SRAM Releases Details on Replacing Recalled Hydraulic Brakes with Mechanical Levers and Brakes- RED 22 and S-700

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Just minutes ago, SRAM released some initial details on their replacement program and logistics for their recalled Hydro R levers and hydraulic RED 22 and S-700 rim and disc brake calipers.

With just over three weeks to go before Cyclocross Nationals start in Boulder, CO, many owners of SRAM’s RED 22 and S-700 brakes are left wondering what options they have.  SRAM emphasizes that safety is their first priority, while getting riders back out on mechanical brakes as fast as possible comes second.  The plan includes an eventual next generation hydraulic system for impacted consumers.

SRAM RED 22 and S-700 hydraulic disc brake and rim brake recall.

SRAM RED 22 and S-700 hydraulic disc brake and rim brake recall.

With many racers who are attending the National Championships in a few weeks anxious to know whether the’ll have brakes for the event, the news couldn’t come soon enough (although the timing may be disappointing for that group).

SRAM aims to replace all brakes and levers with the mechanical RED and Force equivalents, and is offering European and Asian consumers an option to receive monetary compensation (150 euros, or $200 in Asia) or the new hydraulic brakes when they are ready. In North America, the compensation details are yet to be determined, based on further conversations with the CPSC.

Replacements will be handled by dealers, and should be in place by January 15th, the week after the 2014 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships.

Even if SRAM’s developers work around the clock to pinpoint all of the current problems and design a new system to alleviate those flaws, they won’t rush manufacturing and product testing in order to have a hydraulic replacement ready for mid-January.  According to their report, SRAM is anticipating releasing their next technical updates for the next generation system around that time frame, and they are aiming to distribute mechanical replacements within a matter of weeks.

Impatient, recall-impacted National Championship and late-season racers could always try to contact their shop to see if they have relevant replacement products in stock to do an immediate replacement, even while replacement details are not finalized,  or possibly work a deal with a Colorado shop and do the swaps at Nationals.

SRAM aims to will replace product with equivalent level, and equivalent number of gears, mechanical product based on this matrix:

sram recall replacement products

RED 22 users get the BB7 Road SL caliper with titanium hardware and lighter rotors, while the S-700 owners will receive BB7 Road S brakes, with stainless steel hardware.

Highlights from SRAM’s replacement process are below:

The logistics of execution are being hammered out but are not complete. Our first priority is safety our second priority is to get you back out riding just as fast as we can with mechanical brakes, and then with the new generation of hydraulic as soon as it is ready.

North America:

SRAM is working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to finalize a comprehensive and approved solution. Here is what we can commit for customers as we work through this process:

Through the customer’s chosen Dealer, SRAM will provide a mechanical rim or disc brake system to replace a customer’s hydraulic rim or disc brake system.

SRAM will provide a fair labor cost cash reimbursement to the dealer for all installs.

SRAM will provide a voucher for product or cash reimbursement in an amount to be determined between SRAM and the CPSC.

We are working hard to get replacement mechanical braking systems widely available in Europe, the US and Asia by January 15.

We continue to make progress on the hydraulic redesign. Our teams are working through the holidays on resolution. We anticipate a technical and production update on January 15.

Full details available on SRAM’s brake recall website here: http://sramroadhydraulicbrakerecall.com/sram-road-hydraulic-brake-recall-replacement-plan/

What’s Next for Cyclocrossers with Races to Come?

Some of the big names going into Nationals, like Jeremy Powers and Tim Johnson, had made the switch to SRAM’s hydraulic RED 22 brakes for this season, and will likely be looking to move back to mechanical disc brakes for Boulder.

Moving back to mechanical disc brakes might not be what some racers want to hear. Some have already adapted the power and light touch of hydraulic brakes, plus there’s the possibility of faster pad wear.

