Introducing Level - SRAM's New Dual Piston Brakes

Feb 23, 2016
by SRAM  
Press Release

When it comes to braking power and control, we believe in freedom—options. We believe that there should be an absolute best solution for every type of rider and every kind of ride; that there really isn’t a one-size-fits-most when it comes to brakes. That’s the concept that led us to the development of Level, a new brake designed for the needs of modern cross-country and trail riders.

Level puts the same proven SRAM brake technology used on the 2015 Downhill World Championship-winning bike into a smaller, lighter-weight package. Braking power and modulation are optimized by matching our DirectLink lever design with authoritative 2-piston calipers. Reach adjusters are hidden from outside elements, giving the entire package a clean, confident look. And with five options to choose from, Level makes it easy to find the perfect setup.

Proven SRAM technology, entirely new options: Level

Lever Design

• New lever design—based on Guide, but more compact and lighter.
• Same timing port closure mechanism—solid and predictable braking
• Same seals—stable and durable
• Same expandable bladder reservoir—dependable and consistent braking power in all conditions
• DirectLink —solid, positive feel and engagement
• New detent design for the tooled reach adjust—same pistons, seals, reservoir, bladder
• Smaller lever body with DirectLink
• New detent design for the tooled reach adjust

Caliper Design

• Incorporates technologies developed on Guide Ultimate’s S4 caliper
• Heat Shield: stainless steel shield reduces heat transfer from the rotor and pads to the caliper’s body
• Consistency, control and feel: optimized gland geometry, seals and piston rollback
• Bleeding Edge: the easiest and cleanest way to bleed your brakes
• Two 21mm pistons
• Monoblock construction

SRAM Level brakes
SRAM Level brakes

Level Ultimate
As its name implies, this is our Ultimate brake design for cross-country and light trail use. We took the same technology used in the brake that Loic Bruni rode to a Downhill World Championship and packed it into a smaller, sleeker, lighter-weight and XC-optimized package. The carbon-fiber level blade pulls crisp and clean, thanks to pivot bearings and our DirectLink design. And it maintains that feel throughout the ride because it is matched to our monoblock, two-piston caliper. This caliper’s superior heat management and smooth piston actuation give you braking power exactly when and how you need it. And the Bleeding Edge design significantly simplifies fluid maintenance.

Carbon lever and blade
Lever pivot bearings
Ti hardware
Alloy backed pads
Bleeding Edge
MatchMaker X
Weight: 318g (direct mount, 800mm hose, 160mm CLX rotor, Ti hardware)
MSRP: $297 | €324 | £249

SRAM Level brakes
SRAM Level brakes

Level TLM
It has a championship-winning pedigree, and is ready to take all of the punishment you want to give it. Level TLM puts proven SRAM braking performance and consistency at your fingertips, in a sleek, lightweight design optimized specifically for cross-country and light trail use. Power and modulation are delivered via the Level TLM’s alloy lever blade, DirectLink actuation, DOT 5.1 fluid and our new two-piston, monoblock caliper. The design provides superior heat management for consistent, fade-free performance all day long, and Bleeding Edge technology makes maintenance incredibly simple, so your brakes feel great all day — every day.

Alloy lever blade
Lever pivot bushings
Stainless hardware
Bleeding Edge
MatchMaker X
Weight: 356g (direct mount, 800mm hose, 160mm CL rotor)
MSRP: $190 | €207 | £159

SRAM Level brakes
SRAM Level brakes

Level TL
Heavyweight performance in a lightweight package. Level TL packs the same XC and trail-optimized power delivery into a brake set that won’t break the bank. This brake matches an alloy DirectLink lever to a lever body that contains the same technology found in the Level TLM, Level Ultimate and Guide series of brakes, for reliability and consistency you can count on.

Same proven lever technologies as Guide—piston, seals, reservoir and bladder
Compact lever body with DirectLink
Same power as Level Ultimate and Level TLM
MatchMaker X
Tooled reach adjust
Weight: 370g (direct mount, 800mm hose, 160mm CL rotor)
MSRP: $102 | €111 | £85

SRAM Level brakes
SRAM Level brakes

Level T
Level T capitalizes on the same trail-taming brake technology that conquered the 2015 World Mountain Bike Championships, to deliver a powerful and consistent XC and trail-optimized brake set that keeps your capital in the bank. This budget-minded, MatchMaker compatible brake set provides all the power of its siblings, keeping you in complete control.

Same power as Level Ultimate, Level TLM and Level TL
Two-bolt clamp
Weight: 410g (direct mount, 800mm hose, 160mm CL rotor)
MSRP: $82 | €89 | £68

SRAM Level brakes
SRAM Level brakes

The SRAM Level brake levels the playing field with power and reliability stuffed into a lightweight package. This is a no-nonsense performer, but don’t let its understated disposition fool you — Level gives you the art of braking in minimalist form.

