SRAM Road Hydraulic Recall: What Went Wrong? SRAM President Stan Day Explains, Provides Update on 2015 Brakes

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Remember that recall of all of SRAM’s hydraulic road brakes? In case you were wondering what exactly happened, and why the brakes can potentially fail, SRAM’s President Stan Day delivered an update describing the problems with the original levers and affirming  SRAM’s “second half of” April delivery date of new model year 2015 hydraulic road brakes and levers to the market. He also explains the key mechanical design flaws of the previous system, and highlights features for the new product—they haven’t just made improvements to make them safe, they’ve made second-year product changes, and done a lot more cold weather testing. There’s also a message from Jeremy Powers, Elle Anderson, and Ryan Trebon, all read by the president. More details and the full video from Stan Day below.

The SRAM RED 22 and S-700 Hydro shifters are recalled.

The SRAM RED 22 and S-700 Hydro shifters are recalled.

What were the exact failures in the SRAM Hydro R hydraulic brake systems seen on RED 22 and S-700 component groups, both in the HRD (Hydraulic Road Disc) and HRR (Hydraulic Road Rim) formats?

Day explains there were “two different mechanical issues” on the hydraulic levers “that enabled the brake to ingest air, lose pressure and fail.” The two issues are described by Day in detail:

“The first mechanical issue was that the cylinder bore was not cylindrical. Our manufacturing process  parameters did not adequately control the part fabrication. The result was that there was an oval shape to the bore that was beyond what the seal was capable of handling, especially in the extreme cold, when the seal lost some of its compliance.”

“The second issue is that the system created excessive negative pressure in the brake fluid reservoir. When it is controlled, negative pressure does not affect the brakes. We were not under control. We were operating outside of the seal’s ability to compensate especially in the extreme cold conditions, and the result was, air ingested into the system.”

“These two issues, in combination with normal manufacturing tolerance variation, could also allow failure of the system in warm riding temperatures.”

Day explains SRAM not only addressed the above issues that warranted the recall, but made second model year enhancements in the process. These changes include:

    1. New lever body design with improved ergonomics, shifter cable routing, and sealing, while saving weight
    2. New bleed port design with “better sealing and an easier user interface”
    3. New caliper spring to optimize roll back and reduce lever travel

You can be sure SRAM has also upped its testing of the new design, not only with real-world testing but new laboratory tests, including “endurance testing” from -4°F to 115°F. With some recent cold spells hitting the nation recently, you might worry if -4°F is cold enough for the endurance testing, but it’s safe to say that these brakes are not designed for fat bike Arctic adventures, and we might hope that temperatures lower than -4°F  would warrant postponing a cyclocross race or road ride.

Stay tuned to Cyclocross Magazine as we aim to keep cyclists informed of the latest on this safety-related matter.  Have more questions? Visit the SRAM HydroR recall site here.

Check out the SRAM Road Hydraulic Recall Announcement video here:

 

[SRAM notes that the first step for those affected is to visit and register on the recall website sramroadhydraulicbrakerecall.com to receive regular updates.]

 

 

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12 comments
AdamJohnson1
AdamJohnson1

SRAM/Cannondale have pretty much lost me as a customer because of this.  I ordered a bike in October (was supposed to arrive in November) and they kept pushing the date back each month.  Now it's April and guess what - mechanical disc brakes?!?  Apparently they worked out some sort of deal between themselves and failed to inform me or the local shop owner about the swap.  Seriously - absolutely no respect for the customer from either of these two companies.

ajbeach7
ajbeach7

@cyclocross @SRAMroad Now that we have your money, we will begin testing the product properly .. and resolve it on the best terms for us..?

ajbeach7
ajbeach7

@TPCduluth In other words... now that we have your $$money$$ we will actually begin the testing...

ajbeach7
ajbeach7

Very dissatisfied with SRAM...  I decided on an entry level bike with these brakes over a carbon framed with better components, but mechanical disk brakes... because this was supposed to be THE PRODUCT..  It was a decision maker for me. I feel like I was duped into purchasing this product.  I have protested my displeasure with SRAM with no resolution almost 3 months later.  To this point - 1.  I had to complete a race on my MTN bike (NBD) it was fun none the less  2.  My bike was deemed un-useable for the better part of winter...  when you need a CX bike if you want to ride on the road - and is still being held at the bike shop until we resolve the matter (tick tock, tick tock... time is passing every minute)  3.  Ride my very expensive carbon road bike with 11 speed campy on salted wet roads instead of the CX bike (which is one of the reasons I purchased it)  4.  Been waiting a month for a decision from SRAM customer service on how they plan to resolve this matter.  5.  Am stuck with a bike that is going to be outfitted with brakes that everyone in the cycling world will know has parts that are questionable (deeming the bike less than valuable if I want to re-sell it and buy something else).  This is ridiculous.  The consumer should be part of the settlement.  They caused damage to thousands of consumers and resolve it with no open dialogue at all with the consumer...  Just we are SRAM and this is how we plan to resolve it...   Looks good on the surface...  not so nice underneath the hood...

briscoelab
briscoelab

Love Sram MTB drivetrains. Love RockShox suspension forks. But won't go anywhere near a hydro brake from Sram/Avid. After going through 5, yes 5 sets of XX brakes (one two different bikes mind you... ) in a year, I gave up on them. Sure, they'd send out new ones. But the new ones were just as bad as what they were replacing. Sold the last warranty sets and bought Magura and XTR. 



Adam Clement
Adam Clement

SRAM has done a great job dealing with and communicating to the public on this. Kudos!

craigmacintyre
craigmacintyre

I am SRAM guy but their hydro brakes suck.  Period.  Their shifting and cable actuated brakes do the trick and are light and not ridiculously expensive.  Not sure why they cannot figure out hydro's.  I would rather run M445 brakes than XX1's ... they work, they don't squeal, they don't need constant bleeding ...

mikedaub
mikedaub

@cyclocross they couldn't fixed their mtb brakes for the past 5 years, no way they can get the road ones right.

DjangoFurioso
DjangoFurioso

A manufacturing failure. Where are these parts manufactured?

craigmacintyre
craigmacintyre

@AdamJohnson1 Cannondale is notorious for selling bikes they don't have ... a friend of mine is STILL waiting on his SuperX that was bought in November.  As for the brakes, that is all on SRAM at this point.  My guess is the "deal" they worked out with Cannondale was to send them some BB7's since the hydro's are recalled so they could ship the bikes.  Of course, if you already had it they would give you some hydro's if they ever fix them.  I suspect that isn't the case when taking delivery of a bike now.

I would not take delivery and demand my money back.  You ordered one thing, they shipped something else.  That is their problem.

Or have the local shop upgrade to Shimano (cannot believe I am saying that but as much as I like SRAM drivetrains, right now they are in the backseat ...)


ajbeach7
ajbeach7

How can you say this...  the product induced people to buy bikes with these brakes over other bikes and all they want to do is tell you 1. You are not allowed to ride you bike till we resolve this (on their terms)  2. For inducing you into buying a bike with this product we are going to give you a couple hundred bucks....   What if you don't want the bike you got... you had other choices at the time you purchased it, maybe now you wish you had purchased one of those choices.   This recall is something that happens, but the response has been unfair and strictly on their terms. 

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