SRAM president outlines 2015 HydroR changes

New road hydraulics will have new lever, new bleed port and new caliper spring

During the Taipei Cycle Show, SRAM president Stan Day announced a few upcoming changes to the company's beleaguered road hydraulic brake system, which will be reintroduced in the second half of April. In a video release, Day said the "completely new" HydroR brake systems will have a redesigned lever, a new bleed port and a new caliper spring.

Day also reiterated the two problems that caused the December 2013 recall of all SRAM HydroR caliper and disc brake systems.

"There were two mechanical issues that enabled the brake to ingest air, lose pressure and fail," Day said. "In the extreme cold, the system seals stiffen and become less compliant, which is why we saw the problem multiply in December."

"The first mechanical issue was that the master cylinder bore was not cylindrical," he said. "Our manufacturing process parameters did not adequately control the part fabrication. The result was that there was an oval shape to the bore that was beyond what the seal was capable of handling, especially in the extreme cold when the seal lost some of its compliance."

"The second issue was that the system created excessive negative pressure in the brake fluid reservoir," he said. "When it is controlled, negative pressure does not affect the brakes. We were not under control; we were operating outside of the seal’s capability to compensate, especially in the extreme cold conditions, and the result was air ingested into the system."

For the 2015 model year product coming in April, Day said both issues have been addressed.

Also, new features on the new HydroR will include:

— a new lever body that Day said is lighter with better shift cable routing and "better sealing on all critical surfaces"

— a new bleed port design "with better sealing and an easier user interface"

— a new caliper spring that reduces lever travel

Day said the company also changed its testing. As Day said in an earlier BikeRadar story, SRAM has added testing in environmental chambers in addition to ride testing. The new product, Day said, has been tested from -20 C/-4 F to 46 C/115 F.

Day said riders who had bought a HydroR system or a bike with HydroR will be the company's first priority, then the company will focus on new sales.

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team, Trek Boone 5, Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4, Marinoni fixed gear, Santa Cruz Roadster TT bike
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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