SRAM Code RSC Brakes - Review

Sep 29, 2017
by Mike Kazimer  
SRAM Code brakes review

SRAM released the latest version of their Code brakes earlier this year, and since then they've been popping up on more and more bikes, everything from enduro race machines to full blown DH rigs. They use a similar design to SRAM's Guide brakes, but with an increased fluid reservoir and larger piston diameter to increase their stopping power.

There are two different versions, the Code RSC ($244) reviewed here, and the Code R ($154). Both brakes have alloy lever blades, but the Code R brakes cost slightly less due to the lack of a pad contact adjustment, although they still have a tool-free reach adjustment knob. At the caliper, the Code RSC uses phenolic plastic pistons for improved heat management, while the Code R's pistons are aluminum.
SRAM Code RSC Details

• Intended use: downhill / enduro
• Four piston caliper
• Larger fluid volume
• Aluminum lever blade
• Reach adjust, pad contact point adjust (RSC)
• Bleeding Edge caliper fitting
• DOT 5.1 fluid
• Weight: 294 grams (actual, front caliper w/pads, hose, and lever)
• MSRP: $244 (RSC), $154(R)
www.sram.com


SRAM Code brakes review
Four pistons reside within the Code caliper for maximum stopping power.

Details

The Code's lever body design is almost identical to what's found on the more trail-riding oriented Guide brakes, including the same cam activated cup seal and port system. The main difference is the size of the lever's reservoir, which holds 30% more fluid. That increase in volume is designed to ensure that the brakes feel the same for the duration of a run, no matter the length or steepness.

At the caliper end, the new Codes use 15mm and 16mm pistons; the slightly larger dimension versus the Guide's 14 and 16mm pistons is said to help increase the amount of stopping power by 15%. The brakes come with metallic brake pads already installed, and it's the same pad design as what was found on the previous generation of Code brakes.

The calipers also now have SRAM's Bleeding Edge fitting, where the bleed adaptor pushes into a port in the caliper, eliminating one of the tiny screws that used to like to go missing during a brake bleed.



SRAM Code brakes review
SRAM's Bleeding Edge fitting simplifies the bleed process. And yes, you should have the wheel off and the pads out when you go to perform this procedure.
SRAM Code brakes review
The extra room around the top of the pads is intended to facilitate air flow and help keep the temperature down.


Performance

I've spent the last six months on the new Code brakes, and during that time period they've seen everything from long, sustained brake burners in Pemberton, BC, numerous laps in the Whistler Bike Park, along with countless hours of everyday trail riding. Throughout all of that, their performance has been remarkably consistent, delivering the same level of power no matter how long the run.

At first I wondered if the Code's increased amount of stopping power would be overkill for the Trek Slash that I installed them on, but I ended up really appreciating that extra power. I was able to brake later, and for less time compared to the Guide Ultimate brakes they replaced, which lead to reduced hand fatigue after long days of riding. There's not quite the same level of modulation – the Codes' power comes on quicker than the Guides – but I didn't have any trouble controlling their output, even on slippery, dusty rock rolls and loose corners.

I was glad to see that the Codes come properly configured with metallic pads out of the box; I've never understood why so many brakes come spec'd with organic pads, considering that they wear quickly and can be unpredictable in wet conditions. However, during a hot, steep, dusty ride in Pemberton they did develop an ear-splitting howl on a trail that required heavy, sustained braking. The power remained the same, but the sound was tough to bear. Organic pads would have likely silenced, or at least reduced, that howling, but that instance seemed to be an outlier, and otherwise the brakes were quiet and trouble-free for the duration of the test period.


SRAM Code brakes
SRAM Code RSC
Shimano Saint
Shimano Saint M820

SRAM Code vs Shimano Saint

Now for the big question – Shimano Saint vs SRAM Code – which one should you pick? Given that both options have been proven at the highest levels of mountain biking, along with the fact that they're similarly priced, it's the little details that set them apart. Personally, if I was forced to choose I'd go with the Codes. That'll undoubtedly raise the hackles of the die-hard Shimano fans, but here's the breakdown:

Modulation: SRAM's Code and Shimano's Saint brakes both have enough power to slow down the biggest riders on the steepest tracks, but the way the Codes' power is delivered is a little easier to manage. There's a slight ramp up to before the maximum amount of power is deployed, where the Saints' power comes on quicker, giving them more of an on/off feel. Based solely on outright power, the Saints have the edge, but the Codes take the cake when it comes to modulation.

Consistency: I've been on multiple sets of Code and Saint brakes over the last few months, and I've found the Codes to have a more predictable lever feel, especially during longer, more sustained braking. On the Saints, the power is always there, but the amount the lever needs to move before you can feel the pads contacting the rotor isn't as consistent as I'd like, even on a freshly bled set of brakes. The Codes are more consistent, and I didn't have any unwanted pumping up during the test period.

Lever Shape / Design: Shimano's levers are a little shorter than SRAM's, with a more pronounced hook on the end, and dimples on the blade that are meant to add traction in the wet. Both shapes fit my hands well, and it doesn't take long for me to get used to either one. As far as ergonomics go, I'd call it a draw, but SRAM takes the win when it comes to adjusting the lever feel. The pad contact dial on the Codes actually works, while I'm pretty sure the free stroke adjust on Shimano's brakes is just for show.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe new Codes pick up where the originals left off, with loads of power, excellent modulation, and a rock solid lever feel. They'll be overkill for mellower trails, but they're an excellent choice for everything from all-mountain riding to DH racing. Mike Kazimer







330 Comments

  • + 242
 You lost me at SRAM brakes.
  • + 94
 Saint all the way. I ABSOLUTELY LOATHE BRAKE FLUID. Shimano mineral oil actually makes bleeding almost fun. Plus it doesn't corrode everything that it touches.
  • + 246
 @fartymarty: You're not supposed to pour it on your pancakes.
  • + 10
 @PinkyScar: you may as well as the maple syrup that gets across the pond is sh!t
  • + 56
 At the Interbike SRAM clinic the class started by one of the owners of sram and proceeded to apologize (once again) for the defective product and assure us once again that it won't happen again
  • + 133
 if saints aren't providing enough modulation for your taste, you aren't going fast enough.
  • + 11
 @adrennan: well said
  • + 16
 @fartymarty: blame that on Quebec, they keep the good stuff for themselves!
  • + 18
 Looks like a Juicy 7.
  • + 2
 @fartymarty: amen to that! My sentiments exactly. And if only for that reason I'll stick with my Saints any day.
  • + 22
 hahahahahahaa me too. SRAM brakes never again! Thanks!
  • + 19
 SRAM=gadget factory
  • + 8
 And they wonder why many bike mechanics like us hate Sram ...
  • + 4
 @gnralized: How to make bike faster? Remove alibaba Sram Big Grin
  • + 27
 @fartymarty: I hate mineral oil, brake fluid is easy to clean off, mineral oil is like herpes, you might think its gone, but its still there contaminating your pads and collecting dirt around the levers.


Maybe I am a shill because I am on my third pair of replacement zee levers, as they keep leaking on me.

that being said I am also on my third set of srams because of poor engineering, I will be running the tektros by the end of the year.
  • + 108
 "However, during a hot, steep, dusty ride in Pemberton they did develop an ear-splitting howl on a trail that required heavy, sustained braking."

No Kidding, I thought that was a feature of SRAM brakes to warn people in front of you that you can't stop...
  • - 30
flag mhoshal (Sep 29, 2017 at 9:18) (Below Threshold)
 @adrennan: I bet you're super fast on your fat bike eh... this guy probably shreds a hundred times harder then you I'll take his word any day over a clown who rides fat bikes!!
  • + 14
 i bet these win against saints as a turkey call too
  • + 39
 Like you said. You chose code. There is no way of stopping you.
  • + 4
 @mhoshal: fat bikes are fun. deal with it.
  • + 35
 Saint/Zee's or Hope Tech 3 E4/V4 on my bikes. The only time I use a SRAM brake is when it comes on a bike and I am waiting for my Shimano or Hope brakes in the mail!
  • - 41
flag mhoshal (Sep 29, 2017 at 9:38) (Below Threshold)
 @adrennan: lmao no they aren't unless you enjoy riding super slow which by the looks of it im guessing you do... not to mention you look like a retard pedalling car tires around on the trail.
  • + 3
 @adrennan: If you like Saints, you aren't riding steep enough rock faces. Skid crash boom.
  • + 5
 @mhoshal To me it's quiet obvious that a fat bike needs more brakepower than any other bike.
  • - 14
flag mhoshal (Sep 29, 2017 at 9:55) (Below Threshold)
 @filsdanvers: lmao when you're riding a trail under 10 km an hour you don't need power that like saying a vespa needs more power then a cr 250.
  • + 9
 @JustinVP: or perhaps you don't have adept enough digits to control Saints?

