SRAM Code R brakes - opinions

MartinFa

New Member
Nov 3, 2021
21
9
South Glos / North Bristol
2 rides in on my new-to-me (2021 ex demo) E-160, and I hate these brakes. Very little power for the weight of the bike + me (at 80Kg).

I notice that both the outboard pistons on both front & rear calipers are sticking in and won't extend out to the rotor - so that's not going to help.

Anyone had similar problems and - if so - did you cure them (how?) or just replace the brakes?

Thanks.
 

yorkshire89

Well-known member
Sep 30, 2020
320
496
North Yorkshire
Take the wheel out, push the inboard pistons back and hold them back while pulling the brake lever a bit. Do the outboard pistons free up?
They might just want a bit of a clean and lube.
 

blueglide

Member
Jan 2, 2021
89
98
Tucson, AZ USA
I have them on my Heckler and they work fine. They do need to be set up properly and it requires some adjusting. There are lots of threads and videos about setting them up properly. I removed the pads and cleaned/lubed each piston. Then I made sure the brake was centered evenly over the rotors (they werent) and then I pumped the brakes with the pads out carefully to extend all the pistons equally and so with the pads in..the brakes required very little lever pull to touch the rotors.
 

2WheelsNot4

E*POWAH Master
Oct 17, 2021
676
479
Scotland
Hunter silicon lube for pistons ;)
Pump pistons out, apply using cotton bud and push back in. Repeat a few times each piston and they'll stop sticking.

Although its made by hunter, its branded Hope piston lube. Bottle costs about £6 and lasts forever.
 

JetSetDemo

🍦Two Scoops🍦
Patreon
Apr 1, 2018
380
503
Ashby de la Zouch
I had code for the last 4 years R and RS on three different bikes, I thought they were good until I got XT on my new bike in May, they are so much better, more power and better modulation and the pads have held up better.

I never would have switched now I would not go back, you never know until you try. Even at my low level of riding ability I notice the difference and prefer the XT.
 

MartinFa

New Member
Nov 3, 2021
21
9
South Glos / North Bristol
Hunter silicon lube for pistons ;)
Pump pistons out, apply using cotton bud and push back in. Repeat a few times each piston and they'll stop sticking.

Although its made by hunter, its branded Hope piston lube. Bottle costs about £6 and lasts forever.
Yep, I have some of that which I used on my Hope M4 pistons on my Orange Crush. Wasn't sure if it was ok to use on other brakes, but as they both use DOT 5.1 brake oil, I guess it should be fine.
 

Mikerb

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
May 16, 2019
4,852
3,534
Weymouth
So you buy brand new brakes and they turn out better than the old brakes you had that you never bled, never cleaned and never adjusted........no sh1t sherlock!!
There is a difference of course in terms of ultimate power largely determined by rotor size and number of calliper pistons but every brake I have ever used regardless of brand is capable of stopping the bike given the fact that most of the time any decent grab on the rotors is more likely to make the tyres loose grip than anything else.............its not like applying brakes in a track car on a high grip surface like tarmac with wide sticky tyres!!

Some brakes offer a little more adjustment in terms of lever throw and smaller better shaped levers. Not a lot of difference apart from that.

90% of brake efficiency is maintenance. They get covered in crap on most rides and are completely open to the elements.

The other 10% is heat management which will only really effect those doing long steep descents or those that drag their brakes.
 

The EMF

🔱 Aquaman 🔱
Subscriber
Nov 4, 2020
895
1,409
South East Northumberland
Totally agree @Mikerb. This time of year and throughout the crappy winter months I still get out in the hills when I can but pay MORE attention to caliper and pad maintenance than I do in summer months. With the mud nd stuff on the trail plus what ever gets thrown up from the car when the bike is on the carrier it’s bound to cause problems if you don’t pay a bit more attention to them. I make a conscious effort not to hang on to the rear brake on long fast descents to prevent excess heat build up. Every 3 rides or so I’ll remove the pads and de-glaze them with 360 grit wet and dry abrasive paper on a flat surface to keep the contact surfaces as good as they can be also clean the rotors with with Wilkos bike brake disc cleaner after every ride at this time of year, it only takes a couple of minutes. I’ve been known to clean them before a ride when the council starts hoying the salt down. Basically it just a little bit of Tlc and my brakes are fine.
 

