Over the past few months SRAM President Stan Day has personally delivered updates regarding the recall and re-release of the new road hydraulic brakes. In this latest installment, Stan has explained what caused the original brakes to fail, and what improvements have been made to the new model which is set to launch in late April.

According to the clip, the failure was caused due to two mechanical issues, which proved to be beyond the capabilities of the seal that was originally spec’d. The first mechanical issue resulted from a cylinder bore that was not cylindrical enough. In extreme cold, the seals stiffened and became less compliant, so the oval shape of the cylinder bore was beyond what the seal was capable of handling.

The second problem resulted from excessive negative pressure in the brake fluid reservoir, which was again outside of the seals ability to compensate, which resulted in air ingested into the system. These two issues and normal variances during manufacturing  lead to failure in cold temperatures and could have also allowed the brakes to fail even in warmer clients.

As a result, SRAM went back to drawing board and the new product that will be released next month has been through more rigorous testing standards and will see a number of mechanical enhancements. The new 2015 model will have a completely new lever body design that is lighter and has better ergonomics, ensures better sealing on all critical surfaces, and improves shifter cable routing. In addition to that there is a new bleed port design with an easier interface. The new design has also undergone a battery of both in house and real life testing in temperatures ranging from -20C (-4 F) to 46 C (115 F).




  1. Yeah. I’m a SRAM fan but in the rush to beat Shimano to the punch, they really goofed here. And that may not be exactly how it went down, but that’s the perception. And that’s a shame because I love their road stuff.

    In the meantime, we have a Shimano hydraulic disc equipped Trek Boone sitting on our floor that has fantastic lever feel but doesn’t stop worth a damn like all hydro-disc road bikes, so that’s cool.

  2. Robo, are you morbidly obese? Not being mean, but that would have to be the case if Shimano’s hydro discs can’t stop you. Of course that, or, your shop can’t bleed a brake to save their lives.

  3. Why only (-4 F). This is the kinda crap that allows srams brakes to fail. They only test to what they think is necessary. Ask people in Minnesota how many days this winter were about (-4). They over looked cold temperatures the firs time and now instead of just going above and beyond it appears they just did enough to get by.

    Translation they didn’t test in the cold before and they failed, and now they are only testing in what they think is cold hopefully they don’t fail.

  4. Robo, the bike I setup with R785 hydros were capable of locking up the rotors een before the pads were bedded in with the rotors. Those things are frankly more powerful then anyone will ever need.

    Don’t know what to tell you. Hire new mechanics? Don’t get mineral oil on the rotors?

  5. I dont know about riding in the -anything cold weather. But i did a few rides over Christmas that were 47°C. should have Sram tested to a higher temp so should i just stay inside out of the mid day heat? 46°C seems like an odd temp to stop at why not round it out at 50 and really stress test it?

  6. Am I really reading a post in march 2014 about 2015 product due to release in April 2014? Is this to get more market time on it so it doesn’t seem so quick when the next new SRAM red comes out?
    Slow down SRAM. Measure twice, cut once…

  7. Sram should not do brakes at all,just look at their Avids. These guys can’t build brakes,period. Sram products are typical american products…all fancy ‘n shi* when they come out but they fall apart in a matter of few months. It’s like their cars,that’s why americans buy japanese cars.

  8. I have been really happy with my Avid Elixir CR Mags on my XC racer. They are not sharp by feel by any means, but deliver really smooth progression. I have come to appreciate that in high speed situations, when scraping off speed only slightly is the fastest way. Also, they are highly adjustable and have been totally hassle free for two years. But I guess I’m one of the lucky ones.

    This is a bit over the top marketing from SRAM, basically publishing videos with the same story every couple of months, but at least it seems they have learned something and the new levers will be better.

  9. what he SHOULD have said:
    “we simply haven’t the slightest f*ing clue how to build brakes, as evidenced by our entire company history trying. We also don’t do any testing whatsoever. It’s your fault really, those who keep buying our products.”

