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  1. #1
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    Guide Brake issues. What's the scale of the problem?

    SRAM seem to have dropped the ball big time with the new Guide brake. Levers sticking due to heat, and even worse locking altogether

    Who has been having these issues? Might be good to get an idea of the scale of the problem.

    I'm sure SRAM don't want people getting hurt due to defective product?

  2. #2
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    I have Guide brakes on my 2015 Anthem. Both levers get very "sticky". For me it's usually as I start a ride. Then it works out.


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  3. #3
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    I can see Shimano brakes going on my next bike, yet again. Following this thread now.

  4. #4
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    Based upon the couple threads in the 'brake' sub forum it's wide spread especially with heat be it ambient air temp or when in use. There is also a warranty kit thread that replaces the white MC piston and those riders have returned to state the sticky piston issue was solved once installed.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by PUNKY View Post
    I can see Shimano brakes going on my next bike, yet again. Following this thread now.
    My m7000 slx brakes pump up and have very inconsistent feel. The m8000's are having same problem. Shimano is having their fair share of brake issues as well.

  6. #6
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    I have Guides on my 15' Anthem and have this exact issue with both brakes. My shop is trying to warranty the levers. They did this for another customer a few months ago.


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  7. #7
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    I've had my Sram Guide RSC brakes for 18 months now.
    6 months into owning them the rear lever became sticky coming into the warmer summer months and had to be fixed under warranty.

    Just now the left lever has done the same thing (coming into summer again).. The LBS reckon they can still get through one through under warranty as it's under 2yr old.

    Annoyed though as each time it means I'm without the bike for 2 weeks.

  8. #8
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    I had a set of Guide R's lasted a month. Locked up.

    Sold and went to XT M8000's, have not had any problems.

    I won't run SRAM here in AZ with our heat. I need to be abnnle to 10000% know my brakes will work when I need them
    Too Many .

  9. #9
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    Making me think it might be time to move to some Hopes? I don't like the lack of modulation from Shimano (the old XTs anyway).

  10. #10
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    This was apparantly a problem with early batches of the Guide R, RS, and RSC brakes. I had 2 sets that were replaced no charge. They should be ok now as they've changed the construction of them. And the Guide Ultimates have shown no such problems whatsoever.

  11. #11
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    Once again, I feel fortunate. Zero issues with my RSCs, and they have been exposed to 100+ degree Utah heat. Not sure if I have a horseshoe up my a$$ or what. Anyway, assuming the "scale of the problem" means what percentage screw up, or how long they take to screw up, mine have two full seasons of HARD riding on them now. Zero issues. Not even a bleed. So put me in the positive column. Put me in the positive column too for the endless modulation these have compared to on-off Shimanos.

  12. #12
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    I Have a front brake that sticks once warm. Sram is sending a whole new brake. Rear has worked flawlessly.

  13. #13
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    I've warrantied six sets so far. In AZ, so the heat and direct sunlight really exacerbate the problem. Don't like the lever feel of Shimano. Have bit the bullet and gone back to Hope brakes.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  14. #14
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    Mine are being replaced again this week. Australian summer if this set screws up it'll be time for hopes. It's bad that avids had such a poor name, then heaps of people gave guides a go and still crap.

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  15. #15
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    I have seen this issue with Ultimates, RSC's and RS as recently as last week.

  16. #16
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    I got a set after my LBS noticed that the stock X0 brakes had a leak, warranty upgrade! RSC's have been flawless in triple digits and near freezing temps. Several friends have gone with them too as upgrades, no problems reported. I am not on a first name basis with my LBS, I am on a I walk into the back and start making my own repairs basis with them (replaced a broken spoke on my CX after I helped a customer buy tubes). If they were seeing a trend of problems, I would know about it.

  17. #17
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    My rear stuck today. They are about 10 months old, didn't do it last summer so I thought I was out of the woods. Hope SRAM takes care of it.
    Has anyone had luck sending the other brake (in my case the front) at the same time? I assume it'll have the issue, I'd like to take care of it all at once if possible.

