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SRAM Rival 22 HRD groupset review

2 Dec 2016

Good value and hydraulic stopping performance make the Rival 22 HRD our choice for budget disc use

Cyclist Rating: 
Hydraulic stopping action; reliable and versatile; good value for money
Lacking in frills; heavy alloy cranks

Located at the ground floor of SRAM’s range of groupsets, Rival 22 is billed as offering most of the performance and quality benefits of its premium penthouse models at a far more affordable price point.

It scores highly on versatility – SRAM has left no stone unturned or option unavailable when it comes to speccing Rival 22 on your bike.

The range of bottom bracket fitting choices, for instance, is almost overwhelming. Likewise the gearing options – you can go single or double at the front, while SRAM’s WiFli gearing tech covers you for up to a 32-tooth cassette at the back.

But the headline act of this HRD variant of Rival 22 is of course the hydraulic disc brakes. If you’re familiar with SRAM’s shifting action you’ll be pleased to hear that the fitment in the hydraulic hoods doesn’t alter this: the weighty shift action remains along with the positive engagement.

No complaints

As an entry into the world of disc brakes Rival 22 HRD is brilliant. During our test period they worked flawlessly. They never overheated and offer good power and modulation. There is some room for improvement in this final area, but given the price they’re as good as you could expect.

Upon first acquaintance the hoods are a little hard on the eye, but you get used to them quickly and they’re every bit as comfortable as regular ones. In fact, you can even use the extra hump as an additional handhold and they add security off road or when encountering bumps when descending.

Everywhere you look the Rival 22 groupset is functional if not exciting, but at this price that’s not a negative point. And frankly, when it all works so well what more do you need?

The only area we were slightly disappointed in was the weight of the forged aluminium cranks – at just under 850g in GXP form they add noticeably to the overall mass. If your budget will stretch that far, we’d recommend upgrading to the carbon non-series S-900.

Verdict: Fantastic overall value, good performance and seamless pairing with hydraulic stopping power make SRAM's Rival 22 HRD our choice for budget disc use. 4/5

From £845,

From £845

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