  10. @Devastazione

    You might be talking about just the brakes or maybe their MTB stuff, but I’ve got 1st gen SRAM Force that is still going strong after 5 years and 25k miles. It shifts as quickly and crisply as day one. YMMV…

    I will agree that SRAM’s chains leave something to be desired.

  11. How many companies do you know that address problems and issues by sending out updates as they make changes to failures in the field…

    Very few, because of the back lash people give them for the company accepting fault and having an open book as to their actions moving forward.

  12. Funny all the hate. No I am not the biggest fan of disc brakes but all the companies have recalls now days, it is the nature of the market they are in, even Shimano.

  13. Thanks to SRAM for admitting the problem, safely and effectively solving the problem, explaining exactly what the problem was, and then at great expense to their bottom line fixing the problem.

    All the hate here is really sad. SRAM had two minor manufacturing defects that weren’t revealed during normal testing. They quickly discovered the problem and are working on fixing the problem not just covering it up. Thanks to Stan Day for sticking his neck out there and addressing things head on. I wish more executives had the guts to do the same.

  14. There was some REALLY scary stuff in that announcement.. I’ll take the liberty of interpreting some of those statements..

    (1) Prior to the brake failures.. our quality control was so nonexistant that we didn’t even bother to verify that our parts were manufactured within acceptable tolerances.. hell, we didn’t even know what acceptable tolerances were until we looked into it further and discovered that our cylinders weren’t even cylindrical.

    (2) We’ve experienced a steep learning curve with hydraulic seals. Apparently.. different compounds are affected by external air temperature. We’ve recently learned that temperature should be taken into account when spec’ing hydraulic seals.

  15. I am willing to bet that not ONE of the folks above bashing SRAMs Hydro road brakes ever rode a set. They worked VERY well. They failed in an extreme condition and therefore SRAM recalled them and fixed the issue, and is replacing all of the purchased parts in the field with new and improved hardware. This is making the very best of a bad situation. When the new brakes are out, I would encourage you to try some and make your opinion then.

    I have ridden the hydro brakes, and they worked great. You fanboys and the rest of the gang who have no clue what they are talking about but just want to link SRAM hydro brakes with old school Avid failures need to find a new tune to sing, because that one is played out.

    To the people who are griping about the temperature range, that is a realistic temperature range for road or cyclocross riding. Why would they test outside that range? At some point you start compromising product performance to meet some extreme use conditions that the parts wont ever see. Seriously, you are really hankering to do some hardcore braking in 116 degree fahrenheit heat? Lets be realistic. I know I know, someone is going to chime in with “that is exactly what I do”, well, good on you, buy some cable brakes and be stoked.

    All of the anonymous “experts” and haters on these sites need to get pack up their stale, uniformed comments and make a conscious decision to not post anything unless you have something informative to say. The internet doesn’t need any more idiots, it’s full of them already thank you.

  16. nope, sram had all the time in the world to figure out that their brakes doesn´t work. But they develop stuff in warmer regions, put out new stuff before the old even has hit the shelfs in other countrys. Which leads to that google clients don´t want to buy bikes, cause “they are old”. This means that we are selling bikes that haven´t been delivered from the manufactors yet, and the owners need to bring them back to get their brakes fixed, sure they supply a brake. But what about all the work the shops need to do? a lot of people think we make a lot of money selling bikes, we don´t.

  17. You should recall XX brakes too. They require rebleeds every couple of weeks. Sounds like the same problems, and definitely a safety issue.

  18. Seals failing in the cold? I seem to remember a rocket that blew up going to space many years ago due to seals failing in the cold. Shouldn’t have been a surprise now. Even considering that a bike is not a rocket.

  19. They should recall the XX brakes too. They need to be bled about every other week. Seems like a potential safety issue to me.

  20. I agree with PT XX brakes I had no more than 20 miles on bike and have to bleed them already. It’s a pain on supposedly high end brakes. And a cost that you shouldn’t be occurred on a new set of brakes.

What do you think?