SRAM Guide RS Brake - Review

Nov 11, 2014
by Mike Levy  
SRAM Guide RS brake review test

SRAM's new Guide brake lineup consists of three models with varying degrees of tool-free adjustability, with the middle of the road RS model that's reviewed below foregoing the free-stroke adjustment of the higher-end RSC but retaining a tool-free reach adjustment dial. That omission sees them come in at $149 USD per end, which is about $50 less expensive than the premium model. Want to save a bit more coin? $129 USD gets you the basic R version that still boasts the same reach adjustment but loses the ball bearing lever pivot that's employed in both the RS and RSC versions. All three take advantage of the same four piston caliper, and they can be fitted with the same brake pads as used on Avid's four piston offerings. That leads us to the question of why the Guide brake falls under the SRAM banner rather than the Avid name, with the most obvious answer being that SRAM is looking to separate the Guides from the somewhat potted history of Avid's older offerings. Below, we find out if they've been able to do exactly that.


Guide RS Brake Details

• Intended use: all-mountain / trail
• Four piston caliper
• Tool-free reach adjust
• MatchMaker X compatible
• Lever pivots on ball bearings
• Top loading pads
• DOT 5.1 fluid
• Weight: 385 grams (front system, 160mm rotor)
• MSRP: $149 USD

SRAM Guide RS brake review test
  The Guide brake features an entirely new top end that's said to offer better consistency and an easier and more effective bleeding process, all without losing any of the modulation that the company is known for.


What's Up Top?

The Guide brake's top end looks quite different compared to the Avid offerings that came before, with a revised in-line master cylinder that holds more DOT 5.1 fluid and a reach adjustment dial that has been moved to a new location at the front of the lever. The forged lever blades themselves are a bit shorter as well, but the entire shadow of the master cylinder and lever blade is actually the same length as its predecessor, although SRAM has built-in increased clearance so they mate with the company's Grip Shift perfectly. Our RS test brakes forego the free-stroke adjustment (SRAM calls it Contact Point Adjust) found on the more expensive RSC model, but still allow for tool-free reach adjust. The split clamp makes them easy to install, and they're compatible with SRAM's space-saving Matchmaker combined shifter, brake and Reverb mounts, as well as being ambidextrous to make switching to a moto style setup as easy as swapping sides.

Up until the release of the new Guide brake this year, SRAM has employed their TaperBore master cylinder design many seasons. While it did work, asking shop mechanics and longtime Avid users about the system would likely show that it lacked consistency when it came to lever feel, and that the required bleeding process was a bit convoluted. The Guide brake features a new design that uses a small cam-driven linkage that moves the piston quickly past the bleed port, a setup that SRAM says makes for less dead band in the lever's throw. The result of this is that the brake pads hit the rotor sooner compared to the older design, and the cam is then said to allow for the clamping force to feel linear, with an easy to modulate power band. Internally, it's also a more traditional system compared to the older TaperBore setup, which should increase reliability in the long run.


SRAM Guide RSC Trail Brake 2014
  TaperBore has been retired in favor of a completely new design that uses a cam-driven linkage and more traditional internals.


The redesigned master cylinder holds more brake fluid than what is used in Avid's Elixir range, which means that there should be more than enough to compensate for brake pad wear that sees the pistons move out of their bores an increased amount. This was one of my complaints of their predecessor - how the lever feel could change drastically when the pads wear past the halfway point - so it's good to see SRAM acknowledge the issue. The internal profile of the reservoir also sports shaping that's designed to move any reluctant air bubbles out and away, and the butyl membrane in the reservoir is said to be more flexible and less porous.


Caliper and Rotor

While the upstairs is all-new, SRAM stuck with a proven design when it came to the caliper. The Guide caliper is the same as what's used on Avid's four piston Trail brake, with two 14mm and two 16mm pistons driving a set of organic pads that come stock. There is also a sintered metallic option, though, and since the caliper is the same, you can fit any pads that work with Avid's four piston brakes. That should be great news for anyone who's got a few sets of spare pads sitting around.

SRAM Guide RS brake review test
  The four piston caliper isn't new, but the Centerline rotor is.


The caliper is the same, but there's yet another new rotor design, this one being referred to as ''Centerline'' - the name comes from the long openings in the middle of the braking surface that are claimed to clear mud and debris out quicker than the old rotor could. There are also twelve spokes now, double that of the G3 rotor, that SRAM says offers better heating and cooler characteristics, as well as more resistance to warping. 140, 160, 180, and 200mm options are available, all using the standard six-bolt mounting pattern.







Setup and Ergonomics - All of the Guide brakes that I've used have been ready to go right off the bat, and I never needed to bleed our RS test set or any of the others I've depended on, something that you couldn't say about the Avid's offerings. This means that it's just a matter of setting in the brake's position on the handlebar via the dial on the face of the lever (see photo at right) and tweaking the reach until it matches your hand - there's no free-stroke adjustment on the RS, remember. That said, the point at which the pads hit the rotors felt spot-on, and I don't think I would have made any changes, even if I had the Contact Point Adjust dial of the more expensive RSC model. The slightly shorter lever blade will still feel like home to anyone who's used the company's other offerings in the past, and I'd argue that they can brag about having some of the best ergonomics in the brake game.

Despite never needing to bleed a set of Guide brakes on any of our test bikes, we went through the process just to see if the still very involved procedure was more effective than in the past. The steps haven't changed, meaning you'll need two syringes to get 'er done, and the same bleed fittings that Avid's brakes require also work with the Guides. The job is quicker, however, because you only need to do it once to remove the air in the system and replace the DOT fluid. That's a big improvement over the older Avid brakes that often required the patience of a saint in order to do complete the job.


Power - I've never felt that Avid's brakes don't offer enough power for their intended use, but I also know that there are bigger anchors out there if you're looking for something with the stopping power of a brick wall. That hasn't been the case for everyone, but, at 170lb and expert-level skills, I never found myself wishing for more bite. This begs the question: is the right amount of power an acceptable thing to be okay with, or should you have more than you need for those times when you're doing top to bottom non-stoppers on Whistler's Original Sin and Joyride? SRAM obviously believes the latter because the Guides are a clear leap ahead in terms of outright power. Maybe not Shimano power, though, but they're close enough that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to Shaq if he asked me what to spec on his Rampage bike. Anyone who complained about a lack of power in the past should be happy with what SRAM have done with the new Guide brake.

Power is one thing, but consistency is an entirely different requirement. After all, who cares if they have loads of power for a few minutes if you cook the brake fluid and glaze your pads in the time shortly after. That didn't happen with the Guides, and no amount of brake dragging did anything to have them either pump up at the lever or fade at the caliper, despite plenty of long descents that would result in tired hands if using less powerful brakes. I've also gone through a number of sets of pads on different Guide brakes, often continuing to use them past the point where one should drop in a new set, and can say that lever feel stays consistent until you begin to get close to the backing plate. It's obviously best to avoid doing that sort of thing, though, and I normally wouldn't run them so low unless it was a testing scenario.


Modulation - SRAM's previous offerings under the Avid name may have put some riders off when it comes to consistency over the long haul, but there was never any doubting the degree of control at your finger tips, with them providing heaps of modulation in the early and mid stages of braking. This was always their trump card over the competition - while not as powerful as Shimano, they were powerful enough while offering great feel in low-traction conditions. My concern with the new Guide stoppers was if SRAM was going to up the power but lose the feel, an approach that wouldn't set them apart from their biggest competitor in the brake world. I needn't have worried, though, as the Guides still feel very much like Avid brakes when talking about what a rider is going to feel through his or her fingers. The same control that I've always praised Avid for is there, and it's still easy to judge when to relax those digits to prevent locking up. The levers do have a firmer end to their pull, however, so it's not all the same as it was before, but I suspect that a lot of riders are going to associate that more solid lever stroke stopping point with the brakes being "better". Me, I sort of liked that old Avid feel, but the modulation is still there so I don't really have anything to complain about.