Same proven lever technologies as Guide—piston, seals, reservoir and bladder
Compact lever body with DirectLink
Distinct contact point
Pinch clamp
Weight: 430g (direct mount, 800mm hose, 160mm G2 rotor)
MSRP: $63 | €69 | £53

All New Two Piston Lineup

SRAM Level Ultimate
Replacing—SRAM XX
Replacing—SRAM X0
Replacing—SRAM DB5
SRAM Level T
Replacing—Avid DB3
SRAM Level
Replacing—Avid DB1


  • 591 53
 We called them Level because that's the only terrain they're going to stop you on. The rest of the time you gotta hope for the saints to save you.
  • 155 11
 Sounds like a winning formula.
  • 249 56
 Guides are awesome... idk what you're talking about. And this new brake is supposed to be for XC use. Not your 45lb kona.
  • 34 10
 I want to hide in the Magura cave from those puns.
  • 103 5
 Only hope can guide you down the trail.
  • 48 8
 I love all my sram brakes (code, guide rs, guide rsc) but on steep stuff even the rsc have less power than i would hope... after trying saints I am converted to shimano though...
  • 26 4
 It's a TR (A) P!
  • 18 11
 @Fix-the-Spade you win the best comment for today.
  • 44 4
 I converted my V10 from Guides to Saint. Guides would fade when you need them most. Saints stop you.
  • 29 7
 The new kona operator weighs 35 pounds...
  • 83 2
 I overheard someone's talking about us.
  • 20 11
 My God what have I pun!?
  • 6 1
 Sounds like their minds are in a haze
  • 23 2
 45lb Kona? Time to upgrade to a bike from this decade!
  • 23 2
 I'm an Avid fan of these puns
  • 41 2
 Just blast down the trail listening to Tektro music
  • 7 8
 45??!! my kona weighs 55 bone dry, it sucks though i cant wait for my new upgrade this season I only have one bike and have to ride that everywhere it has gotten me in such good shape though but I need a new ride haha
  • 1 0
 Buy TRP tho
  • 6 30
flag Waldon83 (Feb 23, 2016 at 11:06) (Below Threshold)
 All these Pinkbike puns are starting to get really bad..... Stop while you're ahead people
  • 2 1
 This comment made my day
  • 5 16
flag Aled-DHI (Feb 23, 2016 at 12:03) (Below Threshold)
 I have ridden Avid/Sram brakes for the past 10 years.

The Code Rs were awesome, however the Guides are terrible.

So much lever flex, too much fade. Sram have definitely dropped the ball here, much like the GX and XX1 dérailleurs.
  • 2 0
 I hope that their formula is not on the basic level because it looks so Wink
  • 7 0
 Stop lying to us Sram, Bruni won world champs on code calipers, not guides.
  • 5 3
 Stop it! with these puns. The caliper of these comments is xtr-annoying.
  • 3 5
 Shouldn't try and be a back yard mechanic with your brakes and they won't fail you. Its called "proper maintenance"
  • 2 5
 SRAM needs to step up with some sick 4 piston brakes. I had the magura mt7 brakes and shimano saint on a few of my bikes and 2 piston brakes just seem untrustworthy compared to 4 Pistons.
  • 4 2
 The codes are an amazing 4 piston brake and again when you get a mechanic that actually knows how to "properly" bleed them they will last forever
  • 5 3 last forever. .that's funny.. went through 3 sets in 3 years.. Even the Sram rep couldn't keep them from completely failing. My local bike shop finally gave me full credit towards a set of Hope brakes.. Never going back to sram/avid again.
  • 11 0
 Sounds like some of you are at that time of the month, need to change your pads
  • 7 3
 And give the puns a brake
  • 4 1
 No thanks, nothing can stop these puns
  • 197 16
 *Squeek Squeeeeeeeeek SQUEEEEEEEK*
  • 114 11
 No no, that's AVID... this is SRAM
  • 78 11
 Now with twice a week bleeds.
  • 35 0
 Why does SRAM keep Avid around? SRAMs product and company break down is beyond absurd at this point. And now they have introduced 4 levels of Level. Makes sense if you don't think about it.
  • 12 3
 @Axxe Yes ! haha.. really though, the amount of bleeding and general upkeep Sram/avid brakes need is ridiculous..
  • 3 7
flag dannygoesmtb (Feb 23, 2016 at 8:08) (Below Threshold)
 Sup kona
  • 28 13
 Had two sets of guides and not once needed to bleed them. I have ultimates now and I love em, much better than the XT's i had.
  • 34 3
 @shreddingpeas Logic has no place here, GET OUT!
  • 2 0
 Actually, this comment made my day.
  • 22 6
 On SRAM guides now for over a year and not one bleed needed.
  • 14 2
 I swear I'm the only one that knows how to bleed both avid and shimano. If you do all the steps correctly, you're brakes will be fine. That being said, I use saint because on long dh runs, the saints are the strongest for my 240 pound self
  • 26 2
 I've been really impressed with how well my Shimano SLX brakes work on my fat bike. I'll let myself out...
  • 25 11
 On Sram Guides, best brakes I have ever used. Nothing in braking department has ever suited me so well. I was to build a bike made mostly from components manufactured in EU, but there is no way I am getting rid of Guides. Amazing brakes.
  • 9 2
 Magura MT7 is probably the best brakes I used. My RSC are good, but those MT7 are amazing.
  • 1 1
 @ryan83 That's the best one I've heard all week!
  • 3 3
 All this Hayes is Guiding me away from the Formula for a winning brake.
  • 5 2
 4 piston Avide Code ONLY and stfu about that squeek Wink
  • 4 0
But what about Hope? They're made in the EU, for now....
  • 3 2
 They are ok, just not suiting me as well as Guides. And I will never buy a Formula again.
  • 2 0
 I somehow knew the comments would be golden.
  • 1 0
 Not a fan of guides. They are half baked. Will swap for saints asap.
  • 59 7
 DOT fluid- no thanks.
  • 10 14
flag hamncheez (Feb 23, 2016 at 7:21) (Below Threshold)
 While I agree, man the mineral oil for my shimanos is expensive!
  • 6 3
 @hamncheez you don't need to buy shimano mineral oil. i've been using alternatives for years with no issues.
  • 13 7
 Baby oil works just fine.
  • 6 3
 Finish line mineral oil. Its dope.
  • 3 2
 I'm seeing finish line oil for $10 for a 4oz bottle. That seems the same as shimano to me
  • 6 0
 Pentosin where it at. Turned my ordinary bike into 'the ultimate riding machine'.
  • 50 2
 Shimano stuff is not that expensive, it's like 20$ a litre and that will give you a lifetime supply. Jees, people don't flinch spending 4000$ on a bike, and then use baby oil instead of proper oil in the most important component safety wise to save 5$.

