that SRAM is working with frame manufacturers to develop a road-specific mount. Don’t wait for it though — any changes on that front are at least a year or two away.
This fall, cyclocross star Tim Johnson became the first American to win a UCI race on discs since their legalization, doing so on SRAM’s BB7 road brakes. But even he hasn’t had much time on the new setup, though SRAM says he’ll be experimenting with a set soon.
Hydraulic rim caliper
Magura debuted its new RT8 TT brake just weeks ago, and we already have another option. Like Magura, SRAM is sticking to a regular mounting bolt, but the design of the brake itself is drastically different.
While the RT8 essentially works by pushing a wedge in between two levers, SRAM’s offering is a single-pivot brake that functions much like its mechanical brethren. It even has a quick-release lever and, though I couldn’t get anyone at SRAM to confirm it last week, appears to have a barrel adjuster as well. As the slides say, tires up to 28c will fit without issue, and the power curves are designed around wide rims like Zipp’s Firecrest models.