More power doesn't equal less modulation, and the new Guide brake prove that. They still have that Avid-esque control, and the firmer feel at the lever will be appreciated by most riders out there.


bigquotesThe new Guide brakes offer improved consistency and more power over their predecessors, but haven't sacrificed the impressive modulation that has always made the company's brakes winners when it comes to low-traction scenarios. The bolstered reliability will be what wins the average rider over, though, as SRAM finally has a brake offering that I'd consider as being able to set-and-forget. - Mike Levy


www.sram.com


Mentions: @SramMedia




240 Comments

  • 890 31
 Now with new and improved avid turkey warble sound effects
  • 29 9
 This needs more +1s.... a lot more
  • 10 8
 so true
  • 20 7
 With it almost being Thanksgiving here in the states, did they finally kill the dying turkey?
  • 25 8
 After all those years of criticisms and funny jokes about Avid brakes, I was feeling more positive about these ones. You know, they had to develop a competitive offering and they definitely took their time. According to the review, looks like they already succeed. But the question is, does it has to look like my nearly ten years old Juicy? I was expecting a more compact design, I kinda don't like when my brakes try to meet in front of my stem cap.
  • 8 1
 And I thought it was just my avids...
  • 11 7
 Turkey sound effects or no, it seems like Avid/Sram are taking their deficiencies into consideration and offering something that meets riders' needs. I fins it really difficult to fault anyone for seeing whats out there, what works, and making it accessible to the public.
  • 2 1
 Woops, "find"
  • 10 3
 they are actually pretty quiet, no turkey warble - even in seriously wet conditions
  • 17 5
 I've been on these brakes for a season and a half and they're silent even in wet conditions. Modulation and strength is fantastic and I have had zero issues with them. So far they're the best brakes I've used to date
  • 17 30
flag peanutbuter (Nov 12, 2014 at 6:26) (Below Threshold)
 the best avid brake is the code
  • 4 1
 In all seriousness I've been wanting to try these. Was very happy with the Juicy 7s I had but couldn't get over the noise. If the noise has been taken care of and bleeding is more consistent Sram may finally have a viable option. Still holding out for long term reports though...
  • 23 30
flag rupintart (Nov 12, 2014 at 7:19) (Below Threshold)
 These brakes are meh at best. The only Avid/SRAM brakes worth a shit are the ones that use a cable.
  • 12 5
 Codes!!
  • 14 12
 rupintart knows the deal with avid. BB7 are their best brake.
  • 13 6
 The new centerline rotors do actually help. That said, F avid.
  • 35 8
 Ive run these brakes on DH bikes, and AM/Trail bikes. If you think they are "Meh" then I am not sure what you are usually riding. They work terrific. The modulation is quite good and the power is there. Feel is much improved.

I have used XT and XTR brakes, and they have tons of power (probably more than guide). They also have all-or-nothing terrible modulation. If you want to brake by locking up your tires all the time, then that is your gig, but if you want to be fast, and only bleed off the speed that you need to in maintaining a line, then you need modulation.

Guide has power and modulation, they are quiet and really, who cares if they look like old jucy's? Are you getting chicks because your brakes look futuristic? Nope. Be happy they work well and they dont cost a fortune.
  • 3 11
flag livehardrideharder (Nov 12, 2014 at 11:26) (Below Threshold)
 www.facebook.com/trailheadracing2015/photos/a.1538615373024240.1073741828.1537779729774471/1564225557129888/?type=1&theater

IF WE WIN I WILL GIVE AWAY A SET OF GUIDE BRAKES!!!!!!!!!!

I run the guides on my 2015 Enduro 650B and LOVE THEM. At the Ashland Mountain Challenge there was a super steep fast trail where everyone else's brakes overheated and began to fail, but the guides had absolutely no problem handling it.
  • 13 1
 My rear Elixir CR never sounded like a turkey. It sounded more like somebody stomping on the chest of a goose. I replaced the rear only with an XT and couldn't be happier. My front Elixir, however, has never once been anything but stellar.
  • 12 23
flag rupintart (Nov 12, 2014 at 13:14) (Below Threshold)
 The lever feel is crap...spongy, like all Avid brakes. The lever itself feels terrible under your finger. In the back of my head I know I'm going to need to service it soon cause it says SRAM/Avid on the side and is hydraulic. I guarantee you my BB7 with SD7 levers feel better than any hydro brake on here. Lighter lever pull, infinitely better modulation, strong enough for trials, don't fade during DH, and my lever doesn't feel like a sponge.

If you are gonna get hydro brakes, you get Shimano, Hope, Magura, Formula...in that order.
  • 4 0
 I second all of these motions!
  • 5 2
 It took about five years for sram to make non-integrated-in-master-cylinder-compensation-reservoir just like in normal brakes. anyway, that's a good step for them
  • 1 0
 I guess I've lucked out with my Codes...always hear horror stories but never had any of the problems.
  • 6 6
 quite sad when, as a disc brake company, your best disc brake is a cable actuated brake. not one that, yknow, most people would rather use in this modern age of hydraulic technology.
  • 2 1
 This issue was fixed by the centerline rotor. It's the real reason for that part of the redesign.
  • 5 7
 lol @ comment negs. I'll bet a months of pay that my BB7 outperforms any other Avid out there, both in modulation and stopping power. No fancy fluid dynamics and differential equations necessary. No boiling fluid. No hose expansion. No leaks. It's a cable; it's modulation is as good as your finger is and the lever pull is literally 1/2 the effort which is why it's a SWORN AND TRUSTED combo by trials riders (no arm pump you get from hydro brakes since it's TONS easier to pull in.) Oh, your brake rubs? I'll turn a little dial on the calipers to adjust the pads and that's it. At most readjust with a 5mm allen wrench. At best with hydros you have a Hope Tech, but then you have 50 dials on your brake lever for something that's overly complicated to adjust pads. Simplicity is key, and the bike industry has for whatever reason forgotten about that.

Clean Sweep rotor + BB7 + Odyssey Linear Slic cables + any vee lever > any hydro brake

The weak link/negative to that set-up? Brake adapters are your bottle neck. While I've personally never broke one, most people opt for higher quality ones like Hope or other CNC'd options. However, most trials frames that utilize a disc mount tab that's already adjusted for a rotor larger than 203, which is why, again, it's the best disc brake set-up out there.
  • 2 1
 "most trials frames that utilize a disc mount tab that's already adjusted for a rotor larger than 203" was supposed to say "rotor larger than 160, such as a 203"...dunno how I typo'd that one....
  • 184 53
 Shimano Brakes > Sram Brakes
  • 70 5
 can always count on pb for avid burns. much like how their brakes smell after maybe 1.5sec of actuation.
  • 28 5
 Had 3 sets of avid brakes, juicy 3, elixir 1 & 5 all within 4 years. All felt weird and pumped up a lot, the juicy leaked at the caliper. Switched to shimano 3 years ago having bought a set of deores (non icetech versions) and am still on the same set.
  • 14 3
 I have always had Shimano brakes, SLX Ice tech last, now I have these and they seem pretty impressive! First time I've actually liked a avid/SRAM brake ...
  • 7 3
 I have a really old pair of Juices on my XC bike, and they do perform quite well! But I had a set of Avid's Elixir R on my DH bike and those sucked hard! Got myself a pair of Zee's and never got sore hands again, but I do believe my tyres will last a little bit less now...
  • 7 0
 Was about to buy this set of brakes the other day but changed my mind last minute and got a set of slx brakes. I have zees on my dh bike after riding Codes and the slxs are to replace elixir 3s. No regrets.
  • 8 14
flag ribo88 (Nov 12, 2014 at 3:44) (Below Threshold)
 Hope brakes > Shimano brakes if the list goes on. Had Avid Trail, and everything before from Avid, were not bad... but sitting at 240lbs they were not so good either. Had almost every Shimano, there were nice ones and it was very powerfull, like the M985 set with finned pads, but when the piston seal gave in the lever, i had to send it back for warranty : complete lever change cause the seal is not replacable. 1 month out of ride in the middle of season. Since then i am using Hope V4. I am not even interested in anything else... the quality and the power and consistency puts all of them to shame.
  • 9 2
 Honestly, I talked shit a lot about avids because 50% of the sets I rode were god awful and downright dangerous. While the other 50% were quite good, I really didn't like those odds. Switched for Zees on the DH bike after a set of elixir CR was failing prematurely and honestly, they do have more stopping power but what I really want is good modulation and as far as I am concerned, avids destroys shimano on that front, no contest.