  18. #18
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    My font 2015 Guide RSC has just gone in for warranty as it's sticking when the temp is warmer. Rode yesterday and with temp around 82F and it was awful. Drove straight to the shop and they loaned me a Guide brake from a new bike whilst mine went in for warranty. The rear brake has been faultless.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by avi66 View Post
    My font 2015 Guide RSC has just gone in for warranty as it's sticking when the temp is warmer. Rode yesterday and with temp around 82F and it was awful. Drove straight to the shop and they loaned me a Guide brake from a new bike whilst mine went in for warranty. The rear brake has been faultless.
    I have a set of guides that are 1.5 years old, I too ran into the warm temp lock up issue. I just got the warranty levers put on today.

    One nice thing is that the new levers have a better reach adjust knob, the old one was very loose and could change easily. The new one clicks as you turn it.


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightenup View Post
    I have a set of guides that are 1.5 years old, I too ran into the warm temp lock up issue. I just got the warranty levers put on today.

    One nice thing is that the new levers have a better reach adjust knob, the old one was very loose and could change easily. The new one clicks as you turn it.


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    Good to hear your issue has been resolved.

    Haven't got my brake back yet but it's only just over a week. I'm not sure if I will get a new brake or if the old brake will just get new internals.

    New would be nice but it means buying a bleeding edge adapter if it's a newer model but that's probably a small price to pay.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by avi66 View Post
    Haven't got my brake back yet but it's only just over a week.
    As an aside the brake I've been loaned is a brand new Guide R and I was surprised by the difference in the amount of pull pressure needed to achieve similar stopping power to the RSC. The pads are bedded in and the reach adjusted so I can only assume it related to leverage mechanism between the two.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarhero View Post
    SRAM seem to have dropped the ball big time
    not sure they ever had the ball in hand regarding brakes...........
    always mad and usually drunk......

  23. #23
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    Bonking ... not feelin' well

    Quote Originally Posted by avi66 View Post
    As an aside the brake I've been loaned is a brand new Guide R and I was surprised by the difference in the amount of pull pressure needed to achieve similar stopping power to the RSC. The pads are bedded in and the reach adjusted so I can only assume it related to leverage mechanism between the two.
    3 weeks later and still no brake back from Warranty.

    Zyro Fisher handle UK warranty for Sram and according to the bike shop who chased it my brake won't even get looked at until next week. Piss poor service.

  24. #24
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    It all boils down to SRAM QC in Taiwan. Buy Japan-made (Shimano)....
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  25. #25
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    Just ran into this problem on my front brake. For those that have what costs did you have to pay? I just had to pay my LBS (where I bought the bike) 15$ for a warranty claim and 25$ so they could bleed the brake when they installed the new lever. As well as a new hose and barb.

    All told I'm out $50 and for that could almost buy a new brake and lever (cheapest I saw online was $80.

  26. #26
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    I have about the 130 miles on a new set of RSC's, and so far they're perfect. This morning's ride was in the mid-eighties, and it will only be getting warmer as we get further into summer.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockdude14 View Post
    Just ran into this problem on my front brake. For those that have what costs did you have to pay? I just had to pay my LBS (where I bought the bike) 15$ for a warranty claim and 25$ so they could bleed the brake when they installed the new lever. As well as a new hose and barb.

    All told I'm out $50 and for that could almost buy a new brake and lever (cheapest I saw online was $80.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockdude14 View Post
    Just ran into this problem on my front brake. For those that have what costs did you have to pay? I just had to pay my LBS (where I bought the bike) 15$ for a warranty claim and 25$ so they could bleed the brake when they installed the new lever. As well as a new hose and barb.

    All told I'm out $50 and for that could almost buy a new brake and lever (cheapest I saw online was $80.
    I didn't pay anything and received my brake back last week. The SRAM report said the brake lever and caliper had been inspected and the lever assembly replaced with a new unit. Both levers feel the same and no problem in 30+ deg heat last week.

  29. #29
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    My DB5s just started doing this, and this after my right lever reach adjustment screw locked up. I have stuck with SRAM even after living the brutality of Elixirs. Bleeds have been better than Elixir but still not what I would call crisp.

    Question: how many SRAM people have finally thrown in the towel and gone elsewhere? I am familiar with SRAM mechanisms, bleeds, etc which makes me hesitant to switch. But hearing about and experiencing all the lever issues and bleed issues continuing on guides makes me wonder whether it's time to learn Shimano. I just demoed a bike with XTs that worked great though I do find the Levers to be thin feeling and a little unsatisfying.

