Designed for e-bikes, great for all bikes
Editor’s Choice 2020
This makes it a hattrick of appearances in Editor’s Choice for the SRAM Guide RE brake. Which is all the more impressive since it’s actually designed for e-bikes, but works just as well on analogue bikes thanks to its ample stopping power, great price and no-frills architecture. It’s a hybrid design; a cost-effective combination of powerful four-piston caliper with basic lever, but pair it with a big rotor and it will work time-after-time on the steepest terrain without the slightest complaint.
SRAM Guide RE disc brake review
The latest SRAM Guide RE brake is designed to deliver the extra stopping power required by a 20kg e-bike, but it works so well I’ve actually been using it on my regular trail bike.
Obviously, the price doesn’t included a rotor or adapter but it’s still excellent value for a brake with this much grunt.
What makes the Guide RE so good is the combination of a four-piston caliper, derived from the Code brake, and the cheapest Guide lever. The latter has a basic aluminium blade, simple bushing and reach adjustment, tuned via a dial on the front of the lever. It does feel slightly rougher that the top end models but it’s comfortable at all points in the lever travel and it builds power really progressively.
The four piston caliper is not quite the same as the Code but it’s close enough. It’s a four-piston design, the brake pads go in from the top and the two-piece design is bolted together so it feels really stiff. Sintered pads come as standard and we’ve easily had six months out of a rear set before having to replace them.
A couple of issues – the RE is not that easy to align and we also found the pistons can get a little bit sticky causing one set to pull out more than another.
The Guide RE is like one of those people that does all the work and never gets the credit, a sort of unsung hero. It really is an excellent brake, which is why you see it specced so much and that’s not just on e-bikes. This is one of the best brakes SRAM produces period.
Since SRAM rebranded its brake line, we’ve been really impressed with the overall performance, serviceability and reliability. Naturally, the Guide brakes sync flawlessly with other SRAM controls if your bike has them, and the lever shape and sweep has always been a favourite here at MBR. Both SRAM Guide models impressed, so your choice will be between the less adjustable, hard-biting RE version with the big, DH-rated caliper, or the smooth, more modulated and perfectly controllable RSC that’s lighter but £50 more cash. For us though the e-bike version is an outright bargain and with more than enough stopping power for any wannabe enduro champion, we’re just giving it the nod here.