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.)



  1. This is SRAM’s golden opportunity to replace the corrosive mineral oil with dot fluid and this cheap EPDM seals with urethane or silicone seals.

  2. Pete, Cheese has mineral oil and DOT fluids mixed up. An unattended DOT fluid spill will ruin your equipment but mineral oil is harmless. In fact, most mineral oils are safe for humans to consume prior to additives such as dyes. But still, please be safe and only drink mineral that is intended for human consumption.

  3. Mineral oil is NOT safe for consumption. That is ridiculous! Some idiot out there is going to bleed his brakes and show his friends, “hey look at me drink this stuff.” Next thing you know the friends will be taking him to the ER.

    Cheese is right. SRAM needs to upgrade from mineral oil to DOT fluid and get rid of the cheap silicone seals.

  4. I know this comment will make the SRAM fan boys mad, but

    So let me get this straight, they developed this current system over 3 full years and much to their surprise it has failed in spectacular fashion? Their mountain bike brakes have been around for years since they bought Avid and they still suck. And SRAM is telling the public they are going to re design a new brake system in a few months and everything will be great? Ah……. what makes them think that will work?

    And they are screwing around with electric? Go back and get your MTB brakes dialed it. Get the road hydro and disk really fixed. Then worry about moving forward on new stuff. Focus on their strengths, light weight, shifting, their 1 ring systems and lower cost than Shimano and Campy.

  5. That’s what I meant, Jason. Glycol ether = bad, mineral oil = good. People drink baby oil regularly, Ajax. (Get it? Regularly, as in regularity?) Do you think this will kill them or perhaps do you think that it’s the chemicals that they add to prevent growth and foaming that might be bad to ingest?

  6. Anybody ever eaten Swedish fish?

    I’ll give everyone one guess what they are made of. Hint it’s not what SRAM uses for their brakes

What do you think?