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  1. #1
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    SRAM Guide RS poor stopping and quick to fade...Clydesdale woes...

    So at 280+ am I just too heavy to be running SRAM Guide RS brakes? They were stock on my DiamondBack Release 3 but I swapped them over to my Torrent last year and they have pretty poor stopping power and end of last year after a relatively short but somewhat steep downhill...by mid ride I was nearly to the point of having to Flintstone my bike to get stopped.

    Brakes have even been bled previous to that because of the poor braking performance...I was thinking maybe there was air in the system but there was no improvement. I'm looking to upgrade anyways...but are these brakes just not great to start with or are they simply just not up to deal with larger riders like me?
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    So at 280+ am I just too heavy to be running SRAM Guide RS brakes? They were stock on my DiamondBack Release 3 but I swapped them over to my Torrent last year and they have pretty poor stopping power and end of last year after a relatively short but somewhat steep downhill...by mid ride I was nearly to the point of having to Flintstone my bike to get stopped.

    Brakes have even been bled previous to that because of the poor braking performance...I was thinking maybe there was air in the system but there was no improvement. I'm looking to upgrade anyways...but are these brakes just not great to start with or are they simply just not up to deal with larger riders like me?
    Have you tried sinter pads? I have guides on my DH bike. Iím 220 and I feel itís enough for whistler riding. I could always use more power but it gets the job done.

    There are stronger options out there though so if you donít feel confident showing down, thatís never an easy feeling. Go for the upgrade!


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  3. #3
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    Just put Shimano MT-502 with metallic pads and new Shimano rotors on my bike. Only have one ride on them, so very early, but very much like them so far. Bike came with Guide T and centerline rotors. They definately got softer after riding a while and were uneven in their pull. So replace SRAM 4 piston with Shimano 4 piston. Cost for pre-bleed brake kit (front and back), pads, 180 and 203 mm rotors were about $200 delivered. Btw about 250 lbs.

  4. #4
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    It kind of depends on how slow you ride steep long descents if that makes sense. Iím 250 and had a lot of brake issues last year.
    First, Iíd recommend 203/203 or 203/180 rotors. Second, Iíd recommend Hayes Dominions or Shimano Saint/Zee brakes. Youíre a big boy and big boys need big brakes. Both Saints and Dominions worked out pretty well for me and Iím currently happy on the latter. I like to have braking power to spare, and those two setups do it!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Junersun View Post
    Have you tried sinter pads? I have guides on my DH bike. Iím 220 and I feel itís enough for whistler riding. I could always use more power but it gets the job done.

    There are stronger options out there though so if you donít feel confident showing down, thatís never an easy feeling. Go for the upgrade!


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    I have not but I'll give them a try first before getting all new brakes. Maybe those will do the trick.


    Quote Originally Posted by farfromovin View Post
    It kind of depends on how slow you ride steep long descents if that makes sense. Iím 250 and had a lot of brake issues last year.
    First, Iíd recommend 203/203 or 203/180 rotors. Second, Iíd recommend Hayes Dominions or Shimano Saint/Zee brakes. Youíre a big boy and big boys need big brakes. Both Saints and Dominions worked out pretty well for me and Iím currently happy on the latter. I like to have braking power to spare, and those two setups do it!
    I think on the particular decent that I lost about 90% of my braking...it was about a 4 mph average because I didn't want to go too fast but I did hit speeds of 10+ mph and grades as steep as -35% and it was for about 2.5 miles. I am on 180/180 rotors. I'll have to check the fork to make sure it will allow for a 203.
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  6. #6
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    The stock Sram pads will overheat easily riding DH. Unless your levers went soft you experienced pad fade and the brakes themselves aren't the primary issue. Upgrade to sintered pads (I like Jagwire Pro extreme sintered) and then maybe larger rotors (better heat dissipation and stopping force).

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    I have not but I'll give them a try first before getting all new brakes. Maybe those will do the trick.




    I think on the particular decent that I lost about 90% of my braking...it was about a 4 mph average because I didn't want to go too fast but I did hit speeds of 10+ mph and grades as steep as -35% and it was for about 2.5 miles. I am on 180/180 rotors. I'll have to check the fork to make sure it will allow for a 203.
    Give kool stop pads a try.


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  8. #8
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    +1 for trying sintered pads
    +1 for trying larger rotors

    (in that order)

    I too experienced fade and overheating with SRAMs came on a new bike. I went the larger rotor route, but didn't really help in my case. I wound up replacing everything with XT hardware.

