As a user of Twitter I follow plenty of pros. In the last couple of days several of them have been posting near-identical excitable messages about the SRAM Red groupset. There’s a new version coming out in black. As far as I can tell it’s merely a change of powder-coating or anodisation. There is no functional difference.
Now pro cycling is relentlessly commercial but there’s something quite “on-message” about the coordinated messages via twitter, a false buzz. It’s just a change of colour. It reeks of corporate marketing, as if the SRAM guys have emailed riders and told them to tweet particular images at set times.
Plus ça change
It reminds me of Campagnolo and their red Ergopower levers. Announced at the end of 2007, riders were using these in the early part of the 2008 season and red signified a stronger spring with firmer gear shifting.
Only come July and the Italian manufacturer announced the 10 speed Record groupset was dead, long live the new 11 speed Record. Oddly Campagnolo was trumpeting that the red spring arrived because “professionals prefer stiffer, crisper shifting. They prefer a shifter that calls for greater strength and decision“. Yet seven months later they proclaimed 11 speed was better as “the weight and the required operating force are lower“.
Some said the red ink was a deliberate way to shift remaining stocks of the 10 speed ergo levers. Others say it saved pro teams from having to rebuild the levers. Either way, when a company is reduced to changing the colours of a groupset you know the refinements are probably coming to an end.
As a reader pointed out “6 months before 10sp XX came out, SRAM released XO in 6 colors“, a point worth noting. I’m also inclined to agree with another reader: SRAM going to unveil an electronic groupset in July.