Doing it all the hard way...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

SRAM RED Yaw Front Derailleur Review

I was able to pick up the new SRAM Yaw front dérailleur (FD) which was supposed to address the previously mediocre SRAM front shifting. The reviews said it was a vast improvement over the earlier ones. There were questions about the compatibility of the new FD with the earlier versions of SRAM products.

First of all, I need to share what my bike set up is. Evo is a big camper and I run 180mm cranks. If I were a Campagnolo rider this would mean I would be confined to their top tier crankset because they only make 180 cranks in Record. I am, however, a SRAM guy, so in order to be kind of French, SRAM only makes the 180 cranksets in Rival and Apex, their bottom of the line gruppos. My bike has SRAM Rival 180mm cranks.

I do have the older style force shifters so assume all old stuff except for the new Yaw FD. Velonews did some compatibility testing and said the new FD with the old cranks, old rings and old shifters would yield an 8/10 in performance.

YAW? The premise of the new Yaw FD is that instead of moving strictly as a parallelogram, the cage tilts to be in a more optimal orientation in the small ring position and in a slightly different orientation in the big ring position. This makes sense, but then again, I drink more of the marketing kool aid than I should.


The instructions to install this are unlike any other FD I have ever set up. I would go as far as saying I haven't seen any instructions for any bike component like these. There is even a YouTube video to help you. After watching the video several times before and during installation, I finally found myself using trial and error just like every other FD installation. Set up just above the teeth when extended and adjusted while shifting on the bike stand. In the end, I think I got it right.

On the road:

Even using my old shifters and crankset/rings, there was a huge improvement. It reminded me of my upgrade from old 105 to new Ultegra back in 2003. I felt like the chain was moved by the hand of God. It Moved quickly and smoothly to the big ring and jumped back to the small ring when I wanted it to do so. The FD comes with a chain keeper and I set up the cage to move pretty far over so the chain really jumps when downshifting. No problem with dropped chains (not that there was before, but good is always good).


I am pretty darn happy with the performance. Despite the backward compatibility warnings, the unit is such an improvement that it is a win-win all around. I have made strong recommendations to my teammates to upgrade to the Yaw FD. These are pretty darn pricy so the unit can't score five of five Evos.

Four of five Evos.


Dcmkx2000 said...

I currently ride a sram rival bike and have never been super happy with the fd shifting. It also rubs in more gears than I think it should. Had a few shops look at it, but not much better.

Do you still like the Red Yaw FD?

Even with the rival rings it still performs a lot better?

I asked a lot of shops and they all say it wont work, or be any better....but I read so many conflicting reports online. Any info or advice would be greatly appreciated.

EvoDavo said...

I am still a fan. I have a commuter with SRAM RIVAL nose to tail and the shifting is... okay. I have the Red YAW derailleur on two bikes (race and rain bikes) one with red shifters and one with force. FWIW, both have Force RDs. I actually run ROTOR Q-rings so my shifting isn't as smooth as it would be with round rings. I did notice an improvement over the previous FDs on both bikes. The installation instructions are like nothing you have ever seen and at the end of the day, you still find yourself tweaking. Once you finish tweaking, the shifting is pretty impressive.