SRAM’s original plan was to introduce their Red 22 Hydraulic Road Rim (HRR) groupset for the final stage of this year’s Tour de France but Omega Pharma-Quick-Step’s Mark Cavendish decided to use them on Stage 1, and time trial specialist Tony Martin has used them from Stage 16.
Cav has five bikes available to him, two of them HRR-equipped. He has been using his HRR brakes with a 10-speed SRAM system, choosing which bike to ride based on the character of each stage.
We got the chance to use these brakes at the launch earlier in the year and there's no doubt that they offer more power than standard rim brakes. Unlike SRAM's new hydraulic disc brakes, you can use these on a standard frameset; they use the same single-bolt mount. Obviously, as well as the brake units you need the relevant shifters with the master cylinder located inside the tall nose.
Tony Martin has been the first rider to use the new Red 22 HydroR system – the hydraulic rim brakes with SRAM’s new 11-speed drivetrain. He’s been using this set-up since a test ride on Monday’s rest day.
For Sunday’s final stage of the Tour, both Omega Pharma-Quick-Step and Saxo-Tinkoff will have bikes featuring SRAM Red 22 with the hydraulic brakes.
All riders have had the chance to try out the system now and they get to choose for themselves whether they want to make the transition or not. That’s what SRAM say, anyway. It would be a PR disaster if none of the riders accepted the offer so we imagine SRAM are pretty confident of a big take-up. We’ll see on Sunday…
In the meantime, check out SRAM’s promo, above.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.