SRAM's Guide brakes were well received when they first hit the market back in 2015, but then the revamped Code brakes showed up. The extra power and better lever feel of those DH-oriented stoppers meant that they started appearing on shorter travel trail bikes, in addition to the burlier, longer travel bikes that they were originally designed for. SRAM's engineers took note, and the result is the new G2 brake, which are designed to deliver more power and an improved lever feel compared to the first generation Guides.
There are two different G2 models, the RSC and the Ultimate. Both have external pad contact and lever reach adjustments, but the Ultimate has a carbon lever blade that pivots on a cartridge bearing, as opposed to the RSC, which has an alloy lever blade and a bushing at the pivot point. With a claimed weight of 242 grams, the G2 Ultimate is the lightest four piston brake in SRAM's lineup.
SRAM G2 Brake Details
• Intended use: trail / enduro
• G2 Ultimate: $280 USD per wheel. Weight: 242 grams
• G2 RSC: $180 USD per wheel. Weight: 255 grams
• External pad contact, lever reach adjust
• Three pad compound options
• Four phenolic pistons
• DOT 5.1 brake fluid
The main difference between the G2 brakes and the first generation Guides is at the caliper level - there's now more material around the bolts, and a narrower pad pocket, which is intended to increase stiffness and deliver a more solid feel under heavy braking. In fact, SRAM say that the G2 brakes are 7% more powerful than the previous generation Guide brake. The aluminum pistons and the heat sink found on the Guide S4 caliper are gone, replaced by phenolic pistons that are said to handle heat so well that the tiny heat sink is no longer required.
There's also a new pad compound called 'power organic' that's said to have a more aggressive bite and be better able to handle sustained braking. I'm a proponent of metallic pads for all conditions, but it'll be interesting to see if this new option manages to be the best of worlds.
The new G2 brakes will be available in April, with a retail price of $280 USD per wheel for the Ultimate, and $180 for the RSC version.Photos courtesty SRAM.