SRAM Guide RS S4 MTB disc brake review£179.00

Good brake gets even better

BikeRadar score4.5/5

SRAM’s imminently upgraded mid-range Guide RS brake is a great mix of practical performance and price without adding excessive costs for materials.

While the Guide R is cheaper and looks very similar it lacks the internal ‘SwingLink’ cam that gives more clearance between the pads and rotor for quieter dirty weather running without reducing power or modulation at the contact point.

You don’t get the bite-point adjustment dial of the Guide RSC, but you do get a tool-free reach-adjustment dial, and we found the default engagement setting to be spot-on for most members of our testing team. The distinctive arc of the broad blade lever amplifies average power in practical terms and it always feels pokey enough for challenging trails with a 180mm rotor.

The big news is that from June 2016 all Guide brakes get the same all-new S4 calliper as the Guide Ultimate. This brings smoother, reshaped seals and pistons with multiple heat management improvements for exceptionally consistent and responsive control however hot and heavy you get with your braking.

New simplified Bleeding Edge porting is a joy to use and it’ll handle sintered pads fine without any heat issues. Add excellent reliability, flawless syncing with other SRAM controls and reasonable weight and the Guide RS is a top cost effective, uncompromised performance option.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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