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  1. #1
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    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty

    For those having issues with Guide brake levers not returning, my LBS got SRAM to warranty them and also upgraded them (RS to RSC). Anecdotally they had 3 warranty repairs including mine that week. So far they feel great. Not certain if it's a redesign or a recall, but if you are having similar issues take it to your LBS. My brakes started to act up ~9 months since I bought them. Bleeding and brake pad replacement and piston cleaning did nothing.

  2. #2
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    Interesting! My left RSC lever just started to develop the same. Sometimes after leaving the (cold) bike in direct sunlight for a few minutes the lever gets stuck or will only return very slowly. It usually gets better after a few minutes, so seems to be a weather/temperature related issue

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    It's an O ring issue in the lever they are aware of. Had mine replaced under warranty without question. Temperature does seem to exacerbate the issue, pouring ice cold water on mine would momentarily fix it.

  4. #4
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    maybe Sram is gonna supply me with a thermosbottle to carry ice cold water with me

  5. #5
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    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty

    my Juicy 3s did this when it was hot outside. ill never use Sram brakes again. theyld lock up when it was hot outside, and wouldnt release until it cooled down at night

    lame
    Last edited by nauc; 05-18-2016 at 05:53 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dusadus View Post
    For those having issues with Guide brake levers not returning, my LBS got SRAM to warranty them and also upgraded them (RS to RSC). Anecdotally they had 3 warranty repairs including mine that week. So far they feel great. Not certain if it's a redesign or a recall, but if you are having similar issues take it to your LBS. My brakes started to act up ~9 months since I bought them. Bleeding and brake pad replacement and piston cleaning did nothing.
    The same thing is happening to me. Sounds very common after reading up on it. I have a few questions...

    How long did the warranty process take?
    Did they warranty both brakes or just the one?
    Did they also upgrade the rotors to fit the new brakes?

    Thanks for the post!

  7. #7
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    Incase anyone else is having the same problem.

    Mine was definitely caused by heat. When the bike was stored in the AC there was no problem at all. In the bike shop the brake would act perfect. However, by the time I would get to the trail the rear brake is back to being stuck closed with no spring back from the lever. Sometimes leaving the brake locked in place. Fun! Especially when it happens halfway on a there and back trail!

    Just dropped mine off at a LBS for a warranty claim. Hope they can handle mine too!

  8. #8
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    Has anyone been able to have this problem resolved without going through a LBS? My new, (400 miles), Guide R's will stick if left out in the sun. Pouring cool water on the lever fixes it every time. I would rather not be without my bike while going through the warranty process, plus I got my bike from Bikes Direct, so I am sure that the LBS won't put me on their priority list! What is the actual problem/fix? Is it just O rings, or is the piston/housing faulty? I did properly bleed it with no change in it's symptoms.

  9. #9
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    Yes I do carry two bottles now. One for me, the other for my Guide. Like me, she is very thirsty when it's hot outside

  10. #10
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    Interesting I found this thread -- I just had an issue yesterday. Brakes Guide R's pretty much completely failed in a dangerous defect kind of way. Modulation was way off, front lever stuck to bars, and the adjuster rotated to lock it in -- I went over the bars and smashed into the crunchy sagebrush -- which thank God it was there, it broke my fall and I only have scrapes, bruises and a little whiplash.

    This is a design defect! If all Avid has to do is replace, they are getting out ahead -- some people may get more injured and sue. NEVER had an issue like this with Shimanos, been mountainbiking for 25 years.

    If you look at the photo, you'll see the adjuster has rotated to lock the lever in place -- It's locked in place, I can't get it out without prying it, and the brake is hydrolocked.
    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty-avid-guide-r.jpg

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    I'm so glad I found this thread! I am having the same issue with my Guide RS brakes on my one-year-old YT Capra. I started to notice it last fall (when it was still warm in TX), but assumed that I just needed to rebleed and clean the caliper. I did just that this winter (completely replaced the fluid and followed the service manual), and it seemed to be a bit better, though never as good as new. As the season has progressed, I've noticed it more and more, and, of course, it is strongly correlated to the increasing temperatures. Particularly after a ride on the roof rack, in the sun.

