New SRAM Red // Goodyear x Zipp // McLaren // Merckx // Cannondale & more!

new sram red axs e1 is the lightest road bike group with electronic shifting.

This week was a big one for SRAM, with a long-overdue Red revamp, plus a new computer, tires & handlebar, too. I also found new bikes from Cannondale, Marin, Merckx, and even McLaren! Plus more new tires, suspension testing equipment, and a clever heatmap feature from RWGPS. Here’s the best new stuff this week:

  • New SRAM Red
  • Hammerhead Karoo
  • Zipp x Goodyear road tires
  • Pirelli P Zero Race TLR RS
  • Zipp SL80 handlebar
  • Cannondale LAB71 SuperSix EVO
  • Eddy Merckx Corsa
  • Marin Alpine Trail
  • McLaren Extreme 600
  • Motion Instruments v2
  • Ride w/GPS short heatmaps

New SRAM Red AXS is lightest ever, but it’s really about the brakes

You’ve probably read about the new SRAM Red AXS E1 because it’s everywhere, so here’s a recap of the key features based on my ride time with the group so far. Scroll past if you’re over it already.

The biggest improvement and reason for an upgrade is the brakes. The new levers’ pivot point is higher and further forward, giving you enough leverage for true one-finger braking from the hoods. (Image above: Blue is new lever, Red is original eTap lever)

Combined with lower “push” force thanks to an inline master cylinder and piston (which also allows for a much smaller horn on the front), front-access reach adjust, and a smaller diameter grip, these are the best, easiest, most powerful road brakes SRAM has ever made.

The levers and shift paddles are reshaped, too, eliminating the finger pinching that could occur when pulling the lever hard, and there’s a new Bonus Button on the inside of the horn that can be customized in the AXS app to control some ANT+ lights and accessories or cycle through the screens on the new Hammerhead Karoo (below).

All components are backward compatible with all current 12-speed AXS groups, so once individual parts come on the market in June/July, these are the one thing you should consider upgrading, and not just for the brakes, but also for the Bonus Buttons.

(I’ve programmed mine to perform the opposite shift as that side’s paddle, letting me ride one-handed and still shift up and down…helpful when trying to take pics or video!)

Hollow carbon crank arms are 29g lighter with mildly updated chainrings and a new 160mm length option. Available with or without a Quarq power meter, with 2x chainrings in 50/37, 48/35 & 46/33 combos (52/39, 54/41 & 56/43 available aftermarket) and 1x aero chainrings up to 52 teeth.

The Red Flattop chain is their lightest ever with cutouts on all plates saving 13g.

Now compatible with the complete range of 12-speed road cassettes (except older 10-26), it gets more cutouts (16g lighter) and a larger lower pulley with ceramic bearings. Keeps the Orbit fluid damper for clutch-free chain management.

A narrower cage combines with more auto-trimming to give it faster shifts with no rub. Honestly, shift speed seems about the same to me, which is fine, but the marked High/Low limit screws, a new installation guide tool, and outward facing wedge bolt make it easier than ever to install and tune.

The cassette gets cosmetic updates on the backside to match the cranks but is otherwise the same one-piece machined steel X-Dome construction. It comes in 10-28, 10-30, 10-33, and 10-36 options, no more 10-26.

The complete group is $3,000 and includes the new Hammerhead Karoo. Claimed group weight is 2,496g (~154g lighter than original Red eTap group). Video here. Available now at your local bike shop and BikeTiresDirect, JensonUSA, and Competitive Cyclist.

Hammerhead Karoo boosts connectivity, power & (finally) gets air support

The new Hammerhead Karoo is sleeker, with bigger/better buttons, a separate power button on the bottom, and a brighter full-color Gorilla Glass touchscreen display. But what really sets it apart is its new connectivity features, massive 64GB onboard storage, and (finally) an iOS app that lets it sync remotely.

