We received notice from the SRAM empire that it was intending a big push into the freeride market some time ago, and it’s certainly been as good as its word as far as RockShox goes. There’s new burly stuff from Avid, SRAM’s braking wing, too – the all-new Code brake clearly isn’t designed to take prisoners…
Avid says that Code is its first four-pot brake, so we guess that it’s not counting its very first foray into hydraulic discs – with some justification, as they never made it on to the market in any numbers. It’s gone four-pot for its freeride bike in order to get maximum pad area for better heat dissipation while maintaining a shallow braking surface to keep the weight reasonable. A long, thin pad also means a larger effective rotor diameter for a given disc size than a short, fat one. Traditionally it’s been tricky to get long-padded brakes aligned, but Avid’s Tri-Align system should sort that out.
Unusually in this day and age, the Code caliper is a two-piece unit held together with big stainless-steel bolts. Avid says that it can make a much stiffer caliper this way, and the dense bolts are also said to help the caliper run cooler. The hose connection is particularly neat – the banjo fitting is sandwiched between the two halves and can easily be angled in whatever direction best suits your frame or fork.
At the other end of the hose is an all-new lever. It has certain key features in common with Avid’s other levers – a pivot point near to the bars for a more linear action and a leverage adjuster to fine-tune feel. Both of those things have interesting features, though. One of the consequences of multiple large pistons is seal drag, so to make things easier the lever runs on three cartridge bearings. It rotates in two of them and there’s a third thrust race to counter up-and-down lever slop.
The leverage adjuster works in exactly the same way as that found on the Juicy brakes, but it’s positioned in an in-line location around the front. This means that there’s no sticky-up adjuster to get mangled in spills, and also makes the levers properly ambidextrous without extra fiddling to get the adjusters pointing the right way. Also helping crash resistance is the pop-out lever blade.
If your tastes run more towards the XC end of the market, you’ll probably be more interested in the Juicy Ultimate. This is a 345g brake (with a 160mm rotor), which is firmly in the “very light” category. It’s not hard to see where the weight’s gone. The lever is super-slimline and the one-piece caliper is similarly diminutive. There’s a carbon fibre lever blade to further cut weight, and rather than a dial, the leverage adjuster uses an Allen key (or, handily, the rebound adjuster from a RockShox fork – another example of useful product integration across SRAM’s lines).
The Ultimate will be available in 160mm front and rear, with 140mm rear and 185mm front options. UK pricing is yet to be determined.