SRAM RED Ride Review

SRAM RED Ride Review

Written by Joseph Bonacci, on June 28, 2024

Recently I had the opportunity to venture to the BMC Headquarters in Grenchen, Switzerland. During the trip I was able to ride the new Teammachine R outfitted with the latest and greatest SRAM RED drivetrain on the day of the groupset's launch. Having heard through the grapevine what improvements SRAM had lined up, I was able to see firsthand where the upgrades were. At home, I have been riding the current RED AXS. The changes and improvements were quite clear. 

Riding the New Sram Red ETAP AXS


The most noticeable and shocking change is in the brake and lever design. With a much longer and lower profile, the hoods help force the rider into a more aerodynamic position. The sprint shifter button placement on the top of the hood encourages the rider to keep their arms almost parallel with the ground, forcing the rider to be low without any loss in comfort. SRAM also claimed the brake levers were now 80% easier to pull from the hoods, and 33% from the drops. While I couldn’t scientifically measure the change, it did feel better. The new lever shape allows my hands to get more purchase on the lever. At the same time, the redesigned piston shape and placement give greater confidence and stopping ability from the hoods. The flared lever shape matches the trend of flared road bars and still allows for tilting the hood inward for a more comfortable hand position. 


One of the biggest negatives we have heard about the previous SRAM RED is the less-than-perfect front shifting. The new RED has certainly addressed the front shifting issues. I wanted to give the front derailleur a proper test, so I was shifting a lot, under load, and at a variety of watts and it was crisp and smooth each time. Overall, the shifting is significantly quieter and smoother than the previous generation. There were still a few louder, clunky shifts, but they were few and far between and seemed to be outliers rather than consistent issues. The automatic trim feature on the front derailleur reduces drivetrain noise and the chain rubbing on the cage.  This is not the case with SRAM's last RED drivetrain. As the bike I was riding was a BMC test-bike, the groupset had several months of use and was still performing like new.  While it is hard to pinpoint where the shifting improvements come from, the group shifts with precision and confidence.

Riding the SRAM RED AXS on the BMC Teammachine R


SRAM's new RED group comes five years after the previous components were released. As they did not add a 13th gear or make any other large changes, it is clear their focus was to make several small improvements focusing on quality and performance. The new RED has lost weight, improved shift quality, and refined ergonomics. While the group will be right at home on any high-end build, the new ergonomics tend to favor those who ride in a lower, more aggressive cycling position.  

Riding in Switzerland on the BMC Teammachine with SRAM RED AXS


It will be interesting to see how the new RED holds up over time and how the wear and tear parts such as the chain and cassette hold up. The drivetrain is definitely a significant upgrade from the last iteration. For cyclists looking to get every bit of performance out of their bikes, the new SRAM RED has to be a top option. Visit the store to see the groupset on a Cervelo S5 or a Specialized SL8 or call us to get the lowdown on the latest in SRAM's Electronic shifting.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published