Sunday, February 25, 2024

Two Things

Image from SRAM promo video
SRAM's New Maven Brakes:

Checked the calendar and yes - it is not April 1st! SRAM really did just make a new brake with mineral oil as the fluid instead of DOT brake fluid. (To be fair, they had an obscure brake ahead of this that was also mineral oil based)

Maven, the new design from SRAM for their DH, Enduro, and Trail categories, is a four piston brake with a huge, chunky looking caliper and a claim of a 50% increase in power over their previous Code R brakes. 

Obviously the main talking point will undoubtedly be that SRAM has used a Maxima made mineral oil for this brake and have forsaken DOT fluid. (Older models are still offered in DOT fluid, by the way) This fluid is very Jello green in color and is claimed to be the only mineral oil that will work with these brakes due to a special proprietary piston seal material SRAM is using on the Maven brakes. 

SRAM's promotions for this brake seems to poke a finger at Shimano with verbiage to the effect that "heat isn't a bad thing" for brakes. (Shimano has for years used "Ice Tech" and other cold-type nomenclature for their brake systems) Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't know that Shimano ever said "heat was bad for brakes". They wanted to reduce heat and control it, but they were never trying to get rid of all heat. That is silly. Maybe SRAM was poking fun at another brand's messaging. I don't know. 

SRAM is saying that they have an optimal temperature range for this brake. They kind of dance around how cold weather affects these brakes, and they infer that you'll need to get these brakes hot, or they won't be what they are supposed to be. How that translates to rides that have longer intervals off the brakes is a question unanswered as of now. 

The Maven comes in an Ultimate, Silver, and Bronze level. The Ultimate and Silver brakes are fully-featured, the difference is that the Ultimate has titanium hardware in the caliper body.  The Bronze level drops the bite adjustment feature, but otherwise is similar. Prices are Ultimate - $300.00/brake, Silver - $265.00/brake, and Bronze - $185.00/brake. 

Comments: Ever since SRAM has made hydraulic brakes, mechanics have groused about their bleeding procedures and laughed at their various brake fails in terms of designs. But above all, mechanics hated working with DOT fluid. The move to mineral oil will be welcomed in that sense. However; as anyone with any kind of bike shop experience would tell you, it is no surprise that the mineral oil is proprietary and that the equipment to service these brakes will all have to be purchased by shops for their mechanics. That's been the same since SRAM has made brakes, pretty much. Always with something else you HAD to buy to work on their latest brake. 

But one thing that has not changed, apparently, is how difficult it is to bleed these and set them up initially. That's been a SRAM hallmark for their hydraulic brakes since forever. 

But consumers will likely dig these brakes and they will be spec'ed on TONS of new mountain bikes, (as long as SRAM doesn't get a recall ding with this new brake). Oh! And E-MTB's will definitely see this brake spec often as well. Hope SRAM has a hit on their hands here because I would love to see them ditch DOT fluid for their entire hydraulic brake line up. 

Honeman Flyer Update:

My front wheel to match my rear wheel has landed at G-Ted Headquarters for the new single speed gravel bike build. This might just be the oddest wheel set I have as it was built by two different people nearly two years apart from each other.

See, back in 2020, parts were hard to come by as the pandemic made cycling ultra-popular. I had one Velocity USA Blunt SS, and that was all we could get. I wanted to score a new Paul Components WORD Disc hub with a 12mm through axle though, but they weren't available. So I put one on back order. Then, finally, in January of 2022, I got an email asking if I still wanted the hub, and I did, so by March of 2022, two years ago,  I built a rear wheel for my Twin Six Standard Rando v2. 

I kludged a front wheel out of the original front wheel that came with my Nobel GX5 bike. It looked similar enough that it was hard to notice the difference, and I probably would have kept things that way for a long, long time, but then....

I got that GRX Limited Edition group set and used it on the Standard Rando v2. That sent the single speed, mismatched wheel set off in the corner of the G-Ted Lab. When the chance to get the Honeman Flyer bike became a reality, that old rear was pegged for the project, but now I felt I may as well finally get the front wheel to match.

Signed by the builder.

I contacted my friend and wheel-building professional, Ben Witt of Heath Creek Cycles, to consult him on a possible front wheel build to match the older Paul rear. Ben mentioned that he could order me the parts and I could build it, but he also offered me the option of having him build it up. 

The thought of having my friend build up my front wheel was appealing to me. It will allow me to have a bit of Ben along with me on every ride of that bike. But it is odd to think that the complete, matched wheel set has taken this long to accomplish and was done by two different wheel builders. 

And we even managed to get the "Guitar Ted Special" spoke pattern down tight. Alternating sides with black and silver spokes with each color spoke featuring an opposite colored nipple in brass. I was stoked that Ben would accommodate me in that way. 

 So, another piece of the puzzle has landed. I think I have a crankset I can use, at least two options would look okay here. I have a head set. I have brakes. I have the levers. I have seat posts and stems. I probably will go with a Luxy Bar. I have one in silver. So, yeah.... I have a bunch of what I need to build the bike up once the frame and fork arrive. 

The waiting game begins......


NY Roll said...

With the current use of pads, you need heat to break the pads down so they do not "glaze" "glass" over and lose their stopping power. I would argue the brake companies are in the business of heat management.

Dane said...

Where do you source non-anodized “brass colored” brass nipples? Thanks!

Guitar Ted said...

@Dane - Brass nipples are almost always Chrome plated silver. You can get "black chrome" brass nipples which aren't really black. It would be more correct to call them a dark pewter gray, in my opinion, but your mileage may vary. To my knowledge there are no "anodized" brass nipples.