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SRAM Guide Brakes get the “Ultimate” treatment with better heat management, bleeding & lower weight

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MY16_SR_DB_GD_ULT_BL_CAL_ROT_GLBLK

To SRAM, the original Guide was much more than a new brake. Truthfully, it was a redeeming Hail Mary, thrown in hopes of regaining consumers’ trust after the era of the Avid Elixir.

It worked.

We’ll have our long term review up soon, but the short version is this – the Guide brakes really are the brake SRAM needed. Big on power, good ergonomics, and smooth at the lever, the Guides were a perfect match with the new CenterLine rotors. In spite of how good the Guide brakes turned out, they’re about to get even better with the new Guide Ultimate. More than just a carbon lever and some titanium parts, the Guide Ultimates include an all new caliper, new bleed technology, and a lighter CenterLine X rotor to go along with it…

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SRAM Guide internal structure SRAM Guide Bleed fitting

Part of the allure of the Guide has always been the power of a 4 piston brake caliper but the weight of a trail brake, making it the perfect brake for anything from aggressive trail to full on Enduro. While keeping the 4 piston portion of the design, the rest of the caliper gets an overhaul in almost every way. Called the S4, the caliper body has revised gland geometry, seals, and a Molybdenum piston coating for better roll back (when you let go of the lever and the pads retract). This should make for more pad clearance allowing easier set up and more consistent performance without slowly cinching down on the rotor and causing rubbing.

Heat management has been improved as well with a new 2mm larger pad pocket for better airflow around the pads and the rotor. Phenolic piston insulators sit inside the forged 14 and 16mm aluminum pistons which reduce the heat transfer from the pad to the piston, but keep an aluminum surface at the piston seal for improved durability. The new molded seal offers better cold weather performance and should be more consistent than previous seals. Additional heat regulation is provided through patent pending aluminum heat shields that sit between the pad and the caliper body which claim to reduce fluid temperature by almost 20ºc.

The last big change to the caliper comes in what SRAM is calling Bleeding Edge Technology. Thanks to revised bleed porting and fluid path, the new calipers should be easier than ever to chase out any bubbles. Better bleeding does come with one catch – the new calipers will require their own specific bleed adapter. According to SRAM the adapter plugs into the bleed port and seals the system which prevents air from entering the system or fluid loss. Adapters will be included with each brake to make sure the requirement won’t keep your bike in the shop instead of out on the trail.

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At the bar, other than the new carbon brake lever and titanium hardware, the Guide Ultimates retain much of the same technology found on other models including Swinglink lever geometry, a flip flop design, and tool free contact point and reach adjustment. Using aluminum calipers and levers, claimed weight is listed at 360g for a complete front brake including rotors, adapter, and bolts. Compatible with current SRAM Guide brake pads, Guide Ultimates will be available in May, and in Arctic Grey Ano or Black Ano.

MY16_SR_Rotor_CLX_180 MY16_SR_DB_Rotor_CLX_160MY16_SR_Rotor_CLX_140

Slotting in above the current CenterLine rotors, the new CenterLine X rotors are a perfect complement to the Guide Ultimates. Using the same cut out pattern that has proven to be quiet and consistent, the CenterLine X rotors add an aluminum center carrier to reduce the weight. Available in July, the CenterLine X will be sold in 140, 160, and 180mm sizes in both 6 bolt and Centerlock. Claimed weights are listed at 86g (140mm), 102g (160mm), and 125g (180mm).

Guide Ultimate Pricing

sram.com

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Dan
Dan
7 years ago

Sweet! having run the XO trails (think of time as first gen. guide brakes) this is nice to see that they have more than just added light bits to the guide to make the Ultimate version. Interesting to see that they went to town on the caliper.

I would be interested to hear is the seals could be retro fitted into the trail caliper

HP
HP
7 years ago

SRAM – Nice work going back to the AVID juicy. Thank you.

