Revolutionizing two of your bikes most important activities.
The NASCAR-stylized graphics package screams at you when you pull a new set of Red DoubleTap shifters out of the box. It's a far cry from the sedate look of first-generation Force levers. There's plenty more going on, though, besides eye candy: Red levers weigh 280g, 25g less than Force. And arguably best of all, with Red you finally get the ability to micro-adjust the position of the front derailleur.
In case you never tried out Force DoubleTap, the rear shifting is fantastic -- on par with Record and Dura-Ace, but the front shifting is admittedly imperfect. SRAM believed that the curvature of the Force front derailleur's outer shift plate would allow for cross-chaining with no chain rub. Force allows you to micro-adjust (also known as "trim") the front derailleur to the inside a bit when you're in the big chainring. This design detail was much to the chagrin of bike racers (Cat 3's and Saunier Duval alike) who like to prepare for the next inevitable attack by staying in the big chainring as much as possible, oftentimes in an ugly cross-chain gear like 53x23. In proof that innovative companies listen to the feedback of their customers (in this case, Gilberto Simoni and David Millar), Red now provides this elusive front derailleur trimming ability when you're in the big ring. It's a vital detail that makes Red the easy choice when you prepare to make the leap to SRAM DoubleTap.
Red is also the first DoubleTap shifter to take advantage of SRAM's ZeroLoss technology. With ZeroLoss, SRAM redesigned the pawl geometry inside the shifter to provide instant cable actuation as soon as you apply pressure to the shift lever. You'll feel a new level of smoothness in both your up-shifting and down-shifting. It's especially noticeable as you shift from small-to-big ring.
Another evolutionary step in Red is its unique cable routing. You can cleanly route the shift cables either on the inside or the outside of the bars. Regardless of your handlebar choice, you won't need to fret about being required to run cables in one single way. You can choose the routing that leads to the cleanest lines. Because, as we all know, clean cable routing is the #1 way to get smooth, friction-free shifting performance.
And folks with smaller hands will love the fact that Red provides reach-adjustment in the levers. You get 8 degrees of independent adjustment on each shift and brake lever. This allows you to fine-tune the most natural position for your hands, whether you're looking to get more upright or more aggressive.
If you already own Force or Rival, you'll be glad to know that Red works with the same Exact Actuation shifting ratio as Force or Rival, so it's 100% compatible with Force and Rival derailleurs. When VeloNews first reviewed Red during the Eurobike tradeshow, they wrote "Red shifters may provide the most performance-for-the-buck out of the entire line…" Given all of the enhancements built into Red, it's understandably a tempting upgrade for owners of Force or Rival.
Red DoubleTap shifters come with low-friction shift cable for both derailleurs provided by SRAM. Given the intensely unique mechanics of DoubleTap shifting, please note that SRAM recommends that you use a complete SRAM drivetrain, including both derailleurs, cassette, chain, and crankset in order to optimize shift quality.
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Passed the test!
Have been using SRAM Red now for over 2 seasons and have been nothing short of impressed. I came over to SRAM from Shimano and it took about 5 shifts to finally figure out the "DoubleTap" system. Once I got it down, I realized how genius of a system is truly is! I am a big guy (6'3" tall) with large hands and the hoods are comfortable for me. I really like having the internal cable routing system (there are 2 options) as it cleans up the look of my bike. I also think it's worth while to go spend the extra on the Red versus Force or Rival. The shifting on the Red is much, much smoother. One last note, I swapped out the stock cables with Yokozuna's systems and the improved smoothness is night and day better with the Yokozuna system.