SRAM’s top-tier road groupset, Red eTap AXS, was last updated in 2019. Despite fast approaching its fifth birthday, it’s still among the best road bike groupsets available today, but it appears SRAM has its replacement lined up.
Following patents surfacing last year, there have been plenty of rumours suggesting a new version is on the way in 2024. The rumours appear to be true after photos were leaked on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday by user @MoBaohua.
The three photos show the rear cluster, including the rear derailleur with cassette and chain; a front shift/brake lever fitted to a road handlebar, and a disc brake rotor and caliper. All images feature at least one instance of SRAM Red branding, and none of the products shown appear to match any product from within SRAM’s current groupset hierarchy.
We reached out to SRAM, but the brand chose not to comment on the matter, so at this stage, SRAM hasn’t confirmed the authenticity of the products in the photos, and their origin remains unclear.
They appear to be from a studio photoshoot. Despite being low resolution, the lighting and quality is of a studio level. Interestingly, the rear cassette and derailleur are mounted to an ‘invisible bike’ using a studio trick commonly adopted by groupset brands to show off their product without the chainstay detracting from the product on show.
The images also appear to match the patents which leaked late last year, as well as the photos of the prototype groupset that Movistar used at their December training camp back in 2022.
There were no descriptions or sell sheets in the leak, so these three pictures are all we have to go on so far, but there are a handful of things we can discern and decipher about the new groupset and the direction SRAM is taking its top-tier road groupset.
Still 12 speed, and the 10T cog remains
One of the biggest things given away is that SRAM is sticking with 12-speed, rather than pushing up to 13. It makes sense, and maintains the impressive level of compatibility across SRAM’s road and gravel groupsets. This means users of new SRAM Red, assuming these photos are in fact legitimate, will continue to be able to spec a Red derailleur with, say, a Force cassette and presumably Rival shifters.
Also noteworthy here is the 10-tooth small sprocket, as this cassette appears to be a 10-36T option, as exists in the current range. SRAM caught a lot of flak when switching from 11 to 12 speed, with criticism primarily…