By pairing with your smartphone, you can share a GPX file or Google Maps pin, or load a workout, without WiFi, and Live Tracking lets riding buddies or anxious loved ones see your location. It automatically pairs with your AXS-equipped bike, letting you configure shifters/Bonus Buttons, and shows each component’s battery levels and even pushes alerts when they’re low. MSRP $475 w/ mounts & adapters. (video here)

New Goodyear road tires are only for Zipp 303 wheels

Taking an extremely dedicated systems approach, the new Goodyear VectorR NSW and SW road tires are designed specifically for Zipp’s hookless 353 NSW and 303 Firescrest wheels’ 25mm internal width. Goodyear says normal tires aren’t designed for rims this wide and end up with non-optimal shapes, tread contact and casing support.

The VectorR tires’ wider tread patch extends far enough for deep cornering. The casing supports an optimal shape at the lower pressures recommended for hookless tubeless road, and matches the rim’s 30mm outer width for better aerodynamics.

NSW version (280g, 30mm only) has 150tpi casing with thinner tread cap for race day. The SW version has 30mm (325g) & 35mm (365g) widths with a 120tpi casing and thicker rubber for more puncture protection, but both have an R:Shield puncture layer under the center. MSRP $90-100 each.

BTD presents their Memorial Day Deal Hub — where you’ll find doorbusters with savings up to 60%, plus dozens of limited time offers from the best brands in cycling. New deals are added daily, so bookmark the hub and check back often!

Pirelli P Zero Race TLR RS are now made with supercar tires

OK, so technically the new P Zero Race TLR RS tires aren’t made of supercar tires, they’re made in the same Bollate factory in Milan at Pirelli’s HQ as tires for supercars (like McLaren, who’s also launching a bike, below). This gives them more precise control over the construction and materials, yielding a lighter tire with higher performance.

It’s tubeless ready with a modernized bead shape & Kevlar fiber orientation for universal compatibility with modern hooked & hookless rims. A new SmartEVO2 compound has 16% less rolling resistance, yet also more grip in wet and dry. A new SpeedCORE casing and thinner tread cap drop weight 8%. Available in 26/28/30/32mm widths, weights from 270-340g.

Zipp SL 80 Race handlebar builds a shelf for your hoods

The new SRAM Red levers have a streamlined brake hose exit port, and the new Zipp SL 80 Race bar caters to it perfectly with a small wing creating a broader, smoother contiguous platform to rest your hands on. It also has recesses on the inside of the drops and under the tops for Wireless Blips.

Aero shaping on the tops has a slight recess where you can apply the included heat-shrink non-slip grip tape in lieu of bar tape. Flared drops match the pitch of the new Red brake levers, and additional outsweep on the ends give you good leverage in a sprint. Available in 36/38/40/42/44 cm widths, 250g (42cm). MSRP $340.

Cannondale LAB71 SuperSix EVO w/ new SRAM Red

Cannondale is quick to showcase the new Red group on their top-tier LAB71 frameset with a complete bike that’s just 6.65 kg (14lb 11oz, size 56). It also gets a CeramicSpeed bottom bracket and Reserve Turbulent Aero 42/49 rims laced to DT Swiss 180 hubs with SINC ceramic bearings, a wheelset that’s exclusive to them through July. MSRP $16,000.

Eddy Merckx Corsa steel road & gravel bikes

Eddy Merckx’s Corsa lineup has re-launched with three Columbus steel drop bar bikes – Mendrisio road, Pévèle all-road, and Strasbourg gravel. All three match the geometry of their carbon siblings, have UDH hangers, and are made with a mix of double- and triple-butted Columbus Zona and SL tubing.

The frames are made, painted, and finished in Belgium with their own team, and you can configure your custom paint scheme on their website. Framesets from €1,990, complete bikes available with SRAM & Shimano groups. (video here)

Marin Alpine Trail enduro bike switch hits three ways

The new Marin Alpine Trail introduces their most advanced alloy frame ever for a shapely 160mm travel enduro bike with a ton of adjustments. The rear pivot moves from seatstay to chainstay for better kinematics with the now-10mm-longer travel, and it has a flip chip lets you adjust BB height.