Horses for courses!

I know Guides have better modulation. However as an ex mechanic, I'd go Shimano every time.
  • + 6
 @metong: best thought out comment of all time sir.
  • + 3
 Big Grin Same - sadly... They keep trying though...

Shimano is still first on my list, followed by Magura which I have found to be super reliable and highly under rated.
  • + 2
 Zee's leavers are designed to leak if over filled. @jewpowered:
  • + 4
 @fussylou: are they supposed to leak so much that they no longer work?
  • + 6
 @jewpowered: spray iso-alcohol, wipe off.... no more mineral oil.
  • + 1
 @bikekrieg: yah, not so much, switched to douching with maxima contact cleaner, its hard to wipe the crannies and inside the lever blade
  • + 0
 @jewpowered: I'm on lever 2 with the same leaking issue. Haven't had the time or energy to email Shimano about it yet.
  • + 10
 Hopes get overlooked a fair bit imo
  • + 1
 @cunning-linguist: thank you sir
  • + 5
 But SRAM brakes are the only brakes on the market that scream their name when you use them. SSSRRRAAAAAAAMMM!
  • + 3
 @Scotj009: I like hope brakes and most of their products for that matter, i just have a hangup with the name "Hope" on a brake... As in, I "hope" I can stop/slow down if I need to - Big Grin
  • + 3
 Saints Oh Beautiful Saints...Shorter braking zone...The End.
  • - 6
flag crom (Sep 29, 2017 at 22:22) (Below Threshold)
 @fartymarty: 1.015 billion cars in the world cant be wrong. Try putting shitmano fluid in your car.
  • + 0
 @crom: but most cars are used daily to keep the seals supple and lubed. Whereas put your bike in the shed for a week or so at a time, or have a crash and off the bike for a while and boom. Dead pistons. Mineral is less harmful and doesn't dry out the seals. It really is a better fluid.
  • + 4
 @crom: I'd rather try to stop a car with Shimano brakes than SRAM brakes though.
  • + 5
 @fartymarty: actually the mineral oil will attack some rubbers very aggressively. Don't be fooled into thinking that it's not a hazardous fluid.
  • + 0
 Ask Gwin about Saints, after his double brake failure at World Champs on them. Mineral oil has a much lower boiling point than DOT 5.1 (which is why mineral oil is not used in auto brakes). Once the oil boils, bubbles in the caliper result causing it to first start feeling different and then, it can lose all power. But the oil will reconstitute itself once it cools and the bubbles can be worked up to the lever bladder and the brake will work once again. Once DOT 5.1 boils, it's done for and will not reconstitute itself, but it is rare. It has happened to me only once on my 4 year old set of Codes. Before that, I had not bled them for 2 years. Out of the 2 sets of Guides that came on my bikes, 3 of those brakes had to have the lever rebuilt. I hope the new design holds.
  • + 13
 @Rubberelli: That's funny, he runs TRP Quadiems now doesn't he? Which are mineral oil based.
  • - 1
 @m1dg3t: Yup. Uless he has custom ones running DOT. I heard a bike park mechanic once claim there are custom Saints for the pros too, but I have no idea if I can believe that. It could be that the TRP caliper design dissipates heat into the air better. I have no idea. But Gwin never ran Saints after that.
  • + 1
 @BikeEveryDay: do it tho. Pretty easy to get ahold of and they’ll make it right fast.
  • - 1
 @m1dg3t: yeah he uses the G-Spec Quadiems. I just bought the YT Tues CF Pro Race that he rides, and it comes fitted with those same brakes. I have to say that they are beautiful brakes to look at but not great to use. There is hardly any feedback on the levers once you reach the biting point; just really spongy. I wore he rear pads put in only a few days of riding (bizarrely), so changed for sintered pads and now it bowls like hell down the trail. So next season I’m gonna fit Saints; nothing feels as good as a Saint. If I were being sceptical, I’d say that Gwin wouldn’t sell many of his G-Spec brakes if he weren’t using them himself so him not using Saints now, might not mean as much as you think.
  • - 2
 @Jimmack: think you're missing the point on what the pros run, they could tape Fahd brakes on, whatever they are, they barely use them!!!!!
  • + 1
 @Rubberelli: Gwin did not listen to Shimano when he kept the prototype version of the Saints on his bike. Because no, he wasn't using the Saint but an early prototype of the brake.
  • + 7
 @cunning-linguist: That is a bit of a misconception I hear quite a bit. To be fast....brakes are almost the most important aspect. It's the amount of time spent braking that gets less and less as you get faster...but that time on the brakes is HARD braking and extremely critical.
  • - 1
 @loopie: I'm not a mong! I was having a laugh!
  • - 1
 @loopie: one day you guys the other side of the pond (should I say sea / ocean) will understand our humour, sorry humor...
  • + 3
 @Rubberelli: Pros run what their sponsors give them, I just thought it funny you were basically blaming mineral oil for his brake failure. He probably does have a custom set, but I highly doubt they are filled with DOT. Gwin, along with many other professional riders seem to have no issues running mineral oil. I would assume that most issues people have with mineral oil based brakes is because they are not using the correct fluid, cheaping out and using something from the pharmacy or auto supply store.
  • + 1
 @Jimmack: So what you're saying is that they are good enough for 1 of the fastest DH riders in the world and WC, but not you. Gotcha.
  • + 1
 @moshun: so true hahahahahahahaha
  • - 1
 @m1dg3t: i was blaming the oil. It's inconcevable that the incredibly reliable Saints would both fail at the same time unless it was a heat related issue. Although some other poster here claimed Gwin was running some prototype and should have swapped them out. However, I have had my Saints go out on me more than a few times on very steep descents (always able to be quickly pumped back up). While gravity can be suspected the in the rear (existing bubbles in the bladder float to the caliper) that doesnt explain the front going out. Therefore, I suspect Gwin, who was on a tear, boiled those mofos.
  • + 3
 Don't understand the organic pad hate. I run organic up front on a 200mm rotor and metallic out back on a 180. I find I feather the rear brake a lot and anything else wears too quickly while the front lasts just fine with heaps of power and quiet as an e bike.. .
  • + 2
 Two words: Brand Innertia
  • + 1
 @Rubberelli: It looks like you don't know much and/or have not enough experience with mineral oil. DOT is useless on a push bike, higher boiling point than mineral oil? Of course! Does it matter on a bicycle? No it does not.

Citroen have been using mineral oil commercially in the automotive business for more than 60 years now. It works well on brakes and suspension, euro mechanics know how to deal with it. It's a good fluid when used properly. On a bike, the only downside is the feedback you have from the lever when it's freezing outside.
  • + 1
 @Euskafreez: So hope brakes are useless? Wink
  • + 1
 saint. sram is taking over everything. and shimano has been doig this cince bikes didnt even have suspention
  • + 0
 @Euskafreez: since I boiled DOT 5.1 once in a set of Codes (the fluid looked much different than it ever has coming out and the mech confirmed it was boiled), I'm going to say boiling point does matter.
  • + 1
 @Scotj009: that's not what I've said. You don't go DOT on a push bike for the higher boiling point, you pick it up for very different reasons. I was just laughing at Rubberelli and all the non sense he wrote about mineral oil.

@Rubberelli Come one man, you're not even a mechanic ... What do you really know about boiling the fluid? If your DOT is boiling on a pushbike blame water contamination first. Just to be clear, some LBS use 6 plus month old DOT when they "bleed" brakes. Back up what you say about mineral oil brakes with facts and experience, not false rumors. Exemple: what you said about Gwin's brakes was bogus.
  • + 1
 @Euskafreez: Fair enough, I don't think i would choose any of the dot brakes out there for dot, I'd choose them for looks!
  • + 5
 @Euskafreez & @Rubberelli: You're both wrong. Rubberelli, SOME mineral oils do in fact have higher boiling points than even DOT 5.1... one of those mineral oils is Shimano which comes in at a 536 F boiling point as opposed to 518 F of 5.1.

And Euskafreez, since every single tech rep and engineer that I have talked to in this industry explains that they have fairly easily demonstrated boiling points in their R&D process in and that those temperatures are in fact higher than most motor vehicle situations will experience... I'd say boiling point DOES MATTER!

