First Look: SRAM’s redesigned Hydro-R rim and disc brakes


New SRAM Hydro-R Brakes

SRAM’s redesigned Hydro-R rim and disc brakes have begun shipping this week.

Component maker SRAM is nearing the end of a very dark tunnel, with news this week that redesigned Hydro-R rim and disc brake systems have begun shipping to consumers effected by a worldwide recall that began late last year. Art’s Cyclery was one of the first shops to get a look at the new model year 2015 system and published the informative video seen below.

The redesigned lever gets new seals throughout, including the master cylinder o-rings, cover and bladder, as well as a revised master cylinder bore. Each of the changes are claimed to work in synchronicity to provide a firmer more positive lever feel, and address the leaking issue that caused the recall in the first place. Some brakes were failing in extremely cold weather.


Shift paddle size has been reduced, which will help with clearance issues.

SRAM’s also done its best to address some of the ergonomic issues from the previous generation, which had a decidedly boxy feel. The new hood and levers are more ergonomic, although the hood is actually slightly taller than the previous version. Shift paddle size is reduced, which will increase handlebar clearance, an issue for some riders, especially those with small hands who needed to reduce reach. Calipers have also been revised with lighter tension retention springs, meaning less effort is required for a given amount of stopping power.

We spent about four months on a Hydro-R rim brake set-up before the recall, and were generally impressed with the first effort. We’re expecting a new test set-up to arrive sometime this month and will provide additional details soon after.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the / staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.

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