It comes MX, but a rocker flip chip lets you swap in a 29″ rear wheel to match the front. A new +/-0.75º adjustable headset lets you change head angle of the 170mm travel fork. The Bear Box downtube storage hides a tube, tools & snacks, and additional cargo mounts are under the top tube. Bikes from $3,199 to $5,399, frameset $1,849.

McLaren launches a super-quick but trail-legal eMTB

Supercar brand McLaren is getting into bikes and bringing along their automotive design cues to set them apart. A bespoke motor and battery system pumps out 852 watts, propelling the bike to its (trail legal Class 1) top speed of 20mph with a massive 161Nm of torque, which is almost double other “high power” e-bikes.

Remember, “quick” is acceleration, not top speed. So, it’s just as fast as other eMTBs, but with all that torque, it’ll get you there faster. Or, um, quicker.

The Extreme 600 (shown) has 145mm rear travel with 160mm forks and MX wheel sizes. Frame is carbon fiber, and the custom cockpit builds a full color display and 1550-lumen headlight into the bar/stem. Available with XX Eagle AXS Transmission and GX Eagle mechanical builds. There’s a hardtail, too. And, wait for it, they’re spec’ing Pirelli tires.

Motion Instruments suspension telemetry kit now cheaper & easier

Now just $499 (down from $1,300), Motion Instrument’s System 2 tech lets you quickly and easily measure suspension performance, then use data to tune it. The new system dumps the delicate potentiometers for electromagnetic sensors with no moving parts and a fully waterproof design that’s quick and easy to install.

The rear shock sensor is now an angle sensor that sticks onto a pivot and feeds a transmitter strapped to your top tube. The fork’s sensor quickly bolts to the lowers and slots under an included custom air cap. All data is fed to their app, letting you see how much travel you’re getting, compression & rebound speeds, and more, all without a subscription.

Ride with GPS adds 7-day & 30-day heat maps

The problem with most “heat maps” is that they’re cumulative for eternity, so it’s showing sometimes very old data. Ride with GPS’ has added 7-day and 30-day filters that let you see what people have been riding lately, which is a much better way to see what’s popular now.

The 7-day heatmap is best for densely populated areas. The 30-day heatmap is better for rural areas with lower traffic. Just as important, it shows what’s NOT being ridden recently, which is a good clue to road closures or routes that have become dangerous or unpopular. Available only on desktop via browser for now, but the app still shows all-time heatmaps like normal.

Small Bites

Hot Deals

Parting Thoughts

I’ve been riding the new Red for a couple weeks now, and it’s good…shifting is on par with the latest Force group, it’s just lighter and more chiseled looking.

But the new brake levers are incredible!

I’ve always had to adjust the reach inward to make them easy to reach while in the drops. Not only was getting the hex wrench into the bolt tucked up behind the lever a pain in the arse, but it also meant I was likely pinching my finger between the shift paddle and the handlebar.

All of that’s fixed now. The new design has massive finger clearance behind it, and the reach adjust bolt is front and center, easily accessed behind a tethered cover.

Even more impressive is the actual brake lever feel. It’s smooth and extremely light. With one finger at the very top of the lever I can lock up the brakes without trying very hard.

I’ve always liked SRAM’s linear brake feel, but had preferred the ergonomics and lever shapes of Campy and Shimano more. Now, the other stars are aligned, making them the best feeling and most ergonomically pleasing brakes on the market.

I love that the entire group is backward compatible, too. They’re not the only brand that does this, but it’s nice to know we can all upgrade parts here and there, or swap in a lower level cassette or chain in a pinch.

I’m about to set off on 17 days of riding some very mountainous terrain with the group, covering about 750 miles and ~65,000 feet of climbing, all on the new SRAM Red group. So, I’ll let you know how it does.

Until then, stay tuned for a very different new drivetrain launching next week from their competitor. And definitely check out BikeTiresDirect’s Memorial Day sale, they’re my sponsor this week and next, so please give them a click and check out their deals!


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The Lunch Ride is a weekly TL;DR recap of the best new cycling products and tech, written for Riders, not Algorithms. SUBSCRIBE HERE to get it in your inbox every Friday.

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