Here's where it gets tricky though (and also why almost ALL manufacturers recommend a bleed AT MINIMUM once a year)... All brake systems are going to take on some moisture (environmental factors play a role here). The KEY difference between DOT and Mineral Oil is that DOT is Hydrophilic meaning the fluid absorbs moisture into the fluid while Mineral Oil is Hydrophobic meaning that any moisture in the system separates and remaining moisture condensation has a very low boiling of +/- 210 F. While moisture lowers the boiling point of DOT as more moisture gets absorbed into the fluid, it still never reaches that of water.

And for those that say Mineral Oil is safer for the environment or easier on seals... it is not! Read the MSDS disposal instructions for Shimano Mineral Oil and they're the exact same as DOT fluid. Or just bleed a Shimano Brake after a few DH runs an look at the color of that fluid... don't tell me that's not degrading seals SOMEWHERE in the system.

www.epicbleedsolutions.com/blog/dot-brake-fluid-vs-mineral-oil : "Unlike DOT fluid, Mineral Oil is hydrophobic and does not absorb moisture from the environment. This means that there are no wet or dry boiling temperatures to worry about, the boiling point stays constant and never drops. That's the good news.

The bad news is that any water that does enter the brake system, via seals or microscopic pores in the lines etc., will effectively reduce the boiling point of the whole brake system to that of water - just 100°C. This is because as the fluid repels any water ingress, it causes it to pool at low points within the brake system, usually the calliper, since water is heavier than brake fluid it will settle at the lowest point. This is worrying because the fluid in the calliper is more susceptible to high temperatures as it's at the business end of the brake, where the friction is created."
  • + 92
 I like the comparison at the end you should do this more often! Kudos Mike
  • + 9
 I agree, I do enjoy the direct comparisons. I don't care if the opinion is different from mine, I still like having a direct comparison. We don't all ride at the same level and we all have our own preferences but these direct comparisons where they break down certain qualities helps give me a better idea of what to expect.
  • + 5
 Very good description of both brakes, took words from my mouth or brain idk, Shimanos are just like emergency brake when you don't weight too much and trails are quite flat around here. And stroke adjust on Shimano brakes is some kind of joke that I don't understand.
  • + 2
 I ve got RSC lever and code caliper almost a year - so actually it is NEW Code - according to SRAM pits at World Cup. My Bro ve got Zees and i must admit Shimano is on a diferent level. Sorry to say but SRAM is not the same quality as before. The old derailleurs like x0 was second to none - much better than shimano and now it is totally vice versa ;o
  • - 6
flag dubod22 (Sep 29, 2017 at 16:51) (Below Threshold)
 'I'm pretty sure the free stroke adjust on Shimano's brakes is just for show' Maybe a bit more understanding of Shimano brakes would show this does actually work, just not as obvious as SRAM's. I bought one of the first production Code's this year and it bled out within a few days without being used. Anyway, SRAM never explained why it crapped out after a long and arduous back and forth. I got Saint's instead. End of.
  • + 9
 @dubod22: free stroke doesn't work everyone knows that... definitely doesn't work on my xt's.
  • - 4
flag dubod22 (Sep 30, 2017 at 0:27) (Below Threshold)
 @thenotoriousmic: It does work, it's just not as obvious as those on a SRAM brake www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0uSTtDWbI8
  • + 62
 In my mobile shop, I'm located at the Galbraith trailhead here in Bellingham. On the average weekend, I'll bleed 5-10 Shimano brakes, and maybe 1 SRAM/Avid. To me, SRAMs have proven to be more reliable the past several years in most situations for most riders.

My second to last bike had Guide RSC's which I bled once for 2 years of riding, and my last bike had XT's which I was bleeding once a week. I'm going with Code RSC's on my next build and super excited to have consistent lever feel again!
  • + 64
 how many stuck sram pistons have you had to fix?
  • + 11
 @adrennan: for real. Better get some hopes lol.
  • + 7
 Codes RSCs are going on my next bike (just waiting for them to come in, actually). Regarding the stuck piston... I had an early set of Guide Rs. Fixing the stuck piston is actually really easy. Bleeding them again is easy too. I was impressed with how easy rebuilding the lever was. They work great now! I've never rebuilt a Shimano lever, so I cannot comment.
  • + 31
 Do you bleed more Shimano brakes because thats what most riders are using in your area? Do those riders ride clapped out stuff? What model of brake and how old? I have XT's on my Bronson that I upgraded from the junk (Avid) that came stock on the bike. That being said, I do have SRAM the came stock on the Chameleon and they work for the intended purpose, but not mind-blowing. Likely will swap them out. Just saying.
  • + 27
 My shop has done 2 Shimano top-offs, and 50 SRAM piston replacements in the last month. Only time I ever need to bleed mine are when I change more than 7,000 feet in elevation, since I run both inhumanely tight.
  • + 4
 @siderealwall2: how much for piston replacment? Want to replace the pistons on the ones I have sitting so I can sell them and truly buy a useful bike part LOL.
  • + 7
 @Joyride75: I had Shimano XTR trails that were never consistent on a long decent or long day of riding. several times loosing total brake pressure during a race. Even after a fresh bleed with a Shimano tech before a race it was still inconsistent. became fed up and now have the Codes and thus far they have been solid. much better modulation even going from a 2 piston to 4 and lots of power on reserve.
  • + 2
 @krumpdancer101: Go to your LBS, SRAM is covering them without proof of purchase or anything. Highly advise ABS or Epicenter at that.
  • - 5
flag mhoshal (Sep 29, 2017 at 9:22) (Below Threshold)
 Don't let the D riding shimano crowd hear about this you'll get neg propped to oblivion lol
  • + 8
 @Joyride75: Bellingham is full of shredders. There are a lot of dirtbags on dentist-level bikes here, and Guides seem to be the predominant choice (now Codes probably). All brakes squeal here, so it isn't a factor.
I switch back and forth personally. I love the simplicity and easy bleeding of the Shimanos, but I really prefer the way my hands feel after a day on the Srams. I also like the way they can be just barely applied when you just want a little peace of mind at speed.
  • - 10
flag endurocat (Sep 29, 2017 at 9:49) (Below Threshold)
 @Joyride75: Don't pay attention to that Moron. When people start trowing around those ridiculous numbers it's usually a lie. If he was bleeding all those brakes then , he wouldn't need a mobile shop
  • + 12
 SRAM does have that piston issue, but I'd still rather run them. Spent lots of time on both SRAM and Shimano. I have to bleed the Shimanos 4x as often as SRAM brakes, and the mineral oil is black and goopy after even a month. Levers are super inconsistent where they bite on brake burners of a run with Shimano. You have to pump the lever on long descents or they'll go to the bar (on XTs). Mineral oil is a failed experiment.

My hunch is that people who like Shimano brakes don't have long descents. Here in the PNW there is general loathing for how Shimano brakes work - and I'm not just talking about the trail destroying lack of modulation. The majority of riders have gone to Guides or Codes, even with the known lever piston issues.

Has there ever been a truly good performing, problem free brake made for a competitive price? I don't think so. Designing brakes is hard.
  • + 10
 We haven't had many issues with SRAM at our shop either, but we have seen them and have always been taken care of with advanced replacements. I've personally had lots of issues with Shimano. When the M8000 brakes first came out, we saw lots of them firming up on decents. Shimano is getting better at getting us taken care of, but there was a while that we had to ship brakes off for Shimano to evaluate them. People seem to choose the issues they see.
  • + 0
 @Mister-Lost-Bike-Shop that's probably because 10 times as many people use Shimanos...
  • + 1
 @algs911: you can have my code rs.
  • + 0
 @JustinVP: jury's out on trp.
  • + 8
 For riding the main difference between brands is the modulation, which really is all about personal preference. For service it is just a question of doing less frequent bleeds with DOT fluid, or more frequent bleeds with mineral oil. Looking only at maintenance I would rather mess with mineral oil if I was bleeding my own brakes, and would not care that I have to bleed more often as a result, but if I wanted to pay a shop to do it I would prefer less frequent bleeds and letting the shop deal with the DOT fluid. Point is, both companies make great brakes with subtle differences that are really just down to personal preference.
  • + 5
 @adrennan: All brakes' pistons get sticky and need to be cleaned and reworked, so thats not a big issue for me or any of our customers.

SRAM's warranty and customer service is 100% better than Shimano as well. They're on top of their stuff. Brake issue? Cool. Here's a new brake, and we'll pay for the next 3 months of your mortgage as an apology.

