For 2020, SRAM’s new Level Ultimate brakes provide more power with less weight. For today’s cross country racers, keeping their bikes light is still a major priority, yet race courses are getting rowdier and rougher. With these demands in mind, SRAM redesigned their Level Ultimate and TLM brakes, packing the most stopping power they could into the lightest packages possible.
The new higher-spec Level levers and calipers have been chiseled down to the slimmest shapes, and even their hardware has been pared down to remove excess weight. But SRAM didn’t just put the Level Ultimate and TLM brakes on a diet; they’ve also redesigned the calipers. The updated calipers now feature a two-piece, two-piston design which aims to offer excellent heat management and smooth piston actuation.
SRAM Level Ultimate Brakes
SRAM shaved every gram they could from the Level Ultimate brakes while ensuring they have ample power to handle current XC courses. Using DOT 5.1 fluid and the option for two-piece CLX 160 or 180mm front rotors (paired to a 140mm rear) promises quick and powerful stopping for XC riders.
The new Level Ultimate start with a new 2-piece caliper that aims to provide excellent heat management and smoother piston actuation, while at the same time reducing weight compared to the previous 1-piece design. The lever body has also been trimmed down to shed some grams, but retains the carbon fiber lever blade and still pivots on bearings for a crisp lever feel and reduced hand fatigue. The levers also include tooled reach adjusters to accommodate any rider’s hands or preferences.
Easy installation and maintenance was also a priority while updating the Level brakes. The new Ultimates feature familiar SRAM design elements like a hinged bar clamp and top-loading pads, and they now include SRAM’s Bleeding Edge ports. These bleed ports aim to make brake bleeds easier and quicker by allowing fluid to flow through the caliper more easily, but please note they do require a special adapter.
The new Level Ultimates are compatible with SRAM’s Matchmaker or Matchmaker X (MMX) clamps, and with their lightweight titanium hardware their weight is listed at 318g. MSRP for the Level Ultimates is $265.