During my last trip I got to rent a bike equiped with guides and the first thing my girlfriend said is "wow these brakes are really powerful" so they did up their game power wise. Only thing that bothers me on set of elixir 7 I'm currently riding is that they heat up way too much/fast on the big descents. I didn't ride a big enough mountain to put the guides to the test on the front but if they fixed that and the wacky reliability... I was never a big fan of avid but for 150$ msrp I'd risk it.
  • 5 38
flag Mtbguy87 (Nov 12, 2014 at 4:44) (Below Threshold)
 Formula brakes>> everything else haha
  • 12 18
flag MMsportchannel (Nov 12, 2014 at 5:22) (Below Threshold)
 Hope> Shimano> all the rest Razz
  • 5 4
 Hope brakes look bling and work well, most of the time. They still require regular maintenance though, compared to Shimano's set and forget brake systems. I know which I prefer. To my mind, 'modulation' may as well be a byword for mush, give me raw stopping power every time. In this regard, the Saint 4 pots are unfknblvbl, proper boat anchors, twice the power of XT's, which I run currently. As for Avid/SRAM, had a set of Juicy 7's on a Heckler for several years, which I later transferred to Foes FXR 2:1, probably got 5 years of solid, reliable use out of them before selling the bike. Could've used more power but worked well enough to stop my 110kg, and never had a single maintenance issue, never required bleeding after several sets of pads.
  • 4 0
 Yes, i aggree on the fit and forget shimano idea, but... if something goes wrong on the hope, you can actually change a seal and not the whole brake lever. Also the V4 is more powerfull then the shimano brakes, and i mean it has more power not in blocking the wheel like the saint does it like a "proper boat anchor", i am also 110kg not including gear+bike, in bikeparks the only brakes that held up were the V4 so far, and i only use 183mm on the back wheel... would not go back for anything else honestly. But the price is a killer.
  • 2 0
 Pre-taperbore avids weren't bad, if you ignore the seal stick problems on first gen codes. Had some '04 juicies, did great for years. It's all moot though, when I think about having to deal with DOT fluid again. I'll take shimano just because the fluid is so much less of a hassle.
  • 6 4
 So it's 2014, and SRAM still hasn't caught up to where Shimano was 15 years ago with their M755 XT. Been riding Shimano brakes for 15 years since the old 4-pot XTs came out, that ain't changing. The Guides are an improvement over everything that SRAM has released in the past, but at best it's just different from Shimano's current brakes and not an actual improvement over them. Reliability is still in question as well, it's only been out for a few months so no one knows how it's going to be like in the long term. With few exceptions, Shimanos just plain work, and work forever. SRAM is the other way around, most of their brakes die an early death. Given this kind of track record I wouldn't buy them for at least a couple years, and by then Shimano's next generation of brakes will be out.
  • 9 8
 I currently have the new Guide Rs (trail bike: 200/180), XOs from a couple years ago (XC bike, 160/160), Hayes Stroker (DH bike: 200/180), and XTs from a couple years ago (trail bike 200/180), all with sintered pads. I've also trail demoed current Deores and SLXs. Both of my Sram brakes have more power and are more consistent (less effect from water/air in the system) than their Shimano counter-parts. My 160 XOs on a 29er feel noticeably more powerful than my 200/180 XTs on a 26er, which is just crazy. For example, when coming in hot to a switchback and waiting to hit a late braking point to save a second, there is a very noticeable power difference between the brakes.

Every single Shimano I've tried suffers from pump-up, even when freshly bled and including brand new demo bikes. I think this is mostly due to the DOT vs mineral oil, because my DOT Hayes also have fewer problems than the Shimanos. I would choose the new Guides every time over Shimano, they are great brakes. I have not had any issues with reliability or brake noise from any of these brands/models. The reality is that entry level Elixir 1-7 OEM brakes may have a horrible reputation, but their higher-end performance models work great.
  • 3 0
 We all agree that the Elixir had/has it's problems. I moved from Elixir CR to XTR and said I would never go back to and Avid/SRAM brakes, especially because I am bigger, heavier rider (6'4"/230lbs) I would burn up Avid brakes on any decent fast! I was given a set of first production Guide RSC brakes back in January to ride. Fort he first couple weeks I as skeptical, but as I have ridden them for a good 10 months now I can safely say they are my favorite brake. I have already been through a set of pads if that's any indication how much I have used them. A couple weeks ago I rode the Whole Enchilada trail in Moab from 11,200' down to the river. There was 50+ riders that all got shuttled at the same time. It was a freeway. I was the only one who didn't have noisy brakes and I was one of the heavier riders up there (pushing 260lbs with a full back with extra water). I was just using the new 180mm centerline rotors front and rear. I'm sold on these brakes, they are awesome!
  • 6 1
 BB7s are fine.....just fine but they seize up in winter
  • 2 1
 ^ that's a sacrifice i'm totally willing to take to ride awesome avid brakes.
  • 3 0
 2 people can't handle the truth. I love my hopes. Powerful and simple. Maybe a little noise but I'd rather other riders or hikers be able to hear me coming.
  • 1 0
 Agreed. Not cheap but then again you can't put a price on your life. I'd rather spend more up front to get the right equipment the first time. The fact I can service them myself is worth the extra cost.
  • 6 12
flag madmon (Nov 12, 2014 at 12:26) (Below Threshold)
 i hate all avid crap. there...... now diss me
  • 2 1
 My 2014 Kona Unit came with BB7's, remarkably good brakes, impressive power.
  • 2 2
 Orange bikes use Shimano deore on the alpine 160. If they didn't think these brakes up for the task they wouldn't spec them. Second point: Avid similar price brake is the elixir 1 and that has as much braking ability as a hot air balloon
  • 2 0
 As good as the higher end Shimano brakes are, it's the deores that really blow me away with how good the are, at the price point they hit.
  • 1 0
 Ever get DOT fluid on your clothes or in your eyes. You will definitely know when it happens. I have gone with MINERAL OIL for years now with huge success. Thank you Shimano. The deores rule
  • 1 2
 You do realise that mineral oil is actually more corrosive and harmfull... Look it up.
  • 1 0
 Mineral oil is definitely less toxic, easier to handle, and more environmentally friendly. However, DOT fluid requires less frequent bleeding and is more resistant to air/water/heat in my experience.
  • 82 7
 The problem is when Elixr was released all the reviews were positive. No one spoke of the shocking reliability or lack of power. Every review I read on PB or other blog used all the braking catchphrases and blew sunshine up Avid's ass saying they were awesome. Kinda reminds me of Fox's CTD that was praised until they admitted it was shit and the industry was then allowed to say they never liked it. My new bike comes with Guides.... They're coming straight off and on go the XT's.
  • 25 1
 I had the same feeling; I was looking for replacements for some leaky Juicys and the reviews of the Avid Elixir Rs and CRs (www.pinkbike.com/news/avid-elixir-R-review-2008.html for example) were all glowing about TaperBore and the new Elixir line up.

Fast forward a couple of years and I had lost a net three weeks of sleep and 23 separate layers of paint bleeding the things, had to teach myself how to completely strip down, hack and rebuild taperbore code levers and the master cylinder pistons and worst of all, be told that it I must be doing something wrong if I have all those issues.

Deore rules here now thank you very much. They work. Well. All the time.
  • 13 3
 I'd reccomend trying them. I'm an avid brake hater, but have been thoroughly impressed with the guides on 3 different friends bikes. Ive always run hopes, but seriously thought about going with the guides for my latest.
  • 13 4
 XT's over all
  • 27 1
 This is kinda like that guy getting a bike with a pike and wanting to instantly replace it with a 36....that's just a dumb waste of money, ride them in a neutral mindset and see if you like them, and if after a month your truly hate them, put on XTs
  • 7 16
flag Mtbguy87 (Nov 12, 2014 at 4:46) (Below Threshold)
 Why would you downgrade to mineral oil shitmanos? I've heard a ton of Shimano brakes howl in the wet conditions of the PNW. My acids whit new non avid pads are quiet and amazing. But then again I'm not a dumb ass like everyone else and try running elixirs as dh brakes haha
  • 5 2
 PSA: Most brakes screech when they're wet. I personally don't give a shit how loud they are, but I guess some people do
  • 2 1
 HaHaHa Mnorris you saw that guy wanting to swap the fork too. I think the pike is a better fork (marginally) but maybe the dude should have been buying a bigger bike to begin with.
  • 4 0
 So I have an SLX front and an Elixir 7 rear (yeah, I know). I'm just waiting for the elixir to blow so I can replace it with another SLX but it's on the back and it's not horrible. However, I've noticed that the Shimano brakes will squeal in wet conditions INITIALLY... like after a long climb, they will squeal on the descent until they heat up and get some of the water off. The Avid rear squeals THE WHOLE time down. So yeah, both brakes squeal but the Shim doesn't squeal for nearly as long.
  • 4 1
 saint>xtr>xt=formula=hope>slx>deore>BB7>vbrakes>cantilever>flinstones style>rest of avid's lineup
  • 63 8
 It's like this. I've had three sets of Avoid brakes and they have all been shit. I've had two sets of Shimano brakes which have been flawless. Sram, Avid, whatever you want to call them (same shit, different Nut content) need to pull a rabbit out of the bag because my story is not unique by any stretch. Thrice bitten. Why would I go back to Avid/Sram? People will say don't knock it until you've tried it, but why would I even do that? If you had three burritos from the same chain that all made you spew, would you give them another try just because they changed their name and you'd since found Japanese agrees with you anyway?

