As updates trickle out, there’ve been more questions popping up, so we rang SRAM Road PR manager Michael Zellman to get a few answers. He’s checking into a few things for us, so updates will come as we get them. As usual, there are some things they can’t reveal yet, but these at least cover some of the issues in our comments from the prior release:
UPDATED! Additions/changes in italics.
BIKERUMOR: Was the problem with the seal itself, or with the tolerances inside the caliper?
SRAM: The product was in development for three years, and tested through two winters. But when we went from pre-production to production tooling we ended up with a slightly ovalized core bore where the piston goes inside the shift lever. In the cold the seals stiffened and that could create a gap, which allowed air to enter the system.
BIKERUMOR: Then what was wrong with the rim brakes?
SRAM: They use a similar system,
but I’m double checking to see what the specific problem with these was. (Editor’s note: Originally we thought the issue was in the caliper, hence this question. With the update that the problem is in the lever, it clarifies why both systems were affected)
BIKERUMOR: Will the 2015 models be a complete redesign, or just a tweak to fix the issue?
SRAM: It’s going to inherit the features, benefits and technologies, but it’s going to be a new set of brakes. We’ve assessed the issues and we’re making the necessary changes. To say it’s a ground up redesign wouldn’t be entirely accurate, but every aspect of the hydraulic system has been evaluated. There will definitely be some new design elements. That’s all I can say for now.
BIKERUMOR: Will they be lighter?
SRAM: Don’t know.
BIKERUMOR: Will complete bikes on the showroom floor or in warehouses be retrofitted with mechanicals in the interim, or just held until replacement hydraulic brakes are ready?
SRAM: Those are handled on a case by case basis with each manufacturer, it’s up to them as to how they want to proceed. (Editor’s note: our thinking is some models will be retrofitted with mechanicals and sold as-is while other models, likely at the top end, will be held until new hydros are ready.)