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Tour Tech 2013: Cav to use hydraulic brakes

Mark Cavendish will use SRAM's hydraulic rim brakes in his bid for the green jersey

Britain’s Mark Cavendish of Omega Pharma-Quick Step will start this year’s Tour de France in Corsica on SRAM Red Hydraulic Road Rim (HRR) brakes.

SRAM have released a statement saying, “After recently test-riding SRAM’s new Hydraulic Road Rim (HRR) brakes, Mark Cavendish has requested to race on the HydroR platform from the beginning of the 2013 Tour de France. This installation is a BlackBox initiative, and his HRR brakes have been integrated into his team’s current ten-speed SRAM RED drivetrain.”

We told you about the new brakes earlier in the year when we went out to the California launch. SRAM are introducing both hydraulic rim brakes and hydraulic disc brakes for road bikes into their line up for 2014. The hydraulic disc brakes provide more power but they’re not race-legal. The hydraulic rim brakes sit somewhere between standard cable-operated rim brakes and SRAM’s hydraulic disc brakes in terms of power and modulation.

Even though SRAM are moving from 10-speed cassettes to 11-speed for their highest level road groupsets in 2014, they’re making their new disc brakes and rim brakes for 10-speed systems too. Maybe this is what Cav will be using because SRAM say that he’ll be running a 10-speed drivetrain.

We were half expecting some SRAM-sponsored riders to be on new SRAM Red 22 – the 2014 top level groupset – at the Tour de France, but we didn’t see it fitted to any team bikes when we headed out to Corsica earlier this week.

This isn’t the first use of hydraulic rim brakes in top-level road racing, Team Garmin-Sharp having used Magura’s RT8 brakes last year.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, 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 Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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