My XT brakes take mineral oil, don't gobble like a freaking Turkey if the humidity goes above 25% and don't fade. Just saying.
  • 19 2
 +384756982365938465983465729835762985376298057619345672987625098672509867259087629587620985
  • 7 2
 SRAM could start by switching to mineral oil. This design is more simple and that is something.
My past looks like this: Hayes 9, Hayes stroker ride and trail, avid juicy 3, 4, 5, elixer cr. Hayes were weak and bad modulaters, avid need constant love. I even tried dot 5 (not 5.1) as an experiment in the juicy 5. It has held up three years now, and the fluid is the same color as day one, but the aerophilic nature of the the stuff means it is hard to get air out and needs to be bled often.
I am getting shimano next. I am sick or screwing around.
  • 7 6
 The only problem with mineral oil is it heats up a lot faster, the boiling point of mineral oil is a lot lower than DOT 5.1, DOT 4 is used in car brakes because it doesn't heat up as fast, 5.1 is a variation of 4. The whole thing about Ice Tech is because mineral oil heats up and changes the feel of the brakes faster. Plus the Shimano brakes have little feel, they are very On, Off. I have a pair of XT's so I am not just making this up. Reliability wise the XT's are awesome.
  • 7 2
 Callum, sure about that? I looked up boiling temperatures of dot 5.1 vs shimanos mineral oil a few years ago and they were very close, around 10 degree difference. Also, with dot fluid, any moisture that gets into the system (yes it will), will mix with the dot fluid, lowering the boiling point. Mineral oil on the other side doesn't mix with water, water rises from up to the lever where it never will boil, so it will not affect fading.
  • 2 1
 Dot 5 is like mineral oil, but it has a very high boiling point, 500 F in fact which is higher than 4 and equal to 5.1. Too bad it is an air sponge. You have to be very careful to get enough air out. What I want to know is if it is interchangeable with mineral oil.
  • 4 0
 No, brakes can only be used with the fluid that they are designed for. Also, Shimano mineral oil has a higher boiling point than DOT 5.1, but it being hydrophobic is actually to its disadvantage. Instead of absorbing the water, and slowly lowering the boiling point, the water in Shimano systems pools at the low points of the system (the caliper) and effectively reduces the boiling point of the system to that of water. Also, Shimano oil freezes at higher temperatures than glycol-based DOT fluids
  • 5 0
 mineral oil and DOT fluid are absolutely NOT interchangeable. a system designed for one would very likely be ruined if filled with the other.
  • 2 1
 Any evidence to support the violent revulsion towards switching fluids? Like I said, my 3 year experiment has gone pretty well so far. No gummed up seals, no failures. Needed bleeding for the first time this year.
I wanna know what happens.
  • 2 1
 Dot 5 is silicone instead of glycol, so it stands to reason that it would eat or at least swell rubber seals, but so far nothing has come of it. The fluid looks like it did fresh out of the bottle and the seals look good.
  • 2 0
 If you look through my photo album "forum use" you can find a picture of a swelled up seal caused by DOT5 instead of DOT5.1. Also, DOT5.1 has a boiling point of 518 F when it's new, while Shimano mineral oil is 536 F.
  • 2 1
 Good to know. I wonder why that hasn't happened to mine. Maybe there is an aftermarket seal with a different compound.
  • 2 0
 @taletotell The biggest problem I've heard about switching fluids is contamination: all the rubber bits in your brake absorb trace amounts of the fluid, so unless you replaced all the rubber in your brakes, you've got some small amount of DOT 5.1 floating around in your DOT 5 fluid. A lot of people who switch fluids will replace the seals at the very least. Your experience bears out what I've suspected though: trace amounts of fluid aren't a big deal.

Other than that, I do know that all the cans & bottles of DOT 5 talk about not using it in DOT5.1/4 brakes, but their concern is probably more along the lines of " oh hey, my brake is low on fluid, let me just top it up" & having a large amount of both fluids in one system.
  • 2 5
 @mnorris122 Water is less dense than mineral oil so it would rise to the top of the system.
  • 3 0
 You have here the diferences between almost all oils in the market

www.epicbleedsolutions.com/blog/dot-brake-fluid-vs-mineral-oil
  • 2 2
 @taletotell youre an idiot.
  • 2 2
 I can feel the love.
  • 33 1
 I was lucky on a warranty of a set of Avid Elixir 9 Trails and got sent a set of Guides to replace them. The Guides are noticeably better all around... gotta agree with this review.
  • 7 1
 Do they warble much?
  • 9 5
 The Guides are good because they are Juicies. I never had a problem with the second gen Juicy 5/7. By the time they made the third gen and Juicy 3 they were cheap and everything ran like 6 month old cheese. So, now that the Juicy is being reintroduced, as a first gen, only time will tell if they will ruin it again Smile
  • 3 1
 I ve never had any issues with my Avid Jiucy 7 or my Elixir X9 cr i do heavy use them for a DH and i bleed them once a year or even less its the way how
you use them and how you squeeze them they are not good for any beginners or any rider ho has no idea how the break works and what is the breaking
time Wink so far im looking to get this Guide RS model couse RSC has one more settings i ve never used on my X9'sWink
  • 2 0
 Ran a set of Juicy 7's on two different bikes over 5 years, would've liked more power, but never had a single problem with them.
  • 2 0
 Same boat here. My Juicy 7s are still going like 6 years later. My X0s work fine, but I've only had them for a season. I'm interested in these if I get a good deal. If I paid full retail on both, though, I'd go XT
  • 1 0
 so happy just ordered a front one Smile will c now what is all about Smile hope a decent one as my old Juicy 7, Elixir 5, Elixir X9's never had any issue with Avid Wink
  • 1 1
 same here, had the first year juicies(with the smaller hose, they changed a bunch of stuff for '05) & they were great , didn't even bleed them for years(when I did, the fluid looked like snot, but they still worked good.) Only reason I got rid of them, was that all those small changes they made for '05 meant that parts for the '04 ones became super scarce.

DH bike, even.
  • 27 2
 Still rocking some juicy 7's with pride...

And because I can't justify dropping $ on new brakes but we'll go with the pride thing...
  • 7 6
 I'm rocking a rear 7 on my dirts sled. It leaks everywhere, even drips, but it stops! Still, waiting for the pads to die (could be a year or two) and I'm buying a Shimano.
  • 1 1
 Why does anyone neg prop you for that FrEeZa
  • 17 1
 "The bolstered reliability will be what wins the average rider over, though, as SRAM finally has a brake offering that I'd consider as being able to set-and-forget."

It's about damn time.
  • 13 28
flag dmadness (Nov 11, 2014 at 21:38) (Below Threshold)
 lol yeah till you have to bleed it after every ride. have fun with your sram.
  • 8 5
 It's still new. I.m not gonna be a beta tester for sram
  • 1 3
 @dmadness learn how to break m8 and what is a breaking time and how to service your brakes everything else is just chimera Wink
  • 18 3
 Shimano's are awesome...

But I've picked up a set of the RSC's a few months back and they have been FOOL PROOF. Running them with the Centerline rotors, and metallic pads, I've had no noise under braking, and a lot less noise even when they get wet. I've had absolutely no turkey gobble, no running water, and not even a high pitch squeal. The modulation is per Avid/Sram usualness, but the power is in loads. The bleed has held fine upsidedown and rightsideup. In the cold? No issues. Hot? Nope. Really? Yes.

I'm a HUGE fan of the fact that these are user serviceable. If my brakes end up needing anything in the course of their lifetime, all the part numbers and instructions are on sram's website. Try getting a "seal kit" for a set of Shimano XT's. Or a piston for that matter.