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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by DriverB View Post
    My DB5s just started doing this, and this after my right lever reach adjustment screw locked up. I have stuck with SRAM even after living the brutality of Elixirs. Bleeds have been better than Elixir but still not what I would call crisp.

    Question: how many SRAM people have finally thrown in the towel and gone elsewhere? I am familiar with SRAM mechanisms, bleeds, etc which makes me hesitant to switch. But hearing about and experiencing all the lever issues and bleed issues continuing on guides makes me wonder whether it's time to learn Shimano. I just demoed a bike with XTs that worked great though I do find the Levers to be thin feeling and a little unsatisfying.

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    Nothing to learn with Shimano. Yea you could bleed them but my oldest pair is from around 2001 and they've never been bled and still work great. The only time I've bled any of mine has been when I've had to use a new line due to a frame swap.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Nothing to learn with Shimano. Yea you could bleed them but my oldest pair is from around 2001 and they've never been bled and still work great. The only time I've bled any of mine has been when I've had to use a new line due to a frame swap.
    Are you saying Shimano categorically needs less bleeding or thats just how you like to do it? Would think a once a year bleed would still be a good idea even with mineral oil, no?

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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by DriverB View Post
    Are you saying Shimano categorically needs less bleeding or thats just how you like to do it? Would think a once a year bleed would still be a good idea even with mineral oil, no?

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    In many of the brake threads I read similar comments as mine. If you want bleed them once a year or once every 5.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by DriverB View Post
    Are you saying Shimano categorically needs less bleeding or that's just how you like to do it?
    Bleeding once a year is probably recommended but in my experience it's really not necessary. I have Shimano brakes that have not been touched in about four years and they still work perfectly.

    If you do bleed them it's a very easy process.

    The brakes do have a very 'light' feel, a lot of people don't like it, but once you are used to it it's not a problem.

  34. #34
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    My 4 or 5 month old Guide RS brakes just started to get sticky as well. My front is really bad. It locks up and holds the front rotors. My rear brakes are getting to that point. Are you guys contacting SRAM directly? I bought my bike complete from Backcountry/Compeitive Cyclist. Or should I contact them first?
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  35. #35
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    It's funny that I should happen to find this now...

    I had my LBS do a warranty replacement for my front (left) Guide RSC brake lever just last week! SRAM is aware of the issue and will replace the defective lever if it's within 2yrs of original purchase.


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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by DDDonny View Post
    It's funny that I should happen to find this now...

    I had my LBS do a warranty replacement for my front (left) Guide RSC brake lever just last week! SRAM is aware of the issue and will replace the defective lever if it's within 2yrs of original purchase.


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  37. #37
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    I just bought a new bike with guide R brakes. Short of disassembling the brake lever, is there a way for me to know whether I may have an issue?

    I just checked and my brakes return fine and seem nice and springy, but it's cold out right now. I've got 3 rides on this bike so far, and a couple in 80-90 degree weather, and have not noticed any issues.

    I plan to take this bike to a lift-service park soon and now I am concerned that these things may lock up and kill me.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    I just bought a new bike with guide R brakes. Short of disassembling the brake lever, is there a way for me to know whether I may have an issue?

    I just checked and my brakes return fine and seem nice and springy, but it's cold out right now. I've got 3 rides on this bike so far, and a couple in 80-90 degree weather, and have not noticed any issues.

    I plan to take this bike to a lift-service park soon and now I am concerned that these things may lock up and kill me.
    No worries, Sram will replace them for free so when your family sells the bike, it'll be good to go for the next owner.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    I plan to take this bike to a lift-service park soon and now I am concerned that these things may lock up and kill me.
    Take them off and ebay them.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Take them off and ebay them.
    Seriously do you get commission or something? You're all over these SRAM threads pushing Shimano stuff.

  41. #41
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    I guess SRAM is getting better with their brakes. IME there was no fixing the Elixers, but at least after you deal with the warranty issues with the guides, they seem to be decent brakes.

    My friend had this issue with his Guide Rs (had to pry his pads apart to finish the ride), and in messing around with the brakes, I did find that I like the feel of them better than the XTs. But I still will take something that just plain works.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    Seriously do you get commission or something? You're all over these SRAM threads pushing Shimano stuff.
    Yeah, right?!?! There's an assface in every crowd!


