First ride: SRAM Force 22 (2014)


Betting further on low weight and high performance, SRAM launched in April this year the new 11-speed road groupsets Red and Force 22. If the first is the lightest groupset available at the moment, the latter features all of its technologies, but not the same materials, fact which makes the weight figure increase by 400 grams. Luckily, the 1.207 euro official price tag can be called decent, but is the new set worth the money?

I must start by admitting that when testing a high-end product, in an unexpected way, it’s actually kind of hard to evaluate the components’ individual performances. This occurs due to the fact, present here as well, that the components work so harmoniously that you tend to take the thing for granted and just enjoy the ride. It was exactly the case with the SRAM Force 22, any technical issue being highly unlikely to spoil the ride, yet we must keep in mind that the performance reached by this set doesn’t come from thin air.

A handful of technologies, in fact all of them, were borrowed from the Red 22 groupset, as mentioned earlier. So, from the performance point of view, things hardly get any better than this. Getting over to the claim of the manufacturer that both groupsets were (re)designed so as to really act like sets with 22 gear ratios, there are some comments to add.

Firstly, you can notice the revamped chainrigs, with a whole lot of extra additions and new tooth-shape, the narrower chain and carefully fitted 11-sprocket cassette, each one of them also featuring a new design, that enables reaching the high performance of the set. Basicly, any way you decide to use the drivetrain, it responds without hesitation, with a respect-inspiring precision. It’s truly a great achievement this 22-speed system, but still I wouldn’t go so far as to state that it’s unique. Others did it before and are still doing it now, yet I have to give Force 22 credit for its outstanding performance given it’s the first of its kind coming from SRAM. However, an option that the American manufacturer might want to explore in the future is the wear issue that sorrounds the above-10-speed groupsets.

Also worthy of mention is the front derailleur, equipped with the Yaw Technology. This SRAM-developed tech makes the derailleur cage not only move on the left-right axis, but also diagonally and upwards and downwards. The final result is that even without a longer lever, SRAM managed to develop a derailleur that works like clockwork and is also fast. An by this I mean really fast!

Appearances have underwent revamping, with the 22 logo being present on each and every component, while the crankset looks as being built out of 2-pieces, only it’s not. The levers look a bit more ergonomical, which they are, but this regard depends a lot on every rider’s anatomy and the shapes that make him feel comfortable. Also, take note that the brakes are now 2-milimetres wider in order to match wider rims.

A downside of all this new technology addition is the extra weight of the groupset, which now tips the scale at 2.150 grams, for the BB30 version, and at 2.267 grams for the GXP version, respectively.