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Hands On: SRAM Rival 22 Hydraulic Disc Brake Groupset

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SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (4) copy

This group was a long time coming. After having the wind swiftly removed from their sails after a complete and total recall of their previous road hydraulic rim and disc brake options, SRAM has come out on the other side and is ready to prove their worth. Nearly everyone involved should have their replacement parts by now, and SRAM is shipping new product to dealers.

With the rough patch behind them, SRAM has put forth an impressive looking group in both price and performance. Whether you’re looking for a group for your road, cyclocross, or gravel bike, the new Rival 22 group has you covered. Find actual weights, install notes, and initial impressions next….

SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (17)

When it came time to pick out a frame to adorn with the new group, my Volagi Viaje was a pretty easy choice. Thanks to the hydraulic disc and wide range gearing options, Rival 22 makes a strong case for the road or bikes that will spend the majority of time exploring dirt. Or both. The group seems to have the performance of much more pricey road groups, but with a replacement cost that’s easier to swallow when that stick takes out your rear derailleur.

SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (1)

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The changes to the lever shape are pretty hard to detect after being off the original SRAM hydros for quite some time, but the ergonomics are pretty good. Aesthetically, they still take some getting used to thanks to the tall profile of the shifter, but they feel good in the hand. All levers still offer independent shift paddle and brake lever reach adjustment through the two silver 2.5mm screws in the picture above.

One thing that is immediately noticeable on the new levers is the decreased dead throw before the pistons start to engage. The mechanics of the brake lever feel greatly improved over the first generation. SRAM used a bigger reservoir with more brake fluid, a more flexible bladder for better pad advancement, and a lighter pad spring all for improved feel.

SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (23) SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (22)

At the calipers, the brakes use 18mm pistons housed in a forged two piece caliper body with titanium hardware even on the Rival version. SRAM lists rotor options as 160mm for pavement and 140mm for off road, though with my weight at 150 lbs this 160/140 combo has been working out great  for both.

Initial impressions point to the Centerline rotor being a huge improvement over previous designs. Unless it changes drastically, I’d venture to day the combo is one of the smoothest disc brakes I’ve used. SRAM told us at press camp that there would be 6 bolt and centerlock versions of the Centerline rotor available, but at this time they are limited to 6 bolt.

SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (13)

Presumably after the recall SRAM wanted to make absolutely sure the product was perfect. Small details like the impressive machining on the contact points of the caliper make us feel good and should equate to ideal caliper alignment.

SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (14)

SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (16) SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (15)

Inside the top loading caliper you’ll find SRAM road specific disc brake pads with a sintered compound and beefy aluminum backing plates. They feel heavier than your average pad but like the rest of the brake caliper, pretty high quality. The pads are held in place with an allen screw, but don’t forget to remove the spring clip from the center of the caliper before you try to remove the pin. Different pads and calipers mean new pad spacers which come with the brakes, and new bleed blocks which are included with the latest version of the Pro Bleed Kit.

All of the new SRAM hydraulic road offerings use the same bleed procedure we highlighted from our trip to STU (SRAM Technical University) in Colorado Springs. The process is pretty straight forward if you’re used to bleeding Avid brakes over the years, and produces a perfect result in both brakes on the first try.

SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (21) SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (20)

SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (24)

Due to the adventurous nature of the Volagi Viaje, I chose to build it up with an 11-32 cassette which requires the Wi-Fli rear derailleur, and a standard compact crankset. Of course the 22 moniker means the cassette is 11 speed so you’ll see a Yaw equipped front derailleur. Easily the best Rival group yet (duh), Exact Actuation and Zero Loss on the front and rear shifter mean you get nearly the shifting feel of Red for a much smaller price.

Cranksets are available in 165mm, 167.5mm, 170mm, 172.5mm, 175mm, and 177.5mm lengths with 52/36, 50/34, or 46/36but only in GXP or BB30 spindles. In order to use the crankset on the Viaje we had to use the GXP crank with a BB386 adapter.

SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (3)

At the Rival 22 level you’ll find the SRAM PG 1130 cassette which is available in 11-26, 11-28, and 11-32 spreads. Utilizing an aluminum spider for the first three cogs, the rest are all individual which probably won’t be the best for delicate freehub bodies. The plus side is that the cassette is very affordable, as is the PC 1130 chain. These wear parts, along with the rest of the group should prove to be popular budget replacement items if you tend to be a regular part breaker since all the 22 groups are inter compatible.

SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (7) SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (8) SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (9)

SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (6) SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (5) SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (2)

SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (12) SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (11) SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (10)

On the scale, the numbers are basically what Tyler reported at Press Camp, though there were a few parts like the hydraulic levers that weren’t available to be weighed at that time. A few notes on the weights – the shifters include full hydraulic hose length and the shift cable installed but resting on the ground. I ended up having to shorted both hoses quite a bit to fit my 53cm frame, so they should be plenty long for you talk folks. The crankset weighed is a 172.5 with 50/34t rings and no bottom bracket. The rear derailleur is a Wi-Fli as mentioned, and the front derailleur includes a band clamp for seat tube mounting – without the clamp the derailleur weighs 81g. The cassette is an 11-32, road cassettes will be around 262g.