    I'm in Austin, TX and just had my first 90+ degree ride of the season, and the levers were super slow on the return. Much worse on the rear brake than the front, but noticeable on both. After seeing this thread, I took my bike inside to the air conditioning. Checked this morning, and the levers felt perfectly normal. So strange. I don't think I ever would have diagnosed it as heat related until I found this thread. I'm certain no LBS around here would have figured that out either. I have a long, hot summer ahead of me and am not happy about this defect!

    I've written to YT tech support and hope they help me out. I've already had two other SRAM products replaced under warranty: Reverb with blown seal and Pike with premature stanchion wear due to insufficient oil from the factory.

  12. #12
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    Same thing here, 20 C slow return 25C et + very slow return and the levers get stuck. Send it to Sram got it back 10 days later, change parts in the front lever, now it worst, slow return at every temperatures and rear lever no change. Very disapointed, think about trow them in fire and dance around it for conjuring the bad luck...

  13. #13
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    Just when I'm considering switching from Shimano, something like this comes up. Sorry SRAM.

    Tested this out on a handful of demo bikes on display at a shop. Almost all of them had the sticky lever.
    => CannondaleExperts.com <=

  14. #14
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    I've encountered the issue too but it doesn't seem a widespread problem like the bite point glitch of the M8000 XT brakes.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by L3_jok3r View Post
    Very disapointed, think about trow them in fire and dance around it for conjuring the bad luck...
    you wouldn't be the first...
    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty-uploadfromtaptalk1466683269959.jpg

  16. #16
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    I'm having the same issue with a set of DB5s. Took them apart to find the master cylinder was rubbing on the lever body and wearing down. Had to push the cylinder out with fluid, it wouldn't just pull out like it should.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by D396 View Post
    I'm having the same issue with a set of DB5s. Took them apart to find the master cylinder was rubbing on the lever body and wearing down. Had to push the cylinder out with fluid, it wouldn't just pull out like it should.
    interesting but not sure what you mean,
    how can the cylinder rub against the lever body?
    please elaborate

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Calf View Post
    interesting but not sure what you mean,
    how can the cylinder rub against the lever body?
    please elaborate
    Next time I pull it apart to replace it I will take pictures. But basically the cylinder is fitted into a hole in the lever body and is moved up and down by the lever. When I took the cylinder out it had rub marks all over it matching the color of the body. There was also plastic shavings inside from the cylinder that I had to clean out. It was very hard to remove the cylinder from the body and put it back in. However I did all this work in the warm, and I'm facing exactly what is described above, the brakes work fine in the cold. I'm also very confused how this would happen especially with that looks like permanent damage to the cylinder. Brakes are 10 months old and just started acting up when it got warm. Overnight in the cold they work fine though...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by socalntv View Post
    Interesting I found this thread -- I just had an issue yesterday. Brakes Guide R's pretty much completely failed in a dangerous defect kind of way. Modulation was way off, front lever stuck to bars, and the adjuster rotated to lock it in -- I went over the bars and smashed into the crunchy sagebrush -- which thank God it was there, it broke my fall and I only have scrapes, bruises and a little whiplash.

    This is a design defect! If all Avid has to do is replace, they are getting out ahead -- some people may get more injured and sue. NEVER had an issue like this with Shimanos, been mountainbiking for 25 years.

    If you look at the photo, you'll see the adjuster has rotated to lock the lever in place -- It's locked in place, I can't get it out without prying it, and the brake is hydrolocked.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I've just received my RSC replacement and they redesigned the levers, now it's theoretically possible for the above to happen if you're unlucky. The original levers were better in this regard...

  20. #20
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    I ordered and installed the Sram lever internal parts kit; 100% cured the problem! I found that rubber from the piston seal was rubbing off inside the bore. I guess the rubber they used would swell from the brake fluid, and the tolerances were so close that the slight expansion from heat would cause too much friction and binding. Cheap DIY fix, ($17), but the snap ring is a pain in the butt to get out, (in one piece, anyway!).

  21. #21
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    pictures or it didn't happen

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Calf View Post
    pictures or it didn't happen
    I will be doing the exact same thing when my replacement internals get here tomorrow and will post some pics.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by D396 View Post
    I will be doing the exact same thing when my replacement internals get here tomorrow and will post some pics.
    Do you have long nosed snap ring pliers? I bought some and even had to grind the crap out of those in order to even reach the snap ring!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by EABiker View Post
    Do you have long nosed snap ring pliers? I bought some and even had to grind the crap out of those in order to even reach the snap ring!
    I did order some. I originally disassembled the brakes at a bike park to diagnose the issue, and it took the mechanic quite a while to get the ring off. I'm hoping it'll be easier now that it's been done once... We'll see though.