Additionally, I've been seeing some messed up stuff coming in from Shimano brakes recently. Cracked, frozen, and damaged caliper pistons, black mineral oil, and terrible pad wear to name a few.
  • 2 3
 saint and xtr.
  • 1 2
 Saint and XTR, whilst it is admirable to want to replace individual parts to service brakes, the fact is that with Shimano a: you don't have to very often and b: they swap out the whole unit without much bother as far as questions about fault etc. a simple" of it's not working because a seal appears to have failed, we'll warranty that for you". They even replaced the brake pads that were contaminated as a result of a faulty seal.

My Elixer CR and Codes: noisy, contaminate easily ie need regular bleeding and do not have the same modulation that the XTRs have.
  • 14 2
 I've always been a Shimano fan when it comes to brakes and my last bike had a set of xt's on it. To be honest I've always thought the they were overrated. My new bike came with Guide brakes and I was dubious at 1st but I have been blown away with them. They are, without doubt, the best brakes I've ever used with far more modulation AND power than shimanos. Editor must be comparing these to saints or zee as they are far more powerful than my xt's.
  • 4 4
 Same here. I had 3 sets of XT's prior to switching and thought they were "ok". They were set and forget but the "set" was mediocre (albeit consistent) at best. My new ride came with these and they are significantly better with regards to handling heat on downhills. Shimano has a formidable competitor on this one.
  • 3 2
 I've got the same experience. I currently own Zees, XTs, SLXs, Codes, Elixirs and a brand spanking new set of Guides. The Elixir does need more bleeding that I'd like, I've not had too much issue with the Codes or any of the Shimanos. I still tend to run my Codes over my Zees on my downhill bike because they feel better (won the Zees as a door prize, figured I'd keep them) but I've put the SLX and XT brakes on my XC and AM bikes. Then my wife (and avid Avid supporter) bought me a set of Guides for my AM bike. If they don't need a bleed after hanging for the winter I can tell you right now I will be switching every single bike in my garage to these wonderful stoppers.
  • 9 0
 I've owned just about every brake mentioned in this comment section (Shimano XTR [the latest iteration "trail" version], XT [all three of the last generations both trail and race], Avid XO Trails, Avid Juicy Ultimates, Avid Juicy 7's, plus a few other major players in the hydraulic disc world) and maybe it's just blind luck but I like my Sram Guide brakes more than any others I've ever had. All the modulation Sram is known for (as mentioned in the article) with the consistent stopping power and ergonomics that latter day Shimanos have set a benchmark with. Really awesome brakes, if you haven't tried the Guides... give them a shot, there's a good chance you'll be pleasantly surprised.
  • 1 0
 i'm looking forward to it i still live my X9's but quite keen to test something new Wink
  • 12 3
 This is a review written by someone who is trying to appease both Shimano and SRAM and not rock the industry boat at the expense of PinkBike readers' money. It makes no serious comparison with previous iterations of Avid brakes other than lightly touching on their inadequacies. It makes a weak claim that Avid brakes have the best ergonomics (I agree with this but look how the author all of a sudden tries to avoid attributing the statement to any particular agent--"I'd argue that they can brag about having some of the best ergonomics in the brake game"--what is it, Mike, do you think they have the best ergonomics or not? You're writing a review, not marketing screed). The author also refuses to name Shimano explicitly (the closest he gets is "their biggest competitor in the brake world"). This is a classic marketing technique similar to how non-sponsored parts on a rider's bike are blacked out. Amp your product up without naming the competitors' because that would be free advertising for them. Is this an ad or is this journalism?

PinkBike readers want to know whether these brakes are worth purchasing. How do they stack up to Shimano? Magura? Other available options? Please don't sacrifice the trust of your readers for some short term gain in the eyes of SRAM and Shimano. PinkBike should be better than this. Also you really need to hire a reliable copy editor.
  • 2 5
 Do I need to tell you who SRAM's biggest competitor is? Also, this: www.pinkbike.com/u/mikelevy/blog/opinion-thems-the-brakes.html
  • 10 2
 I'm not attacking you as a human being, I'm attacking this review specifically. It doesn't mean anything if you link to another article you've written. Respond to my criticism of this article.
  • 1 0
 Would I be able to use the new Centerline Rotors with my Elixir 9 Trails? Would they perform better? Would they be quieter? Also, I read in another review of the Guide brakes that there will be some new organic pads available, sounds like I could try these as well? From other review: "SRAM worked on its organic pads, looking into pad material, backing plate construction and manufacturing techniques. The result is a new organic pad material that, when paired with a flat, more consistent backing plate, really helps with noise issues. These will be available later in the year."
  • 2 1
 There is so much personal preference when it comes to bike components that they can't just say "this brake is better!" The biggest difference between shimano and avid, apart from reliability, is the feel. I really like the immediate power delivery of shimano brakes. It just feels right to me. Avids are fine at slower speed, but when you come in hot in a corner, I just find you need too much force on the lever to generate enough power. But some people find shimano are just on\off and like the feel of avids better. Nothing wrong with that. They need to be objective when doing a review, not just praise or diss a product based on personal preferences.

It seems to me they took a good look at themselves in the mirror at sram and admitted their brakes were not good enough and that they needed to do something about it. They got rid of those troublesome spherical washers that were causing more harm than good and went back to a tried and true master cylinder system that is known to be reliable. It's the same system shimano uses, unless they got some major quality control issues or cheaped out on seals, I don't see why they shouldn't be reliable as well.
  • 2 1
 He's totally got you there Mike. This is basically a list of everything Sravid wants you to know about their new brake without anything being said that they don't want you to hear. It looks like you guys spent about as much time testing these brakes as Sravid did developing them. Ya wow, They hit the market quick. So as usual the consumer gets the pleasure of testing them with their own money. On a positive note they're definitely gonna be better than the Elixir CR! Furthermore, The article you've linked us to above is fairly weak on some key information that any bike mechanic who's squandered his future fixing bikes could fill you in on. I'm not saying they're bad. Nor am i saying either brand is any better than the other. I'm just saying that guys got your number
  • 5 0
 I got a set of RS on my bike 6 weeks ago. Cut the lines upon install, and didn't even have to bleed. Excellent! I'm running Avid HS-X heat-shedding rotors. Setup was super easy. got my reach adjusted to where I wanted it and started riding. No turkey warble (although oddly enough the same cannot be said for many Shimano brakes I've ridden lately.....). I've ridden in 90+ heat, and in low 30's with rain, snow, sleet, and slop. Performance on both fronts has been excellent.

As Levy said, the modulation of SRAM has always been great. Power was good enough. Consistency was dubious by today's standards. The Guides still have great modulation. And they have plenty of power. And feel the same at the bottom of big brake-burner descents as they do at the top. Oh, and no more wild turkey.
  • 1 0
 its the rotors not the calipers that cause the warble, so if you are using basic avid rotors with the XT brakes that is what is causing the sound, HX1 rotors don't warble either it is just the cheap rotors that come with lower end juicys and elixers
  • 11 2
 The best advert for Shimano brakes is the Avid bleed manual...
  • 3 0
 At least with the avid bleed method you can be sure you've got all the air out. With all the other procedures. You just don't know.
  • 4 0
 Sram should offer a buy back program with brakes similar to Crankbrothers program with pedals. Go online, get an RA number, send in your used brakes and get 50% off a new set of Guides.

Avid brakes have been bashed so heavily over the years that it's going to take a lot more than a few positive reviews to make folks switch.

Plus, when switching brakes you're also switching bleed kits, brake fluid, pads, and possibly rotors which adds up to be rather expensive.

