SRAM Red 11-speed DIY
If you think that an 11-speed SRAM Red groupset is a great idea then you’ll have to wait a while yet. However, some people on the WeightWeenies forum didn’t want to wait and set about creating SRAM Red 11-speed themselves. The ‘relative simplicity’ of the conversion hints that SRAM may have built Red with 11-speed in mind…
There have been plenty of rumours that SRAM will update their range topping Red groupset to 11-speed for 2014 (which usually means mid-2013). It makes complete sense now that Shimano have 11 sprockets on their top-tier Dura Ace groupset as SRAM and Shimano share the same hub standard and wheel manufacturers will now be building to accommodate it.
SRAM have already developed the 11-speed XX1 mountain bike groupset, that incorporates a small 10-tooth sprocket and a massive 42-tooth sprocket into the cassette, all for use with a single front chainring for less weight and added reliability.
Though it will add a small amount of weight, 11-speed makes sense on the road too as it allows a rider to have both an 11-tooth sprocket for sprints/downhills and a 25 for those steep climbs, whilst still maintaining a really nice spread of gears that avoids any significant jumps.
For instance, a cassette comprising of 11,12,13,14,15,16,17,19,21,23,25 would mean you’d only really need one block for most types of race, from flat crit through to hilly road race; great news for us budget conscious amateurs (we won’t talk about the cost of replacing or converting wheels over to 11-speed though).
We don’t expect anything to be announced about the 2014 SRAM Red until the Spring of this year but if you think 11-speed is a great idea then judging by the efforts of these WeightWeenies, if you have the necessary skills, you don’t have to wait. However, even if you are of the engineering persuasion WE DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU TRY THIS AT HOME.
From what we’ve seen if you have the right tooling available and a suitable rear hub and cassette, its quite a ‘straight forward process’ literally adding another tooth to the SRAM Red right hand shift lever’s ratchet gear mechanism.
The ‘straight forward process’ suggests that SRAM shifters are future proofed and that the forward thinkers at SRAM had planned this jump to 11-speed all along with the latest Red groupset. It certainly makes a lot of sense. At the time of Red’s launch in early 2012, Shimano were still with 10-speed but SRAM may have foreseen the switch over to 11-speed and cleverly built in the ability to do a relatively minor fix in the shift lever’s mechanicals to make it a reality. This would save SRAM considerable amounts in the long-run and allow a minor change to keep their groupset current.
Therefore, it would be great if the new 11-speed Red groupset was simply the launch of a new or modified right hand shift lever and that was it, after all SRAM Red is already pretty advanced, being the lightest groupset out there, with BB30 carbon chainset, ceramic bearings, and so on.
It is of course entirely possible that SRAM could offer an aftermarket shift lever fix via an optional scheme for interested SRAM Red owners; but whilst it might win SRAM a lot of friends, we all know that such a consumer ‘purse’ friendly approach is rarely the case.
This year SRAM are only sponsoring 3 Pro Tour teams for 2013 – Saxo-Tinkoff, OmegaPharma-QuickStep and Cannondale ProCycling – but plan to go ‘deeper’ with each of these teams, so we can expect to see riders from these teams testing 11-speed soon if it is to become a reality.
Anyway in the meantime here’s some video of the inspired homemade 11-speed systems developed by these impressive DIY engineers. WeightWeenies forum member Monchito filmed this:
Whilst WeeRacerWeenie came up with these next two:
You can read the whole thread on WeightWeenies