With the exception of a few different materials here and there that add up to a fractionally heavier system compared to the higher-end Force and Red sets, the SRAM Rival 22 Hydraulic Road Rim Brakes still represent the pinnacle of braking on the road or 'cross course. Both shift and brake levers on the Rival platform are alloy, as opposed to carbon, and the mounting hardware for the entire system is stainless steel, as opposed to titanium, but otherwise, it's all the same hydraulically-actuated goodness at a lower price point.
To reboot its original road and cyclocross hydraulic braking systems — which, again, were already ahead of their time — SRAM pulled apart every molecule of their anatomy to find room for improvements. The lever body, housing the reservoir and master cylinder, was reconfigured for more efficient internal spacing while at the same time boosting strength and stiffness, resulting in solid, consistent performance, regardless of braking or weather conditions. The master cylinder piston itself was also completely revamped, receiving an all-new bore design and new seals, after being subjected to thousands upon thousands of testing hours in every temperature and performance setting imaginable. The goal was absolute reliability, and the new system delivers.
SRAM was far from finished with updates, however. The new higher-capacity fluid bladder — the part of the system designed to maintain braking feel and consistency in compensation for pad wear — was also redesigned to improve fluid flow, so your brakes feel as great brand new as they do after a season of racing. At the rim, where the action happens, the smooth action of the powerful caliper translates into incredible confidence and control, allowing you to push harder and let the reins fly looser than they ever have. Opening wide enough to accommodate even the widest rims on the market (such as Zipp's Firecrest rims), the brakes are easily installed with SRAM's Connectamajig, allowing simple, clean hose connection without the hassle you would think would be necessary.
The SRAM Rival 22 Hydraulic Road Rim Brake is sold individually, in either left-hand or right-hand versions, so purchase one of each if you'd like a set. Each unit is pre-bled and includes the brake/shift lever, hosing, and caliper. The Rival 22 shifters are compatible with SRAM 11-speed drivetrains only. The system weighs approximately 422 grams per wheel.