  25. #25
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    As promised here are pics from the old master cylinder. The rub marks can clearly be seen. It seemed to have 100% fixed the problem when I replaced it, but time will tell. I also gave the internals of the lever a good cleaning. As mentioned above the snap ring was a b!tch to get off.

    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty-img_20160630_193627.jpgGuide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty-img_20160630_193651.jpg
    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty-img_20160630_193745.jpg

  26. #26
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    Is it the rubber or the plastic that is making it stick? Looks like a lot of rubbing on the plastic.

    Mine has the same issues described. I decided to go with the rebuild kit. Can never find the time to go the bike shop and anticipating the hassle of dealing with a SRAM dealer where I didn't purchase the bike (no confidence in my LBS either).

    So I disassembled mine today. The snap ring was removed with moderate aggravation. However the piston (not sure of the proper name) was completely seized. Usually it would work just fine at room temp, but this time it was stuck. I think dirt/sand got in there (it is somewhat exposed).

    Anyway, I decided to remove the piston with a shot of compressed air. Well this worked really well. Too well. The piston shot across the room and, I think into another dimension, because I have not been able to find it. I did find the spring. I was hoping to be able to take a look at my piston to see why it was sticking, well maybe it will show up in a couple of years, when I've forgot about it.

    Will report back when I get the new parts assembled.
    Last edited by Loch; 07-02-2016 at 01:33 AM. Reason: typos

  27. #27
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    My piston was also seized, pushed it out with an Allen key from the other side. I think it's a combination of the plastic and seals. I did the other one today and the rub marks were much worse.
    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty-img_20160701_173734.jpg

  28. #28
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    Thanks a lot for the pictures.

    Kudos to these few brave who take matters into their own hands!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by D396 View Post
    My piston was also seized, pushed it out with an Allen key from the other side. I think it's a combination of the plastic and seals. I did the other one today and the rub marks were much worse.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    An Allen key?? How anticlimactic! I think I'll try packing the next one with gunpowder!

  30. #30
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    UPDATE: The Dog found the lost piston. She had it in her mouth. Not sure how the dog found it. We searched for hours for that thing.

    Anyway, it looks just like the others with lots of rub marks etc.

    I clean it off really good and tried inserting it back into the lever. It was still stuck tight (yes, this time I removed it with an allen key, no drama ).

    So my question is, should this piston move freely with just the spring tension, or does it need fluid in there?

    Still waiting for my parts to arrive.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loch View Post
    UPDATE: The Dog found the lost piston. She had it in her mouth. Not sure how the dog found it. We searched for hours for that thing.

    Anyway, it looks just like the others with lots of rub marks etc.

    I clean it off really good and tried inserting it back into the lever. It was still stuck tight (yes, this time I removed it with an allen key, no drama ).

    So my question is, should this piston move freely with just the spring tension, or does it need fluid in there?

    Still waiting for my parts to arrive.
    The new piston I put in moves very freely with only spring tension. Soaking it in brake fluid as recommended loosened it up even more.

  32. #32
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    Are we talking about some isolated issues here or will a larger number of Guide brakes develop this sticky lever syndrome over time?

    If the ruber seal inside "swells" from the brake fluid that sounds very much like another faulty design/inferior materials in the first place

  33. #33
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    Holy crap balls this is old news. I've worked on a bunch of old sram/avid brakes that have this problem and they used the same (similar) white piston. What happens is that the brake fluid combined with heat causes that white piston to expand which causes the brake lever to stop working. What we did at the shop was remove all the rubber rings, put the skinny end into a power drill, find some fine sandpaper and sand down the fatter part of the cylinder until it goes back into the housing without any friction.

    The good news is that once you've done this a couple times it only takes about a half hour, including a bleed, to restore the brake to be fully functional and it lasts for a long time.

    I can't believe SRAM is still using that plastic piston after all these years...
    "You can become a very fast donkey, but you'll never be a thoroughbred..."

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Calf View Post
    If the ruber seal inside "swells" from the brake fluid that sounds very much like another faulty design/inferior materials in the first place
    nice troll and guess, but not.
    "ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK"

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    nice troll and guess, but not.
    you wanna read post #21 before calling me names here because that is what I was refering to. I encountered the problems described here but didn't disassemble the levers myself as both got exchanged under warranty.

