TESTED: SRAM’s New Brakes Are Super Stoppers

If it's stopping power you're after SRAM Code RSC brakes are ideal for fast descending and heavier riders in mountain biking.

Myles Kelsey |

Designed for fast and aggressive gravity riders looking for a predictable and top-performing stopper, SRAM’s latest Code RSC brakes have turned slowing down into an art form.

The key features on the Code RSC brakes are a marginally bigger piston diameter inside the calipers, tool-free lever reach and pad contact adjust, ambidextrous levers, MatchMaker X compatibility and lever pivot bearings. It all sounds good but how did they perform?

With the brakes installed, and ready to roll, I used the lever reach and bite point adjustments to fine tune the setup to my exact preference, with ease. The brake lever felt solid, comfortable and buttery smooth due to the hooked end on each blade and the pivot bearings.

Onto the trail and the immense stopping power is immediately evident – even on the heavy wheeled downhill casing 29er DH bike I chose to test these on. Perhaps more impressive is the wide usable range of modulation available which prevents over braking and improves brake point accuracy everywhere. The modulation range is simply phenomenal.

…the setup would be perfect for heavier marathon or trail riders who need that extra braking power.

I tested the brakes at various downhill tracks around Cape Town including the Hellsend Compound, Helderberg Trails, Paarl and Tokai. Some of these tracks have a quick uplift route meaning the quick successive runs can cause the brakes to heat up which can challenge reliability, consistency of feel and performance. Through the test period, and with over 50 downhill runs accumulated, I never had any brake fade, brake pump or consistency issues – even when ridden under rather high temperatures. And in the rain, the modulation and power were almost identical to that of the dry.

Back to that raw stopping power – and the question of ‘do we need it?’ Well, the answer is a qualified yes. The power of these brakes is immense but it would be bit like driving a Ferrari without traction control if the brakes were not well modulated. Thankfully SRAM have done a great to ensure a gradual braking delivery to ensure you don’t end up disappearing over your bars.

Although we tested these brakes on fast downhill courses, we also considered that the setup would be perfect for heavier marathon or trail riders who need that extra braking power.



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