Also, about 70% of riders around here are on SRAM brakes.
  • + 0
 @Mister-Lost-Bike-Shop: i have heard (and felt) about an awful lot of sram brakes recently with sticking pistons. Never an issue with shimano among everyone I know.

and maybe sram has a better warranty (I have had to deal with their warranty department twice recently and no they didn't pay for 3 months of my mortgage), but you only need a good warranty department if your stuff is failing. I primarily use shimano and have never had brakes or anything from them not perform as advertised.
  • + 2
 I don't care about the brakes. You live in Bellingham!!! That's is sick!
  • + 11
 @pacificnorthwet: please stop it with the well reasoned and balanced responces, it just makes things confusing for the rest of us.
  • + 4
 @adrennan, no, good companies have good warranty service. Bad companies have bad warranty service (BOS being the primary example here). Shimano also have quite a good warranty service in our region, so... sh*t products is it?

@enrico650 so he's a moron because his experience doesn't fit your world view? Seriously get out of here...

You like Shimano brakes, good for you. But stop being a d*ck about it, some of us actually do like Sram.
  • + 0
 @siderealwall2: I'm calling bullshit on the 50 sram piston replacements in the last month.
  • + 1
 @krumpdancer101: There are rebuild kits for about $15 (each lever). There's also a procedure you can do on your own w/out needing new parts. Do a YouTube search and you should find the video. I've done both with similar results. Good luck!
  • + 1
 @algs911: I have guide levers, code calipers and a chipped piston that happened when it locked up so not to sure on a rebuild.
  • + 0
 @NickB01: At least I made the time to go the Sram clinic and learn how to deal with these problems. You don't see me telling everybody about the other stuff that we were told goes wrong with their product ,which by the way it's quite extensive.
  • + 3
 I own 2 pairs of Guides and a pair of XTs. The XT's fluid turns black relatively quickly, which seems to come with a decrease in stoping power, so they have to be flushed and re-bled every couple of months to maintain power, while the Guides seem fine for much longer intervals (year+). I'm not sure why the fluid turns black, but it seems like real brake fluid is much more resistant to degradation than mineral oil.

The XTs are easier to bleed and I like the non-toxic mineral oil, but you have to bleed them much, much more frequently.
  • + 2
 Sram all the way these days
  • + 8
 At the moment sram are so far ahead of shimano it's honestly laughable. I'm currently running xt m8000 on one bike and they are shocking. The bite point moves alarmingly over rough ground, the free stroke doesn't work, they're super grabby initially and then the power dies off, the brake pads rattle inside the calliper, performance is shocking in the wet. the guide rsc on my other bike absolutely blows them out of the water. Modulation is unreal, perfect amount of power, don't fade, never needs bleeding, with the bite point adjuster you can tune your brake to the trail conditions in seconds. Honestly anyone who's says shimano are better than sram at the moment are ether trolling or totally delusional.
  • + 4
 @adrennan: you need a good warranty department even if your stuff is bulletproof, because there is always an exception to every rule. We had stuck
Pistons on SRAM guides because it gets so fricking hot here in the SoCal summers. In my opinion SRAM handled the situation very well and my customers were taken care of. Shimano hasn't had the stuck piston issue, but we have dealt leakage issues and some brakes requiring bleeds every month. Shimano's warranty department is harder to deal with in general. They both make great brakes but I have never like the Shimano lever feel.
  • + 2
 im running xt m8000’s which I had to warranty for a known issue to shimano that didn’t require enough attention for a recall (yes same can be said for SRAMs oversized pistons) after which I’ve still had to bleed both brakes repeatedly in less than 1000 miles to maintain any semblance of lever feel.

These are in short descent Florida trails too.

Currently eyeing the new magura trail brake set up or guide ultimate
  • + 2
 I rode 4 years without bleeding my xo trail and only now had to clean the pistons. bleeding with the taperbore lever is tricky, but if you know what you are doing you can get exactly the result you want. the dot fluid was so clean you could not distinguish it from the new fluid. Since you can not design a brake that is 100 % sealed I think dot is always superior due to its hygroscopic nature... yes the feel changes after a few years when you don't change the fluid, but it never fails completely. One guy in our group has a set of saints on his downhill bike and he is the only one who experienced total brake failure during a run. And the only one who runs mineral oil brakes.
Guides with the lever issue are crap though...
The biggest problem of sram is in my opinion their brake pads are total shit. Get some replacement ones immediately (I love my kool stop sintered with copper baseplate) and power increases dramatically.
  • + 1
 @adrennan: none for me, but every time for shimano
  • + 1
 @carlmontnative: a bit late on the reply, but we have 26+ brakesets (F+R) that we are warrantying here in the Silicon Valley shop alone. I obviously cannot disclose customer information but I have seen the list with my own eyes and co-workers have been on and off the phone with SRAM for large parts of the day.
  • + 1
 @siderealwall2: i still call bullshit. i know the shop you are referring to and do not find it possible for the ratio of labor flow to warranty claims for this product to be at all reasonable, not even in the slightest.
  • + 1
 @carlmontnative: No problem with that. I sure you won't, I didn't believe it myself when I first heard it. The list is real here, it's real at shops in Redwood, Sunnyvale and Los Gatos. Roll in to your LBS on a hot day and they will likely have a pad ready to take down your serial number. Your call or not, these failures are happening far and wide.
  • + 38
 Avid BB7.never needs a bleed.
  • + 4
 True, but you bleed due to the crappy stopping power compared to hydros and yes I have owned several sets of BB7s.
  • + 9
 @vikb: You didn't set them up right then.
  • + 7
 @FisherFreerider: I agree, they probably are more powerful than 90% of modern brakes.
  • + 4
 @cunning-linguist: Have XT's on my new bike, my BB7's were better.
  • + 2
 @vikb: try positioning your levers so they are flat/parallel with the ground ☺
  • + 2
 @tremeer023: I set mine at 3.5 degrees upward from level for extra power. I will never go back down again.
  • + 34
 Came here for the SRAM vs Shimano hate. Leaving satisfied.

FWIW Zees on the DH bike never got the rear to work right. Guides on the trail bike need a bleed. But the formulas on the hard tail/kid trailer rig zero issues over 3 years.
  • + 26
 dot for power and feel, mineral oil for your salad
  • + 12
 That would make a great Overly Manly Man meme:
"Mineral oil? You mean salad dressing?"
  • + 2
 @crazyXCsquirrel: More like a laxative
  • + 3
 Government-Published Boiling point of Dot 5.1? 180C. (Likely lower than this)
+'s: Cheap and easy to find. Regulated by the feds.
-'s: Eats paint, Extremely Hygroscopic, Degrades significantly with contact to air or water.

Lowest tested Boiling point of Mineral Oil? 300C.
+'s: Non-Toxic, Non-Corrosive, Never Degrades, Never mixes with dirt or water or air
-'s: A bit more expensive, people on pinkbike make fun of you.
  • + 6
 You sound like one of those rednecks thinking it's funny to "roll the coal" on cyclists..
  • + 16
 @siderealwall2: @siderealwall2: picking and choosing the facts a bit there aren't you?

Dot 5.1 has a dry boiling point of 270C. It has a WET boiling point of 180C. Wet is when water mixes with the DOT fluid

mineral oil has a dry boiling point of...well, it actually just depends on which brand you are using. it can go anywhere from 120c-280c with Shimano being the highest. now,when water enters the system, the water doesn't get absorbed into the fluid so the wet boiling temp is essentially 100C because that's what water boils at.

you can like whichever brand brake you want, but keep the facts real and consistent.
  • + 4
 @siderealwall2:
This is some grade-A cherry picking here. The standard boiling points are MINIMUMS. Most good fluids exceed them by a great deal.

Torque RT 700 has a dry boiling point of 360C, which is quite a bit higher than Shimano.