  36. #36
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    If you want to get this white part, it is necessary to lower the lever into the cold water. It freed, if it sufficiently cooled .

    If you want to fix the lever. It is enough to gently whittle away some fiber with small projections in this white part

    Guide RS Levers not Returning: Replaced Under Warranty-361445-2.jpg

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideapix View Post
    If you want to get this white part, it is necessary to lower the lever into the cold water. It freed, if it sufficiently cooled .

    If you want to fix the lever. It is enough to gently whittle away some fiber with small projections in this white part
    excellent fix. glad to see folks not just give in to the 'ahh hell it's broke throw it away and buy new' mentality as there's much satisfaction in improvising when successful.

    Glad to see the ignore list function work it's magic
    "ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK"

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    excellent fix. glad to see folks not just give in to the 'ahh hell it's broke throw it away and buy new' mentality as there's much satisfaction in improvising when successful.

    Glad to see the ignore list function work it's magic
    Thank you! This is possible by the fact that I'm from Russia

    Here I have problems with the warranty on such products, or can not buy the necessary spare parts.

    But I bought two brake GuideRS and they both stopped working a year later.
    Now they are working perfectly, even in the +32C.

    This fix is working for me!

  39. #39
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    Are these the correct instructions?https://www.canyon.com/download/manu...ide_Brakes.pdf

    My levers are getting sticky, the back's the worst and I wonder if it's necessary to get the lever parts kit or if I can just clean, trim the piston and reinstall? Nearly new bike from Bikes Direct, so I'll be doing any work myself.....

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    nice troll and guess, but not.
    In most of the brake upgrade threads there is someone that pipes in with "you haven't tried guides yet, SRAM fixed it, they are great". At least now there is a thread proving that the Guides are just as bad as the rest.

    Hopefully adding something more constructive to the thread, I replaced my wife's DB5 (absolutely not an Avid!, lol) brakes tonight with SLX's. This was on her newest bike, a Trek Stache. Same crap as my Avids from 2011, stuck on when hot. My point is, the issues seem to impact those that level too to add another data point to the one already mentioned.

    On another note, concerning the concern about it being widespread. I was shopping for a bike for one of my kids. I expressed by discontent with the Guide brakes on the bike. The salesman at the LBS gave me the "they are all the same, those are sweet brakes" speech, and a story about a leaking Shimano caliper. It was probably true, but whatever. In the mean time we are messing around in the parking lot with the bike on a test ride. Its 88 degrees (F) and to no surprise of mine the front brake lever starts to stick causing the brake to drag. In the end we bought the bike that didn't have SRAM brakes, and I'm so thankful I don't have to deal with another set.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by adaycj View Post
    In most of the brake upgrade threads there is someone that pipes in with "you haven't tried guides yet, SRAM fixed it, they are great". At least now there is a thread proving that the Guides are just as bad as the rest.

    Hopefully adding something more constructive to the thread, I replaced my wife's DB5 (absolutely not an Avid!, lol) brakes tonight with SLX's. This was on her newest bike, a Trek Stache. Same crap as my Avids from 2011, stuck on when hot. My point is, the issues seem to impact those that level too to add another data point to the one already mentioned.
    What's most important is what ever brand warranty's are in effect and being addressed via replacement updated versions, kudos to them. 10's of thousands per series are manufactured each year just as with ANY other mass produced product around the world! some of each will be bad/lemons and again what matters is how the manufacture steps up to rectify said product. Hydros, mechanical, v-brakes, rim brakes will all have some glitch just as PC's do.

    I have a set of juicy 5's on my older bike and a combo of ZEE/deore on another new bike, both setups work flawlessly from the get go, lucky perhaps, but then again perhaps not.
    "ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK"

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    What's most important is what ever brand warranty's are in effect and being addressed via replacement updated versions, kudos to them. 10's of thousands per series are manufactured each year just as with ANY other mass produced product around the world! some of each will be bad/lemons and again what matters is how the manufacture steps up to rectify said product. Hydros, mechanical, v-brakes, rim brakes will all have some glitch just as PC's do.