DOT fluid is almost the same price per volume but has a shelf life of a few months once it's open, although that wasn't a problem with my last set of avid. I probably went though gallons of that stuff...
  • 6 4
 I went to Wal-Mart and got a bottle of DOT 4 fluid for $3... I love my RSC's!
  • 2 4
 Butcher block oil at the hardware store for years!
  • 11 1
 I just use good old H2O
  • 7 0
 Baby oil has a lower boiling point which is why the shimano mineral oil is tinted red. Even most over the counter mineral oil does not meet the boil point spec.
  • 4 16
flag charlieh5816 (Feb 23, 2016 at 9:06) (Below Threshold)
 @gooutsidetoday DOT 4 is not made for brakes on bike it must be DOT 5 or higher. Anthing lower is made for brake systems that use a vacuum like cars and motorcycles. It will work but not near as well. Also you should not mix diffrent levels at least thats what I have always heard, Sram brake come with DOT 5.1.
  • 6 2
 I've never seen a motorcycle with a vacuum brake booster ...
  • 13 0
 $10 for like 8 brake bleeds .. Errmagerd sooo expensive!!

  • 8 1
 Dot 4/5.1 are both glycol based and can be mixed, however 5.1 has a higher boiling point. Dot 5 should NEVER be put in a 4/5.1 system.
  • 17 0
 The DOT rating has Zero to do with the type of system. It has to do with the chemical make up of the fluid and the boiling point. DOT 4 has a dry boiling point of 446 degrees f and a wet point of 311 degrees. DOT 5 and 5.1 have the same boiling points of 500 degrees dry and 356 wet. DOT 5 is silicone based and more prone to bubbles and 5.1 Borate ester/Glycol ether based. It has zero to do with vacuum and non vacuum systems. The actual brake system on a car is not vacuum based. the booster system is vacuum based. My truck has a hydro booster and uses DOT 4. Also DOT 4 is a Borate Ester/Glycol Ether base. The boiling point is the only thing that changes from DOT 4 to DOT 5.1. The reason SRAM recommends 5.1 is due to the smaller amount of fluid it is better to have the higher boiling point as heat does not dissipate as fast.
  • 2 6
flag charlieh5816 (Feb 23, 2016 at 9:41) (Below Threshold)
 @USMC i dont think i was clear on what i meant, yes i agree the level corresponds to the boiling point but the different levels have a diffrent chemical make up causing the properties to be different and making one level better for different uses. I am not trying to say the number is what determains what type of system should be used in. I am trying to say that the chemical make up detrmaines what type of system it is better in, like when i raced dirtbike I always used dot 3 because it works better in that system.
  • 2 1
 Both DOT 4 and DOT 5.1 have the exact same chemical make up. They are both Borate Ester/ Glycol Ether make up. other than boiling point they are no different chemically.

And that is not what you said.
  • 1 5
flag charlieh5816 (Feb 23, 2016 at 9:59) (Below Threshold)
 @USMC yes they are made up of the same chemicals but DOT 4 is thicker than DOT 5.1 so it properties when used inside a brake that is designed to use dot 5.1 are going to be different.
This is from the article you posted:
One last note on the DOT ratings: Systems designed for a particular type of should continue to be filled with that fluid.

You may be right I am just stating what I have been told by other mechanics, bike and automotive.
  • 10 2
 DOT sucks. F worrying about getting fluid on your frame or grips or floor or small child. I still have a bottle in my shed that I haven't yet figured out how to properly dispose of since I disposed of Avid.
  • 2 0
 Stop while you are ahead and go buy both they are not any thicker or thinner. Also you can swap between DOT 4 and 5.1 without issue. You cant not swap in DOT 5. I have been car mechanic for 10 years prior to my current position. The DOT statement you made is to swap between DOT 3 and DOT 5 which are the only 2 DOT ratings with different chemical make ups.
  • 4 0
 From SRAM guides Service Manual:
Use only DOT 4 or DOT 5.1 fluids with
SRAM hydraulic brakes. Do not use any
other fluid, it will damage the system
and make the brakes unsafe to use,
which could lead to serious injury
and/or death. Do not use mineral oil.
DOT fluids will damage painted
surfaces. If any fluid comes in contact
with a painted surface, wipe it off
immediately and clean with water.
Used DOT fluid must be recycled or
disposed of in accordance to local and
federal regulations.
Never pour used DOT fluid down a
sewage or drainage system or into the
ground or body of water.
  • 2 0
 @acali all you have to do is take it to any auto parts store and dispose it with their oil. Also I have never gotten fluid on any of the things mentioned.
  • 2 1
 Brake fluid is not oil. Do not mix brake fluid with oil unless your collection point permits it. Whether its ok depends on how the recycled oil will be used. Around here used oil is re-refined. Brake fluid can make it difficult or impossible to re-refine the oil.

