After years of questionable reliability and obnoxious acoustics under the Avid banner, SRAM‘s line of Guide hydraulic disc brakes have impressed our entire staff with their modulation and power. Their newest product, the Level, promises to pack that same performance in a lighter package.
Designed for cross country and trail riding, the Level utilizes the same internals as the Guides, but employs a two piston caliper and additional technology to help reduce overall weight. The major changes include a new lever design that’s based on the Guide, but is lighter and more compact. There’s also a new detent design for tooled reach adjustment that keeps them hidden from the elements.
On the caliper side, the Level again shares technology with the Guides, including a stainless steel shield to reduce heat transfer from the rotor and pads to the caliper, and an easy bleeding system. The difference is that rather than a four-piston design, the Lever relies on two 21mm pistons, and on the Ultimate and TLM models, a mono-block constructed caliper.
This technology will be available at five price points, which will replace several existing models in the current SRAM disc brake line up. At the top is the Level Ultimate, which features a carbon lever and blade, titanium hardware, alloy backed pads to help reduce weight, and lever pivot bearings for improved feel. Weight is a claimed 318 grams for a 800 gram hose, 160mm CLX rotor, and Ti hardware. For comparisons sake, the Guide Ultimate (with a 950mm hose, 160mm rotor, and hardware) weighs 42 grams more. Price for the Lever Ultimate is $297 versus $288 for the Guide Ultimate.
Moving down the line is the Level TLM, which has an alloy lever blade, uses lever pivot bushings, and stainless steel hardware. At a $190, the TLM retails for just over $100 less than the Level Ultimate, but only weighs 80 grams more per set.
For the more budget conscious consumer who doesn’t mind tooled reach adjust, the Level TL shares the same power as the Ultimate and Level TLM for a reasonable $102. Weight is a respectable 370 grams.
On the entry level side are the Level T and Level, which retail for $82 and $63 respectively. Both weigh over 400 grams and the main difference appears to be the clamp. The most affordable Level is only compatible with a pinch clamp, while the Level T uses either a two bolt or MatchMaker system.
For more information visit www.sram.com.