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.