Mikerb

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
May 16, 2019
4,852
3,534
Weymouth
I use the DOT5.1 fluid as a lube for the pistons. I clean the pistons first with IPA and ear buds, then lube with DOT and work the pistons in and out, then clean the whole calliper etc with IPA.
One area some forget about is all the contaminents that can end up on the rotors and that includes various bike cleaning sprays etc ( especially silicon. I alway cover up the rotors with shop towel when cleaning the bike.
 

MartinFa

New Member
Nov 3, 2021
21
9
South Glos / North Bristol
Yep. Spot on agreement with all of that. The silicon lube from Hunter, sold by Hope, is a little thicker than dot oil, so tends not to run quite so much. On the downside, it *might* just pick up more crud.

I use IPA... I guess proprietary brake cleaner is just that?

Tomorrow will be an interesting test as there are a few steep downhills in the Quantocks!
 

Whitby Chris

Member
Jul 13, 2021
103
57
Whitby
I have not had any problems with mine, I bled them after a month of use, change pads to nukeproof sintered. and clean them before and after every run. Will be upgrading next year but that's down to personal preference only not because of the breaks
 

MartinFa

New Member
Nov 3, 2021
21
9
South Glos / North Bristol
I have not had any problems with mine, I bled them after a month of use, change pads to nukeproof sintered. and clean them before and after every run. Will be upgrading next year but that's down to personal preference only not because of the breaks
I have some Uberbike E-Matrix pads on order. The ones that came with the bike are basic Clarks pads, and they're half worn and a bit crumbly (honest). I'm hoping all these little things might add up to some decent improvement.
 

Whitby Chris

Member
Jul 13, 2021
103
57
Whitby
Uberbike pads are good. I have a friend who uses them and I will try them when I replace these ones. Always Basic pads when the pads are supplied when new :)
 

George_yt

Active member
Sep 11, 2021
162
138
Slovak Republic
Just wanted to add bit of insight from having both RSC and R Codes in different bikes at same time, for those who do like Codes, but could be mislead into believing the "budget" version brakes somewhat worse. Only caliper difference is apparently piston material but I haven't found it do anything, and the bearings in RSC lever makes for smoother, crispier feel, but same level of sponginess.
I found zero difference with same pads.
But you know... it's SRAM, so quality control is hit& miss when it comes to their brakes.

I never liked my Codes until I got Trickstuff Power pads this Spring. Finally had that solid bite point like Shimano&Magura has :- ).
Will see how they hold up in Winter since Trickstuff is Resin pads, not metallic, even though it's most powerful rated pad on market.

Codes are very good brakes and they definitely do have the power. Modulation and feel is different between all brakes on market and individual preferences speak heavily to this but they can't be judged as bad or low-power by any means. And they have the benefit of very sturdy levers (but so do Hayes Dominions or TRP Evos, but def not Magura MTs) which comes handy if you fall often..
 

Mcharza

E*POWAH BOSS
Aug 10, 2018
2,146
3,288
Helsinki, Finland
I switched to Galfer rotors and brake pads. The brakes are still Sram Code RSC.
Now finally there is the Shimano brake feel and SRAM modulation.
Very light to use and require less braking force.

Cheap brake upgrade.

PS.
The rotors are 203 mm and the power is at least the same as the previous 220 mm rotors.
The weight saving of the rotating mass was about 100 gr
 

Gunsbuns

New Member
Jun 19, 2021
5
1
Sydney
I just replaced my code’s with magura MT7 Pro and the 220/203 MDR-P rotors. I’m 100kg and riding a 2021 turbo levo so there’s a fair amount of mass to pull up. Cost around $1k to upgrade but it was worth it for me. Magura’s are much, much better imo.
 

RustyIron

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Subscriber
Jun 5, 2021
1,012
1,523
La Habra, California
I just replaced my code’s with magura MT7 Pro and the 220/203 MDR-P rotors. I’m 100kg and riding a 2021 turbo levo so there’s a fair amount of mass to pull up. Cost around $1k to upgrade but it was worth it for me. Magura’s are much, much better imo.