The issue with most used brake fluid is that it is contaminated by contact with the cars brake system and contains heavy metals, not an issue for unused oil or oil from a bike.

Best is to take the used brake fluid, separately, to local hazardous waste site as they can incinerate it. If that isn't possible pour it out into a container and let it evaporate.
  • 10 1
 So what ur all saying is that I should use bacon grease in my Shimano brakes
  • 5 0
 Well if there is one area you should definitely skimp to save a couple of dollars it is definitely in the stuff that makes your brakes work!
  • 8 0
 @hamncheez, it would be great to follow you down some DH runs. The smell of cooked bacon! Mmmmmmm
  • 1 0
 Been using PENTOSSIN hcf 7.1 with my shimanos deores for years now. They work much better than the Shimano Oil and 1 liter for 18$ lasts a long time even for both bikes I maintain.
  • 2 0
 Meh. I use febi bilstein 02615 for years, also no problems. Bought a liter for $9 because the Shimano was bucks and I was mad that they even sold a bleed kit which was a plastic bag and rubber band. But now I see a liter of genuine Shimano is $20 I'd have bought that instead. A liter will last years. Also get a plastic medicine Syringe at the pharmacy for free, just the ticket for bleeding.
  • 1 0
 @Reelchef67 What is it about the Pentossin that works better than the Shimano fluid?
  • 2 0
 The seem to work better in the cold (0'C) shimnao oil felt slow sluggish. Pentosin makes them quick and snappy.
  • 1 0
 Any difference in normal riding temperatures?
  • 46 0
 Looks like SRAM has quite the marketing budget these days.
  • 38 9
 Wait until you see their legal budget for suing folks like Wolf Components over things SRAM did not invent. They are the Specialized of components.
  • 14 12
 I would have sworn that SRAM invented the N/W chain ring, patented it, and did all of the work of bringing it to market. I feel that SRAM is protecting their patents from these companies who slightly changed the tooth profile and are now benefiting without compensating, and that they are in the right in this case.
  • 14 3
 No, they most definitely did not invent n/w chain rings. They had been used on various machinery and chain saws for decades.
  • 13 11
 @lamonicaclayton SRAM did not invent or innovated anything. Ever. Narrow wide was already a patent that expired. Or something like that. They are the Specialized of components. All marketing, no substance. I wonder why shimano did not go NW? I wonder why all pros have chain keepers?
  • 4 7
 Also SRAM is X synch. its actually a different profile than NW.
  • 7 1
 Didn't realized that narrow wide sprokets were used on anything else but bikes, but I would love to know what company is using these sprokets, and what benefit they are for chain saws and other large machines! Anyway, raceface, wolf tooth, and praxis works all came out with their narrow wide chain ring after SRAM intrduced xx1, so I would think that SRAM saw this as getting their idea ripped off, unless, somehow, all of these other companies thought of making NW chain rings at the same time as SRAM.
  • 7 6
 SRAM exploited US patent and legal system. They obtained a patent for a minor variation of existing technology, and now use threat of expensive legal proceedings to snuff out smaller competitors who can't afford to pay to invalidate this joke of a patent.
Shame on them and big fat fuсk them.
  • 7 1
 @MojoMaujer Patents are good for 20 years. Shimano made their own unique chain retention system (DCE) so that they didnt infringe SRAM's patent, not because it doen't work. Also, pros use chain retention because, unlike us amateur riders, they cannot afford to have their chain fall off, no mattter how good the chain retention is. It is peace of mind to know that your chain will never fall off, even in the worst of conditions.
  • 6 5
 where is this existing technology? Can you point me towards it?! SRAM is not threatening these smaller companies for no reason. SRAM got their chainrings patented, and they gave the chance to licence their products. Chromag licensed, and they seem to be doing pretty good. It isnt hard to licence, but these compaines didnt. they changed the design a tiny bit, marked it as their own, and reaped the benefit. SRAM is suing them for infringement, and there is nothing wrong with that.
  • 7 1
 Take the SRAM "patent". Look at the references. It is right there as prior art. Long expired. Seriously, do your homework.

You obviously have very little idea about how US patent system typically works. It is designed so that large corporations or trolls with nothing better to do can push through vague and minor improvements or trivial applications of existing technology to a new field and then use money for lawyers to bully small competitors while keeping cross licensing agreements with large ones. When somebody stands up, 50% of patents are invalidated. Think about that.

The reason this technology made its way to bicycles is that wider range cassettes became available and 1x systems became more popular. And clutch derailleurs - which Shimano brought to market.
  • 6 0
 ok your right. SRAM did use the idea from US 20020098934 for their chain rings. However, SRAM did put credit where credit was due. These other companies did not. Thats all i'm saying. I'm not trying to be a troll, i'm just trying to say that "big corporations" are not always the ones at fault.
Let me put it this way...(hypothetically) you have this idea for a new and awesome handle bar on your mountain bike. A motorcycle company made a version of the handle bar first 10 years ago, but you came up with this great way of implementing it onto a mountain bike. You do all of this work to design, manufacture, market, and patent this product just to have someone a month later take the same design, tweak it a little, and call it their own. I dont know about you, but I would be mad if that happened to me. Thats the way that im thinking about it
  • 2 5
 Bell is credited as the inventor of telephone. All he did was to register another guy invention after it expired. Or something like that. I guess it is ok for SRAM to be credited as "inventor" or 2x10, 1x, narrow wide, 11 speed etc.
they did come out with wireless, but I am waiting to see it working.
NW is total bs. Chainring last less, and the retain is all in the derailer. The prefect component for bike industry, easy wear and replace soon.
  • 4 2
 Yes, lamon, that is exactly how it (should) work. If you get an existing idea and slightly tweak it, all you get is to compete on price, quality, and marketing. You should not be able to get to use threat and expense of legal action to punish competition and get monopoly profits for something that an average engineer can look up in a weekend of search.
Patent used to be for truly innovative, never before done thing requiring extraordinary ingenuity, not just deep pockets and an experienced patent lawyer.
And Shimano can use more durable steel deep tooth design, because their clutch derailleur are better. And actually more unique as an innovation.
  • 2 1
 @axxe tell me which chainsaw uses narrow wide sprockets please, the very nature of how the chain interfaces with the sprocket is reverse to a push bike, I've worked with saws of all types for nearly a decade and never seen this...!?

