Rim Brake Calipers: SRAM Red vs Shimano Dura Ace

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.

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by Lewn777

I'm about to buy some Shimano Dura Ace rim brake calipers because I've previosuly used Shimano and find the design to be the best. I've also rented a bike with SRAM Red and found them to be not as good in use and setup.

Even though I have a SRAM Force 11 mechanical groupset (because I prefer SRAM shifting over Shimano) I still prefer the Shimano calipers and think the cable pull is fine and have already used 105 5800 calipers with no problem. So what I'm saying is: I think the Shimano Dura-Ace are so much better I'm happy to have a mis-matched groupset.

If you have used or use SRAM Red calipers and find them to be excellent please post up why, and any setup tips or things I'm missing as to why SRAM Red are great brakes at least equal to Dura-Ace.

by Weenie

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by taodemon

This being Weight Weenies might I suggest a set of EE brakes?

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by 2lo8

SRAM Red and Force brakes aren't even the same kind of design. Force brakes are some 40g lighter than DA too. I'm not saying Shimano brakes aren't better, but if you have Force, why are you using Red to discount SRAM?
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by wheelsONfire

If you got the money, go EE instead.

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by RocketRacing

Yes, ee is the correct answer

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by xDOMx

Looking to go SRAM Red mechanical on my next build - minded to try for EE instead of Aerolonk, if I can pick some up used.

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by Bigger Gear

What about TRP? I only have experience with their long reach RG-957 but they are very well built and definitely stiffer than the Shimano BR-650 they replaced. The TRP R-979 EQ certainly look the business.

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by slowK

Not exactly the same, but I run Ultegra (6800) rim brakes with SRAM Red levers without any problem. Much better braking than the SRAM Force calipers (with Force levers) on my other bike.

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by Lewn777

There is no way in hell I'm ever buying ee brakes. They're just far too expensive. Someone would have to loan me a caliper for me to try for a week to make sure that they are really that good before I'd even consider them. There has to be some kind of connect between manufacturing costs and price. I'm not into these lubing up and presenting a price that people hope the market will stand as with high end cell phones.

There's plenty of brakes lighter than Shimano Dura-Ace, with a massive price range. IMO is nothing is more powerful, easier to set up or Durable than Shimano. If you think there is make a case.
Last edited by Lewn777 on Wed Nov 21, 2018 3:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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by Lewn777

slowK wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:40 am
Not exactly the same, but I run Ultegra (6800) rim brakes with SRAM Red levers without any problem. Much better braking than the SRAM Force calipers (with Force levers) on my other bike.
Yes, I totally agree, as I've done the same with 105 (5800). It's just that I'm thinking about using the same logic but repalcing Ultrega with Dura-Ace for increased weight savings.

Although I'm hoping somone will make a convincing case for SRAM red as they are lighter and more sexy looking. I've tried RED and found them to be inferior in terms of power and finnicky to set up, but hoping it's user error or lack of knowledge (but doubt it). I'm looking to upgrade the whole groupset to RED when 2x12 comes out if it's compatible with my bike.

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by bikeboy1tr

I am running DA direct mount with etap and find it even better than the standard mount. The standard mount was pretty good for braking as well. I went with DA because I was not hearing anything postitive about Red rim brakes.
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by wheelbuilder

ee is definitely worth the cost. Best modulation and lever feel out there imo. Plus supremely light.
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by moonoi

I have had DA-9000, Super Record and currently Red Aerolink brakes setup on the same bike, I actually found that the SR and Red brakes had better modulation than DA, when I switch from SR to eTap the only negative I found is that the Red brakes lack the same level of height clearance for bigger tyres, so where as with SR and DA I could run 28mm tyres on a 21mm internal rim, with Red I can only run 23mm tyres, otherwise the top of the tyre hits the center of the brake.

I have seen others have problems around keep the red brakes centered, but this not something I have experienced myself in over 5000km riding and multiple wheel removals.

I'm actually considering the eeBrakes now, since I would like to run larger volume tyres on the shitty road surfaces we have here and alledgedly they have the same/better braking qualities

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by Mr.Gib

Sram Red mechanical is by far my prefered groupset. But when it come to the brakes not so much.

There are two problems:
1. the spring is too stiff and requires too much effort to close, and at the same time the pivots offer too much resistance when opening making them less responsive to lever inputs.
2. The calipers are simply too flexible which also interferes with lever feel. If you are using carbon rims with soft pads (SwissStop Yellow), it ends up feeling very spongy - I hate it.

It comes down to a feel issue as they still stop the bike just fine.

As to staying centered, yes, not as good as Shimano or Campy but if you cut your cable housing perfectly it can be OK.

I too wish EE were a little less expensive.
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 alcatraz

A heavy (95-100kg) friend I have went from ultegra 6800 to sram red and he liked the feeling. Sure he doesn't descend at 60+km/h but compared to the ultegra brakes they were really good and inspired confidence in dense chinese traffic and so.

To center sram red brakes you don't need to use the fine tuning screws. Just leave them almost all the way out to slacken the spring. Then after tightening the mounting nut to approx right tension you center the brakes by just turning the nut. The brakes will follow when the tension on the nut is medium to high. You can also use a cone spanner on the axle but the easiest fine tunins is simply giving the nut a nudge.

Give the pivot points a little lube from time to time and you're good.

Also from time to time is good to check the calipers for play. There shouldn't be any play in them if you pull/push the arms sideways. If there is it could explain the spongyness and the brake should be cleaned and reassembled. If it's clean already then tighten the pivot point that has play.

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