SRAM Guide Ultimate

by
October 5, 2015

A look at SRAM's top-end brake set, the Guide Ultimate

Brand:
SRAM
Product:
Guide Ultimate
From:
Fisher Outdoor Leisure, fisheroutdoor.co.uk
Price:
Brakes £229.o0 an end, including rotors.

Guide

First published in Singletrack Magazine issue 99

Weight: 500g front and rear closed system; 145g/180mm rotor

The mental scars of misbehaving Avids run deep, but despite knowing that the SRAM Guides are a complete redesign, I went into this test with a degree of trepidation – and had a very nice surprise. Set-up was straightforward, and the tool-free lever and pad adjust do, er, just that – with a greater degree of useful range than my preferred Shimano brakes. I was able to dial in my preferred ‘close to the bar, early actuation’ set-up in a couple of minutes and headed out on the trails. Solid basics transfer to the (carbon) lever, which has a smooth wide blade, comfortable for single-digit tickling.

The twin-piston caliper delivers a huge amount of power, but it isn’t as immediate as some other brands. There is plenty of modulation at the lever – something that took some getting used to. I occasionally missed the reassuring feel of dropping an anchor straight out of the back of the bike, but as I got used to the lever feel, I appreciated the ability to more delicately feather the ample power.

After a few alpine days, I have been massively impressed with the consistency of braking power on long, steep descents – with lever feel remaining as sensitive and predictable at the bottom as it was at the top. Back in the UK performance has remained consistent in, well, more UK-like conditions, which bodes well.

As the truism goes, lightweight and high-performance is balanced here by an eye-watering price tag. It’s one that I would struggle to justify, especially when the Guide RSC weighs a Cadbury’s Freddo more, and carries all the same features. It’s still very, very good, as a top of the range brake should be. SRAM’s hard work is paying off.

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Brakes