In fact I've never seen narrow-wide rings outside of mtb albeit don't doubt they existed beforehand somewhere, no other system or machine uses a derailleur like a push bike so has no need for one.
  • 3 2
 The way I understand it, SRAM isn't stopping people from making drop stop chainrings, they are stopping people from taking their idea for a drop stop chainring. Thats why SRAM isnt going after shimano, because they made their own version. Besides, If it only takes a weekend for an engineer to find these patents and make a new product, why weren't they invented when the clutch rear mech came out? People have been using 1x9 way before xx1 came out. Why wasn't it created then? Just because a big cooperation is trying to protect their idea, it doesn't mean that they are trying to monopolize or punish other companies. They just want credit where it is due. It is just like YouTube videos and copyright. If you take someone's content, tweak it with your own intro, but dont ask for permission/liscence the video with its creator, you will get your video taken down. Even though the last person's video might not be the first time it was done (ie. Video game walkthroughs) it is still an original piece of content, as it was created in a different way than everybody else. This parallels with SRAM as, although they didn't entirely invent the narrow wide chainring, it has an entirely different mechanical function than its original purpose, and these other companies (raceface,praxis, and wolftooth) slightly tweaked their design and put it off as their own. In the end it's really hard to come up with an entirely new idea and patent it, because then you would never get progress. Could you imagine if the derailleur itself was patented right now and we were all still on 5 speed because there would be no incremental upgrades to the design. The patent process is a way to encourage growth and development, not hinder it. When people are forced away from ideas it creates whole new possibilities for new and exiting technologies to be introduced, and keeps the industry diverse. Wich can only be a good thing, right?
  • 2 0
 Such naïveté.

No, they do not just want credit where it is "due". They have an army of lawyers on retainer who make living by exploiting patent laws to try to maximize shareholder profits. No other motives are in the picture, and nothing is "due" to them, as they did not innovate anything that warrants a government sanctioned monopoly on it.
But keep drinking the Coolaid, if that makes you more comfortable with your choices.
  • 37 2
 Now designed for three finger braking?
  • 7 0
 Xc riders are quite "creative" with their braking technique
  • 1 0
 When arm pump or precise bike control isn't a concern, 3 finger braking is quite acceptable apparently
  • 40 6
 Brakes don't win DH Championships. That's a fact!
  • 28 1
 they only slow you down
  • 31 3
 Go ride some DH with shitty brakes and see if you can beat your pb's.
  • 4 8
flag brandaneisma (Feb 23, 2016 at 7:14) (Below Threshold)
 @ibishreddin Really I did not know!!
  • 9 3
 They have proven to lose them though... Eg. Gwin's World Champs brake failure a year or so back.
  • 9 1
 @getonyourbike ironically, that was on prototype saint brakes
  • 3 1
 ...and neither do chains!
  • 2 0
 @Patrick9-32 - I've had a set of pretty badly bled XTs and that was not exactly my idea of fun, brake dragging on the flatter parts to make up for the brakes not functioning properly on the steeps.
  • 5 1
 I know the comment wasnt serious, but the better your brakes are, the later you can brake, the faster you are.
  • 32 2
 29er Carbon Hardtail rider here - This Level Ultimate is the same weight as my Hope X2 Tech 3's, at nearly double the price. Thanks but no. For $300 a wheel I'm getting XTR's or Hopes and a few pints (chose the latter when my XO's couldn't hold a bleed for the last time)
  • 12 34
flag allix2456 (Feb 23, 2016 at 8:38) (Below Threshold)
 But I mean hey, at least the Levels will actually stop you. Theres a reasons the brand is called Hope...
  • 10 0

Er....what are you blathering on about? Have you actually ever heard anything bad about a Hope brake? Literally ever? If so, what was it, cos I haven't...
  • 7 0
 Hope's for me at least have been issue free for the last 5 years. Tech X2, Tech X2 Evo, Tech M4 Evo, Tech 3 X2 and Tech 3 E4. 3 different designs, all still work flawlessly and other than a banjo flip in the rear of the Tech X2, no bleeding required. Also never an issue with not enough feel for modulation or brake fade or wishing for more power. And I'm a big dude. It should be pointed out that SRAM has taken a page from Hope with their Swinglink after the Tech X2 lever was introduced. I won't be changing brands anytime soon.
  • 3 0
 I'm admittedly a weight weenie, my bike is under 9.6kg with pedals/cages/etc. The X2 Tech 3 combo (caliper/lever/hose only) with standard hose weighed in around 255g (~$150/wheel, bulletproof and feel great). My Sram X0's were around 240g. Looks like these Level ultimates will be around 230g, heavier for the lower spec levels. XTR M9000's are around 210g (~$160/wheel, but feel like shimanos).

