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So as electronic gearing is now more common than a Holden Ute we now see Hydraulic brakes coming onto the market. Are they something new? NO Many years ago (10+) I was lucky enough to get a set of Magura Hydraulic Rim brakes on my MTB. They were unbelievable at the time and a real eye opener into what brakes could be like. A few years later I was on a set of Magura Louise disc brakes which were the bomb at the time. Since then the technology and development of disc brake systems has been non stop and the brake systems on most MTB bikes are now nearing perfection. It is almost unheard of now to have a MTB without disc brakes. Over the last few years we have seen Cyclocross take off in Australia and the bikes have gone from being a thrown together old clunker to high end carbon bikes with top end group sets. As the performance and competition increases there has been a big push for better and more efficient braking. This has led to nearly all manufacturers developing disc brake frames and using mechanical disc brakes through the standard STI levers you would find on a road bike. While Campagnolo have followed Shimano in the quest for electronic shifting perfection SRAM have been developing Hydraulic brake levers for road and CX bikes while sticking to the cables for the shifting side of things. What they have come up with is a few group sets that can be used across the board for road and CX depending on what your desire is and what your frame can take. The SRAM Red has not only got Hydro Disc or Caliper Brake but has also found another cog to make it 11spd rear and keep up with the competition. They have also come out with Hydro levers and brakes that can be retro fitted to the existing 10spd systems. There is no doubt that the feel, modulation and power of Hydro brakes over cable brakes is much better but my question is do we need disc brakes on road bikes? For what it is worth I see the disc brakes working perfectly on CX bikes and even the trusty city commuter bike but don't see the benefit or need for them to appear on road racing bikes and this is why? Pro's - They are a new toy - Endo's and Skids will be really easy - It will solve the carbon clincher brake surface failures - the rim weights and profiles will be able to become extremely light and aero Cons - A good set of road brakes works - When racing a spare wheel change will become more complicated -On the fly adjustment will be nearly impossible if the brakes don't line up - Discs get extremely hot and are rather sharp and dangerous spinning at high speeds.....Crashes and pile ups will get uglier - I can't see that there will be much diffenence in weight but surely aerodynamics can't be as good with a disc and Caliper mounted on your front fork So here is what I think SRAM have done really well. They have come out with an 11spd rear They have really come up with a fantastic Hydro Road brake set up with the Caliper brakes as well as having a sweet set of disc brakes for the CX guys as well. They have come out with a retrofit kit that will work with your 10spd set up You can still stay full cable if you want as they have that option as well So as a massive SRAM fan I will be strapping on the SRAM Red 22 with Hydro Rim Brakes and I know I will be extremely happy with the performance and feel plus I will be able to keep my bike, wheels etc as is and not have to restock my garage. One question....... Will SRAM come up with electronic gearing so your bike won't ever need a sticky or frayed shift/brake cable replaced or will their competition follow them and add hydro brakes to their electronic line up? What do you think?

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