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SRAM unveils lightweight road disc calipers, longer housing kits

As frame manufacturers introduce disc-brake race machines for road and ’cross, one of the main deterrents holding buyers back is the added weight of ditching rim brakes. SRAM is trying to cut down on that barrier with its new, lighter weight Avid BB7 Road SL, or Avid RSL for short.

Concurrently, SRAM is releasing new, extra-long road brake cable and housing kits — the Slickwire Road Brake XL — to work with road discs.

Avid BB7 Road SL >> $170 per set

We first saw the BB7 Road SL at Eurobike last month. It’s a more contemporary version of the Road BB7 and saves 25 grams per brake to boot. The RSL calipers use titanium hardware, as do the upgraded HS1 rotors, which will come in 140mm and 160mm options. Even the organic pads save weight over the sintered pad of the Road BB7.

The RSL is $20 more expensive per set than the Shimano CX75 calipers. The CX75, like all Shimano disc calipers, comes without brake rotors and will likely cost a bit more than the RSL for a complete build. However, the CX75 will be available this month and the RSL is not expected until November.

The styling and light weight will surely entice BB7 fans, of which there are many. We expect to see SRAM-sponsored ’cross riders such as Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) will be on these new calipers soon.

SRAM Slickwire Road Brake XL Cable Kit >> $45 per set

With disc brakes comes some extra distance from lever to caliper. SRAM offers several cable kits, but to date has not offered an extra long option for road frames. SRAM claims the Slickwire compressionless housing is 30 percent lighter than a traditional housing setup, possible in part because the Slickwire housing does not feature a spiral-wound sheath. The kit also includes rubber frame protectors and two PTFE-coated cables.

Like the calipers, the cable kits will not be available until November, which is a bit late for most cyclocross disc fans in 2012. Home mechanics will have to continue buying bulk housing for now.

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