I know they've made big improvements on the levers, and I actually always liked how my SRAM X0 brakes felt when they had a good bleed, but even if you can get over the performance history of this lineage, you have a price to performance ratio problem. While we all know MSRP means little when it hits CRC/Wiggle/etc, a 2 piston XC brake weighing around 230g should be less than $150/wheel, closer to $120 to lure XT users to upgrade etc. I'll be watching the price closely for backup bikes and any budget builds, especially the TLM level (just add Ti/AL hardware and Ashima rotors)
  • 29 1
 Level, Level Ultimate, Level T, Level TL, Level TLM.... Jesus that naming is confusing.

Why don't they just use names like: Cheapest, Cheap, Same as XT's, Most of your Paycheck, and toppin the rang is the SRAM Ouch.
  • 26 1
 Do we really need 9 different mountain bike brakes from Sram? (4 guides and 5 levels)
  • 5 2
 Makes sence for OEM, bit overkill for aftermarket though.
  • 12 0
 Actually I don't need any brakes from Sram /Avid.
  • 2 0
 Don't forget the DB-5 & 7(though I suspect the two cheapest Level brakes are meant to replace those.)
  • 23 8
 prepare for "shimano is better" comments
  • 66 18
 Yes, because in every way it is better...
  • 7 4
 Depending who you ask - Shimano is arguably at better... at brakes. However sram is definitely closing the gap. My only issue with Shimano is that they don't use sealed bearings in their hubs!
  • 17 2
 there are loads of quality hubs with sealed bearings. LOADS. I don't blame anyone for preferring sealed cartridge bearings, but please don't go asking the last manufacturer of quality angular contact bearing hubs to switch to cartridges!
  • 2 3
 For brakes, Magura is better the German Made ones! Shimano are pretty great too, I like that they also use mineral oil now. I used Avid Juicy 7's for years on xc bikes, back in the day without many problems. I'm sure these are good too, if you like bleeding DOT fluid.
  • 2 1
 You like that Shimano is using mineral oil now? Shimano has always used mineral oil. . Or have you realized mineral oil is not as nasty to deal with?
  • 4 0
 I love my ZEE brakes, but remember that there is no Standard for 'Mineral Oil' like there is for DOT
  • 29 15
 Shimano is better.
  • 2 5
 Shimano is better, Hopen is better, Hayes is better..hell, jamming your foot between your tires and bike frame is better. F_ sram.
  • 1 2
 Haha. Nailed it :-)
  • 3 1
 Sram fanboys negging because they're so offended.
  • 10 1
 What a load of marketing shyte. They also look retarded in the pics. I liked my ultimate carbons too with big plate rotors. I also like my guides but time will tell... Apart from that, yeah a load of marketing shyte imo.
  • 8 0
 Bleeding edge technology is a category of technologies so new that they could have a high risk of being unreliable and lead adopters to incur greater expense in order to make use of them. The term bleeding edge was formed as an allusion to the similar terms "leading edge" and "cutting edge".
Bleeding edge technology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

someone should have used google
  • 8 1
 No pad contact adjustment? Needs a tool to adjust reach. Seems a pity to me.
For my sins, my family's bikes all run Avid/SRAM. Definitely not low maintenance but, once I learned how to adjust and tweak, good performance does show through - but I have found their pad contact adjustment levers, with non-tooled reach adjustment, essential features in their usage, especially when out on the trails for any length of time or on trips away. Essential. Not even this Ultimate version features these. IMHO that's a shame.
The new bleeding edge calliper would presumably be welcome - On Guide Ultimates it does make balancing up pad gaps, lever reach and lever dead-band a lot easier than it used to be during a bleed.
  • 7 0
 Funny how they listed the reach adjustment twice in the description, maybe to make people not notice there isn't a contact adjust.

With that said, I've switched my entire fleet over to guide brakes. They've got good power, spectacular feel/modulation and have proven to be quite reliable. I no longer simply recommend XTs to people who ask which brakes to get. Now I say Guides or XTs, depending on which lever feel you like more.
  • 3 3
 Does the contact adjust even do anything? I've never been able to notice a difference...
  • 3 1
 Do you have fingers of a bloody big foot?
  • 6 0
 @skelldify - contact adjust does stuff. It controls the amount of lever throw. If it isn't noticeable, chances are there is air in the bleed that makes the end of throw mushy instead of noticeably at a specific spot.
  • 7 0
 Normally at this point I'd bang on about how good Shimano brakes are, over the years I've had a few issues. Went out Sunday my on my bike with a newish m8000 brake pulled to the bar and didn't return, unhappy. Came home took my B bike fitted with SLX M675, this time the rear failed mid ride. Shimano ain't all they're cracked up to be either, 4th failure like this, going to buy some Hope brakes
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Their quality is going down the drain with regards to brakes. for quite a while they were by and far the most reliable brakes but the saints I have have lost a seal TWICE in a season already, leaving me with zero rear brake. Also had a casting portion of the lever crack on the older saints. Never had as much of an issue with the hopes I've had other than the bleeding portion which took more time (last hopes I had were mono4, had litterally every 4 pot they made before that including the closed system, yuck). The formulas I've had were more reliable, hopes the most reliable. Don't get me started on avid. It's a shame because the older XTs, deores, xtr's were all extremely reliable. Still have the XTR's!
  • 1 1
 had an older set of Saints that would lock up all the time. I stopped buying from shimano because the fix and I quote from shimano rep. "Buy a new set"
  • 2 0
 That's the shimano model: make em so cheap you just replace them instead of service them. Works for alot of applications, easy for bike shops to slap on a new set and get you on your way. I switched over to Hopes because they're a very well engineered product, designed to be serviced and rebuilt, spares available, etc. Just a different mindset when building the components from the fishing reel company Smile
  • 10 1
 Stopped reading when I saw sram & brake in the same sentence.
Hopetech till I die!
  • 12 2
 Smells like an Avid
  • 6 5
 SRAM is Avid.
I think they change the name because people hate avid by often malfunction and seize up.
For now Shimano is better Wink
  • 4 1
 What does an Avid smell like?
  • 21 2
 smells like crap
  • 19 1
 DOT fluid and air bubbles.
  • 13 0
  • 3 0
 Smells like teen angst.
  • 18 1
 Sounds like turkey. Taste like dirt. Can't smell anything because of all the blood.
  • 11 2
 Back to the old proven Juicy I guess.
  • 7 2
 Proven? Yes. To be good? No.
  • 4 2
 Juicy's where an incredibly reliable brake. I still have my 06 juicy carbons and they are still functioning perfectly. I give them the same respect as Hayes Mags / Purples, less the power however.

