SRAM brought out the new Force and Rival groupsets a while back [read our Review of the Force groupset here], and the Saunier Duval ProTour team used it on their Scott bikes to great effect last season. Now SRAM have released the SRAM Red group set and as well as Saunier Duval, the new Astana team will be using the Red group on their Trek Madone frames for the 2008 season as well.
We managed to get a sneak preview and a short ride on an Astana team bike recently when they were in Spain for their first training camp.
First of all it’s great to have another choice other than Campagnolo and Shimano and the SRAM Red is a group that is as competitive as Record or Dura—Ace: it’s light; it looks good; and it works like a dream – once you get used to it that is!
Unlike their competitors, the SRAM shifters only use one lever to change gear. As you all know, Shimano use the brake lever and an extra lever behind the brake lever, whereas Campagnolo use a lever on the side of the body of the brake and a lever behind the brake lever. Both systems use one lever to go up the gears and another to come back down.
The SRAM “Double Tap” system uses the same lever, behind the brake lever, to go up and to go down. It’s different, but after an hour or so it became second nature.