SRAM's entry-level groupset Rival (RCUK review) was launched, along with its more expensive partner Force, in 2006. Since then the US-based company has not put its feet up, launching in 2007 its all-singing and dancing RED groupset.
RED introduced several notable developments from Rival and Force, and for 2009 SRAM is overhauling both groupsets by trickling down tech from RED. Rival is the most redesigned groupset, and most visually different is a new polished black anodised finish that RCUK thinks makes it look more expensive.
It's not just the finish that has changed, for beneath the surface there's plenty to talk about. Brake levers are now made from carbon (and 40g lighter) and are longer as on RED, for better ergonomics. Most importantly is the addition of Zero Loss Shifting, which as RCUK pointed out in its first ride of the RED grouppo, is the most appealing aspect of making the switch to SRAM's offering.
The independent shift and brake lever adjustment also sees a presence, as well as multiple cable routing so you can pick whichever you prefer when building your bike. And like RED, the front derailleur now allows trim position on the big ring, which seems to work ok, but once RCUK gets a test, we'll report on this change.
Lastly, the cranks have been taken back to the drawing board and designed around OCT (Open Core Technology), first seen on the company's MTB products. The previous Rival cranks were simply forged with scalloped-out arms, but the new process is a proper hollow-forged design, making them 40g lighter than before.
These changes have reduced the weight of a complete Rival groupset to 2,149g
We got some a while back, as I'm using it on a bike next year. I was actually very impressed with it, fit and function are fantastic, it's definitely nicer than Ultegra SL, and cheaper.
Plus it looks fantastic hanging on a Colnago CLX...
Campy HATES it when people ride their stuff offroad. I heard a really funny story about a European distributor providing a sponsored CX racer with Chorus or Record, and when Sig. Campagnolo saw it, he flipped out about it.
Campy shouldn't be ridden in the dirt or something to that effect...
The new Centaur is flippin' awesome though, again we have a set here that we built up, and I have to say it feels a ton better than the '08 stuff, which was still really nice.