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Hi all,

I currently have the Guide brakes on my Specialized Levo FSR Fattie 6 but it suffers with the common fault - little plunger swells when warm and brake appears to be on.

Is the Guide brake better than say a Shimano Deore? I can get a replacement brake lever & calliper relativity cheap.

I think the Guide is a 4 piston caliper, whereas the Deore is a 2? I’m assuming the 4 would be a lot stronger?

il tempted to take the lever apart to replace the plunger or even rub down with some emory cloth so make it slightly smaller so shouldn’t stick.
 

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I run the 4 piston deore brakes and love them. I switched to 8" rotors in the rear for more stopping power. I'm a pretty big guy at 226 lbs they stop me. Not a fan of Sram Guide brakes, they just never feel right and the bleeding process sucks.

Sent from my SM-T867U using Tapatalk
 

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The guides can easily be rebuilt with the lever service kits for about $25 a brake. They modulate extremely well and have a good feel, but are lacking in power. I have found them just adequate with 200mm rotors front and rear under my 200 pounds. My son runs them on his bikes so I have a fair amount of time on them, but much prefer my Magura MT5s.
 

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260lbs. my guides still working after 4500km.

203/180 rotors.

they modulate well.

shimanos dont modulate well. or put another way, they are really quick to bite. or put another way, they will instantly send you over the bars if you panic and grab a quick finger full of brake.

modulation is always good!

most shimano stuff is available 2 and 4 piston. eg. 7100/7120
 

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The cheap Shimano 2-pots are brilliant for the money. I had MT500s on my old trail bike. They work really well, just good no frills, no hassle brakes. You can’t replace individual seals or pistons but a new lever or caliper is like £15-20. They also make a 4-pot version - the MT520.

Shimano are a bit more "grabby" in general but you can learn to modulate them quite easily, you just have less lever throw to play with.
 

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Thanks both for your responses. I may look into the rebuild kit. If I change to Shimano is it likely I will need to change pads & rotors?
Since SRAM & Shimano use different pads, yes. Most times pads are included with the brakes, but not always.

Rotors, possibly depending what's on there now. More likely just clean with isopropyl alcohol and lightly scuff with sandpaper, then re-bed. Or you might just be able to ride...I've done both.

Having said that, if you have the time I'd say just try the lever fix with your current brakes since they're decent other than that issue.
 

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Guides suck. Give me Shimano any day.

As others have pointed out the Guides are underpowered despite being 4 piston. Actually I think they're the weakest 4 piston caliper on the market, or close to it.

If for some reason you don't like the feel of Shimano's, Magura have a more linear modulation feel than Shimano with one of the most powerful calipers on the market. Plus the MT5's/Trail Sport whatever is Cheap and excellent. 4 piston front, 2 piston rear. IIRC the Magura 2 pistons are more powerful than Guide 4 pistons.

I also really like my Shimano 4 pistons (XT).
 

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Guides suck. Give me Shimano any day.

As others have pointed out the Guides are underpowered despite being 4 piston. Actually I think they're the weakest 4 piston caliper on the market, or close to it.

If for some reason you don't like the feel of Shimano's, Magura have a more linear modulation feel than Shimano with one of the most powerful calipers on the market. Plus the MT5's/Trail Sport whatever is Cheap and excellent. 4 piston front, 2 piston rear. IIRC the Magura 2 pistons are more powerful than Guide 4 pistons.

I also really like my Shimano 4 pistons (XT).
Having ridden the trail sports, I find the difference in power between the front and rear to throw me off. A pair of MT5s are very close in price and I find the balance much better. Again, while I run Magura on all my bikes and they are my go to, if I were the OP, I would just rebuild the levers unless he has problems with overheating and fade.
 
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Had guides on my 2018 stumpy that had that issue.

step 1, remove guides
step 2, install shimanos
step 3 take guides to the bike shop and have them perform the fix under warranty
step 4, sell the guides
You forgot the rest:

step 5, get used to no modulation,
step 6, learn to love the surprise of never knowing where your bite point will be, and
step 7, start wearing headphones to block out the sound of rattling pads.

All brakes have their issues and tradeoffs. My beloved Maguras have crap stock levers, masters that crack for many(never had it personally happen), and are a real pain to bleed until you learn how to do it right.
 
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forgot nothing. my hands are capable of applying more or less pressure as needed, and as such i can modulate the brakes just fine. have yet to see any of the other issues appear either, and thats across old 2 pot m8000 xt brakes, m8020 4 pots, and the current m8120 4 pots.

what ive never seen shimanos do is lock up the lever piston when it gets warm, or have the stopping power of a parachute the size of a paper towel. =)

id gladly also try hope, magura, or even trp if shimano ever failed me, but so far so good.
 

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Ah, the never ending SRAM vs Shimano brake banter. :)

Is the Guide brake better than say a Shimano Deore?
Both are good. Each have models that compare to each other. But, they are different. SRAM typically has more of a modulated feel, Shimano less so. Neither is bad, but it can be enough of a difference to become a personal preference. Some riders, like myself, prefer less modulation. We like the 'on - off' feel of Shimano. We like that Instant bite feel. Others prefer a smoother transition, having more "feel" before a complete bite. Neither is wrong or right, and both do the job.

If you have SRAM now, spend a little time on a bike with Shimano brakes of the same level and see for yourself which you prefer.
 

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You forgot the rest:

step 5, get used to no modulation,
step 6, learn to love the surprise of never knowing where your bite point will be, and
step 7, start wearing headphones to block out the sound of rattling pads.

All brakes have their issues and tradeoffs. My beloved Maguras have crap stock levers, masters that crack for many(never had it personally happen), and are a real pain to bleed until you learn how to do it right.
You missed a bit more:

Step 8: contaminate pads with seals that spray oil for no reason.
Step 9: levers go sticky
Step 10: pistons crack or completely give up the seal and you can't slow down.
Step 11: Hospital bills
 
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