SRAM Introduces the new Guide Brakes Mar 25, 2014


Photo by Margus Riga

New found confidence? Or just summoning the Necronomicog? Finally, some photos of me riding gear in a review!

I think this goes without saying, but I’d like to thank everyone involved with last weekend’s trip, including Margus and Adrian for shooting such rad photos of the riding. One of the reasons why we were there was to test out the new Guide Brakes from SRAM.

I’ll be pretty honest here, I have never really liked Avid brakes. My bikes all have Shimano systems on them, from SLX to XTR. In the past, I’ve said that I’d never ride anything else. Coming off a weekend like this, it’d be easy to say that SRAM put us in this rad location, threw new products at us and expected some positive feedback but that wasn’t the case at all. They really were interested in what we thought and were open to critique.

Unfortunately, the only feedback I had to offer up was: “I didn’t even have to think about the brakes”. Period. Riding new terrain, on a new bike, the last thing you want to do is worry about if your brakes are going to feel good and perform up to par. They felt so amazing, even compared to XTR.

We all know I’m not a king of technical garble, but I think it’s safe to say that these exceeded mine and everyone else’s expectations. I didn’t hear a single squeal from the rotor, or person the whole trip.

These new Guide Brakes from SRAM are like night and day compared to Avid…

Check out more below.

Photo by Margus Riga

We rode the RSC all weekend and if I were to put a brake on my Tallboy, or Rosko hardtail, I’m pretty set on them being the model. Granted, only time and abuse will tell how much maintenance they’ll require to keep feeling great. However, I’m optimistic.

Photo by Margus Riga

Here’s the “brake down” on all three models. All of which use the new SRAM technologies DirectLink™, Pure Bladder™ and TPC Plus™:


The new SRAM Guide RSC is packed with ride-enhancing performance that makes every new trail a trusted old friend. We started from scratch, to create the perfect combination of braking reliability and control. Brand-new SwingLink™ technology provides more power, silky-smooth modulation, less deadband and better lever-feel than you’ve ever experienced. Steep-line confidence. Deep-corner dominance. Ride every trail like you own it.

Weight: 375 Grams
Contact Point Adjust
Tool-free Reach Adjust
MatchMaker X Compatible
Lever Pivot Bearings
Guide caliper
Colors: Polished Silver Ano or Black Ano
MSRP: $199


Fast isn’t about pure speed, it’s about perfect speed. It’s about knowing the right line and having the confidence to ride it. Flawlessly. The new SRAM Guide RS is precision at your fingertips, with a proven 4-piston caliper and innovative SwingLink lever technology that gives you more positive pad contact and increased braking authority. Light, crisp, clean and now compliments your SRAM drivetrain. Go faster.

Weight: 380 Grams
Tool-free Reach Adjust
MatchMaker X Compatible
Guide caliper
Colors: Black
MSRP: $149


What’s it going to take to ride that line? It’s steep. It’s rocky. You’ve passed it a hundred times. But not this time. With the all-new SRAM Guide R, you have the power. Proven 4-piston calipers give you smooth,one-finger control. Features like Reach Adjust let you dial it in just right. And Guide perfectly complements other SRAM components and gives you flawless performance on every ride.

Weight: 375 Grams
Tool-free Reach Adjust
MatchMaker X Compatible
Guide caliper
Colors: Black
MSRP: $129



I’ll be doing a more in-depth review on the Guide Brakes once I get my Rosko built up (ahem, Seth!) – for now, see more information at SRAM!

  • btdubs

    Wow, these look great! Not as sculpted as Shimano levers, a little more rough-hewn but I really dig the overall appearance. I’ll have to try these out soon.

  • D0rk

    Hoping some XC oriented ones get released soon. Real competition for Shimano is good for the end consumer.

    • All three of these models would be great for XC. That’s what I’m putting on my new 120mm hardtail.

      • D0rk

        I’m not sold on the need for 4-piston brakes. If these really are better than Elixirs then I don’t see why they couldn’t put these improvements towards a lighter 2-piston setup to compete with XTR Race brakes.

        Not trying to discount these at all, I totally believe that they’re great for really aggressive riding. I just think it’s a bit more than what us lycra-clad guys need.

        • Totally understand and agree. The levers / reservoir are pretty big for a minimally-clad XC machine. That said, if they work well enough and receive good reviews, I could see the tech working its way into other brakes in the SRAM line.

  • caliente

    rotors lookin’ fresh!

  • Alex Niknejad

    I really hope these actually work well, because current avid/sram brakes suck so much.

    The swinglink design seems like a copy of shimano servowave, which is a very good thing.

    • Yeah, as I said, never been a huge fan of Avid and I was apprehensive about riding the Guide system. We sat through a 20 minute presentation and it made sense, but nothing matters until you drop in on that slickrock descent, or techy rock garden.

      Seriously though, I completely forgot about the brakes, leaving my own fuckups and shitty lines to worry about… ;-)