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Any mountain bike rider understands the relevance of having good brakes. With good brakes on your bike, you will be sure of improved stopping time and better control of the bike. In turn, it assures you of confidence as a rider, where you can cruise at high speeds without any problem.
SRAM and Shimano are some of the top brands that make quality bike brakes. The SRAM Guide R and Shimano XT are among the best disc brakes on the market. But how do they compare? Here is an SRAM Guide R vs. Shimano XT contrast review to help you understand their differences.
SRAM Guide R vs. Shimano XT Comparison
So, there goes the individual review of the two-disc brakes. So far, which is your ideal disc brake? Let’s have a look at how the two brakes compare.
While both these disc brakes are made of aluminum levers, there is some slight difference. The SRAM Guide R comes with stamped aluminum alloy levers, whereas the Shimano XT brakes come with forged aluminum alloy levers.
To give you a slight picture of the two, forged alloy tends to be thicker and heavier than stamped alloy. As a result, forged alloy products will last longer than the stamped counterparts. This is relatively true since Shimano XT is heavier than SRAM Guide R by around 200g.
The pistons are found in the brake calipers, and they allow the brake pads to make contact with the brake disc. This will then slow the bike. While the SRAM Guide R offers you 4 pistons in their calipers, Shimano XT comes with only two pistons.
According to most riders, the SRAM Guide R disc brakes are more effective than the Shimano XT. It could be because of the number of pistons.
Related Guide: Shimano SLX vs SRAM Guide R
The brake fluid helps to transfer force into pressure and also amplifies braking force. Since liquids are not appreciably compressible, it will work for the brake. The Shimano XT uses mineral oil brake fluid, while SRAM Guide R uses DOT 5.1 fluid.
Freqently Asked Questions
Are more pistons in brake calipers better?
Generally, more pistons in brake calipers mean more force. In case there are more pistons being pressed against the disc, it will allow you to stop faster than with the calipers with fewer pistons. If you like riding at high speeds, it is recommended to choose brake calipers with more pistons.
Can a mechanical brake lever be turned into a hydraulic one?
No, this is not possible. Nevertheless, a mechanical brake lever can be connected to some hydraulic calipers with limited options.
Are disc brakes less aero than rim brakes?
Generally, disc brakes are designed to be less aero than rim brakes. Usually, rim brakes come with clutter, which makes them more aero.
How do I know if my brake pad is worn out?
Normally, the brake pad will come with the braking material and the backing plate. If you peer through the caliper, you can see how much pad material is left. Nevertheless, you might need to take the wheel out to have a closer inspection of the brake pads.
Which brake pads should I get for my brakes?
The brake pads of a disc brake will vary based on the brand and model of the brake itself. Therefore, it is advised to choose brake pads from the same brand and model of the brake caliper.
Suggested Guide: Force vs Sram Rival Crankset
SRAM Guide R
We kick it off with the SRAM Guide R Hydraulic Disc Brakes, which happens to be a good choice for dirt jumping/slopestyle, cross country, trail, or all-mountain/Enduro.
The brakes come with a stamped aluminum alloy lever that makes them durable and lightweight too. Furthermore, the lever is made with DirectLink technology. This tech offers you a solid and positive feel whenever you squeeze the lever to engage the brakes. It also assures you of precise control even as you cruise at a high speed.
Another feature of the lever is its new design, which offers you a reshaped bladder to regulate and minimize the air bubbles. In turn, this will enhance the performance of the lever.
These brakes come at only 392g, which is among the lightest units out there. You’d also love the innovative Heat Shield technology. This feature offers you stainless steel shields that buffer the connection between the caliper body and the brake pad. As a result, they help to contain the heat and prevent its transfer to the hydraulic fluid.
The bleeding edge-design of this bike updates the brake fluid and bleed channeling. In turn, this will offer you easy brake maintenance. Along with that, there is a bleed adapter plug, which is designed to protect the brakes from dust and air as you cruise out in different terrains.
Related Topic: SRAM Rival vs. Apex
The Shimano XT hydraulic disc brakes also stand among the best out there, and they come with brake levers, brake caliper, and hose. They are best suited for cross-country and trail riding.
These brakes also come with forged aluminum alloy lever and caliper material. With this, you will be sure of durable and lightweight brakes. They come in at 567g, which is slightly heavier than SRAM Guide R brakes. However, you won’t notice the difference.
The M800 disc brakes have been made to offer more stability in the performance, regardless of the condition. Luckily, you won’t have to change the position of the lever.
This offers you more adjustability and operation ease without forfeiting power. Even better, the brakes come with a new design to be more controllable and suitable for every mountain bike riding. Whether you are freeriding, going downhill, or cross country.
The brakes also feature a ceramic rotor, which offers precise braking characteristics, along with excellent heat-handling capabilities. Another feature to love is the Servo-Wave mechanism.
This feature allows the brake to engage rapidly and powerfully. It is a short-stroke design that works hand in hand with the aggressive riding style. In other words, you can use these brakes in a competitive riding condition.
To assure you of a smooth-riding and braking experience, these brakes use mineral oil brake fluid. Note that the brake fluid is non-corrosive.
There you have it — a complete SRAM Guide R vs. Shimano XT contrast review. From this review, which disc brake would you go for? Which of the two best suits your biking conditions? Whichever brakes you choose, ensure that you consider the riding preferences, conditions, and frequency.