SRAM Guide RS disc brakes – Ride impressions -Project Singlespeed ’15: from c_g

SRAM wanted to make a new start with the Guide series brakes and constructed  them to be real trouble free brake – a claim that was sustained by our first hands-on experience of the Garda Festival’14. Less than a month ago, I have given you our intro to the SRAM Guide RS with details. We have the brakes mounted on the PIVOT LeSS (Single Speed Bike Project) where they have been in  and show their service ever since.

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The SRAM Guide RS mounted on the PIVOT Les test bike.

The brake installation was straightforward. The supplied hinged Matchmaker-X clamps and hardware for the 4-piston brake was with no peculiarities. The entire mounting process was done in a few minutes. At the time I when ordered the test sample I had another bike in mind, so I had to cut the lines to a proper length.  I got it done with some care and all without even having to bleed the brakes again. Love it!
The alignment of the caliper is also very simple: pull the brake lever with brake caliper screws slightly loose and have the caliper self align, then tighten slightly. If necessary, fine tune some more and then snug it up to tightly. Despite the 4-piston set-up, the clearance between the rotor and the brake pads is ample to have the brakes set up drag free very easily. The adjustable position of the brake line on the caliper (“Banjo”) also allows for getting things just right.

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All installed and full in  winter/bad weather use.

The reach adjustment on the RS is excellent. The little button that protrudes from the lever is easy to grip, even while wearing gloves. The button can be somewhat difficult to rotate when the brake lever is in the normal position, which does prevent unintended adjustments when riding. If you push the lever slightly away from the handlebar, it relieves the Swinglink and hence frees up the adjustment knob, which then can be turned very easily. Unlike the MAGURA MT7, also under test, the brake lever can be set as close to the handlebars that even very small women’s and even children’s hands can easily be accommodated. Another plus in terms of versatility.
The ergonomics of the lever is very comfortable for my taste – a little flatter and wider than others, but that’s a personal preference.

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It may just be me, but I had the impression that the usual braking in of the SRAM Guide brakes took a little longer than other brakes, but after that the performance was at a very good level.
The pressure point feels crisp without being tooabrupt. In direct comparison to the the MAGURA MT7 and the Avid Elixir 9 Trail, which were  a little on the softer side, the SRAM Guide are more on the crunchy side. After moving through the free stroke (thanks to the swing-link lever action that happens really fast, despite the decent rotor-pad gap), the brake develops its power very evenly. Once the pads have been applied to the rotor, the modulation is a combination of pressure at the lever and lever travel…nicely linear. I like this.
The Guide RS lacks the optional adjustable contact point, but if this is of great importance to you, then get the RSC version. Even without any such adjustability, I could not detect any pressure point spiking or deviations – something that its predecessors more often suffered when subjected to to rapid changes in temperature or being stored on the bike upside down, so here’s another good sign.

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The 4-piston caliper guide the RS with the new Centerline rotors.

The braking power with the mounted 180mm Centerline rotors is very good, though not quite at the power level of the 1-finger MAGURA MT7s. For all the SRAM Guide had to endure so far, it was plenty to lock the wheels easily front and back. The subsequent test phase will create more clarity hopefully when the bike is ridden harder – potentially on another bike – on more grippy trails.
Overall the combination of a crisp pressure point, but very good modulation the new SRAM Guides allow for extremely controlled braking on the trail … for the expert as much as the less experienced bikers, a lot of control on the trail. So much for our first impressions of the SRAM Guide RS, which so far has been wonderfully reliable, carefree, and consistent. On first impression that this also maintaining the long-term test.

RIDE ON,
c_g

Note: This product was sent over for test/review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches-DE. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.