I for one need more of an incentive to switch from my XT brakes, but I must admit that the new Guide brakes have peaked my interest.
  • 1 0
 If The biggest bike brands specs their bikes with Guides, there will be a huge number of riders using them.
  • 6 3
 Just bought a set of Guide RS and installed them this week on one of my bikes... I was so impressed after the first day I bought another set for my other bike. In terms of performance, attention to detail (you will know what I mean when you shorten the hose and the pin screws in with a torx wrench rather than needing to be pounded in with a hammer) and looks they seem fantastic. Based on the overall build quality and feel I am trusting the Guide brakes will be more reliable than the XTR M988's I ran the past few years. I agree they take a hair more pull power than Shimano but it's a good trade off for the modulation and they seem to make less noise under hard riding conditions.
  • 3 3
 umm avids have always used the thread in nipples.....nothing new here move on.
  • 2 2
 You hammered in the bleed screw on your xtr's!?
  • 8 0
 I don't think he means the bleed screw, you can tell from the part where he doesn't mention the bleed screw and instead describes the little ferrule that goes inside the hose when you shorten it to stop the clamping pressure crushing it.
  • 3 0
 I have been running these brakes for about 3 months now and they have been awesome! Had the old XO Trail before and the Guide are a step up for sure. Like the shorter lever and over all feel and modulation. The Centerline rotor seems to work better too.
  • 3 0
 I look forward to trying these brakes. I have always loved the feel of Avid levers. Yes there a pain to bleed but have always been good solid brakes with good consistency and minimal brake fade. I have to say my impressions of Shimano are not so favourable. I have had SLX brakes and stock pads glaze over constantly so replaced them with sintered ones with the heat sinks which have been better. Brake lever feel is very inconsistent and pump up etc. bleeding made little difference to this. They do have a nice bite feel in the lever. pity that bite isnt transferred to the actual caliper. Also i know a good few people with older Saint brakes fading badly and new ones replaced under warranty. Each to there own though. Plenty of people with good and bad experiences of both.
  • 4 1
 I've always loved the modulation aspect of Avid's brakes, but there have been times when a little more power and responsiveness was needed. It sounds as if SRAM has hit a home run with these brakes.
  • 2 0
 I've been super surprised by these brakes, I was questioning them being spec. on my Special-ed Enduro Expert... Believe it or not they work I've been doing a lot of riding on my bike since I've got my bike... Only compliant I have is the dial to adjust reach absolutely sucks.
  • 2 0
 I am new to the whole SRAM brake thing, been a shimano brake rider for over 20 years, and was involved in the development of shimano Vbrakes, HRB's, Dual Rotor discs, and the current generation of shimano disc brakes. I had dabbled with other brakes from Hayes, Formula, Hope, but nothing ever touched shimano in terms of feel, reliability, etc...I never heard good things about Avid brakes, so I never even tried them. Cut to today, I got some SRAM GUIDE brakes, and I do not think I would go back to anything else, they are a great braking system, with an even easier setup. Well done to SRAM on these, I think they are the finest brakes on the market.
  • 2 0
 We've been riding SRAM's GUIDE brakes all season, from the Alps to the Andes and the Himalayas to home in BC -- they are by far the best brakes we've ever rolled with. Super consistent, maintenance free and strong when you need it most!
  • 2 0
 the uneducated morons can bitch all they want about a brake they have never tried... i have had my guide rsc's since july and have had nothing but great experiences with them. no turkey warble, great modulation/lever feel, and serious power. i downsized to a 160 mm rear rotor since anything bigger would lock up too easy.
  • 2 0
 I'm surprised to hear that a fair few on here don't rate avid. I've only got experience of the codes, but the combination of excellent modulation, decent power and great adjustability make them the best brakes I've owned to date. I've got codes on my DH and AM bike, with hope m4s on my hardtail. I wish I could justify replacing the hopes as they're average at best, and that's on a hardtail. I've tried saints and the power felt great, but I really struggled with the modulation. Interestingly my brother went from codes to saints and then back to codes on his DH bike. Again struggling with modulation and fine adjustment...
  • 2 0
 When I read comments on brake reviews, I feel like I must be riding in an alternate dimension. I never had any problems with my years on X7s and x9s. Sure, the X7s lack the more exacting modulation of the X9s and "warbled" on occasion, but they have more than enough power to stop my 210lbs+ mass on any trail.
After a friend busted one of my levers, I had my Faith set up with X9 F and Saint R. I could never get used to the all or nothing feel of the Saint. Sure, it was powerful, but I never felt comfortable with it. I missed being able to feather the brake in early and mid stroke- something that made descending on steep wet rock less of a gamble.
I recently hit a wet rock trail on a bike with XTs. For whatever reason, they felt like they had no power at all. The feel was consistent front and rear, but I had to brake so much earlier and still found myself slamming hard into low turns and losing flow. Terrible experience.
I'm picking up my new Nomad today and it comes with SLX. I'm willing to give them a fair shot, but I'm seriously concerned that they won't be able to give me the surgical precision Avid spoiled me with, much less actually stop me when needed.
  • 4 3
 IMO the last good brakes that Avid/Sram made were the code 5's, and everything up to this point was a joke. I still run my code 5's on my session, but I think I will be switching up to the Guides next year. I always felt shimano brakes were a little bit too binary (on/off) and the mineral oil is much less tolerant to diverse temperatures than DOT, adding to brake fade or improper function in frozen temperatures (not a problem for many people). Good to see that Sram is going back to basics and bringing back the brake that I love.
  • 6 5
 after reading reviews that tell me how avid brakes have changed, no longer fade or squeal... my dumb ass goes out and spends $350 on a new pair, just to find out that they are absolute garbage and spend the summer trying to make them work... GARBAGE!
  • 1 3
 Avids have not changed that was a stupid move I agree. Now if you had of gotten yourself a set of Sram guides as aftermarket when they were available in the fall maybe you would have a different impression. If you did get the guides aftermarket before the summer how did you get Sram to sponsor you? And then wouldn't you have some tech to do all the dirty work...
  • 6 1
 You all need to get off the brakes more.
  • 1 0
 got juicy 5s on my DH gate, and elixirs on my enduro. no problems so far with the juicys, but last summer the elixirs completely stopped working after 20 min of downhill from the top of mt. grappa in italy...the dh is roughly 45 min long (1780 m --> 300 m) so you can imagine my TERROR when i realized that the rear brake overheated and wasn't working anymore while the front one was screaming like a slaughtered pig. all of this while going mach 4 down the mountain. Just bought XT wth ice tech rotors. Avid never again, sorry.
  • 4 3
 As a BB7 user for the last 12 years and 6-7 years on my current set, I would urge you to continue entertaining me with all this talk of "fade", "bleeding", "dot", "oil", "maintenance", "lost sleep", etc. Brings a smile to my face anytime I need one. And I live in the French Alps, before anyone accuses me of riding XC....
  • 1 0
 I thought I loved my BB7's, but when I got Deore hydros my mind was blown by not having to adjust the pads every single ride to eliminate brake rub. Maybe my BB7's were just a bad set?
  • 1 0
 i have been running avid xo and elixir previously no bother, no squeaks no nothing. bleeding is a pain though due to a leaking seal and crappy bleeding avid instruments (cheap avid bleeding kit -avoid!). bike shop did it for me in the end for £15
  • 1 0
 I ride with 2008 Avid Code. They are awesome. Have tried Saints. Hated them no modulation. And have had three bike with Avid Elixer. They work just fine, but have no reach adjustment. I will be upset the day my codes go.
  • 1 0
 You're really lucky if you haven't gotten the sticky lever problem. I bought 2 pairs of those brakes, & every lever stopped returning at some point.
  • 1 0
 I've had quite a few sets of bad avid brakes... One good set that I can remember. I think they were code 5's. Well actually two sets of good ones, I have bb7s that were pretty reliable.

On the flip side, out of the half dozen sets of shimano brakes I've only had one defect which was replaced by the manufacturer. (Leaky master cylinder out of the box.) Shimano brakes are a solid pick on a new build. Dead simple to bleed and easy to maintain.
  • 1 0
 Shimano brakes are killer regarding lever and performance - agree...but the reservoir is always a pain in the ass and in the way...especially with a bunch of remotes. This could be a change for SRAM...but hard work to win customers confidence. By the way...does anybody know these grips?
  • 1 0
 I had Avid XO Trails on my old bike (enduro) and loved them. Just picked up a new Giant SX Trance that has the Guide Rs and they overall much weaker. Could there be something wrong with them? They have better modulation but I have to squeeze the lever really hard in order to get them to lock up.

