Back at the end of March I attended the launch of the SRAM Guide Ultimate brake during Crankworx Rotorua (I even received a rad Acre bag and pocket knife). I penned a fairly in-depth post on the brake and all its advancements over the already good Guide RSCs (you can find that here). At the end, I mentioned that using them for an hour and half in sunny Rotorua was hardly long enough to form the basis of a quality assessment. Well I've just mounted up our first long-term review set now. By now, I mean a few minutes ago (after photographing them in my bathroom), and I just can't wait to get them out in the miserable conditions here on Canada's west coast. Luckily for you and I, the trail system where I live is rideable right through winter so I will be able to bring you a real review in the not-too-distant future.
If you can't be bothered jumping back to the intro piece from the launch, here's a quick refresher. The lever remains pretty much unchanged from the RSC, apart from getting an upgrade to carbon blades. Which I love, and not from a weight weenie perspective but from the fact that carbon levers are never cold. Theres nothing worse than cold levers on gloveless hands.
Hmmm... Warm black raw carbon. Not too sure about this, but you might even be able to upgrade your old RSCs with some Ultimate levers, I'll check on that one for you.
But all the magic for the Guide Ultimate happens here in the caliper. It's all new. New casting, new shape, new bleed port. And it's all in aid of a more consistent feel. Consistent in different weather conditions, consistent during super long runs and consistent performance for the world's best enduro riders and downhillers.
The pad opening itself is massive compared to the RSC. Top loading pads will just drop right in (that slightly annoying wiggle with RSCs is gone), but the real reason behind the larger opening is increased airflow around the pads and pistons to keep things cool. On top of that, the Ultimates also feature heat shields (you can see one there just below the pads) to minimize transfer of heat build-up from the pads to the fluid in the brake. The brakes also feature sophisticated piston insulators which create a caliper that requires less time to achieve proper caliper alignment and much better pad retraction. All of this is in aid of that consistent feel that SRAM are looking for in the Ultimate.
And then there is this rad new mess-free snap-in bleed port. The new bleed tool pushes in to place, forms a perfect seal and allows for a top to bottom bleed with no mess.
SRAM's Guide Ultimate's are available now and cost NZ$494 per end excluding rotors and mounts.
They will get their debut ride tomorrow, which I've been looking forward to since Crankworx. Actually I think I just remembered why it's taken us so long to get a set? Maybe SRAM bear grudges.