Good for there time, incredibly!
  • 1 1
 Could be, but I felt they lacked brake power. I would rather buy Deore. Actually preferably Zee, but the 4 piston brake is a different category obviously.
  • 3 0
 Had a franken brake set of Juicy ultimate levers with Elixir calipers was a beast of brake set never once failed me and had zero brake fade.
  • 14 7
 You lost me at "cross country".
  • 3 0
 for me,it's all about dynamic modulation, ease of maintenance and bang for buck. since the Zee line came on the market i haven't really given any thought about using other brands of brakes. ya, the Guides are an improvement over stupid ass taperbores, but Zee won me over first and i will probly only ever upgrade to Saints. sorry Sram
  • 6 0
 What is this "proven SRAM braking performance" they keep talking about?
  • 2 0
 I just need some clarification. If the Level TLM replaces the Sram X0 - I'm curious about comparisons. TLM is 2 piston, 356g (with rotor) and $190. But am I right that the Sram X0 is 4 piston, 340g (with rotor?) and $290? So, for comparison, would it be correct to say: TLM is weaker braking (2 piston vs 4 piston) and heavier - so the only thing it has going for it is that it is cheaper? Which may be a response to Shimano's newly announced pricing? But otherwise, seems a bad deal - you're going from 4 piston to 4 - and the weight is actually going up? Would be interesting to hear a review on performance comparison TLM vs X0 - have to speculate there will be some compromise on power. Why not keep the old stuff and drop the price?
  • 2 0
 just a follow up - so I suppose they are incorporating tech from the Guide - so maybe a better comparison is the TLM to a Guide RSC...: The Guide RSC is 4 piston, 381g and $205. Crap, for 26g I'd rather have 4 piston any day. Seems a crazy compromise (going 4 piston to 2) to save 26g, and no real saving on the price. Why not wait until they can introduce a significantly better product - seems this one will be obsolete in a year. And we wonder why bike prices are so crazy- constantly introducing new products that don't offer any significant improvement (or in this case maybe a step backwards). Almost as silly as ski companies putting new topsheets on last years ski to make it look new and improved.
  • 1 0
 There were 2 versions of the X0. Trail and XC. 4 piston vs 2 piston.
  • 8 3
 looks like an XTR caliper to me! Wink
  • 3 1
 If you can't beat your competition at least look like them............
  • 3 2
 Gotta say brakes are getting flimsy in the lever these days. My xtrs feel turd but that's the way they came with air bled into them. Slxs on other hand feel confident at the lever. I personally to get a good tough good feeling progressive brake would choose Hope and no it's not coz I iz anglais.
  • 9 0
 The Hope levers are head and shoulders above all the rest of the crap being sold here to the MTB world. I don't understand how it's expected on motorcycles that you have lever assemblies that are adjustable and easily bleed-able, yet here in the MTB world, they are glossy plastic crap that are nearly impossible to service.
  • 1 0
 Irrational brand (dis)loyalty maybe, but SRAM lost me as a brake customer with my frankly dangerous Avid Elixrs, and unless shimano makes something worse than the current brakes and discontinues the current brakes, I'm never going back.

Further irrationality - I love my pikes and reverb
  • 5 1
 There are still people arguing about Avid-Sram vs Shimano. Move on. If you don't like, don't buy.
  • 1 0
 "Same seals—stable and durable"

