Do you have the tools required to bleed your own hydraulic brakes, or do you bring your bike to a shop for service? In this review, our guy Jonathan Warren walks us through his new Sram Pro Brake Bleed Kit. This kit is designed to work with Sram XO, XX, Guide, Level, Code, and hydraulic road brakes and is perfect for taking your home workshop to the next level.
I recently ordered and used the Sram Pro Brake Bleed Kit for X0, XX, Guide, Level, Hydraulic Road. I bought the kit to service the Guide R brakes that came on our new trail bikes. I had to service the brakes because they really lacked stopping power when they were new. I personally have never picked up a bicycle with hydraulic brakes that didn't have air or other contaminants in the line from the start (my personal experience was entirely Shimano up to this point so I'm not knocking any particular company/product). I ordered this kit because I always want the most versatile tools I can lay hands on. Following the N + 1 Formula ensures that you will keep getting new and varied bike components, so I've learned to buy tools with that in mind.
The kit comes with two syringes, an assortment of bleed blocks, fluid, and various hose attachments for the syringes that allow the kit to service any of the listed brake models. Identifying the bleed block you need is fairly simple as they are labeled. The brake lever ports use the same threaded hose. The caliper is where you will find some variation. Some calipers will require a threaded hose while others will feature a "Bleeding Edge" tool/port. Bleeding Edge is a convenient port system that makes attaching and removing the hose extremely clean and easy. You should be happy if you have it; mine worked great with very little mess.
Obviously, there are dozens of videos about how to service any brake set. My personal recommendation is to search for Srams' videos because they are very well made and product-specific. I watch the video once and then play it again pausing it step-by-step during my first few services to make sure I get it all right. If not Sram, try GMBN. They had a good video that covered my brakes.
Everything in the kit is metal or heavy plastic including the threaded pieces, which is nice because threaded plastic doesn't usually last. Every hose and syringe attached perfectly and easily for a great seal (including the Bleeding Edge tool). Not only do the parts seem built to last, but the kit included plenty of replacement seals and parts for the hoses and syringes. I found it a little difficult to keep both syringes vertical during the initial steps... Have a strap ready to hang one syringe from the bike if you don't have an extra set of hands. For anyone wondering, the kit came with enough fluid to do two bikes (front and rear brakes) with enough left to do at least one more brake. All in all the kit does exactly what I would expect it to do with no complaints or foreseeable problems.