Those of us who followed Nationals last year in Wisconsin will remember riders wearing down the brake pads of mechanical set-ups after a single lap. Because such systems actuate from one side (with the exception of the recalled TRP Spyre), mud and dirt have a tendency to wreak havoc on pad materials. Last January, the take-away was not so much that riders should go back to cantilevers, but that self-adjusting hydraulic brake pads would promise to partially alleviate the haste of pad wear. (Our experience has been that dual piston brakes help extend pad life a bit, but pad material makes a much bigger difference.)

Racers looking to keep the braking power and modulation of hydraulic brakes still have a few options in the form of TRP’s Hy-RD cable-pull hydraulic calipers, as well as converter options like the powerful Formula R1-based 324 Labs systemthe TRP Parabox, and the Hope V-Twin system.

Even if the weather conditions are mild for the remainder of the season and Nationals, riders would be reckless to continue using recalled technology. The cold weather of the December 7-8 weekend only drew SRAM’s attention to the problem. Two weekends prior, one of Cyclocross Magazine’s cowbell members from Michigan noticed his lack of braking power after taking his bike out of the back of his pickup truck. While a cold ride down the highway is certainly going to accelerate the problem of the hydraulic seals, Stan Day reiterated that the sealing could “fail in normal temperatures.”

With Shimano’s R785 hydraulic/Di2 system still not fully available, we can bet that Shimano is spending some time in the freezer also testing their units to make sure they are reliable under such conditions.

Stay tuned to Cyclocross Magazine for further developments and the latest cyclocross product news.

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Andrew Reimann, usually overdressed and undertrained, is a genuine cyclocross geek.You can follow him and his muddy dog at races along New England and the Mid-Atlantic.
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19 comments
craigmacintyre
craigmacintyre

So let me get this straight.  If I ponied up for Red22 Hydro's, I now get to ride the mechanicals with BB7's.  Then what?  What if SRAM doesn't come up with a replacement for 6-9-12 months... at that time do I get to bring my beat to crap stuff in for a new replacement free?  Doubt it.  Sorry SRAM - even though you are my choice for road riding the handling of this fiasco has me pretty much sure I am going Shimano ... if you had offered immediate replacement and 110% of the difference in cost (or somehting like that) I might feel differently but this is a joke.


Shane Watters
Shane Watters

Now we can add these red hydro's to the bin of new and lightly used avid hydro MTB brakes at work. XX and world cup brakes that we cannot give away. Please sram, stop selling every disc brake that isn't a bb7.

Cyclocross Magazine
Cyclocross Magazine

Not typo, purely an error actually that we wanted to believe so that Nats wasn't so soon and people could get brakes! Thanks for the heads up.

Jim Bowes
Jim Bowes

Perfectly functioning cantis...about as effective as a non-functioning disc brake.

Jim Bowes
Jim Bowes

But they're cantis...no one ever expects them to work in the first place.

Are Tee
Are Tee

The bigger question is: if someone has not sent their brakes back to SRAM and shows up at Nationals will they still be able to race or will the officials be looking out for those recalled brakes and not allow that person to start?

Ryan Kephart
Ryan Kephart

Things that don't have this problem: Cantilever brakes.

Ryan Burnham
Ryan Burnham

Awesome. Flood the market with their Red and Force mechanical brakes....that's a good idea. Drive the cost down!

Michael Wagner
Michael Wagner

Great...now I get to ride around on mechanical disc brakes for a year.

Timmy Runnette
Timmy Runnette

Thanks! My awesome LBS - Bike Surgeon -called me a couple of days ago!!

Kjeld Christensen
Kjeld Christensen

For years I was an early adopter, jumping on all the latest trends. Time and and time again I suffered through the initial teething problems. Now I just stick to being a crumudgeon.

Mike Meuse
Mike Meuse

Most bikes with disk won't take cantis

Vincenzo Pascarella
Vincenzo Pascarella

the plan is to switch back on cantilever brakes..... they always work :-)

AndrewReimann
AndrewReimann

Good catch! And here I am signed up for the 11th too...

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