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Quality brakes are an important part of any bike, thankfully SRAM's G2 RSC brakes are extremely versatile, so it makes sense that you find them on tons of different mountain bikes. Anthony recently upgraded to some G2s on his Trail bike and is loving the increase in power and modulation. Check out his review for more!
I bought a full suspension trail bike and the bike was equipped from the factory with SRAM Level brakes. The bike had a 180 mm rotor in the front and 160 mm in the rear. The first shakedown runs to check everything out and bed in the brakes were on the pavement around the neighborhood. The SRAM Level brakes were fine for relatively flat pavement rides. I noticed a lack of braking performance when I took the bike for actual trail rides. When riding more downhill type sections, the Level brakes required more effort with the brake levers and required more forethought in the trail ahead for early braking. The Level brakes have a numb feeling in the clamping force as if the brake pads are made of wood. Another issue evident in the Level brakes is a lack of modulation and the ability to control the amount of braking force, rather than a more binary on and off feeling. Another factor to the braking performance that needs to be mentioned is my weight, I weight approximately 220 pounds and would be considered on the higher end of the spectrum for rider weight. With my weight, riding style, and trails I like to ride, a brake performance deficit was apparent.
I did some research online on how to solve this issue because at this point the lack of braking performance has become a safety concern. After browsing the other offerings that SRAM had on their website, watching videos, reading articles, and sifting through forums, my research led me to switch to larger rotors and upgrade my brake system. I decided on going up to a 200 mm rotor in the front and a 180 mm rotor in the rear using 20 mm post adapters (also bought through Worldwide Cyclery). As far as the braking system, rather than going to the higher model of the Level series, (ie. Level Ultimate) I wanted to go with a 4 piston caliper. I decided to go with the SRAM G2 RSC based on reviews.
I placed an order for the complete G2 RSC system through Worldwide Cyclery, the package arrived quickly and I installed them on my bike promptly. The front brake went on quickly with a simple exchange of the Level for the G2 with only a few bolts. The rear brake line had to be cut, run through the frame and fully bled once reattached to the lever assembly. I took a ride around my neighborhood to make sure everything was working properly and I noticed an immediate difference. On the first trail ride, the increased brake performance was apparent, and satisfying to know I fixed the issue I was having. The modulation of the G2 brakes is greatly increased with a better feeling throughout the brake lever throw.
The increased power and bite of the brakes allow me to brake later into corners as well as carry more speed and have the confidence that I will be able to stop.
The added adjustment that the G2 brakes have to change the lever reach and "bite point" makes for a more ergonomic and better user interface. Also worth mentioning is the G2 resists brake fade far better than the Level brakes over a long riding day.
I am very satisfied with my choice to go with the G2 brakes and would recommend them to riders who are building a trail bike or upgrading their brake system.