Spied under an Easy-Up tent at the Hincapie Spring series race was a new group from SRAM. The Black group is allegedly aligned with their Red components at the top of their groupo food chain. Obviously SRAM is staying with a color theme to denote their top of the line parts.
Structurally the SRAM Black derailleur, Power Glide cogs and the rest of the group looked the same, just either accented in black or completely black rather than red or silver like the Red group. The Double Tap shift levers, upon a quick inspection, didn’t have any glaring differences from the Red levers – still constructed from carbon. The brake calipers from a structural standpoint also didn’t look any different, just they were not chrome as the Red group and instead completely black. The person whose bike it was attached to was not forthcoming about any additional information and claimed to not know the full details of this mysterious new Black SRAM group. Although the person did say this was performance-wise level with the Red group.
This is not SRAM’s first color swap from the Red group. Contador had his Specialized Tarmac SL kitted out with a yellow Red group to commemorate his 2010 Tour de France victory. And just recently SRAM offered that limited edition yellow accented Red kit to the public.
There are several guesses to why SRAM might release a different colored SRAM groupo. Perhaps feedback from riders was that black was a good neutral color that didn’t clash with any frame color scheme. Maybe there are some structural differences between the Red and Black groups that aren’t apparent on the surface. It was no secret that pros preferred the stiffer steel cage of the Force front derailleur versus the titanium used in the construction of the Red front derailleur cage. Could this Black SRAM kit include a stiffer front derailleur cage? Some pros, notably Andy Schleck, swapped out standard sized derailleur pulleys for larger ones on the theory that the bigger diameter improved shifting performance. The pulleys on the Black derailleur appeared to be standard size. Or could this just be a cosmetic variation to the Red group?
The SRAM Red group weighs in at 1,933 grams and retails for $2,231. There was no information regarding weight or price for the Black group. However, from what I was told, complete information is to be released by next week.
UPDATE: CarolinaCyclingNews.com temporarily removed this article as a courtesy. Look for a Black SRAM groupo review in the future.