Specialized, being one of SRAM’s biggest customers, seems to have some pull when it comes to getting custom parts. In addition to the custom carbon cranks that adorn quite a few of their 2011 bikes, the brakes on the mid- and high-level mountain bikes are tricked out.

Shown above are modified versions of the new XX World Cup brakes that SRAM just unveiled at their press camp. Astute readers may notice the addition of the anodized red reach adjust knob. This is exclusive to Specialized and adds tool free reach adjust and eliminates the need to fiddle with a really small allen wrench on the trail. Really astute readers will also notice the absence of the rubbery end cap that normally covers the hose as it enters the lever body. I suppose this saves a few grams, but on that one I think it also leaves the hydraulic hose prone to severe bends against the insertion point in the event of a wreck…Hmmm.

Anyway, on to ‘more’ trick bits after the break…


The bad news is, you can’t get this same knob. The good news is, that sentence should end with “…for now.”  Specialized’s rep says that SRAM has actually built in past exclusive features, which means this may make its way to production models in the future.


The S-Works Enduro gets XX-R brake levers, another custom model that keeps the XX’s pad contact adjust but adds the reach knob.


On the S-Works Epic FSR, the frame’s brake mounts are set for 140mm rotors, but the bike comes with a 160mm rotor. Rather than weight it down with standard adapters, Specialized had SRAM (Avid) create custom individual spacers that do away with the bridge between them. Technically, you could do this pretty easily yourself with a Dremel tool.


On some of the mid-level bikes, you’ll see levers that say Elixir CR SL. You won’t find these on Avid’s website. The “SL” part actually has nothing to do with the levers. It refers to alloy-backed pads that Specialized says saves about 10g per caliper over typical metal backed pads.

There was also a quick, almost subtle mention about custom brake tunes, too, but no details seemed to follow. And if you’re wondering why the bike pictured directly above doesn’t use the Matchmaker system, it’s because it costs more and for the mid-level MM clamps, you lose some of the independent adjustability of the MM XX clamps.


What do you think?