SRAM Red eTap, launched earlier this year has been one of the most talked about groupsets ever. It will now be available with hydraulic disc brakes, but before you get too excited, I have to stress the levers are still connected to the callipers via a hydraulic line.
We are not at a fully wireless system yet, with wireless brakes still a considerable way off.
The system uses the same derailleurs as regular eTap, with different brakes and shifters. In order to house the hydraulics, the shifters are slightly longer and taller, but SRAM has been keen to optimise the ergonomics. The hoods retain a nice small diameter to wrap your fingers around and have good adjustability.
According to SRAM, “Contact Point AdjustmentTM” lets you custom tune where your brakes engage and “independent Reach AdjustTM” makes it easy to adjust your brake lever position for maximum one-finger control.
The levers are also said to feature “Bleeding EdgeTM technology” for quick, hassle-free bleeds. Heat dissipation is hugely important on disc brakes and SRAM has sought to improve this by using heat shield, insulated aluminium pistons, and a wider pad pocket.
The disc rotors now feature rounded edges too, which SRAM has done in response to the continuing safety debate around disc brakes. The rounded edge felt considerably softer. The rotors will be available in both 140mm and for superior heat dissipation, 160mm.
I was able to take the new system out for a ride around the flowing hills around Oberstaufen. The first thing that struck me was the impressively low weight of the system. The added weight of hydraulic disc brake systems has been a big disadvantage the past, but SRAM confidently explained “there is no problem building a bike on the 6.8kg UCI limit with this.”
Video: SRAM Red eTap review
The combined groupset weight for the derailleurs, batteries, shift-brake controls and calipers, and rotors, is said to be just 960g. Our test bike was a Cannondale SuperSix Evo Himod Disc, fitted with Zipp 404s and the new SRAM Red eTap HRD.
The new components performed superbly. The feel, control and modulation of the brakes was excellent and the shifters feel nice in the hand. Until I have had a chance to properly test the brakes on a long technical climb, I am unable to comment on heat dissipation. First impressions are very positive though.