Any suggestions?
  • 2 0
 Giant specced the organic pads on that bike. It's an "invisible" way to cheap out. Drop in metallic pads and you'll get the power you're looking for.
  • 1 0
 @cueTIP Thank you!
  • 2 1
 What about durability of the levers? As a bike mechanic, I've replaced many of these Avid/Sram levers after they've been thru a crash because they snap off at the little curved part the clamp bolt goes thru. And if you under tighten the bolt so they'll move instead of break off in a crash, they rock back and forth. Same with any carbon lever blades, they snap off instead of bend.
  • 1 0
 same problem here! brand new code r's. 1 week old and 1 crash. cracked both my levers in the same spot. were you able to get them warrantied? thank you, eric
  • 1 0
 I bent my Deore lever, and they aren't replaceable. Guess I'm SOL.
  • 1 1
 yah...thanks man. I guess you are...but I was asking somebody a question about avid warranty, not looking for some dumbass responce
  • 1 0
 Eric, sorry they don't cover crash damage under warranty, to my knowledge. Warranty covers defective products, not planned obsolescence.
  • 1 0
 Everyone says shimanos have a on/off feel and have no modulation. No its a solid performing lever that lacks flex therefore giving them instant power when you want or need it. Theres plenty of modulation learn to squeeze them knowing you have a strong brake. Sticking with Shimano, have had too many terrible experiences with avid brakes.
Maybe sram can do a program where you turn in your old shitty avid brakes for a set of these, that will get some of their shimano buyers back, just an idea.
  • 1 0
 I am still rocking a set of AVID Juicy brakes and have had zero issues with them. I hope these live up to what i love about the juicys. As far as noise goes, it has never been an issue. I dont care as long as they work, and work they do!!
  • 1 0
 I dont disagree that avids have bad rep from all i hear and read and have only had 1 set so im not gonna act like a know it all abt avids but i had a set of elixir Rs on my dh bike for abt 3/4 of a season and strangely they held up well and consistantly stopped or slowed the bike when i needed them to w only 2 bleeds in that 6 month time frame. What im saying is you know how sometimes that 1 in a thousand product will be faulty and not work properly? Well i think in this case its the same except w avid 1 out of 1000 are actually work how they should and are reliable and consistent.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy or anyone else who may know...
I have the Avid 9 Trail brakes. Would I be able to use the new Centerline Rotors with my 9 Trails? Do you know if I would feel an improvement. Would they perform better? Would they be quieter?
  • 1 0
 Having read lots of comments here and swayed both directions while reading as I've owned Shimano and Sram/Avids, I'd have to say that I'd probably give them a try and would expect good things. I really like Sram so I'm in. Plus Sram's customer service is top shelf!
  • 1 0
 I put XT's on my last years 2014 SW E29, before even riding it, having the usual Avid bad taste in my mouth. With all the effort to actually improve the Avid name, I decided to try the Guide brakes that came on my 2015 SW E29. First ride I was swearing and cussing. Big turds right away. Put XT's on and I am back to where I need to be. Honestly the biggest problem for me, is that I run my levers very far out. Fully extended I could JUST get them where they need to be for me. Any fade or pad wear and I was freaking out left with no reach adjustment. The pads wear out SUPER fast, too.
  • 1 0
 I've been running guide rs brakes for a few months now and I can't compare them to anything else. The lever length, shape and feel is just right for me. I've got so much control with theese brakes.. I've had elixir cr's for the last 3 seasons and while being reliable which means I've only bleeded them once when I switched hoses for longer ones and I bought those brakes used since 2010. I was running them on superstar components floating rotors (cr's and guides). Anyway the cr's can't compare and neither can the shimano saints that i was running for a few months in 2012. They had no modulation and too much power. I also had a pair of 2008 codes, but as reliable as they were (no bleed in 2 years), they also had too much power and lacked a bit in modulation.
I think the guide brakes are the right step forward for sram and time should prove that. I might try hooking up gude levers with code calipers for a try.
Oh, and no turkey was present when riding with superstar components floating rotors installed Wink
  • 1 0
 Loved them when they worked.

Second year into the use, they developed the level piston freezing (poor design in tolerance so it made the material expand and get stuck).
Researched the problem but I couldnt find documents explaining the problem (like for real, fess up and tell me that I bought shit from you SRAM).
Found it too risky to do the repair myself.

Gave BOTH front and rear to my LBS and they sent them back to SRAM.

Been three weeks and nothing yet. Beautiful trails outside rn but SRAM has to be lazy af.

Very poor customer service.
Other than this problem I loved them.
Probably will go with Shimano from now on.
  • 9 8
 AVID has been blowing it... They even had to rebrand as an effort to move on from their crap of late. These look to have addressed some key issues. Too bad I wrote AVID off and bought XTR's.
  • 4 0
 How do they work in wet conditions?
  • 2 0
 Good!
  • 4 1
 Anyone else notice the canyon strive race ? Super stoked , as hopefully they will be reviewing that too
  • 2 1
 Absolutely , I was just about to comment on the same thing....

There better be a fullsome review shortly or my spleen will explode :-) , I demand my free , quality internet content now goddammit !!!.
  • 1 1
 Was wondering the exact same thing...
  • 4 0
 And what a coincidence: Canyon has a banner ad right now on the PB site Wink
  • 2 0
 check out the Canyon page. The bike they did this guide test is the strive that Canyon is selling. same brake, same handle bar, same grips...