Anyone remember the first few runs of the 7's and how 'stable' those seals were in the Dot fluid? haha. Glad they fixed that issue, what with disintegrating o-rings floating around in your fluid. All the forums lit up with "black stuff in my master cylinder".
  • 1 0 the hell.... would I pay.... more than xtr's for shit avid brakes>? do I really love the sound of turkey warble calls that much.. perhaps I'd like to suffer another broken knee after they suddenly don't work at all... that was the point where I dedicated myself to shimanno, laying on the ground with a broken knee and a minor concussion after my brakes did nothing to stop me on a slight incline ( granted I was going fast) with levers pulled to the bar and warblewarble shreeeeeik sounds coming from the rear brake ( the only one that worked that time ) ... total garbage this company.
  • 2 1
 This is just a SRAM guide with the adjustments of an Avid elixer 3.... Don't get me wrong good for them for coming out with a product for the XC guys but its kind of disappointing.
  • 1 0
 I hated avid's, my new bike came with guide r's and I couldn't be happier, great power and they've been completely relaibale for over a year of riding. Including winter riding.
  • 3 3
 They could make the best brake in the world, they can even give me a third one as a gift, I still won't buy it because it's a Sram product. I hate their Boost, I despise that the new Pike is a 15mm and I just wish they would disappear from the face of the planet. Or, they could shred everything new they have made and make sensible components. A boy can dream, can't he?
  • 4 0
 So much marketing guff.
  • 3 1
 Bleeding edge,tm and direct link tm, spent more money on trademark lawyers then engineering
  • 5 2
 The new sram guide are awesome.
  • 2 0
 Unfortunately after having ELIXIR brakes on my freeride monster, I will never trust another brake from SRAM.
  • 2 0
 Stop lying to us Sram, Bruni won world champs on code calipers, not guides.
  • 2 1
 Poise, power, control? If they're anything like avids it's gonna be more like noise, powerless, and less control than a crack addict.
Warble warble!
  • 1 1
 Ugly, plain looking brakes, I'll stick to my hope brakes thank you very much, plus I like having brakes that work and don't need bleeding after 5 runs out on the trails. Hope for the win!!!!
  • 2 1
 Did they just come out with new brakes 1-2 seasons ago? This stuff is changing faster than electronic stuff.
  • 3 1
 Brakes just slow you down
  • 3 1
 What an unfortunate choice of product name for a brake.
  • 3 0
 gobble, gobble....
  • 2 0
 Do we still get the free turkey warble with each brake?
  • 2 0
 no turkey warble with my guides. Of course I have not run SRAM or AVID discs in years which is where the noise actually came from.
  • 1 0
 They over use and emphasize science in the clip, engineering sure, industrial design definitely, but science, really?
  • 2 0
 I'm just here for the Flame comments
  • 3 1
 What purpose do dual piston brakes serve for XC application?
  • 2 0
 Brakes for weight weenies.
  • 1 0
 It's probably a good excuse to avoid steep sections
  • 2 0
 SRAM. There is a reason why the standard bleed nipple is a standard....
  • 2 0
 My money LEVEL is low. I go with bb7.
  • 2 0
 When can we buy these and the new NX drivetrain?
  • 1 0
 So these must be like the Avids and make you a faster rider? because they certainly won't slow you down....
  • 2 0
 Is "Level" short for "Entry level"?
  • 3 1
 Sram brakes are the Jar Jar Binks of the Break world....
  • 5 4
 Is this SRAM's attempt to get on Shimano's Level?
  • 1 0
 The Guides was a good start to approach to Shimano's level. And that's coming from a Shimano user myself.
  • 1 1
 Sram will never be on shimannos level, shimanno brakes from mid 1990 were better than current day avids
  • 5 4
 Yep another have-to-take-your-grips-off-to-install lever.
  • 2 1
 The Level Ultimate, TLM, and TL look to share the same lever as the Guides - which you do not need to remove grips to install.
  • 2 1
 Oh. Somehow I only saw the last one. Cool.
  • 2 0
 Looks like that's the case with only the lowest end model. Rest appear to be hinged.
  • 2 1
 I KNEW I shouldn't have sold my juicy carbon ultimates!
  • 2 1
 why no DirectLink™ to the web?
  • 3 2
 The real question is when are they going to update my BB7s!
  • 2 1
 Go to SRAM's website, and Avid is no longer there.
  • 1 0
 nvm it is on their SRAM Mountain.
  • 1 0
 Nope, it's gone. I was wondering when they will kill acquired brands since they bought them.
  • 1 0
 if you go under mountain it shows AVID brakes still. I am sure they are only keeping it around to make super low end brakes for the Bike MFG end. May get rid of it on a couple of years though.
  • 2 0
 They still use the Avid name for all of the mechanical discs, cantis and V brakes. After the amount of bad feeling towards the Elixirs they have moved away from Avid for all the Hydraulics it seems like.
  • 2 0
 They will need to upgrade their DH Brake now, that one's still named Avid Code
  • 1 0
 @SickEdit The DH brake is now the Guide
  • 2 1
 I hope you don't need to be a doctor to bleed these brakes.
  • 1 0
 Naw, a barber can do it just fine...
  • 1 0
 ...Theodoric of York
  • 1 0
 So there are 5 product lines, wow
  • 1 0
 That's a whole new level right there
  • 2 1
 And it makes your Reverb remote fit perfectly...right?
  • 1 0
 it's weird how brakes weren't really used in the video Big Grin
  • 2 2
 There are still people arguing about Avid-Sram vs Shimano. Move on. If you don't like, don't buy.
  • 1 0
 There is no "science" or "fact" in anything they said.
  • 3 2
 the reservoir is so far from the bars, it will snap.
  • 1 0
 Thats nice and all SRAM, but how easy are they to bleed?
  • 3 1
 Braking News!
  • 2 1
 you people are ridiculous.
  • 2 1
 They spelled Lever wrong.
  • 1 0
 what they were not dual piston brakes already? I'm confused.
  • 3 1
 Hayes 9s were better
  • 1 0
 Do the bar mounting clamps gauge carbon bars?
  • 1 0
 Same crap, other name...
  • 1 0
 I'm a fan of SRAM's shifters and rear derailleurs.
  • 1 0
 Sram should dig a hole and live there.
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