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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by DDDonny View Post
    Yeah, right?!?! There's an assface in every crowd!


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    by assface, you mean someone who knows what theyre talking about.......

    Im stickin with the Pigman on this one, Shimano
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  44. #44
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    I really don't care about the SRAM vs Shimano debate. I had juicy 5's and juicy 7's for over a decade without a single issue. I've read that the Exliers with the taper bore had all sorts of issues, but apparently they moved away from that design. Sure, if I were doing my own build, I'd probably go with Shimano, but these Guides came with the bike and I can't really justify dropping another $200-300 on brakes when my brand new bike came with these high end brakes already installed.

    I really just want my original question answered - how can I tell if these things need to be warrantied before I actually run into a problem out on the trail? If I do take the lever apart, is this something that requires a bleed after re-assembly, or can I just take it apart and check without bleeding?

  45. #45
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    You will need to bleed after you take it apart since you are removing the piston.

    Here is a comparison pic I found of old vs new piston design:
    Guide Brake issues. What's the scale of the problem?-srampistonsml.jpg

    I had Juicy 3s that I used for a really long time without issue. They came on my 2009 Raleigh Mojave 29er. The only reason I changed to the Guide RS brakes is because I broke one of the piston housings and figured it was time for an upgrade. I bought them in Oct. 2016. My riding buddy's bike has had Juicy 5s on them for years and they're still working perfectly.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    Seriously do you get commission or something?
    Nothing wrong with offering a little charitable help to those less fortunate that one's self.

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    Do you think SRAM would tell me, if I gave them the serial numbers on my calipers, if my guides had the new internals? Anyone have a contact at SRAM I could email?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    Do you think SRAM would tell me, if I gave them the serial numbers on my calipers, if my guides had the new internals? Anyone have a contact at SRAM I could email?
    They were aware of the issue with the pistons the middle of last year, I believe. They switched to the new design around that time as well. Since your bike is new, it is likely that they have the new pistons already. The ones I bought in Oct 2016 had the new design in them.

    You could just wait for a really hot day. Then sit the bike outside in the direct sun for a little while. Then see if the characteristics change.

    Another idea that just came to me. You could put some really hot water in a bag and lay it over the lever for a little while. A little over 100 degrees maybe. Don't burn yourself. I figure that it would work since laying a bag of ice water on them frees them up when they're stuck.

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    I have already ridden the bike on two really hot days, like 80-90 degrees, and I didn't notice any issues. Next hot day, I will definitely try to lay them in the sun to see what happens. But you're right, I bought this last week on a new 2017 Santa Cruz, and I am hoping they are the new design.

  50. #50
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    Lever issue notwithstanding I'm not convinced the bleed issues have been completed solved with the Guide.

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  51. #51
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    What issues are those, DriverB? Have you had or heard of bleed issues with guides?

  52. #52
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    Brand new Guide R on my DH bike went to mush lever feel in 2 days of riding. They had to disassemble the lever, somehow the rubber reservoir wasn't installed properly. Not a story that I believe, but it does feel (almost) right again. Kinda bummed as my 2 year old Trail XO brakes have been perfect on my trail bike. If they don't hold up, to eBay they go and on will go Zee or Hope if I can afford 'em.
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  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    What issues are those, DriverB? Have you had or heard of bleed issues with guides?
    The guys on the MBR Path Podcast also talked about this (last few episodes can't remember which exactly), so there are others talking about it. Bleeds haven't been terrible like the Elixir but also the result in my experience hasn't been as firm/crisp as I would like. Still a bit Tough to get right for me but maybe I am just bleed challenged. My right lever return is also impaired. Ugh. They still work just not terribly smooth or precise.

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  54. #54
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    The funny thing about my brakes, specifically the front, was that when I was riding, the brakes were fine. It's when I was stopped for a period of time that the "plunger suck" would take affect...


    https://youtu.be/xemyU6eUc-c


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  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by DDDonny View Post
    The funny thing about my brakes, specifically the front, was that when I was riding, the brakes were fine. It's when I was stopped for a period of time that the "plunger suck" would take affect..
    More airflow to cool them down when you're moving.

