SRAM's four new hydraulic road groups

Force 22 and Rival 22 join Red 22 and S-700 HydroR groups

For 2015, SRAM has four new hydraulic-brake road levers and corresponding full or partial groups. Following on the December 2013 recall of all its hydraulic road brakes — rim and disc — the Chicago-based company is back with redesigned levers, hydraulic internals and disc calipers. Joining the second-version Red 22 11-speed and S-700 10-speed options are the second- and third-tier Force 22 and Rival 22 11-speed groups. All four lever pairs will be available with corresponding hydraulic rim or disc calipers.

The four groups share similar design and internal construction, but are made with different materials. For instance, the Red 22 HydroR rim version with carbon levers and titanium hardware weighs 387g per wheel (with lever, caliper and hose) and will cost US$508/ €452/ £386/ AU$679.95. Rival 22 HydroR rim, for comparison, has aluminum levers, stainless hardware and weighs 422g per wheel for the same configuration and will retail for US$334/ €297/ £254/ AU$419.95 per wheel.

The three 11-speed groups (Red, Force and Rival) can be purchased as complete sets or bought as levers, calipers, hoses and rotors (if disc) and used to upgrade existing SRAM 11-speed groups. SRAM will also be selling the Force CX1 partial group, which includes the clutch derailleur and a gutted left shifter (since it's a 1x system). The S-700 parts are 10-speed, and only consist of the shift/brake levers and either the HydroR rim brakes or disc calipers.

SRAM has new stainless steel 140mm and 160mm rotors to be used with the groups. SRAM recommends 160mm rotor (US$55/ €49/ £42 / AU$74.95) for road use and the 140mm (US$44/ €39/ £33 / AU$74.95) option for cyclocross.

Related reading: Hydraulic road brakes: What's the point?

The sram rival 22 11-speed group: the sram rival 22 11-speed group

With Rival 22, SRAM brings hydraulic road braking down in pricepoint. As with the other groups, SRAM will sell mechanical versions (the shifter on the left) and hydraulic (on the right) with either rim or disc calipers

Why the initial HydroR groups were recalled

After only being on the market a few months, SRAM's HydroR hydraulic disc brake found some quick acceptance among cyclocross users, some of whom experienced complete brake failure in cold conditions. The December 2013 recall of all SRAM HydroR caliper and disc brake systems followed, and in March, SRAM president Stan Day said the new HydroR brake systems would have a redesigned lever, a new bleed port and a new caliper spring.

"There were two mechanical issues that enabled the brake to ingest air, lose pressure and fail," Day said in March. "In the extreme cold, the system seals stiffen and become less compliant, which is why we saw the problem multiply in December. The first mechanical issue was that the master cylinder bore was not cylindrical. The second issue was that the system created excessive negative pressure in the brake fluid reservoir. When it is controlled, negative pressure does not affect the brakes. We were not under control; we were operating outside of the seal’s capability to compensate, especially in the extreme cold conditions, and the result was air ingested into the system."

What is new in SRAM's hydraulic design for 2015

SRAM insists that all the original problems were solved through new designs, which were in turn proved through extensive testing, including in a variety of extreme temperatures. The new designs, according to SRAM, include:

  • a new lever body built around an optimal placement for the hydraulic reservoir and master cylinder
  • a new, simpler bleed port 
  • a new master cylinder "with incredible amounts of testing behind it"
  • a new bladder that compensates for pad wear
  • a new caliper spring
  • a new, lighter shift paddle 

After a recall for weather-induced failure, sram reworked the internals of its hydror levers: after a recall for weather-induced failure, sram reworked the internals of its hydror levers

The new master cylinder and seals were tested thoroughly — and in varied temperatures this time — SRAM says

As before the HydroR rim, or HRR, calipers have an adjustment barrel similar to that on a mechanical caliper, and a comparable quick-release to pop open the caliper for wheels changes. The system can be set up standard or moto/UK-style.

As Day said in an earlier BikeRadar story, SRAM has added testing in environmental chambers in addition to ride testing. The new product, Day said, has been tested from -20 C/-4 F to 46 C/115 F.

Weights, prices and materials for 2015 groups

Red 22 HydroR

  • Levers: carbon
  • Hardware: titanium
  • Weights: rim - 387g per wheel (lever, caliper, 60cm hose); disc - 449g per wheel  (lever, caliper, hose and 160mm rotor)
  • Price: rim - US$508/ €452/ £386/ AU$679.95 per wheel (shift/brake hydraulic lever, hose and caliper); disc US$590/ €524/ £448/ AU$789.95 per wheel (shift/brake hydraulic lever, hose and caliper)

Force 22 HydroR

  • Levers: carbon brake, aluminum shift
  • Hardware: steel
  • Weights: rim - 405g per wheel (lever, caliper, 60cm hose); disc - 470g per wheel  (lever, caliper, hose and 160mm rotor)
  • Price: rim - US$421/ €374/ £320/ AU$559.95 per wheel (shift/brake hydraulic lever, hose and caliper); disc US$449/ €399/ £341/ AU$599.95 per wheel (shift/brake hydraulic lever, hose and caliper)

SRAM force 22 2015 group: sram force 22 2015 group

Force CX1 HydroR

  • Levers: carbon brake, aluminum shift
  • Hardware: steel
  • Weights: right shift/brake lever (disc) - 471g per wheel (lever, caliper, hose and 140mm rotor); left brake-only lever (disc) - 431g per wheel  (lever, caliper, hose and 160mm rotor)
  • Price: right shift/brake lever - US$449/ €399/ £341 per wheel (shift/brake hydraulic lever, hose and caliper); left brake-only lever - US$402/ €357/ £305/ AU$529.95 per wheel (brake hydraulic lever, hose and caliper)

SRAM force cx1 group: sram force cx1 group

Rival 22 HydroR

  • Levers: aluminum
  • Hardware: steel
  • Weights: rim - 422g per wheel (lever, caliper, 60cm hose); disc - 493g per wheel  (lever, caliper, hose and 160mm rotor)
  • Price: rim - US$334/ €297/ £254/ AU$419.95 per wheel (shift/brake hydraulic lever, hose and caliper); disc US$384/ €341/ £292/ AU$479.95 per wheel (shift/brake hydraulic lever, hose and caliper)

Rival 22 cassette options are (l to r) 11-26, 11-28 and 11-32: rival 22 cassette options are (l to r) 11-26, 11-28 and 11-32

Rival cassettes will come in 11-26, 11-28 and 11-32 options

S-700 HydroR

  • Levers: aluminum
  • Hardware: steel
  • Weights: rim - 422g per wheel (lever, caliper, 60cm hose); disc - 493g per wheel  (lever, caliper, hose and 160mm rotor)
  • Price: rim - US$398/ €334/ £302/ AU$479.95 per wheel (shift/brake hydraulic lever, hose and caliper); disc US$469/ €417/ £356/ AU$579.95 per wheel (shift/brake hydraulic lever, hose and caliper)

SRAM s-700 hydror levers can be used with existing sram 10-speed groups with either disc or caliper brakes : sram s-700 hydror levers can be used with existing sram 10-speed groups with either disc or caliper brakes

Complete groups start at the following prices:

  • Red 22: US$2,276/ €2,202/ £1,806
  • Force 22: US$1,176/ €1,045/ £893
  • Force CX1: US$1,290/ €1,147/ £980
  • Rival 22: US$1,290/ €1,147/ £980

BikeRadar has already reviewed the Force CX1 HydroR group, and will be reviewing the other groups shortly.

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