Details: SRAM Guide RSC – MSRP: $199
Weight: 260 grams with clamp. This is pretty much dead even with Shimano’s latest XT brakes.
I’ve previously ran Shimano XTR or XT for the past 6-7 years and really like those brakes, but was ready to see if there might be another brake I would like as well. Initial reactions to the Guides were very good with a firm and very smooth feeling pull to the lever as well as a much better lever shape for me than the previous Elixirs. The new lever feels very similar to a Shimano now, and I like that.
The RSC models I was riding has reach adjustment as well as contact point adjustment. This makes it very easy to get the exact feel you want. Modulation is very good, but I honestly didn’t notice much if ANY improvement over the Shimano’s that have been reported by other testers. I noticed no fade during any of the longer descents I did while in Colorado this summer.
Additional notes: Maintenance wise, although I haven’t had to do a single thing, I do like the fact that the brakes require a very inexpensive DOT brake fluid. Aside from being toxic, you can easily find the fluid for less than half the price of the costly $20+ Shimano mineral oil.
Negative issues: The reach adjustment knob seems very cheep and suspect to rattling enough to move on its own. I don’t think I’ve had it back out on me, but I have heard of it rotating on friend’s bikes. I’ve tested other brakes on demos that this adjustment was almost impossible to rotate. Maybe there was some damage, but I’ve never had a Shimano reach adjustment knob with any of these issues…
The Guides proved to be powerful, reliable, QUIET and trouble free throughout the 3 months of use. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend these brakes to anyone. The only thing I might change about these is to make the lever action a little lighter.
Overall Rating: 9 out of 10