And hygroscopic is a good thing. If your seals fail and you get water in the line, you still get consistent performance. With mineral oil, you get pockets of water that flash to steam. Terrible idea.
  • + 1
 @bonkywonky: sounds like your on the salad side..
Not a redneck and I have to bikes 2 bikes with xt brakes 3 bike with Sram and 1 with Hope 6 pots...plus other bikes with hydros that are long gone. So my short opinion is just based on me.
What is roll the coal by the way..is that like taking a dump? Cuz I've been a cyclists since the 60's, pretty sure I wasn't dumping on them..
  • + 1
 @siderealwall2:Like My car tires that are rated for around 200mph I'm not to worried about exceeding that point my friend.
  • + 1
 Hygroscopic fluids tend to denature and severely lose function upon contact with water. There is a reason you don't want to contaminate that system. It is like putting water in salt or sugar, you essentially overpower the existing emulsion and cause the entire substance to grow closer to water, physically. The main issue with your estimated boiling point of a Shimano system is that (assuming that the water is rational and sinks below the oil at all) you have very little heat at the piston, much less the actual fluid. I have burnt myself countless times on rotors and motorcycle exhausts, never once have I noticed any ridiculous heat from my XT or Saint calipers, infact I touched them less than a minute after a very long and steep race to see if they were the cause of fading, (they weren't, I ripped entirely through the 3rd party resin pad). The other issue is that mineral oil is very good at dispersing heat on its own, and taking heat energy out of the caliper at all while the system is at 70psi in braking forces is no sweat because of Charles Jacques law of physics.
  • + 1
 @siderealwall2: two flaws.
water is heavier than mineral oil and sinks to the bottom of the system. the caliper is the bottom of the system so that's where all of your water gathers.
Second: there is a ton of heat generated in calipers. many manufacturers spend a ton of time and money on heat dissipation.
  • + 1
 @biker245: I feel like you didn't finish my comment, I address both issues. Here they are again:
The bottom of the system is not exclusively the calipers, some bikes have other low points within the cable that I see water in more often than not, usually near the bottom bracket on 50% of bikes. Also, very little seepage of water compared to air on all brakes. I have honest to god never seen a problem go away without the removal of air in the system, and water in brakes is comically easy to get out compared to air.
As for calipers, most of the heat is generated at the pads, a majority is captured at the rotor. Between the centimeter of ceramic and alloy on either side of that, there is a lot of heat distribution and capture. The outsides of the container in this case will be hotter than the fluid. I am not also therefore saying that flash points are impossible, but a lot of systems these days go well above 1000PSI, and water boils conservatively at that temp. around 160C. That means that any "Flash Points" are instantly condensed when the master cyl. is needed. As for AVID? A degenerating Dot5 Fluid means that system dilution is unpredictable and unaccountable.
  • + 20
 Used the codes at the trans BC this summer with over 47,000 feet of descent over 6 days and had absolutely zero issues! I'm a fan
  • + 16
 I like it when guys get super elitist and brand snobby. That's how i got my Avid Juicys for 50$, because someone immediately pulled them off their bike. Now I have 50$ brakes that have been 100% reliable.

Please, keep pulling your marchocchi forks and Avid brakes and selling them for dirt cheap, I will continue to enjoy them.
  • - 3
 My ‘elitist snobbery’ is based on experience. While I’m a fan of that logic I had three sets of Juicys. All junk. All ‘fixed’ under warranty and remained junk. This was in my early years of riding so I had zero brand loyalty. Then the Elixirs came out. Again, three more sets and THOSE were all junk. So it was Shimano for me for years. When the new RS/RSCs came out I heard that all their issues were fixed! I took a step of faith and ordered a new set of shiny, chrome RSCs. Failed out of the box. (Backcountry was epic and remedied the situation for me.) Bought a 2016 Enduro. The RS brakes that came on it needed their levers replaced after a couple months under warranty.

My RSs are working well now but my XTRs and XTs were great 90% of the time. SRAM has been abysmal about the same amount of time. I put up with it though because I like modulation!
  • + 3
 Oh the irony...
  • + 3
 Wish I could prop this more...
  • + 1
 @jeremiahwas: I HOPE you find a better set up in the future.
  • + 12
 Curious to how many SRAM bashers have actually tried their new brakes. There is nothing shitty about them. Incredible modulation and power. Shimano lovers will always love their light switch non modulated brakes. In my experience shimano brakes have just as much issues as any other company.
  • + 1
 We did try them but they failed miserably
  • + 2
 Guide RSC's came as stock. 2 warranty issues. Persisted. Bought a new Code for the front. Failed spectacularly. SRAM said nothing. Bought Saint's F&R. End
  • + 3
 Not shimano loyal by any means but the piston issue has plagued SRAM and continues to do so
  • + 1
 I've had less issues with my older codes than m820 saints, those saint brakes would randomly lose all power until you pumped the levers really fast.
  • + 1
 I believe Sram Guide's reputation was doomed by the piston plague and by their predecessor (Elixir). Since they are the most common brakes in first mount, it ended up with lots of people being unhappy.
  • + 0
 In my experience, greater modulation just means less power.
  • + 11
 "I've never understood why so many brakes come spec'd with organic pads"

Because they don't squeal like a piggy for one thing. I hate metal pads with a vengeance. No issues with organic pads other than they wear out quicker.
  • + 9
 Please take all my organic pads that come on my bikes. They are garbage. They lose brake performance in the wet, they lose brake performance on long descents, they wear out faster (I've literally worn through a full brand new set in one ride in a rain storm). They lack performance when you need it most in exchange for occasionally being quieter. They have no place on a performance bike anywhere with rain or steep terrain.
  • + 2
 @talderson: maybe you use crap brakes My OE shimano and 3rd party organic pads have been fine with my bike.
  • + 3
 @talderson: Pass em on. Just did 6 days / ~25,000 vertical feet in Moab on some ETC organic pads, and they were just fine.
  • + 6
 What a bunch of hippies. Organic free range gluten free pads powered by salad dressing. I want to ride my bike, not eat it.
  • + 2
 When you go buy brakes for your car, the cheap ones are organic and the top end performance ones are metallic. I would bet there isn't a single world cup racer on organic, but PB needs to do one of its polls. The big difference is heat dissipation. Metallic stay consistent as the brake heats up, which is why they're always used for racing.
  • + 1
 minnar uses organic pads depending on the course. metallic pads retain heat more and make the caliper hot.
  • + 1
 @poah: according to this www.bikeradar.com/us/mtb/gear/article/greg-minnaars-santa-cruz-v10-world-championship-bike-48081 he uses the mix (one of each on either side of the caliper]. The reason calipers get hotter on mettalic is because the pad is sending the heat away from the pad and into the caliper. This is why Shimano developed those heat sinks on their pads. I suppose if you're using the lower boiling point mineral oil, it is advantagous to keep some heat away from it and Greg does ride Saints.
  • + 1
 It was a recent syndicate video that they discussed pads @Rubberelli:
  • + 5
 Ok, here we go. MTB Action Mag compared sintered vs organic on XT and XTR brakes. They found "If you ride a downhill race bike, park bike, or frequently ride aggressive long descents, you will appreciate the power and fade resistance of the metal pads. For all other applications, we preferred the resin hands down." Since this thread is on a Code review - a DH brake, for these brakes sintered is the best. You could say for Guides, go Organic. mbaction.com/product-test-shimano-metal-vs-resin-brake-pad-compounds
  • - 1
 Here you go - I ride organics because I prefer them wither I am going down a mountain, at a trail centre or a DH track. I don't care that they don't last as long as metallic pads as they don't fade with me and don't squeal like a piggy in heat
  • + 1
 @poah: I have Avid XO trails, before that I had Code R's. Organic pads may be fine for some people, but have no place on a brake set such as Codes that are meant for aggressive descending. How would you like it if your new sports car came with the tires from a Prius? That's what it feels like when you buy DH brakes with organic pads. Sure, they work for some people, but they do not live up to the performance of the equipment they came with.
  • - 1
 Given that you still drive a sports car on the road I'd rather have the instant braking that organics have. That tyre analogy doesn't even make sense. @talderson:
  • + 1
 @poah: Performance car being handicapped by shit tires. Performance brakes being handicapped by shit pads, that's the analogy. Performance products should not come handicapped with garbage parts. From a strictly performance point of view, organic brake pads are objectively worse for downhill. Selling expensive DH brakes with shitty pads that can't stand up to a proper DH run is absurd.
  • - 1
 @talderson: its still a crap analogy. you must scrub your brakes constantly if a set of organics don't last a DH run.
  • + 2
 @poah: I don't know what your arguing. It's a proven, tested, fact that organic pads wear out sooner and fade earlier...Thats not my opinion it's a industry fact. This is why sites like PB recommend metallic pads for wet areas or aggressive riding. If you are happy with your organics that's fine. It is still objectively stupid to sell DH brakes with organic pads, especially somewhere like the PNW where terrain is steep and it rains all the time.

Because you can't seem to grasp the concept, here is an article outlining when organic pads should be used www.pinkbike.com/news/brake-pad-information-2009.html (Hint, its not for DH)
  • + 0
 @talderson: dude I live in scotland, its constantly wet ergo muddy. I know organics wear out faster, I said that above.
  • + 9
 Nice review. I appreciate that you included the comparison of these versus the Saints. The devil is always in the details and it is nice to hear some real world feedback about the nuances of each of these before jumping in.
  • + 4
 All they really did was state the obvious...

