Long-touted as the entry-level, race-grade component group, SRAM’s Rival system will now be offered as a 22-speed for the 2015 model year.  After spotting this Rival 22 front derailleur at Sea Otter, we expected the new Rival 22 group, and got to test ride the group in a rare June snowstorm in Utah.

SRAM Rival 22: Hello Yaw and Hydraulics, Bye Bye 130 BCD and Carbon Levers

SRAM Rival 22 component group with Yaw and HydroR unveiled.

The SRAM Rival 22 component group gets a boost from fresh and trickle down technology with a Yaw front derailleur and HydroR brakes.


SRAM’s Rival 22 component group will also feature SRAM’s newest hydraulic braking system as an option, joining RED 22, Force 22 and Force CX1 as another complete component group to offer the HRD (Hydraulic Road Disc) and Hydraulic Road Rim) hydraulic brakes, but at a more affordable price point.

If you’re a fan of SRAM RED 22 or our 2013 Editors’ Award-winning Force 22 component group, you’ll find a lot to like about Rival 22. The group brings many of the same features of RED 22 including 11-speeds, Yaw-enabled front shifting, WiFLi derailleur and gearing options, and the redesigned DoubleTap hood shapes. Some elements are exactly the same as RED 22 and Force 22, including the DoubleTap lever shift internals, the rubber hoods, hydraulic master cylinders, hydraulic calipers (minus titanium fittings), and brake pads.

SRAM Rival 22 component group with Yaw and HydroR unveiled.

Find a wide range of gears at the entry race level as SRAM Rival 22 offers 11-speed WiFLi cassettes.

While likely to affect road cyclists more than cyclocross enthusiasts, the new Rival 22 crankset will only be offered in the compact, 110 BCD size. Rival 22 offers cyclocross-friendly chainring options, but strays from the typical road offerings, with a 36/46 for cyclocross/gravel, as well as compact 34/50 and “new compact” 36/52. 130 BCD cranksets are not available.

SRAM Rival 22 component group with Yaw and HydroR unveiled.© Cyclocross Magazine

110 BCD only: SRAM Rival 22 component group rings 36/46, 34/50 and 36/52 chainring optoins.© Cyclocross Magazine

In attempt to compete with Shimano 105 (and a weaker yen), SRAM is aiming Rival 22 at less-expensive bikes, and has swapped out carbon levers on the DoubleTap shifters for aluminum (both shift and brake) for a bit of cost savings at a small weight penalty.

Tested in cyclocross conditions: SRAM Rival 22 component group with Yaw and HydroR unveiled. © Cyclocross Magazine

The weather in Utah was accommodating: here the SRAM Rival 22 component group with Yaw and HydroR gets tested in cyclocross conditions. © Cyclocross Magazine

On May 15, SRAM released details on the changes they made with the new hydraulic HydroR levers and HRR (hydraulic road rim) and HRD (hydraulic road disc) brake calipers, and Cyclocross Magazine had our first in-person look and ride on the new versions, including Rival 22 this week at the 2014 Summer Press Camp. See the details and our initial impressions of the new hydraulic brake and improvements here. The hydraulic calipers among the SRAM Force 22, Rival 22 and S-700 groups appear to be identical including the steel bolts, and with a titanium bolt kit, one essentially have a DIY RED 22 caliper.

SRAM Rival 22 Component Group First Impressions:

We braved a freak snowstorm to test the new Rival 22 group, complete with Hydro R levers and hydraulic calipers, on a cyclocross bike. Our initial impression on the hydraulic brake is here, but the return of hydraulic braking power is welcomed, and the Rival 22 calipers and braking action felt identical to that of the redesigned RED 22 levers.

Tested in cyclocross conditions: SRAM Rival 22 component group with Yaw and HydroR unveiled. © Cyclocross Magazine

The new SRAM Rival 22, and the month of June being jealous of cyclocross season © Cyclocross Magazine

The WiFLi gearing options really provide a ton of versatility to a road, cyclocross or gravel bike, and the 11-32t cassette option paired with compact gearing helps flatten the steepest hills.

Shifting was precise and accurate, but after riding a RED 22 bike and Rival 22 bike back-to-back, we couldn’t help but notice that the higher quality cables and housing on the RED 22 group reduced lever effort in shifting. So if you like light action shifting, a cable and housing upgrade could offer RED 22-like performance, especially since the shifter internals are identical.

Stay tuned to Cyclocross Magazine for a full review.

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