Are Sram guide R’s up to the job?!

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  • Are Sram guide R’s up to the job?!
  • souster4
    Member

    Hey all

    I’ve got some guide R’s on my winter hardtail, bled with motul rbf600 and an old set (old stock) of uberbike race matrix pads.

    I’m finding they haven’t got enough power, they don’t bite strong enough to lock up really with 1 finger braking. If I use 2 fingers they aren’t too bad. Tried a set of hope E4’s yesterday and it really made me dissapointed.

    So my questions are…
    1. Are they up to the job, with a bit more fettling and the Right pads are they as good as anything else other than bigger brakes?

    2. Would it pay me to upgrade the lever internals if it’s possible to the RS lever internals?

    3. I’ve tried OEM sram pads, now race matrix… Would there be a better option? EBC?

    I have actually bought some new replacement guide R’s. But could always cancel the order and buy an alternative.

    Thanks guys

    Premier Icon vincienup
    Subscriber

    The plain R is a simpler lever that doesn’t have the cam operated brake servo. The RS may be what you’re looking for.

    Be aware that E4’s aren’t the last word in braking power though. It’s been a long time since Hope were at the top of the braking game although people remember them kindly.

    Not to say they are poor, just everyone else caught up frequently at lower prices. Hope give lots of tool free adjustments and chunky CNC ano aesthetics that some love though.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    They should be more than good enough for XC/trail riding, and OK up to a point for more enduro-y stuff. One finger braking is no problem anyway.

    Get some new pads in them first off (Sram OE ones are fine FWIW), check your rotors aren’t too worn (or contaminated) and then maybe bleed again if still no good.

    Are you a big unit?

    Premier Icon mattbee
    Subscriber

    I just fitted a set of the cheap Guide R from PX to rwplace a set of Magura MT4 that I wasn’t getting on with.
    Only a quick round the block spin but they are happy to lock the back up with one finger even when I’m sat down.
    Will see how they fare on the trail this week, I used to run RS on my last big bike and run Level TL on my XC bike so I’ll be interested to see if I feel any difference.

    Premier Icon rickon
    Subscriber

    I’m finding they haven’t got enough power, they don’t bite strong enough to lock up really with 1 finger braking

    Your bleed is wrong, pad alignment is out, pads are contaminated… Or some other reason. There’s no reason that a properly bled set of Guide Rs shouldn’t lock up easily with one finger braking.

    Before buying new Guides, I’d track down the problem you have with your current set. It would be cheaper to pop to your LBS and get them to sort it, than buy new brakes and throw these ones in the sea.

    I’d switch out the pads, and give the rotors a clear with some IPA. I’d also check how thin the rotors are, compare them to the centre part that doesn’t wear against the pads.

    I’ve got R, RS and RSC and Hope E4. The Guide R have more obviously available power than the E4s. It’s not that the Hope aren’t powerful, they’re just linear in how they deliver it.

    souster4
    Member

    Thanks very much guys, some fantastic replies.

    The whole set up isn’t very old, discs are virtually new. I’m 6 ft tall and about 12.5 stone so not too bad. I’m a full on enduro guy to be honest, steep decents are what the bike gets used for. I’m not after sram code performance, which I have on my full suss, just a bit closer would be great. I absolutely love the code, and o wanted a lever that would feel fairly similar when swapping bikes.

    Rickon… sorry to be niave, but alignment of the pads/pistons has never worked out like it’s suggested for me. People recommend slacken caliper, handful of brake and then retighten, this just makes it bind for me.
    So I just do it by eye and without pulling the lever??!!

    I think I’m going to try either ebc or swissstop pads, race matrix aren’t impressing me at the mo.

    Thanks all

    Premier Icon jimmy
    Subscriber

    I’d say yes. With a 205 rotor on the front definitely. No issues with mine which I’ve had for a few years.

    chvck
    Member

    No issues for me either and I’m using them on an ebike (am only 68kg though). 205 both ends I think. Plenty of control for me on the steep stuff.

    fossy
    Member

    What the others have said. New pads, bled fluids, get the disc clean.

    Had RS’s two years and have been perfect, other than the “stuck lever piston” in hot weather – that was an easy fix with a new one and bleed. It’s a pain making sure no oil or silicone spray goes near the discs, but it’s key to good brakes.

    They should stop you on a sixpence !

    bigyan
    Member

    They should be able to be set up functional. Were the OEM pads organic or sintered? Organic give a much grabbier feel than sintered when cold. New pads also need to bed in.

    However if you are coming from decent Shimano brakes they will not feel as grabby/need to pull harder.

    souster4
    Member

    Thanks guys. Out the box they weren’t that good with the organic pads.

    So I decided to bleed them with Motul, new race matrix pads, and lightly sand the discs and a thorough clean with brake cleaner.

    Still pretty crap.

    Looking into the RSC. What pads are you all running with success?