Right on, brother. I just finished the same upgrade, except I chose the MDR-C rotors in 203mm f/r. This afternoon I took them out for a test run, and end after a couple miles, ended up with a rusty nail in my tire. The Stans sealed it up enough to get back to the truck. I'm a dummy, squeezing the last few miles out of that tire, and it was low on sealant. New tires on on the bike now, and along with the new brakes, will get a proper ride in the morning.
 

cappuccino34

Active member
Nov 24, 2020
345
181
Helmshore
Had code Rs on my bike from new. They just weren't good enough. Tried pads, different pads, different bedding in procedures, bleeding, adjusting, cleaning/de-glazing the rotors, new rotors.

In the end I gave up and fitted Magura MT7s. The difference was night and day, with possibly twice as much retardation for a given lever force.

The only gripe I have with the Maguras is the pads don't last, but I switched to some Nukeproof ones now and the combination is pretty faultless now.
 

Peter1979

Member
Jun 7, 2021
74
27
South West uk
When my code R brakes work they are pretty decent. Power seems fine and I'm probably 94kg plus bike.
However, they have been a bloody nightmare with pulling to the bar and needing constant adjustment. Currently being sent off to SRAM to see if they can be warranty replaced.
 

MartinFa

New Member
Nov 3, 2021
21
9
South Glos / North Bristol
The ride in the Quantocks yesterday was cut short - firstly by one of my mates breaking his mech hanger (same bike as mine :oops:), then by my other mate losing pressure in his shock which, when we tried to pump up, found it had blown a seal.

So not a real test of the brakes, though - having cleaned out the pistons & recentered the calipers - I got the feeling there was some improvement. Just waiting for the Uberbike matrix pads to arrive now.

One thing I noticed whilst fiddling with the calipers the other day was that the rear caliper had a washer between it and the mount, which is a bit unusual. Also, the rear pads had a thin, unused lip along part of the tops, meaning they're raised beyond the rotor by having the shim/washer under the caliper. I refitted the caliper without the shim and found it was then fouling the rotor! I then realised the rear isn't the original rotor and is different to the front rotor, albeit still an Avid 200mm (see photos). In the end, I had to put that shim back between the caliper & the mount, but it ain't right. Maybe the new pads will align better with the rotors? But I wonder if the rear rotor is measuring larger than specs. The mount is the correct Whyte mount for 200mm rotor. Weird.

The rear rotor looks a little burned and the front rotor looks pretty scored, too.

2021-11-06 15.19.31.jpg

2021-11-06 15.19.46.jpg
 
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cappuccino34

Active member
Nov 24, 2020
345
181
Helmshore
I forgot to mention, the amount of caliper flex on the Code Rs under pressure was a joke. You can actually feel the caliper opening up by hand as the lever is pulled.
 

cappuccino34

Active member
Nov 24, 2020
345
181
Helmshore
When my code R brakes work they are pretty decent. Power seems fine and I'm probably 94kg plus bike.
However, they have been a bloody nightmare with pulling to the bar and needing constant adjustment. Currently being sent off to SRAM to see if they can be warranty replaced.
Pulling to the bar and failing to stop, nearly having several crashes, was my main gripe.

What are brakes for?
Do they serve that purpose?
No, then they're not fit for purpose.
 

truckee

Member
Aug 27, 2020
2
1
tahoe
2 rides in on my new-to-me (2021 ex demo) E-160, and I hate these brakes. Very little power for the weight of the bike + me (at 80Kg).

I notice that both the outboard pistons on both front & rear calipers are sticking in and won't extend out to the rotor - so that's not going to help.

Anyone had similar problems and - if so - did you cure them (how?) or just replace the brakes?

Thanks.
Hate my Codes they are crap. A bit better with Galfer pads bit still constantly need bleeding as levers go to bar on regular basis.
 

blueglide

Member
Jan 2, 2021
89
98
Tucson, AZ USA
It's remarkable the wide spectrum of experiences with these brakes. Some have reported them to be absolute nightmares and others such as myself have had no issues. Weird
 
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