2012 SRAM Red: Shifting To The Front

  • By Aaron Hersh
  • Published Feb 1, 2012
  • Updated Oct 31, 2014 at 4:37 PM UTC
Photo: Aaron Hersh


The new brakes are much smaller than the older versions. Aerodynamicists from multiple bike frame companies have stated that a front brake creates substantially more drag when it protrudes beyond the fork. SRAM says that improving aerodynamic performance was one of their primary goals when designing this kit and the brake seems to be a big part of that directive.

SRAM abandoned the dual-pivot caliper design used in their original groups and by Shimano in favor of a single-pivot design. We think original Red brakes felt less stiff than brakes from the other two big component companies and the new brake solve that problem. The caliper doesn’t give way under strong braking force. SRAM also designed a unique brake arm that increases the force pinching down on the rim as the rider squeezes harder on the brake lever.

The cable pinch bolt is at the end of a lever arm that cams to put the cable further from the pivot bolt when squeezed tighter, which increases the pressure on the rim. This clever design allows for more accurate modulation when apply light stopping force but gives a slight kick to stopping power when needed. It only changes leverage as the system flexes after the pads are already in contact with the rim, so the difference in leverage feels minimal. It doesn’t abruptly grab the rim as the rider squeezes tighter on the lever.

Each arm has a sunken screw to adjust lateral position. The quick release was moved from the cable pinch bolt to just beneath the barrel adjuster. The brake can fit wheels up to 31mm wide—3mm wider than the widest wheel we are aware of.

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Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh is the Senior Tech Editor of Triathlete magazine. To submit a question, write Aaron at

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