Shimano = stopping power bite and less overal modulation

SRAM = spongulation

Plenty of great riders will run either...not sure why people bring up skill in this discussion. I hated the guides, jury is still out on the codes, but I'm not rushing to try them.
  • + 1
 @nvranka: That's awesome that it is so obvious to you, but maybe the rest of us find it useful.
  • + 6
 I hate mineral oil, brake fluid is easy to clean off, mineral oil is like herpes, you might think its gone, but its still there contaminating your pads and collecting dirt around the levers.


Maybe I am a shill because I am on my third pair of replacement zee levers, as they keep leaking on me.

That being said I am also on my third set of srams because of poor engineering, I will be running the tektros by the end of the year. Quadium's.

I am hopefully done with the sram/shimano crap, if the Tektro/TRP doesn't work I will go magura or hope, probably hope.
  • + 2
 magura is the worst by far at of the bunch.
  • + 1
 @usa-dh-racing: I appreciate the insight, can you elaborate? The mt5 & 7's have any known issues?
  • + 1
 In the past couple of years I have had xtr985, xt8000, latest Saint, Formula Cura and I have ridden bikes with various sram, magura and hope. Depending on what kind of riding someone does, I rate formula cura the best. They are very powerful and great modulation. Lighter than almost all of them. Much easier to set up than all other formula brakes I had. Six months without any issues.
  • + 1
 @jewpowered: I run MT5's on my DH bike and MT7's on my park bike. Mt5's were so good my friend went and bought a pair the next day for his 951. A proper bleed on setup will equal a whole season of joy. No issues, set and forget. And a set of MT5's will run ya $168 shipped!
  • + 1
 @LOTCP: $168ea or for a pair? I see jenson has them at $135usd each, $270 isn't bad but if theres a deal for 170 let me know
  • + 7
 Id use either brake because I'm not some kind of dunce who has to only praise one brand lile alot of these clownshoes on here
  • + 9
 At least SRAM brakes only squeal when it is dry or wet.
  • + 4
 Never had that issue.
  • + 1
 Also Dusty, or muddy.
  • + 4
 SRAM guide RE. Been running them in the alps and they are spectacular.

I like normal guide but fried a set in the alps. RE have similar feel/modulation but loads of power.

Basically avid code calipers and guide R levers. £200 a pair on chainreactioncycles.
  • + 1
 I've heard a couple people say that! They're designed for the e-bikes, but are apparently sick.
  • + 0
 Commencal is even putting them on their dh oriented bikes!
  • + 6
 If you do a gravity bleed with the free stroke screw turned all the way out on xt's or saints the free stroke actually works...
  • + 4
 So from many years experience, Saints are my go-to. Even for a trail bike, why f*ck around...203mm saints and done!

I like the power, the consistency in various temperatures, and I like having a previously-opened bottle of friendlier fluid that I can use for a few years.

Saints do have a "free stroke adjust" but its horse shit. Nobody on earth would use anything but the minimum free stroke setting. If you make something adjustable, make it go through the range of different people's preferences, not an adjustment from "good enough" to "total shit".

Also, I like the shimano ergos better, but not by a lot.

And...if you guys haven't tried the TruckerCo metallic pads, you should! I've never kept the Shimano pads very long and the TruckerCo's are good to the last drop.

cheers
  • + 3
 This is the kind of review comparison between the codes RSC and saints i have been looking/waiting for. what i was mostly interested in learning is which brake had the most out right stopping power. Sold me on saints and plus the saints look sicker. modulation is easy to deal with just squeeze lever lighter. But what is most important is the outright stopping power to initiate sliding down hill.
  • + 6
 Sram + warm temps = FAIL
...dozens of warrantee claims each week per shop in PHX
  • + 4
 To be fair, that's a little more than warm...
  • + 1
 this was my case last summer in similar climate.
  • + 3
 I've ran Codes and Code R's on assorted bikes for over 10 years. They were always bombproof even when everyone was having issues with Elixirs. Those problems did not arise with Codes. Thus, I've remained an SRAM fan for years. I look forward to getting some of the new ones.
  • + 6
 Don't sound like turkeys being slaughtered when the rotors are wet, not interested
  • + 12
 Luckily in the UK you rarely have to deal with wet conditions, so they should be silent for you.
  • + 3
 @vondur: Liquid sunshine.
  • + 2
 "the Code RSC uses phenolic plastic pistons for improved heat management, while the Code R's pistons are aluminum."

Er, what? Compared to aluminum, plastic (of any form) has a lower melting temperature and is a better insulator.

Wouldn't that be worse? What's the upside of switching to plastic, beside that they are cheaper to make? Wouldn't that just make the SRAM piston issues worse?
  • + 2
 I've had Sram Guide RE's (slightly better than meh), XT's (cheap enough the adjusting/couple bleed sessions was worth it), and now both my hardtail & Bronson2 both have Saints (whatever the latest model -820?)

You can't convince me (without me riding these new Sram brakes) - that I'd want to give up my Saints.

Saints do act like a on / off lever if you just install the pre-bled ones, but if you bleed them they modulate really well IMO.

Saints are just such a final answer, so I'm real skeptical these can out-perform them.
  • + 2
 I'm a huge Shimano fan for everything but their brakes. My XT's need to be bled a few times a season while my 6 year old Hope M4's have never been re-bled in thousands of km's. Lever feel/adjustment is much nicer on the Hope's as well. I've also used Juicy's and they were crap.
  • + 2
 AM I the only SRAM fan here ?? I ve never had any issues with any of my SRAM brakes currently run Guide RC solid as a rock the one thing i do agree is pad on saint last forever but breaking bite in corners is not my cup of tee, that's y prefer SRAM more control and modulation + bite free Smile cant wait to get my hands on new Code's
  • + 1
 You've answered your own question right there:

I've never understood why so many brakes come spec'd with organic pads, considering that they wear quickly and can be unpredictable in wet conditions. However, during a hot, steep, dusty ride in Pemberton they did develop an ear-splitting howl on a trail that required heavy, sustained braking
  • + 1
 I can't decide on SRAM brakes. My trail bike has a set of Trail XO brakes and they've been perfect for over 2 years aside from the odd cleaning of the caliper pistons. My Guide R's on the DH bike... total crap for the rear brake and a very good front brake. Replacement lever, nobody can bleed the damn thing so it feels the same as the front, chews through pads in the wet in a single day. Swapped the rear to sintered and hoping that fixes it.
  • + 1
 I find that if I get used to either I love it the most. I've gone back and fourth and I think it's really personal. I like the lever feel of the SRAM brake but I also like how short the lever on a Shimano brake is. As for consistency, my opinion is that Shimano brakes seem to fade much quicker. Even with a good bleed. But sometimes I also think that a Shimano brake will fade and come back if you pump the levers which was something that didn't happen when my Guides faded. I think the finned pads are a big advantage for Shimano and surprisingly had a noticeably cooler brake when I put uberbike finned guide pads in. My point is that with Shimano and SRAM brakes, and a lot of competing products in the industry, Both are unbelievably good and one might suit each person differently.
  • + 1
 i use Magura MT7 for 2 years, they are great, the most powerfull for this enduro weight category, never fade in long trails, they have extra power that can save you from something unespected, good modulation, not the best (better with Sram and Hope) but good enought, the only problem is service and spare parts, i have buyed everything to make the service, and a jagwire line and fittings for magura. is not dificult to service o fix something but if you don´t live in germany you will need to have all to fix it. even so I do not change them until I try some better brake and that I maintain a competitive weight.
  • + 3
 If the new codes end up being as reliable and easy to maintain as Saint, than they may end up on my bike. Until then, Saint ftw
  • + 1
 I would like to feel these rsc . Been on xt forever and dont like that i have to seemingly move the lever 1/2 inch just to get some action and maybe half of that distance to go to full brakes. also burn the mineral oil fast. it goes black rather quickly. Doesn't effect stopping i dont think just an observation .
  • + 3
 All else being equal, I go with Shimano because everything SLX on up has ceramic pistons. Surprised that SRAM is OK with phenolic pistons and metal pads.
  • + 1
 Based on this review, I left the Codes that came on my '18 Enduro, as opposed to shit-canning the SRAMs and putting on the tried-and-true Saints, as I've done for the past 8 or so years.
I figured that if they're as good as Kazimer says, then I'll be happy to save the $400 for the Saints.
Unfortunately, this 'review' had little in common with the reality of my REAL WORLD experience with the new Codes
For starters, their power seems more on par with Guides than REAL gravity brakes(Saints, V4s etc). I weigh 240lbs, and I had to use two fingers and all their mite to slow my bike down on the steeps.
Secondly-they fricken howl and squeal, just like we've all come to know and 'love'(sarcasm) with Sram brakes.
I guess Kazimer must've tested his on pristine asphalt, 'cuz the only way these thing don't make any noise, is if you stay OUT of the dirt.
These things are basically Guides, but I'm not gonna wait around and let 'em do the Sram warm-weather disappearance act.
They're gone, and the tried-and-true Saints are going on yet again.
I know I should've known better than to trust a PB review on something as critical as brakes, but since they came on my new bike, and the thought of saving $400 really appealed to me, I wanted to believe it.
Lesson learned
  • + 1
 Bleeding edge bollocks, I went to bleed my new guides only to find the syringe no longer fits on the caliper, of course you need to buy a new bloody part . I just pushed oil through the system and let it piss out ,then shut the new screw. Yes I prefer shimano
  • + 1
 Sram rock, Sram guide were amazing and I'm sure the code will be as well. Shimano are great but need to move on with there technology on brakes. They just change the number on the product code and add a nob to keep people buying.
  • + 1
 Sram brakes, even the latest models will have to be completely rebuilt after a season or 2. I have seen this countless times on friends bikes, talking to other riders on the trail and several mechanics. Simply don't waste your money on these. If they come specked on your bike, sell them asap and get a pair of Shimano brakes. You will be much much happier.
  • + 2
 Been posted before but the screw on the shimano brakes does work if you know what you are looking for:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0uSTtDWbI8

