SRAM Level Ultimate Disc Brake
The Level Ultimate is a high-end SRAM XC/Trail hydraulic disc brake. It takes it cues, and much of it's technology from the Guide RSC design, and is the natural replacement for, and improvement to, the XX1 brake. This complete front brake system comes pre-bled, and the lever is ambidextrous for you moto aficionados. SRAM doesn't develop and engineer technology for catchy names or to justify their existence, but to improve the experience of the cyclist by redefining high performance. There is much to discuss about the Level Ultimate. If you are a tech head, settle in. If you are looking for SRAM's most powerful and best feeling brake for XC/Trail use, simply select from the drop down menu, then go back and do the same with the rear brake.
At 216 grams for the pre-bled 900mm unit with caliper, hose, and lever, the Level Ultimate is actually a little heavier than XX1. But not much, and the improvements will make you forget the grams. The two piston 74mm Post Mount caliper is housed in a forged Monoblock construction for post mount interfaces and this front design was built for 160mm rotors; adaptable to 180mm use. The two 21mm pistons are more than adequate for XC/Trail use. SRAM uses a Heat Shield stainless steel heat shield system to break the thermal connection between the pad and caliper body, reducing caliper fluid temperature by about 20°C even in the most extreme testing conditions. Heat is further managed by the use of DOT 5.1 fluid, which has a boiling point nearly 3 times higher than 4.0. Even in the most extreme braking conditions and high air temperatures it is nearly impossible to reach the boiling point. That means your brakes will never fade, supplying even, tactile pressure no matter how steep the descent.
The Level Ultimate lever assembly and hydraulic system has been designed for ease of use and serviceabilty- often a challenge with SRAM's brakes. The DirectLink lever itself is shaped and molded from UD carbon. The structure ensures stiffness, and it is light weight. The shape is fairly straight, with a leverage hook at the end that means 1 or 2 finger braking is your choice. It pivots on bearings, for super smooth and consistent action. There is a manual reach adjust accessed from within the lever crotch, and you need a 2mm hex key to get the job done. The lever body is made from aluminum, and houses the Expandable Bladder fluid system. The bladder expands to manage potential air issues and keeping the fluid at constant pressure during use. The bladder is accessed through the top cover, and the service process is fairly straightforward in conjunction with the dedicated caliper-based Bleeding Edge Tool. The execution of the lever/ fluid service is a huge improvement over older systems, and the benefits are seen immediately.
The new caliper porting and fluid path make it easier to push fluid through the caliper for quick and easy bleeding with the dedicated bleed adapter. The S4 fitting plugs into the bleed port and seals the system to minimize air contamination and fluid loss, keeping the system simple. SRAM has also updated the connection between the reservoir and the master cylinder bore- called the Timing Port. When the lever is squeezed, a cup seal passes this area and closes the port, which pressurizes the system. SRAM’s new timing port closure system features durable seals and an ultra-smooth cylinder bore finish, producing dependable braking power and consistency. The end result of the entire lever assembly is that you get excellent power and consistent lever pressure throughout the lever stroke, ensuring incredible feel and modulation in a lightweight, durable brake design that is easy to service top and bottom.
Got all that? Phew. Of course the Level Ultimate is compatible with both the MMX and Matchmaker mounting systems to keep your bars and controls manageable. Overall we are very impressed with this brake system. The weight, features, serviceability, design and looks are spot on and the performance even exceeds those qualities. Which explains the Ultimate designation. It is amazing at how much improvement SRAM has been able to pack into these XC/Trail brakes. If you are a rider or racer who knows that braking and control is almost as important as pedaling power, you will appreciate the Level Ultimate. If you do your service, you may end up on your knees, in joyous thanks. And what more can you ask for from a hydraulic disc brake system?
- Premier XC/Trail hydraulic disc brake with DH power, XC modulation, easy to service
- Lever and caliper in pre-bled complete Front brake assembly (lever ambidextrous)
- Open hydraulic system with new bladder air control system
- Post mount, forged aluminum Monoblock 2-piston caliper, black anodized, with titanium hardware
- Steel-backed, organic pads supplied, with easy-to-access top loading system
- Tech: Bleeding Edge™, DirectLink™, Expandable Bladder™, Timing Port Closure™
- Carbon lever is fairly straight, with hook end, pivots on bearings, titanium hardware
- Reach adjustment is manual, with 2mm hex Allen key
- Fluid: DOT 5.1 only; resists very high temperatures, virtually zero fade in extreme heat
- Rotor size: base set up for 160mm , can be adapted to 180mm
- Bleeding Edge simplifies fluid maintenance, requires specific bleed tool, not included
- Recommended rotor model: SRAM CLX 2-piece
- Pre-bled hose length: 900mm
- Finish: Black Anodized
- Weight: 216 grams (lever, caliper, hose)