    I have a set of juicy 5's on my older bike and a combo of ZEE/deore on another new bike, both setups work flawlessly from the get go, lucky perhaps, but then again perhaps not.
    You have a better attitude about it than I do. Maybe its the roughly $600 Ive spent so far in my life I've spent on brake "upgrades" I should have never needed. This is caused by the fact that bikes I want and can afford almost always have Avid/SRAM speced. Maybe its the sting of failure I felt when the LBS and I both tried to "bleed" our way out of this. Or maybe the botched rides. I just can't let it go. I am sick to death of the defective brakes from Avid/SRAM. For me its not one, or an isolated incidence, its every set. My friends also claimed it was just me, or bad luck. But one by one they all died. The BB7s are the only ones left. And I'm to blame too, I don't even try to fix them anymore. There are just too many hours wasted in my life. This sand the piston thing might be the hot ticket, but no way am I going there. I hope it works for every person that tries it.

    I can only hope that someone somewhere gets something out of the posts I make in these threads. Maybe some good can come from it, and I don't just sound like a mad man. I literally walked on a new 29+ at a LBS this week because they wouldn't swap out the SRAM brakes for a reasonable price. My kid got a 27+ from another dealer two cities away that has knockoff brakes. I'll bet the knockoffs workout just fine, just like the last set and the set before that. And it isn't even that I don't like SRAM. My bikes are covered in their other parts. Anyway, I hear what you are saying about isolated failures and such. From my perspecive it is an isolated case that they work for more than a season before the nonsense starts.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by adaycj View Post
    You have a better attitude about it than I do. Maybe its the roughly $600 Ive spent so far in my life I've spent on brake "upgrades" I should have never needed. This is caused by the fact that bikes I want and can afford almost always have Avid/SRAM speced. Maybe its the sting of failure I felt when the LBS and I both tried to "bleed" our way out of this. Or maybe the botched rides. I just can't let it go. I am sick to death of the defective brakes from Avid/SRAM. For me its not one, or an isolated incidence, its every set. My friends also claimed it was just me, or bad luck. But one by one they all died. The BB7s are the only ones left. And I'm to blame too, I don't even try to fix them anymore. There are just too many hours wasted in my life. This sand the piston thing might be the hot ticket, but no way am I going there. I hope it works for every person that tries it.
    I can appreciate and respect your position given product failure multiple times...which brings you to 'i'm done' I can also appreciate the sentiment of fixes, replacements for $$$ that should not be, new or near new products. Being a self advocate type the proverbial shit would hit the fan if it were me.

    Wish you well in the future.
    "ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK"

  44. #44
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    FWIW, this thread brings me back to the first 'sweet' Avid brake I bought--an '08 Code.
    Ironically enough, not only do they look very similar on the outside, I'm already familiar with the magical thermal properties of that white plastic.

    At least the bite point doesn't leak on these.

  45. #45
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    D396:

    Could you be so kind as to post the brand, (and model), if possible, of the snap ring pliers you used? I modded, then killed the ones I bought, not to mention breaking the snap ring itself. I want to try to mod my old piston to see whether that is a valid permanent fix or not.

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    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000N...40_FMwebp_QL65

    Unfortunately I had to mod these also, took a dremel grinder, so I would not recommend them.

  47. #47
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    Lol, those are the exact ones I had!

    Oh well!

  48. #48
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Loch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EABiker View Post
    D396:

    Could you be so kind as to post the brand, (and model), if possible, of the snap ring pliers you used? I modded, then killed the ones I bought, not to mention breaking the snap ring itself. I want to try to mod my old piston to see whether that is a valid permanent fix or not.
    Would love to find some that worked good. I had better luck using two jewelers screwdrivers to remove the snap ring. I modded a very cheap harbor freight pair to get the new one in, which worked so so, but was clearly the hardest part of the job.

    Anyway my brakes are working great now (just have to do the rear brakes now)!

    I can also confirm, that the new parts kit is not needed. Removing the material from the old piston as indicated, frees it right up.

  49. #49
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    Just like my Pike fork that goes back over your few months for warranty it's put me off SRAM. Yes their warranty is great buy what's the point in owning a product that is away for weeks at a time on a regular basis? I'd rather be out riding.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRPABT1 View Post
    Just like my Pike fork that goes back over your few months for warranty it's put me off SRAM. Yes their warranty is great buy what's the point in owning a product that is away for weeks at a time on a regular basis? I'd rather be out riding.
    I can sympathize with your sentiment.
    "ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK"

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