Sram Red brakes seem crummy

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by Asteroid

Long time Dura Ace dual pivot user here. Bought a cool bike with a Red groupset. (Plan to post up in the build section, once the saddle arrives.) My complaint concerns the brake calipers. Centering with a 13mm wrench is so 70's. And a frustrating activity with the way they wobble around. What passes for barrel adjusters and quick-release mechanism cheapens the package further. My 90's Dura Ace 7403 and 7700 work better, as far as I can tell.

Agree or disagree? On the plus side, guess they save roughly 40g over the 9000/9100 calipers. Wish I could afford the Cane Creek EE's at $600+. Those suckers are the bomb. :thumbup:

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by Alpine318is

I totally agree. With my eTap group its the only thing that I just can't stand about the bike. I've just been lazy about trying to pick up some 9000 or even 7900 calipers.
2012 Specialized Venge S-Works
Enve Classics

by Weenie

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by Mr.Gib

I am a long time Red user with Red on three bikes, Campy on one, and Shimano on one.

Sram Red Mechanical is my favourite groupset, mostly due to ergonomics, the shifting method, and overall simplicity of design.

As to the brakes, no question they are inferior to Shimano and Campy. The centering is certainly an issue.

To address the centering, I cut my cable housing so that the caliper sits as close to centered even before I tighten the brake retention nut. Most of the time this means a bit shorter then what most mechanics typically install. On most set ups it won't be perfect, but it can be close and it will reduce the amount of centering to the occasional adjustment.

The barrel adjusters and quick release are partly plastic and not great but they do work acceptably well. You want light? Some compromise is unavoidable.

Regarding braking power (which you have not complained about), again, not as good as Shimano or Campy but certainly good enough. The caliper arms are just not as stiff as the other brands and so they don't modulate quite as well and require a touch more effort at the lever during hard braking. A bit spongier feel than the other brands. It is essential that a top quality cable housing is used. The stock Sram shifter housing is OK but the brake housing is too soft. Yokozuna has worked well but is very difficult to install because it is so rigid, and Jagwire is also nice and easier to set up. Both will reduce any sponginess to a reasonable level.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

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by Asteroid

Forgot to mention the sponginess. My Jagwire brake housing helps alleviate it somewhat. Definitely lighter by about 50g. The nice thing about DA 9000's is the instantaneous feel of the rim. The Reds take more brake lever throw to get the pads to the rim.

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by cooper

Had Red brakes with Red mechanical. Hated the inability of Red brakes to stay centered.

Decided to bypass Red brakes when I went to eTap and got eeBrakes instead. No issues at all with the eeBrakes. Those are wonderful (other than the price)

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by commendatore

I found the centering frustrating initially, but I think some adjustment of the spring tension has largely taken care of it.

For the price and weight I think they are about what I would expect. I wouldn't swap to DA for more weight and the price of ee puts them out of reach for me.

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by morganb

I second the eeBrakes in lieu of the Red brakes. Way better action and modulation while also lighter. They are expensive but they don't disappoint.

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by JackRussellRacing

+1 agreed on the inferiority of RED brakes. The calipers that came with my eTap RED groupset feel inferior in just about every way to bone stock Ultegra 6180 (in my opinion)

The barrel adjusters on the RED indeed feel cheap, and the quick-release on RED just seems flimsy compared to Shimano.

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by Mep

I fall in the camp of "managed to make it work" and have been satisfied. Have to say I've been intrigued by eebrake for a while. Is it really that much better?

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by RustySpokes

Then to add to the love.... if you switch wheels. I have 22mm and 25mm Hed's the brakes have to be recentered for each different width wheel. A huge pain in the rear every time you switch wheels.
I ended up buying a new set of HED 25 mm jets to replace my old 22mm ones. Now all my wheels are the same, problem solved. At least it was a good excuse to buy new wheels.
It never gets easier, you just go faster.

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by wheelbuilder

I have them and don't really mind them at all. Woefully anemic compared to 9100 to be certain. 9100 looks better as well. Barrel adjusters and quick release don't concern me at all, as I am set up not to need either. That said, I can't justify or afford EE as mine is not a total weenie build, but someday, will probably make the switch. Would I replace them for a heavier 9100 based on performance and looks? No. Would never intentionally "add weight" to my bike with the exception of skewers. Braking imo is all about technique, and the performance of caliper brakes doesn't really concern me that much. As far as the requirement of adjusting them with a 13mm........I don't really see the issue. If your caliper fixing bolt is tight enough, and you can easily get your wheel square into the dropouts each time, only a one time adjustment should be needed. They flop around a bit, for sure, but return to centered position after one pull of the brakes. It sucks that if you "knock" them out of alignment with an impact you have to re-center with a wrench instead of hand strength, but not that big of a deal. May present a problem roadside, but hasn't happened yet.

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by Rippin

Initial setup with Red brakes is a bit fussy compared to Shimano, but once set properly I haven't had an issue. Modulation and stopping power is totally fine. I run Zipp 303 NSW wheels and stopping feels really confident. Could be in part to the grooved braking track, but I would think it would be even better with aluminum wheels. As far as eeBrakes are concerned, I'm running them on another bike with DA 9070 and Eve 3.4s and they just don't stop as well as the Red + Zipp 303 NSW setup. Oh and I've run DA brake calipers before. Can't say they were vastly better than Red.
(*)/ (*)

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by AndyKim

Shimano Dura brakes are far better than Sram. I think.

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by madcow

Mep wrote:I fall in the camp of "managed to make it work" and have been satisfied. Have to say I've been intrigued by eebrake for a while. Is it really that much better?

Yes, they really are that much better. It's the only lightweight brake that has the performance of Campag or Shimano brakes.

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by beanbiken

Swapping out my DA9000 calipers for EE's later today 8)
Ahhh, coffee & carbon

by Weenie

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