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Optimizing Guide T setup

May 4, 2022, 10:36 a.m.
Posts: 29
Joined: Nov. 1, 2017

Was hoping to get some advice and guidance. Have a set of Guide T's on my bike, would like some more bite and fade resistance; modulation is reasonable with the setup right now and I'm ok with it. Brakes aren't bad, especially since swapping to sintered pads but I'd still like some more power and fade resistance. I'd like to optimize the setup without having to shell out for a new set of brakes, I'm of the opinion that proper maintenance and setup of my brakes should ideally yield 90% of the function I'd get with a higher grade set. 

So the plan:

1) MTX gold pads (on order, thanks to this article about their effectiveness: https://nsmb.com/articles/oem-alternative-brake-pads-one-month-later/)

2) Double bleed, piston seal clean, etc... 

3) Should I go with a 220 rotor FR? Currently running 200's. Thinking this will help with bite and fade resistance

4) I'd like pad contact point adjustment but given these are entry point brakes, they don't have it. Is there an aftermarket lever that I can throw on? Will an RSC lever and pivot help? Currently, the tool-required reach adjust concurrently changes the pad contact point, and if the reach is my ideal, the pad contact point puts the lever almost flush with the bar; I'd like some more play-room for fade. 

Thoughts, suggestions, or criticisms? Appreciate all the knowledge and wisdom on here!

May 4, 2022, 10:47 a.m.
Posts: 1645
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

I know it's not what you want to hear but...My buddy just pulled his off and bought some Deores. All problems solved.

I had a bike couple of years ago that came with Levels. Not absolutely terrible brakes, but even with pad and rotor swaps they never had enough power. Replaced them with dirt cheap MT-5's from some sketchy German site, bikecomponent.de or bike24 or somesuch, and all was well.

May 4, 2022, 12:27 p.m.
Posts: 306
Joined: Feb. 16, 2013

Those brakes came on my Ripmo AF, and the solution was selling them and buying brakes that worked. I didn't try MTX pads, but went straight to sintered and they barely improved things. Gave them a good bleed, nothing. They could barely slow down my 175lb mass and 29er wheels, let alone stop me if I needed to.

I've heard some people say they can be "OK", but based on my experience, they shouldn't be included on a performance mountain. Embarrassingly bad.

[Edit - I've heard the difference between the various Guide brakes is all in the levers, so technically, you could try to find an affordable way to swap levers. BUT, since you're likely to get some re-sale cash for the complete set, why not just buy an affordable GOOD set of brakes (Deore, MT5 etc).]


 Last edited by: mammal on May 4, 2022, 12:31 p.m., edited 2 times in total.
May 5, 2022, 2:07 a.m.
Posts: 74
Joined: Dec. 1, 2008

And even the full fat Guide RSC isn't a terribly powerful brake. It's OK for lighter riders when using good pads, but I relegated mine to the XC bike where they fit much better than on the trailbike.

May 5, 2022, 5:29 a.m.
Posts: 164
Joined: March 1, 2017

The RSC doesn't have contact point adjustment. It just dials out the 'dead spot' where when you start to apply the brake lever but the pistons do not yet move.

That said, the swing link in the RS and RSC levers does add significant modulation and power over the T lever and are a great upgrade. I'd go with the RSC levers to minimize lever throw while still having the pads sitting away from the rotors. 

As to which brakes are the 'best' at a certain price.....you'll never get an agreement. I've had 4 piston Shimano brakes and various 4 piston Sram ones. Shimano have more initial bite if you want that. And yes, you can modulate the brakes pretty well with your fingers to make up for the lack of modulation in the brakes. Personally when going down steep slabs, I like brakes to have plenty of modulation so I can afford to be a bit more 'lazy' with my fingers. I've never personally found my G2 RSC brakes to be under-powered as such, but more power wouldn't be a bad thing either.

May 5, 2022, 7:38 a.m.
Posts: 332
Joined: June 17, 2016

My impression has always been that there is a lot of inconsistency between Guide sets, especially the lower end models.

I've had good results with a basic Guide R set (w/ Sram metallic pads) and even used them for light bike park stuff and on 1000-1500 vertical metres fast descents in the Alps without any issues. However my friend had many issues with his Guide R set and in the end just got rid of them. So maybe just luck of the draw.

A good bleed always did wonders for me and I did end up becoming an expert at bleeding Avid/Sram brakes running Juicy 7s and different Elixir and Guide models for many years.

Now that I've been on Shimano brakes (4-piston SLX) for a few years I don't think I'll go back to Sram though.


 Last edited by: niels@nsmb.com on May 5, 2022, 9:28 a.m., edited 1 time in total.

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