SRAM gets slimmer stoppers with all-new Level brake

Lighter two piston range for trail and cross country use

SRAM has completely revamped its twin-piston range of cross country and light trail brakes, replacing existing models from top-tier SRAM XX down to budget Avid DB1 offerings with a full range of new stoppers under the Level moniker.

SRAM has taken a number of design cues from its four-piston Guide series of brakes, with the Level lever using the same piston and bladder design in a slimmed down, lighter and smaller body. While SRAM's older Taperbore levers sometimes suffered from an inconsistent bite point, we've not struggled with these issues on the Guides, so hopefully this will translate well over the Level brake. The Bleeding Edge system for servicing fluid should also be a big improvement, as it was notoriously tricky to get all the air our of the older designs.

While many of the Guide's feature have transferred over, what you don't get on any Level model is contact point or tool-free reach adjustment, though there is a new detent design on the tooled adjuster to ease tweaking them to suit your preferences. 

Level Ultimate

Level ultimate lever gets titanium hardware and carbon lever blade:
Level ultimate lever gets titanium hardware and carbon lever blade:

There are going to be five models in the range, with the top dog Ultimate getting a one-piece caliper with 21mm pistons to improve stiffness, consistency and heat management. You also get aluminium backed pads to help drop a few more grams, and there's a stainless steel heat shield like that seen on the Guide Ultimate to help reduce heat transfer from the rotor and pads to the caliper. The lever gets a carbon blade with pivot bearings and titanium hardware and uses the Matchmaker X clamp to ease integration with other SRAM family products.

With a claimed weight of 318g for the Ultimate, there's a slight weight penalty over the XX that it will replace of around 28g, though that's a price we're willing to pay for improved power and durability. Prices have been set as $297 / €324 / £249 / AU$TBC.

Level TLM

Level tlm calliper also shares the guide-inspired steel heat shield with the ultimate:
Level tlm calliper also shares the guide-inspired steel heat shield with the ultimate:

For those with slightly less deep pockets, the TLM gets the same one-piece calliper, but does away with the pivot bearing for a bushing and fancy carbon lever and titanium fasteners for alloy and steel respectively. SRAM claims it kicks out the same power as the Ultimate and there's only a 38g weight penalty. Prices are $190 / €207 / £159 / AU$TBC.

Level TL

The level tl is said to pump out the same power as the tlm for a minor 14g weight penalty:
The level tl is said to pump out the same power as the tlm for a minor 14g weight penalty:

Moving down the range, the Level TL moves to a two-piece caliper design, though again SRAM claims it has the same power output as it's more expensive brethren. If that's true, at $102 / €111 / £85 / AU$TBC it looks like something of a bargain considering the weight of 370g. Again, the lever is Matchmaker X compatible and gets a tooled reach adjuster.

Level T and Level

At the most affordable end of the range, the Level T will cost $82 / €89 / £68 / AU$TBC and weigh in at 410g. Instead of the folding, single bolt Matchmaker X clamp, the lever has a two bolt clamp that's compatible with the older Matchmaker system.We're expecting to see the plain Level on a lot of entry-level bikes with a cost of just $63 / €69 / £53 / AU$TBC. It tips the scales at 430g, thanks in part to a lever which uses a single bolt clamp.

The full Level range is on sale now and we hope to get a pair in to test as soon as possible. Check back for that when we have it!

Jon Woodhouse

Technical Editor, UK
Jon's been working with bikes for as long as he can remember, from spanner monkey to product tester. He's always looking out for new kit that'll give an edge when the going gets rough and is happiest experimenting with geometry, rubber and suspension.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: If it involves dirt and bikes, Jon is there, whether big days out in the mountains or steep and technical plummets in the woods. It's all good.
  • Current Bikes: Mondraker Foxy Carbon, BTR Fabrications Custom hardtail, Scott Spark 700 Plus Tuned
  • Dream Bike: Nicolai Ion 16 Longest, made from carbon
  • Beer of Choice: Franziskaner Weissbier
  • Location: Monmouth, South Wales, UK

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