JMUSuperman
JMUSuperman
7 years ago

In the same boat as Dan. I love my XO Trails. The Ultimate might convince me to start replacing some of the Shimano brakes on my other bikes. Kudos for keeping the same brake pad, SRAM!

jake
jake
7 years ago

love how it takes Sram si many tries to make something right. Too many product launches and new versions. At least with shimano they trickle down and have consistent launches.

Peter
Peter
7 years ago

Very nice and all, but those prices are getting quite steep.

Dr. Unk
7 years ago

I had a chance to try out the new bleed procedure at the Sram Technical University a few weeks ago…it took less than two minutes total to bleed the Ultimates. Thanks SRAM!

JTrain
JTrain
7 years ago

Glad I waited for a lighter version to pull the trigger on these. Love my XO Trails, but the Guide series is the total package: smooth lever modulation,power, reliability, and now easier bleeds.

Matt
7 years ago

Hmm. Those rotors look interesting. The centrelines are supposed to be smooth and quiet. RRP is nearly double that of the Shimano RT86 though. And also way more than something like Hope X2 or AiNeons. What’s with that?

Heffe
Heffe
7 years ago

Hmm, so these are about 20 grams lighter then?

Endurobob
Endurobob
7 years ago

I have to say I love my Guide RSC’s. That being said, be careful SRAM, you might be pricing yourselves out of the market with this one.

Bazz
Bazz
7 years ago

Nice, but… too expensive. You can get the same performance from existing Shimano brakes – any model from SLX and up.

Was going to get Guide brakes, got the rotors for my Elixir 9s but now I’ve decided to go Shimano for brakes. Sick of the way SRAM brakes have minimal pad clearance unless you regularly disassemble and clean.

Yes these new brake calipers will probably address that problem (maybe the standard Guides do too?) Unless SRAM quickly brings out the same tech to the cheaper Guide calipers I’m gone.

Oh, and BTW SRAM: all of your wheels are far too expensive, even at OEM level. You guys are opening up even more gaps and letting in new players.

Mr. Chain
Mr. Chain
7 years ago

Seems like SRAM is doing it right, looks good.
Do you already have any information about SRAM GX coming?

Frank
Frank
7 years ago

@Bazz
Same performance from SLX brakes and up?
That’s a good one!

Goran
Goran
7 years ago

Problemless Avids? Hey, this post is posted early, it isn’t April 1 yet.

Robbo
7 years ago

Whywhywhy can’t SRAM give up its dependance on DOT fluid?

Chris
Chris
7 years ago

Was a avid Avid fan for long time, before it was a part of Sram actually. After too many issues and overpricing… the inconvenient truth is my XT brakes that cost me a fraction of the listed prices above perform incredibly well. I will buy another set of Hope’s maybe, but Avid’s unparalleled comfy levels will appear only in my memory I guess.

Eric E. Strava
Eric E. Strava
7 years ago

So the bleed port is now on the back of the caliper? Smart way to keep DOT fluid off of the frame during the bleed process.

Ricardo
Ricardo
7 years ago

you can talk smack about sram all you want but shimano had one of the largest brake recalls in these past few months. truth is that you will find junk in any brand. as a bike enthusiast i can tell you that the new guide brakes are a great buy. not to say shimanos aren’t in fact i have slx brakes on several of my bikes. new xtr race brakes feel like your pushing mud through the hose. but the xtr trails are great powerful and lite. like i said you can find junk in any company.

Jeff N
Jeff N
7 years ago

Yes DOT fluid is toxic and all that, but it is much more durable than mineral oil, and can be purchased anywhere at a cheap price…Just make sure to disclose of that use fluid correctly!

CorbinWorks
CorbinWorks
7 years ago

I love everything Sram, Other then the Brakes, I have swapped everything on my ride for Sram, But am going to hold out for the long term review on these..Nothing buy bad reviews on all there other braking systems…
Sram get it together!!!

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