We’ll report back once we have some big miles on the group, but after a handful of rides at this point, first impressions are very favorable.

sram.com

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23 Comments
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joby
joby
8 years ago

We built a bike up with this group and I was really disappointed with the overall experience. The braking was outstanding and sets a new standard in how road bikes should stop. However, the rear shifting felt like it was a prototype with plastic parts where metal should’ve been used. Compared to the Ultegra hydro/mechanical, I’d personally go with the Shimano set up purely from a shifting feel and experience.

Nate
Nate
8 years ago

Joby thats like comparing 105 to Force…if you want a fair comparison you need to look at the Ultegra vs. Force. Not their budget minded Rival. It isn’t carbon or full metal for a reason.

joby
joby
8 years ago

Nate – Fair enough on the comparison, though I still am not a fan of the feel of the shifting. We assembled a Red 22 Hydro and the shifting was similar and not what we would have expected at that price point.

mudrock
mudrock
8 years ago

I got my start as a bike mechanic years ago, so I know my way around a bike, but that bleed procedure looks like a huge PITA. Closest I’ll come to hydros are the Hy/Rds.

drosser
drosser
8 years ago

With SRAM 10-speed, you could use a mountain rear derailleur to go as big as 36 with the rear cassette. Is SRAM road 11-speed compatible with SRAM mountain 11-speed?

mateo
mateo
8 years ago

@drosser – For SRAM:
Road 10, Road 11, MTB 10 are the same
MTB 11 (XX1, X01, X01DH, X1) are different

So a road 11 shifter, with a 10 speed MTB rear derailleur should work

You couldn’t use a 10-42 cassette though, so you’re still stuck with an 11-32 road casette until SRAM releases an 11 speed 11-36.

Nick
Nick
8 years ago

Those brake pads are stainless steel backing plates with organic friction material. The SS is what’s adding all the heft.

charango
charango
8 years ago

I have been using this group and love it. I am used to Sram Red and can barely tell the difference in shifting with Rival. The braking is also fantastic.

Sam
Sam
8 years ago

Second joby’s assessment. Brakes feel ok, but the shifting is a joke. Shift paddles routinely stick in shifted position.

Derek
Derek
8 years ago

@Sam You need to adjust the shift lever reach to prevent it from sticking. The brake lever and shift lever reaches are independent and most of the time people adjust the brake lever without adjusting the shift lever and get the same problem you’re having.

nightfend
nightfend
8 years ago

Mine have worked great since August on my cross bike. No problems so far.

Mark
Mark
8 years ago

Amusing how many people who don’t know / can’t read instructions set up a bike Nd or groupset poorly then criticise the groupset…
And when called out on it don’t come back and admit it’s their shortcoming not the products…

Cheese
Cheese
8 years ago

Looks nice. Too bad about the corrosive brake fluid.

muf
muf
8 years ago

ive a red22 set and regular discs as part of a the sram red brakes replacement last year. the brakes arent as perfect as some say (its still great but not *that* great hehe) thus im suspecting the discs.

Durianrider
Durianrider
8 years ago

Im running 32 cassettes with DA9000 RD’s no probs.

Put a 34 XT cassette with a 105 5700 RD no probs the other day.

Dylan
Dylan
8 years ago

Have been trying to find ‘off the shelf’ bikes (Cx or road) which carry this group- just wondering if anyone has a list…

k
k
8 years ago

unbelieveable how many people don’t know how to set up a bike shifter and claim themselves as a mechanic.

dislivello
dislivello
8 years ago

brutto ..he shifter are orrible .. all other ok..
best w have hose rutting on handlabar and brame w/o bleeding–…

The Goats
8 years ago

@durianrider. Yes, we have seen same with at least 5700 and 32’s no issue but suspect you are running with single chainring?

Bananas,

Goats

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
8 years ago

How do these levers fit small hands? One of the great things about the 10 speed Rival was how comfortable they are for people with short fingers. This is important for the next evolution of my wife’s CX bike since it currently uses 10 speed Rival levers in place of its original Shimanos because she has small hands and mechanical disks because it runs 26″ wheels.

John
John
8 years ago

@Cheese: Agree, glycol-based brake fluids not only eat paint, they are also hygroscopic.

BMW
BMW
8 years ago

@Slow Joe Crow

These should fit small hands great. There are brake and shift lever adjust on them, which makes it possible to bring both levers close to the bars, decreasing reach. Also, the hoods fit in the hand extremely well.

David
David
8 years ago

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