  56. #56
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    Well my plan is to ride these things until they need a bleed or stop functioning, and then I will look into replacing them with something else, maybe even brakes made by the company Mr. Pig shills for. I'm not sure I want to get into bleeding DOT fluid. If they are anything like my juicy 7's, they will be fine for the life of the bike, and that is what I am hoping for.

  57. #57
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    There are so many of these being replaced, the take-offs are going to have little value on the used market.
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  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by yzedf View Post
    Brand new Guide R on my DH bike went to mush lever feel in 2 days of riding. They had to disassemble the lever, somehow the rubber reservoir wasn't installed properly. Not a story that I believe, but it does feel (almost) right again. Kinda bummed as my 2 year old Trail XO brakes have been perfect on my trail bike. If they don't hold up, to eBay they go and on will go Zee or Hope if I can afford 'em.
    Lasted one ride and went to mush again. Almost 40mph and rear brake lever to the bar is a bad bad feeling. Shop supposedly messed up the bleed of the new lever assembly. I was told SRAM has been upgrading people to Codes when the Guides can't be made right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by yzedf View Post
    Lasted one ride and went to mush again. Almost 40mph and rear brake lever to the bar is a bad bad feeling. Shop supposedly messed up the bleed of the new lever assembly. I was told SRAM has been upgrading people to Codes when the Guides can't be made right.
    damn really? thats a sweet free upgrade
    2017 yeti sb6c turq x01 eagle

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by useport80 View Post
    damn really? thats a sweet free upgrade
    All you have to do is hope you survive the rides to get them
    Tallboy 3
    OG Ripley v2
    Carver 420 TI

  61. #61
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    Yup, same sticky problem with both levers on my Intense and now bike in the shop again. NEVER had an issue with my Shimano XTs (several pair). Hate Guide brakes...

  62. #62
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    Will be going to Codes. Just can't leave SRAM. For brakes that is.

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    Marin County, CA

  63. #63
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    Both levers on my guides on my brand new (second ride) Intense stuck yesterday. I can't believe they didn't recall these!

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

  64. #64
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    I have now had two sets (i.e. four brakes) of Guide RS brakes become stuck on at the lever. It happens when they get warm, and goes away when they cool off. I also had the reach adjustment screw break on two brakes (from different sets).

    I got the first stuck set replaced under warranty, and the warranty set is so loose I can pretty much touch the bar with my mtn bike gloves on. No amount of bleeding helps, and there is no pad contact adjustment (remarkably). I can't live with that lack of feel, so I took them off and put XT's on. You can argue about whether the XT's are the best brakes or not, but I like mtn bike parts that you don't have to think about, and that don't ruin the occasional ride, and the XT's fit that bill nicely.

    The second set locked up yesterday. Rode 38km (24 miles) with the damned front brake on. Good times. Took that set off today and put on XT's.

    I don't know if SRAM has fixed the issue and I don't care. Three strikes with brakes and you're out in my book. More than out.

  65. #65
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    I've have a set of RSC on my old 26er since 2016, and the rear brake was always rubbing, turning the pad contact did absolutely nothing, after leaving the bike stowed for a good 6 months. I found the rear pretty much stuck and the lever would only return after 10 minutes or so.
    Took them to a LBS and they bled them for me and returned them, but the lever return was still always slowish.
    I have read quite a few posts about Guides being sticky and seems to point to the lever piston plastic rubbing causing the lever to slow return, I was going to bleed the system myself, but thought I should see if I can take them apart myself and try. Followed this SRAM service manual:
    https://sram-cdn-pull-zone-gsdesign...._english_0.pdf
    I took it apart and filed the white piston plastic down re installed then bled the system.............I am pretty chuffed with the result. Brakes like it's new and absolutely no rubbing, plus the contact in swivel works.
    To be honest the system is pretty simplistic, and not too difficult to work on.
    Suggest you should try to DIY them before you give up on them.

  66. #66
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    Guide Brake issues. What's the scale of the problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by DDDonny View Post
    It's funny that I should happen to find this now...

    I had my LBS do a warranty replacement for my front (left) Guide RSC brake lever just last week! SRAM is aware of the issue and will replace the defective lever if it's within 2yrs of original purchase.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    And low-and-behold, now my rear brake lever is due for a warranty replacement... Stupid, SRAM!!! 🤬


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by DDDonny; 05-05-2018 at 05:52 PM.

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