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    Don’t just buy another different set of guides.
    Look at Codes or some 4pot Shimano brakes if you are replacing then

    souster4
    Member

    I was thinking of guide RS and above, hoping the servolink would help.

    I love codes so thats a good shout

    reedspeed
    Member

    E4’s & Hope brake products with the right pad & set up are about feel,not out right stopping power.. other products are like a switch,+ Hope are the best in the business if anything goes wrong…so I use them on every thing,but it’s your choice, as we’re all different..

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    I was thinking of guide RS and above, hoping the servolink would help.

    I had the Guide RS on an enduro bike, they did tend to fade and feel a bit rubbish on long and/or steep stuff. Some people swear by them, but I used to swear at them.

    postierich
    Member

    Bought a set of Guide Rs from Planet X for £70 fitted to new bike and they were awesome whats the big deal on locking up wheels I like the modulation.

    dumbbot
    Member

    …they did tend to fade and feel a bit rubbish on long and/or steep stuff. Some people swear by them, but I used to swear at them.

    This+1,…I’ve got guides RSC on my hardtail and hope e4’s on the full suss, there is little to choose between them with power but as above if you’re a brake dragging mincer down the steeper and longer descents the guides fade horribly and turn to mush…hopes don’t.

    I’ve just bled, sanded rotors/pads and generally clean the guide’s and they work fine for certain riding.

    postierich
    Member

    “hopes don’t” but the do sequel like castrated hyenas!!!

    nickfrog
    Member

    No experience of EBC but if their mtb products are as bad as their automotive products then don’t bother. I find the issue is more often than not down to set up, contamination or bleeding than actual hardware. I only have single pot XTs and they went from ok to brilliant after a careful bleed session.

    walleater
    Member

    They just don’t have the power on sustained really steep descents. So if you don’t have sustained really steep descents then they are probably OK. I found them surprisingly OK in Whistler Bike Park for a day but the trails I was on tend to need short sharp bursts of brake going into corners rather than anything else. Back on my home trails in Squamish and they are terrible. I’ve had two bikes with them as standard and they’ve both lasted one ride, upgrading to either Guide RSCs or XT. Both are light years ahead in terms of ultimate power.

    Hope Brakes are a gigantic pain in the arse !

    dumbbot
    Member

    They are more involved to set up correctly than Guide’s that’s for sure but for me the lever feel just wins and I dont have a problem with them being noisy, that would suggest contamination. As it happens i’ve just serviced my Guides because they were honking like angry geese, sanded down rotors and pads..job was jobbed.

    @dumbbot

    Any tips on how to achieve that wonderful Hope feel I’ve heard so much about ?

    I spent ages trying to centre the pistons and I’m still left with a brake that rubs :/

    Premier Icon andybrad
    Subscriber

    Ive had guides on my new bike and tbh was about to bin them at next pay day.

    The other night i popped in a set of racematrix pads and more importantly worked the pistons loose and made sure they were all working.

    Amazingly next day they were good.

    im discovering that a lot of the newer 4 pot brakes are very sensitive to proper setup compared to the older stuff. if you have a sticky or loose piston in 4pots then the feel is rubbish.

    the same was with my old e4’s never rated them tbh till i lubed the pistons.

    now going to give the guides a bit more time

    @andybrad

    So lubing the pistons is the key eh ? Thank you, I’ll get on it.

    Premier Icon andybrad
    Subscriber

    its that and working them in and out. Used a pad spreader (and scratched the bloody top of the caliper) to push them in and out. after that its much better.

    Also theres no compensation for pad wear so new pads after a bit

    dumbbot
    Member

    The thing with Hope’s is using a pad/rotor shim alignment tool thingy like this, to get the correct spacing between pad + rotor which hopes seem to be sensitive to,…that and making sure your pistons on both sides advance/retract evenly, the same as other 4pots. Restrict the overactive side/pistons with a screwdriver and pump till the sticky one frees and lube.

    https://www.bike24.com/p2128717.html

    And obviously a make sure your rotor doesn’t look like a pringle.

    Premier Icon joebristol
    Subscriber

    If you want an upgrade that’s not as expensive as Codes you could get Guide RE’s which have the same lever as the R but the previous gen Code brake caliper.

    I’ve got Guide R’s on both the big fs bike and the hardtail and they are very good. I weigh about 80kgs but annuplift day at BPW is the biggest test they get – nothing like the alps.

    Premier Icon rickon
    Subscriber

    Hope Brakes are a gigantic pain in the arse !

    I’ve never found this, they’ve actually been the simplest to setup and run of all my brakes. What about them do you find difficult?

    Premier Icon Poopscoop
    Subscriber

    Also theres no compensation for pad wear so new pads after a bit

    A slight faff but you can get around that I believe.

    Premier Icon andybrad
    Subscriber

    do tell then?

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    I used to wind the levers out a bit to compensate, you could still cover them in the same position when riding and the “bite point” was moved out.

    Maybe this only works if you start with them reasonably close to the bar though. I have them full in as standard.

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