Watch the video.
  • + 1
 Srams customer service and warranty > Shimano any day. I had a set of RSCs that had the pad adjuster get stuck after about a year of riding. Sram replaced them with ultimates for free no questions asked.
  • + 1
 sram does warranty better because they get more practice.
  • + 0
 Shimano brakes are you kidding, havent seen any of them that work good... contact point on rear brake is not constant...they work, but not work ok.

SRAM/Avid, has their issues, but when serviced properly they work they work ok.
  • + 0
 What kind of ungodly mutation are these? The master/lever looks like an abomination and it's complete with a 2pc failed abortion looking caliper? WTF?

I got a set of ancient Juicy 5s on 1 rig, which have never given me issue, and a set of SLXs on the other - noisy AF and piss poor power until I sanded the organic pads and scuffed the rotors. Also noticed the SLXs stop stopping once I play around with the reach adjust? I want to adjust my lever reach Shimano, not make the brakes useless.
  • + 1
 Yeah, totally. The master cylinder is ugly AF. That's the funny thing, for years Sram has been looking for a way to improve their old design from the Juicy. Here they went with an expander and more volume, hence the huge lever. If you design your brake correctly you don't need it, hence the slim design of Shimano's.
  • + 1
 I can attest that the RSCs are excellent brakes. They are on my enduro/race bike, and have never let me down over the last few months. Bottom line: brakes are important, ride the one's you feel most comfy with.
  • + 2
 Sram is (was) a drivetrain company and they make good ones. I have too many friends with defective Sram brakes and RockShox suspension. Fox and Shimano for me.
  • + 3
 The first thing I always take off stock builds are the SRAM brakes. Magura or bust
  • - 1
 Magura's been in the weeds for a few years but the MT Next brakes are unbeatable
  • + 1
 Haha Magura brakes really? They are #1 on leaks, the levers are so easy to brake that you have to replace parts every now and then. Magura used to be it, but not anymore! Bring back the good old Gustav, we don't want to deal with your MT crap anymore.
  • + 1
 @Euskafreez:
5 year leak proof warranty, uber powerful, uber light, easy brand to deal with in any context. Never broken a master off the bar either.
  • + 1
 @Euskafreez: Have you tried MT5's or MT7's? It sounds like you didn't... I have a pair of MT5's on my bike and love them. I would only trade them for a pair of MT7's.
  • + 0
 Ya right Magura is one of the least reliable brands out there. May as well go with some hayes strokers... lol
  • + 0
 Bought a pair of used Louise FR's for my Cove Hummer ti,those are the bombproof sh1t.
  • + 1
 @mhoshal: AVID is the crown for unreliable. Theres a reason why every distributor runs out of rebuild kits for guides... Such junk
  • + 2
 @mhoshal: someone who knows what there talking about.
  • + 0
 @RNeves: MT7 = very worst brakes on the planet and possibly the universe.
  • - 1
 @usa-dh-racing: It's funny how one person's experience can be so different than another's. MT7s have been just amazing for me. More power than any brake out there paired with exceptional modulation. They're impossible to overheat.

I have had an issue straight out of the box and Magura fixed me up really fast.
My only gripe with MT7s is the pistons can engage unevenly but you just have to drag them down some steeps for everything to even out (they like to be warmed up from time to time).
  • + 1
 @genericmk: Don't look fiurther, you're happy because you only have deal with one pair so far. Us grease monkeys have a different opinion. The MT line is so unreliable we don't sell them aftermarket anymore ...

It's not about how they perform when they work like they are supposed to. We are complaining about the lack of reliability of the MTs, the whole line from top to bottom. And I'm not in a crusade against Magura, I had Magura brakes on at least one of my bikes in the past 20 years.
  • + 1
 Yep, the only thing that's crappy is the lever : looks like a 60's moped brake
  • + 1
 @usa-dh-racing:
MT7 = very worst brakes on the planet and possibly the universe.

CARE TO ELABORATE?
  • + 1
 @jewpowered: it's like its color: a complete lemon
  • + 0
 Saint all the Way, i have both and i can tell Saint is so much powerfull, tell me why Dean Lucas and Jack Moir rode old Code Brakes at Cairns? they dont have enought power to extreme riding!

www.pinkbike.com/photo/15135579
  • + 12
 Maybe they don't work upside down.
  • + 0
 thanx for this response. I have been debating on saints or codes. I need a real brake to initiate sliding on corners down hill. Currently, i use the sram utimate guide and they just don't cut it.
  • + 2
 Its probably because they own old codes and they still work great!! I run the same codes and they are an excellent piece of kit plus you cant beat the chrome!!
  • - 1
 those are the old codes fyi
  • + 4
 I F****ng HATE to bleed Avid/Sram brakes!!
  • + 1
 The taper bore avids were a pain but its not the case with the new brakes. look up the new bleed procedure. It literally takes five minutes.
  • + 1
 @meafroninja: ah...ok! then I think saint would take 1m?! less?
  • + 3
 im glad they kept the same howl the juicies were famous for.
i realy miss that
Smile
  • + 2
 So the code is a better more consistant brake than saint? Its almost as if saint hasnt been updated in 7 years and is trailing off the back per usual
  • + 3
 yeah 7 years...and still the best ones..
  • + 4
 If they didn't move away from the plastic piston in Codes, no thanks.
  • + 3
 Sram brakes are the reverb of... brakes.
Great reviews from pres$, bad reviews from users.
  • + 2
 i can already hear the sound of the brakes and also the sound of people screaming 'i fuckin need to bleed them again'
  • + 3
 Been running sram guide rs since August 2015 and not had to bleed them yet and they make no squeal at all when using race matrix pads (standard pads are garbage) Best brakes I have ever had. I must be a lucky one.
  • + 1
 @Reignrob: you are not going fast enough..
  • + 0
 @Pedro019: don't know about going fast enough ???? but I have certainly pushed them to there limits. Road some very fast tracks in the alps and regularly ride fort William world cup track. Maybe I don't depend on my brakes as much as others. Who knows.
  • + 1
 3 pairs of guides for a few years now and never had to bleed. But yeah... had to get half of the master cylinders replaced. At least that was free. They even threw in a free rotor and bleed of the other brake when i went to the sram tent at dirt fest. Mint again.
  • + 1
 Thanks PB for the comparison! Looking forward to more of these. I've on Shimano brakes for the last few years, but remember really liking my original Avid Codes.
  • + 1
 Maybe I’ve been lucky but I find SRAM guide brakes to be excellent. I’ve run R’s and Ultimates with zero issues. Plenty of power and modulation.
  • + 1
 SRAM have definitely stepped up their brake game. But I'm still a Shimano loyalist. Running a set of XT's for 2 years now without a bleed. 0 problems or loss of power.
  • + 3
 and when you do need to bleed them it is a joy.
  • + 1
 You should probably bleed those. The fluid is guaranteed to be black as the night in there.
  • + 2
 If anyone is reading this I will trade you some zee's for your new codes, since shimano is better
  • + 1
 Done.
  • + 1
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: Why are you north of the border!
  • + 3
 So when do the code ultimates come out? I need these in chrome plz, ty.
  • + 1
 Not for a while, but I know a few bikes will start coming out with them next year as an OEM special.
  • + 1
 Still waiting for the parts to fix the crap SRAM RS brakes I currently have with a no ETA time of arrival. I will never support SRAM products again period, JUNK.
  • + 2
 has anyone got experience with the GUIDE rsc? would they be strong enough for Enduro tours? appreciate the feedback...
  • + 3
 I have them, maybe a little weak for full on downhill but perfect for everything else
  • + 6
 I've got Guide RSC's on my DH rig - never been underbraked, but agree with the observations above - my AM bike has Saints and they are more powerful, but somewhat binary.
  • + 4
 Came on my YT Tues Pro build. Typically hating SRAM from day one I assumed I would switch them out immediately. Too my surprise they are actually pretty awesome on my DH bike..Still have them on after multiple races..
  • + 3
 i brought one pair for whiz ews and i have to return to my old xt, they cant deliver strong power for ews long stages
  • + 1
 @papaonessa16: I've run them in the past. Guide RE's if you are after more power but similar control.
  • + 2
 Binary means On/Off in this context, kids.
  • + 1
 I have the Guide RSC's on my 2017 Slash. They've definitely treated me well with no issues. I wouldn't mind a little more stopping power, but then again I weigh in around 235 lbs. I'll probably be giving the Code RSC's a go on next year's bike.
  • + 3
 Pinkbike, you're asking for it. Glutton for punishment, you are.
  • + 3
 did they fix the issue with sram brakes and high temps?
  • + 13
 Yes, a running change was made in July 2016, although there could still be brakes out there that have that issue, which was caused by an oversized master piston in the lever body. Guide RSC, RS, R and DB5 brakes with serial number 26T6 and higher have the update.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: They replaced my db5's with the level, pretty easy to evaluate the difference there lol
  • + 4
 Coming from a hot tropical country like mine, the initial reputation of the first batches of Guides were no different to that of the Note 7 (potentially life-threatening).

