|SRAM announces Red Hydro disc lever/calipers|
Doh! I was sooooo wrong!
SRAM not only made what is possibly the ugliest lever since Campy's dreaded Icarus cantilever mtb levers, they even made hydraulic caliper brakes to hedge any bets that the UCI might ban the disc brake deal for CX and/or road. (<==Note: My speculation there, excepting that the levers are butt ugly.)
Well, leaving that aside, here's what I think about these and their possible use on drop bar rigs for dirt. I'll leave the question of thier road worthiness to others.
Okay, so they are drop bar compatible, and SRAM even made a wise decision by making a version compatible with SRAM 10 speed systems. That opens up a cornucopia of possibilities for those who have been itching for a drop bar mtb hydro set up, or for a fat bike, or for a monster cross rig, a gravel grinder, etc.
Possibilities, but not without some downside. For one, these are basically Avid brakes and the track record for them has been a mixed bag. SRAM also notes that these road hydro levers are about modulation, not power, so for a fully off road drop bar rig, they still may not be workable. That said, a SRAM spokesman is quoted as saying something to the effect that these new hydro brakes are similar to BB-7's. In my experience, that's been enough power. Your mileage may vary. So, you have all of that to deal with here.
|You won't be seeing those hydro levers here anytime soon.|
The levers are said to have been lengthened to allow operation from the drops to be enhanced. That's a good thing. However; SRAM levers have a reputation in the gravel scene for disintegrating and losing their shift paddle, or to stop operating entirely. While many do not see these issues with SRAM levers, I've witnessed and heard about so many that I am loathe to try SRAM brifters on any of my gravel rigs. Thus the bar end shifters on my Vaya, which are pretty bomber in terms of reliability.
Also I am thinking that I do not need more powerful brakes on gravel or dirt, and BB-7's modulate just fine. My thoughts are also that I do not have to ever worry about brake bleeds, or pads that drag that I can not adjust, and everything I have for brakes now is field serviceable, inexpensive, and works fine.
Nope! Not buying into this dealio. I still think that a finer, higher quality mechanical disc brake is going to be best for gravel roads and even mountain biking on most XC trails. So, what would entice me away from mechanical disc brakes for a drop bar set up?
Maybe a drop bar lever that wasn't a shift lever and could be mated to some really light weight hydraulic mtb style brake calipers. Maybe an electronic shift drive train would make sense with that sort of lever. Otherwise I can't see doing an ultra-spendy brake set up that is also tied to a shifter. I would rather stick with a mechanical system. But that's just my take. What do you think?