@Vanguard was thinking the same...
  • 5 0
 @Vanguard I think your tinfoil hat is a little too tight...
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy You know, in conspiracy theory, denials just make the tinfoil hat go off. You'll deny until it's too late and we've all joined the dark side, bought Canyons and left all our LBS out in the cold Wink
  • 6 2
 Moved on to Hope brakes and won't ever go back to Avid /Sram.
  • 1 1
 Since those brakes were introduced we only read good things about them (just like the Elixir in fact... untill the last months). I had the opportunity to try them on 2 brand new Specialized Enduro 650b and 29. I'm not a fond of absolute power (I feel the Shimano a little too much, I personally own Formula RO) but still there are minimum requirements. They felt ok at the front (a bit weak though), and I had to check back there were brake pads on the rear caliper (I weight 80 kg). I had the same problem on both bikes and asked the guys at Specialized if they were mounted with organic pads (sometimes spec-ed to reduce drag induced noise). Nope, they were metallic pads. So I'll wait another generation maybe.
  • 5 2
 DOT 5.1 WHY?!!!!! That shit is nasty, eats up seals and paint, why not use mineral oil?!
  • 1 0
 If you use dot with a brake that is designed to be used with dot, it will not eat up the seals of the brake system.
  • 2 1
 SCRAM/AVOID-at least as far as brakes go. they need to give those things away to get me to come back. reliability issues with one set. howling/squeeling with the replacement/warranty set. shimano or hope for me.
  • 1 0
 on one bike i have sram avid code r and they need bleed after 2-3 weekends of riding. on other bike i have shimano saint 810 and i was never serviced them for 3 years... that's all folks
  • 1 1
 I would like to see a head-to-head brake shootout with similar targeted examples. Mountain Bike action wrote a review in this fashion a few years ago. Pit models from Shimano, Sram, Formula, Megura and Hope against each other. Let several test riders ride each brake on their bike(s) and see what they have to say.
  • 1 1
 This guy's experience with Avid and Shimano is the polar opposite of mine.
I'm and old-fuggin-guy,and rode on Avids for longer than I care to say. The last set being [what I thought were] a great pair of Trail 9s.
I moved to a new location that is right across the street from a trail system that has several (AWESOME) descents, so I started doing a LOT more DH-style riding.
After a few months I started paying attention to my brakes not having the level of threshold braking(which is often mistakenly called 'Modulation', which is actually CYCLING the lever) that I always thought they had/what I needed, so I decided to try a set of Saints. The level of feel these things have at the THRESHOLD is fricken LIGHT YEARS better than ANY Avid brakes I ever had, and since then I've installed a second set of Saints on my (new) DH bike, and a set of XT's on my trail bike. Every single set of these Shimano brakes put Avid to shame as far as the threshold feel. I'm not gonna say that they have more power(the XTs in particular) than my Trail 9s, or even some Juicy 7s or Codes that I've also owned, but they have WAY better feel at the threshold. I can regularly hold my Saints RIGHT at the point before the rear will start sliding-riding on our local flavor of sand-over-concrete- and I was NEVER able to do that with ANY Avids I've owned.
At 220lbs, it might be that in consistently asking more from my brakes than this 170lbs writer/reviewer does gives us two different animals, but considering that the writers of MTB Action are around the same weight as this writer/reviewer, yet ALSO classify Shimano's threshold braking to be in a class of its own, I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest that this writer/reviewer might be someone that has difficulty accurately describing what's going on with the bike/vehicle he's operating. It's nothing to be ashamed of, and they even have medication for that nowadays. Oh wait, nevermind.
  • 1 0
 If Anyone who has the SRAM RSC, Brakes, who has commented above, do They still Love em or after a couple of Months of use, is Anyone finding any problems with them? Thanks : )
  • 1 1
 I have used nearly every iteration of avid brakes, mainly because they came on bikes i bought. I have gotten really good at bleeding brakes thanks to avid and have actually paid to have them bled hoping that would help, but have systematically gotten rid of every pair of avids i have owned and replaced them with SLX, XTs or Saints. Now i just ride and rarely do any maintenance to my brakes. In my experience Avids did one or all of the following: warbled, lacked braking power, gave an inconsistent feel during rides, often got air in them while sitting and would go to the handlebar without power, but the worst was the "pre-pump" you would get in the habit of doing to get them to work before you needed them going into a corner. Some models were downright dangerous with their un reliability and lack of power. Every bike i switched out to Shimano, I would immediately be riding faster and with more confidence as I could actually rely on pre braking into corners, I would also ask myself why i didnt swap them out earlier. Everytime avid came out with next years model they would claim the problems were fixed, everytime they weren't. Now they are selling a "new" brake with dated technology claiming its new....in the end, i won't give avids another shot for a long time. Too much wasted money and time on sketchy brakes. Thats a rant! Gonna go for a ride with brakes i know will work.
  • 1 1
 So 2 years after this article, got 2 bikes equipped with guide which were fine at the beginning..... they are silent, good modulation and i was happy with them and really thought Sram / avid changed. Fact is all brakes on both of my bikes do not work anymore. we tried to service them at my local bike shop and found out we could not access the part that needed lubricating /fixing. after a post on FB and asking fellow riders it turns out that guide are well known in Thailand for not keeping up with warm weather and nobody uses them any more. 2 set of new brakes. Price to pay for thinking Sram finally made it to shimanos level and you are ready to give them a try. If you are about to buy brakes, spend you hard earn money shimanos.
  • 3 0
 Agreed, these brakes work.
  • 5 2
 Please review the Canyon Strive that comes with those brakes !
  • 2 1
 Or was it a Carbon Spectral?
Anyway, we need the bike review!
  • 2 1
 The orange blurry bit on the first pic looks like the shapshifter blanking housing ....
  • 2 0
 It's a Strive CF. Review to come.
  • 1 0
 Any plans of reviewing the Giddyup bikes soon?
  • 8 6
 they are still "avids" which mean ill keep my shimanos. sorry sram/avid but the damage is done.
  • 5 3
 Umm did you move on when apple nearly went out of business? Did you avoid the Ripley because you didn't like the Mojo? Brands reinvent themselves, but hey, keep riding tubed tires on your 26" single pivot bike with 625mm bars, see you when you reach the bottom...
  • 3 1
 Windows ME. Does anybody wise remember that abomination? How about the Ford Pinto? Or the first iteration of the Intel Pentium 4?
Nintendo Virtual Boy?
  • 1 0
 how many bad brake iterations does it take for someone to learn? i can see maybe 1-2 bad designs but the entirety of them all? ill stick with stuff that works, will continue to work and that continues to evolve.....there is more than one company making better brakes than avid and those companies are still improving their design. avid/sram may improve their design but their previous history hasnt convinced me.
  • 1 0
 Not shimano power, that's all I needed to know... Looks like they have decided to retire the avid name as these are SRAM branded
  • 2 1
 All I can see here is the Canyon Strive and I can only think: please make a review and announce it will now be shipped in North America!
  • 3 0
 Anyone else have a mental image of Shaq doing Rampage?
  • 3 0
 What grips are on that bike? They look pretty nice
  • 3 0
 Ergon.
  • 1 0
 Im intrigued if there that great why is this job currently available at sram www.sram.com/company/jobs/senior-hydraulic-brake-design-engineer
  • 2 0
 Because companies hire people whey they are growing, people quit, people retire or people simply find better jobs. I loved working in the bike industry, but there is no money in it compared to a lot of other industries.
  • 1 0
 Ive been rocking these for a month and love them the more I use them. They just get better and better. The new rotors are smooth and almost silent.
  • 1 0
 Very interesting review, but according to SRAM website, the rs version doesn't have the ball bearing mounted lever, it is only for the rsc.
  • 1 0
 Shimano or bust... Can't wait to warranty another million sets of SRAM brakes this year and to still hear that SRAM brakes are "the best".
  • 1 0
 I have a set, but the bolts etc. rusted up inexplicably and now don't work. no warranty for that, so will never buy another set.
  • 2 1
 good. they come on the new demo and i didnt want to have to spend another butt load of money on a pair of saints
  • 9 3
 Haha i wouldnt be too worried about the saint upgrade if youre already putting all that dough towards that new demo
  • 2 2
 Another new rotor design...anything but copy the competitors good old design that works great and doesn't sound like a turkey.
  • 4 2
 Avid has more generation of their rotors then there are stars in the sky
  • 3 1
 SRAM brakes now come with Shimano levers
  • 2 0
 So Juciys with the shimano actuation bump
  • 2 0
 expert-level skills, m'lady
  • 1 0
 What a good brake thanks to sram for sending me a set , know my fat bike stops_____O^O_____
  • 1 0
 Will trade my Elixir CRs fair-and-square for these. You OWE me, Avid, you rat bastard!
  • 1 0
 i like those!! so what happen if i get these levers with codes calipers ?? do i get an even better and powerful brake??
  • 2 0
 anyone else notice the cooked rotor?
  • 1 0
 Loved my XO Trails.. Sorry to see Avid shortened the lever to make it more Shimano-like.
  • 1 0
 I got the RSC mode way ahead of its official debut, it was alright, much better than any exlixr.
  • 1 0
 I don't get much sound from my brakes because I rarely use them… shred on!
  • 1 0
 I've got the guide R's and I am not so stoked on them. my old favorites, shimano XT's, will happen soon.
  • 1 0
 So much hype, they're bad. Almost no power unless you're ripping back on them. I don't understand you people
  • 2 5
 Picked up a pair of these from universal cycle, took them out of the box and installed them. I did not realize that the reach adjustment knob was stuck and wedged into the lever until I placed them on my bike. I did not ride the bike but took them off immediately and tried to return to the store. Of course they tried to fight me the whole way saying that they could not return the brake since I had already installed them, though I did not ride the bike. sure this was a one off but buyer be ware.
  • 6 2
 Did you read the instructions before trying? I know it sounds dumb, but a valid question. I thought mine were wonky until I saw that you actually push the lever out from the bar to allow the reach adjust to move. Actually a smart move to prevent the tweaking of knobs while sitting around on the bike at trail intersections.....
  • 1 0
 Yeah, read the instructions, and even went by my local bike shop and inspected the guide brakes on the shelf. None of the guide brakes had any issues with turning the adjuster knobs. Like I said, it seemed to be a one off issue.
  • 5 4
 Power+modulation+reliability= shimano saint/zee
  • 1 0
 Weight without rotor please?
  • 1 0
 Got a new set of for sale with 160 and 180 rotors
  • 2 0
 Will it bleed?
  • 2 0
 Shimano deore FTW.
  • 3 3
 Despite the review, you can guarantee they'll be dogsh1t. Shimano brakes all the way.
  • 1 2
 These are the pig-ugliest brakes I have ever seen..... Looks like a cut and shut between a 2001 Juicy and the XO trail. I think the designer should be ashamed
  • 3 1
 Do you find XT, XTR, or Hope look amazing compared? Personally I find they look fine, who cares that much anyways? Look great to me.
  • 1 0
 Errr.. yes! I don#t suppose you have Guide brakes by any chance? Hey if they work, who cares what they look like? (let's hope they work better than the rest of the Avid brakes in the whole of history...)
  • 1 0
 No Guide brakes here but they look awesome. I know many are big Shimano fans, gave up on Avid and will never go back (you sound like one) but I'm not so hung up. I didn't have a bike for years, last disk brakes were Hayes on my Stinky Five. Sure if I had been burned I would feel more resentment too. These Guides look awesome, probably be my first choice now. People I know who have them say they are the best they've had. My bike came with 9 Trails and seem great so far.
  • 3 2
 One word.... Shimano.
  • 2 0
 Xt trail for @$85(+SH) retail is tuff to beat.
  • 1 0
 65$ brake, buy!
  • 2 0
 Pretty sure they're 149 each...
  • 4 5
 I think it's ugly and I prefer X0 Trail.
  • 2 2
 shimano master race
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