Even with the update, most gravity riders here will avoid SRAM brakes like the plague. Zee's have spectacularly failed here, too, btw, but people still prefer it over Guides or Codes.

I hope SRAM (or maybe even PinkBike) can show conclusive testing that their brakes won't try to kill you whenever the Mercury rises.
  • + 1
 @Verbl-Kint: I love the people denying that shimano levers are only good for a season or so until they leak

I am on my third set, people try and implicate that they are overfilled, but I follow the procedure to a T.
  • + 2
 sram brakes better than shimano brakes?? are you serious? LOOOOL give me a break!!! laughing till die...
  • + 1
 I like sram brakes. Had them on my last two bikes, just wish it didnt cost an extra $100 f*cking dollars to get pad contact adjustment.
  • + 3
 Avid brakes can only "HOPE" to one day compare.
  • + 0
 @vonroder77:
Hope brakes suck man.
It’s nice that they’re made in England. But they’re not better in any other way.
That’s why the only mechanics that use them are the ones that have made in Britain boners.
  • + 2
 @jflb: interesting. I have had nothing but good luck with Hope, I have tried most model of Sram brakes and been dissapointed. My Formula "The One" brakes were awsome as well.
  • + 2
 @jflb: curious, how do they 'suck'? Do you have a reason?
  • + 0
 @atrokz:
Ya totally. Mostly because of the big stupid open reservoir for oil to slop all over the place as you’re trying to get the brake lever to be the high point so you can run fluid through them while painstakingly felching it out batch by batch in the hopes that you get all the bubbles out. But you never can be sure because just like shimanos, there’s no back pressure bleed fitting syringe system.
Time to move forward guys
As well, theyre still using externally mounted hose banjos that can get banged loose, and often do. I think that’s how Cedric Garcia nearly died back 5 years ago.
There’s a good reason why sram has them in a protected position on the caliper.
What else...
Oh ya. They don’t feel very good.
But mostly
All the pommies and rich people that get them in lame anodized colours to match their stupid everything else that’s anodized.
  • + 1
 @jflb: sweet now that I have read this it will end up happenimg to me LOL!
  • + 2
 @jflb: I used to run hopes as a pro mech. Never ran into any issues, last set I was on was the mono4 and mono6. Could bleed them in a few minutes w the kit I made for them. They worked very well and stood up to some hars crashes that bent the levers. Maybe the newer ones are different. Quality is high in terms of manufactuing. Prob better than most and def better than sram.
  • + 1
 And here Iam riding some magura mt trail carbs >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
  • + 1
 So how big was the check that came in the box with the brakes for the review?
  • + 1
 Whats the word on magura brakes for trail use? bleeding challenges? longevity?
  • + 3
 They’re looking Juicy.
  • + 3
 Saints for the win.
  • - 2
 'I'd go with the Codes'
Given PB's 'review' history, had this been a Saint 'review', he would've said 'I'd go with the Saints'.
Shocking(obviously I'm being facetious) how he didn't bother to mention the master(s) seizing up when the weather got warm, and you KNOW they did
  • + 3
 Why would I mention an issue that's not present on these brakes? The lever piston issue occurred on a batch of Guide brakes and has already been addressed by SRAM.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: How do the calipers use different pistons? Are they OEM? Sram's SPC part # 11.5018.020.007 is the same for both R & RSC caliper piston kits.
  • + 1
 @Demoguy: Code RSC and Guide RSC are different assemblies.
  • + 1
 I had the Codes on my Nomad4, but changed them to Saints. I found the lever much too soft for my liking.
  • + 1
 I've been running ZEE anchors on my free ride tank for 3 years, ZERO issues!
(bike + me = 120kg/264lbs)
  • + 3
 Rebranded from Avid?
  • - 3
 Sram brakes have been a joke since day one. I can't imagine how many we have sent back for warranty or how many guide levers have just decided to remain stuck due to poor tolerance issues on the master cylinder. The design of the lever and the reach adjustment screw is super half ass and the serviceability is very poor. Shimano brakes have been reliable and trickle down technology has been exceptional. He'll aside from the 4 piston power factor, I would take a set of deore's over a set of codes any day.
  • + 1
 I have a set of deores that came on my 2017 Intense Tracer and they suck! They don’t slow you down for crap! So maybe you should ride a pair before judging.
  • + 2
 @andrew8404: I dunno, I've had a older pair of Deore (M596) brakes on my Cannondale Jekyll for two years and they were on my Trek hardtail or year before that. I have definitely found the limits of what they can handle but never regularly wished that I had something more powerful. They've been flawless for three years.
  • + 1
 @andrew8404: Sounds like you need a bleed, cleaning, and some new pads. As mentioned, they don't top huge 4 piston stoper power, but durability, feel, function, they are super practical and quality product.
  • + 1
 @andrew8404: I ride code rs now, I miss my deore. Those things worked so well.
  • + 1
 No more DOT on my bikes, make no sense
  • + 1
 "my sram code is lost" ƪ(‾.‾“)┐
  • + 1
 bottom line....Shimano is more relablle and SRAM has better performance
  • + 1
 Nice review! I'll always be a Sram/Avid fan tup
  • + 0
 Do the Code's use DOT fluid? I far prefer mineral oil that Shimano uses as it is far less toxic and corrosive.
  • + 1
 Friends don't let friends ride SRAM brakes.
  • + 1
 Why? fu....king sram have many broblems.
  • + 1
 I've heard rumors of new Saint brakes coming soon, anyone know anything?
  • + 1
 Choose a brake and be a d!ck about it
  • - 1
 Saints for me. Brakes and tires are no skimp type of components. Have to have the best in those departments
  • - 1
 Shimano brakes forever may not use any of there other components but I won’t use anything else when it comes to brakes!
  • + 1
 Braking news!
  • + 0
 Sram breaks sucks Best breaks SHIMANO
  • - 2
 have you tried sram brakes though?
  • + 4
 @Longroadtonowhere: Obviously. How else would he know they suck?
  • - 1
 Wat diference avid code and avid guide?
Shimano vs Avid !!! WTF?
Only Saint))
  • + 1
 Saint/Sram = same shit
  • - 1
 SRAM still going with the cheap lever and reach adjustment..
  • - 1
 Weird because the saints have one in the exact same place just with a big ugly adjuster handle
  • + 1
 @mhoshal: which doesn't even work! Haha
  • + 4
 @Teej687t: you sir, don't know for sure what you are talking about...
  • + 1
 @Teej687t: reach=/=bite point
  • - 2
 mineral oil > DOT
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.175364
Mobile Version of Website