Level TL Disc Brake
The only thing better than a strong and well-modulating brake is one that doesn't break the bank and that's exactly what you get with the Level TL Disc Brake from SRAM. While SRAM's hydraulic disc brakes have had somewhat of a checkered past, with the addition of the Guide and Level lines, the performance and reliability have grown by leaps and bounds and while we had reservations about equipping our bikes with them before, we wouldn't hesitate running them now. Welcome to the Level TL shares some technology with the all-mountain and enduro-going Guide brakes but in a more low-weight platform designed for XC use.
Compared to the Guides, the Levels shave weight by omitting two of the pistons bringing the number from four to two and replacing the tool-free reach adjust with a design that saves weight but does require tool intervention. The TL also makes cost concessions by using a two-part body instead of a one-piece design. The difference in performance is, however, that feature is expected on the higher-tier models. Other cost-saving features include the use of good old alloy and steel versus more exotic materials like carbon and titanium. Again, these features are academic in use and only add a few grams over the spendier versions.
Compared to the ill-fated Avid Elixir, Levels aren't nearly as finicky to bleed. Gone are the days of a spongy lever just because you hung your bike vertical on a bike hook, often right after a bleed. Additionally, a new expandable bladder design reduces air contamination by expunging air from the lever and reserving the lines for fluid only. The Level TL uses SRAM's tried and true DOT 5.1 hydraulic fluid. SRAM claims that the latest generation of DOT resists boiling over three times longer than its predecessor, DOT 4, and frankly if its good enough for use in our cars and motos, its good enough for our bikes.
The Level's ability to eliminate air contamination, its revised bladder shape, and DOT fluid all contribute in making this XC-rated brake strong enough to venture into the all-mountain realm and the inclusion of SRAM's new timing port closure design also helps ensure that the levers' power comes on smooth, and with a one-finger operation. The levers are also MatchMaker and MMX compatible, and the PiggyBack Reservoirs let you run the brakes moto-style if you'd like.
- SRAM Level braking performance at a more attractive price
- Uses a two-piston caliper to save weight over Guides
- Direct Link lever design for ergonomic braking control
- Piggyback reservoir allows for ambidextrous lever placement
- Expandable bladder better rids air when bled
- MatchMaker/MMX compatible for a cleaner cockpit
- Comes with steel-backed organic pads
- SRAM CenterLine Rotors are not included