    If you do try larger rotors, try Shimano's SM RT99's. The cooling fins might help. But, I believe they're still only available as center lock.
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  9. #9
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    That works because my hubs are centerlock!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    That works because my hubs are centerlock!
    Nice! And hey, if they don't help you, they still look cool!
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  11. #11
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    I noticed a definite improvement going to 203mm front rotor. Long term I will probably upgrade to Zee's. But I have a hard time throwing away the guide's when they work fine for 98% of my riding. It's just the longer steeper sections where I have problems.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Junersun View Post
    ...Iím 220 and I feel itís enough for whistler riding. I could always use more power but it gets the job done...
    If you're talking about the park then I've never managed to cook my brakes there, despite doing it to my XTs (resin and metallic) fairly regularly on shorter local trails. Think it's because none of the trails are particularly steep. Valley trails might be a different story. Solved the problem by going to Zees, though I'm not as heavy as the OP.

  13. #13
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    I weigh 220 and found the Guides to be underpowered for me riding in the mountains. I posted about this a while ago and was told I was dragging my brakes too much, but I'm not sure how you get by riding around here without keeping some brake down given the terrain. You should be able to depend on your brakes to stop you and slow you down, regardless of how you are riding.

    The Guide resin pads had plenty of power, but faded very quickly. I'd get to the bottom of 1+ mile descents and be able to pull the lever to the bar with no power going down. I went to metallic, which stopped the fading, but I lost power and they couldn't slow me down.

    Going to 29 also seemed to make a big difference, as neither was a problem for me on my 27.5 bikes. I had 203 f / 180 r rotors on both and it was still a problem.

    Personally, I went with the new M8020 brakes to resolve it and it seemed to help. They don't fade at all and they have considerably more power, you'd get even more out of Zee or Saint options as well. The main problem I'm having with them now is that they seem really inconsistent in cold weather below 40 degrees, but I think mine have a warranty issue or something going on with them.

    The other option would be to get a Code caliper and use your Guide levers instead, but I found the Guide RS levers to wear quickly and develop flop, so I'd just replace them altogether.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trainling Wheels View Post
    Just put Shimano MT-502 with metallic pads and new Shimano rotors on my bike. Only have one ride on them, so very early, but very much like them so far. Bike came with Guide T and centerline rotors. They definately got softer after riding a while and were uneven in their pull. So replace SRAM 4 piston with Shimano 4 piston. Cost for pre-bleed brake kit (front and back), pads, 180 and 203 mm rotors were about $200 delivered. Btw about 250 lbs.
    Do you mean your brakes were Level T, not Guide T?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    Do you mean your brakes were Level T, not Guide T?
    The Guide T is a fairly new model from SRAM. It's a budget friendly version of the plain Jane Guide R.

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  16. #16
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    When I looked up the Guide T on SRAM site it was listed as a 4 piston brake.

    Is that not true? This is the 2nd time on the forum I've read of a poor operating Guide T, but without experience I wonder how bad a 4 piston brake can be.

    Thanks for sharing the knowledge. Would like to know what is correct, the web version or the forum version.

  17. #17
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    Pictures I see of the Guide T are 4 piston. Bike Mag and Singletrack Mag both did reviews and the pics they have and the articles both say 4 piston.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    but without experience I wonder how bad a 4 piston brake can be.
    SRAM is always pushing the limits of how bad their brakes can be

    All the Guide brakes are 4 piston calipers. The Code brakes are also 4 piston, but larger diameter pistons. The Level brakes are 2 piston
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  19. #19
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    Oh thats right. I forgot Guides were 4 piston. Thanks for that reminder.

    Sad that a 4 piston brake comes standard with people mentioning poor performance. Just from a few posts I have recently seen.

    I've only got one experience with SRAM brakes, the Level T. I'm not impressed.

  20. #20
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    The Levels are terrible brakes all around IMO, the Guides work great for a lot of folks and have their perks, they were just underpowered for me.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    Do you mean your brakes were Level T, not Guide T?
    Yes they are Guide T brakes. Yes four piston brakes. Came stock on V3 Bronson. As stated, I could definately tell the difference in warm weather from beginning to end of a ride, and that was not dragging brakes. There was also uneven bite point between the two brakes. Then add the DOT fluid, already had Shimano bleed setup, etc. and they had to go. Gets hot here in the US south.

    Btw, the MT-502 brakes I mentioned previously has the same mechanism as the new 4 piston XT brakes, they just dont have some of the little extras. So a slightly stripped down 4 piston XT brake (which are supposedly basically same mech as Zee and Saints), much like 2 piston SLX was a stripped down 2 piston XT. I have not tried finned (heat sink) XT pads in my MT-502, nor finned rotors, so can't sweat those will fit together, but if they do, then that is a very budget friendly XT like brake setup. Just the same the one ride I've got on them (weather no good for mtb since first of the year), was very good. Hot weather will tell the story though.
    Last edited by Trainling Wheels; 1 Week Ago at 06:51 AM.

  22. #22
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    As a fellow 280lb rider, also on SRAM Guide RS brakes w/ 180m rotors using Jagwire Pro Extreme Sintered Brake Pads, I can say you are not outside the range of acceptable braking. They're not Saints by any means, but they will work.

    Like others mentioned, sintered pads and larger rotors.
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