SRAM Guide Ultimate


The Guide Ultimate has been on the market for a year now, released just after our 2015 Disc Brake Group Test, and they’ve seen action on enduro stages all over the world. The Guide Ultimate lever is a work of ergonomic art: the carbon fibre blade falls comfortably to hand and the reach adjust control allows a full range of lever position adjustment (although a little notchy). The lever also features a contact adjuster, allowing you to set the bite point just where you want it. The lever pivot runs on two sealed bearings and results in a very smooth action. Where the SRAM Guide Ultimate really scores points is when it comes to bleeding. The Bleeding Edge technology allows you to perform quick, drip-free brake bleeds, and after one practice run we found bleeds to be the easiest of all brakes in group. Like all the SRAM brakes, we found the pads did not last as long as others and in the wet, and they still merrily sang the warbling “Guide song”, but power was always there.

In the lab, the Guide Ultimates were a little disappointing, but that did not translate onto the trail, where we were very impressed with the smooth modulation and easy to manage power. The sublime bite point sensitivity allows you to finely balance maximum braking traction without skidding. The aluminium pistons with phenolic core provide a better sliding surface, with increased lubrication to ensure very smooth action, which can be felt on the trail,. They are certainly not the most powerful brake, but the intuitive feel and sensitive feedback allows you to exploit every Nm of braking force on the roughest trails, and we never felt shortchanged. SRAM have improved the cooling too with the addition of a stainless steel heat shield. They have also opened up the pad pocket to allow more airflow around the pads, and the improvements are clear to see. Even on long descents, we experienced a very consistent bite point. When put to the ultimate test and pushed through hard race use, the Guide Ultimates still delivered their power effectively and were easy to modulate, even with tired hands. SRAM set out to create the ultimate brake, and although very expensive, their Guide Ultimates are deserving of their ambitious name. They take the win in this group test for their exceptional performance and bleeding technology.

+ Consistent bite point
+ Class leading sensitivity
– Expensive
– Noisy

Average Power [Nm]: 76,8
Weight: 230 g
Price: € 301
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