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Professional Noob
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got a set of Guide Rs for free from a guy who said he couldn’t get them bled right and was giving up. I noticed they had Bleeding Edge ports so I figured they were new models and hopefully beyond the “issues...”

Had them working perfect in fifteen minutes flat. They have way more power than any two-piston Shimano I’ve ever tried and they take very little effort to activate and modulate. I had far more confidence on the trail than ever. They feel like a nice performance braking kit you’d put on a track car. Loads of power and control with minimal effort at the input.

Here’s hoping nothing goes wrong.
 

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Guides have a deep power reserve, you just need to go deeper into the lever travel to get it vs XT. Aftermarket or sintered pads help, too.

I've ridden a full season on each, and actually prefer the Guides, too. They suit my riding better.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Maybe it’s my big rotors, but yeah, I feel like I’m getting a lot more power with less work with the Guides.

Definitely can’t complain when they were free. And I will say, Bleeding Edge is awesome.
 

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I like Guides too and def prefer them to XTs: Firmer levers, more progressive initial braking, and no bite point wander. On my XTs I often find myself fiddling with the lever position knob mid-ride, sometimes several times during a ride. No such issue with Guides or Levels.
 

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It's not that I have much against the Guide R. I had them on a new bike that came with them and initially it felt as though I had a complete brake failure! After I got used to them, I thought they were fine, but since I had XT's on all my other bikes, I swapped them out for XT's for consistency.

I just don't understand the conclusion that they are more powerful than XT's. More modulation? Okay. Better lever design? Okay. More consistent? Okay. (thought I haven't experienced any of that, I can see that others may differ). More power? That doesn't make any sense.
 

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I like my Guide RS as well. Once I upgraded my front rotor to a 203mm and installed new sintered pads...they really woke up and have some pretty good stopping power. I've had XT's but not the newer 4 piston so I can't really compare apples to apples. the XT's were nice for sure. But lacked the power of the Guides...but again...2 piston vs 4 piston so not a fair comparison. I'm thinking about selling the Hope brakes I have on my single speed to buy another set of Guides.
 

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I like Guides too and def prefer them to XTs: Firmer levers, more progressive initial braking, and no bite point wander. On my XTs I often find myself fiddling with the lever position knob mid-ride, sometimes several times during a ride. No such issue with Guides or Levels.
Agree.

The bite point wander is particularly bad in cool/colder weather riding and I do lots of that. I've had enough of that sh!t. Almost threw me OTBs one too many times. on non-techy rides this is not much of an issue and can see how you'd not notice it. But when you are skimming on steep, slick, wet roots you need to know where your brakes are.

For many years I was an XT brake fan but I'm right in the middle of the process of slowly weeding them out of my stable in favor of Guides. Tomorrow I plan on doing a swap as a matter of fact.

To add, I finally went 12 speed, and it is sweet. Been on Shimano like forever, and now moving over to SRAM on the drivetrain. I dig how the SRAM clamps all mesh so that's another reason to like the Guides for me.

The Guides do have more of what I guess you kid's would call "modulation" - meaning you have to squeeze the lever harder to get the same braking force. It's taking some time to get use to compared to the lighter touch the XTs require. I still believe modulation comes from the finger, not the brake. But, I'm still liking the Guides better overall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
To be honest I forgot that 4-piston XTs exist at this point. I’ll have to research.
 

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IDK about the often expressed concerns about power. I haven't had any brakes going back to my Juicy 7s in 2003 that did have sufficient power to lock the wheel or put me OTB with my index finger.
 

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IDK about the often expressed concerns about power. I haven't had any brakes going back to my Juicy 7s in 2003 that did have sufficient power to lock the wheel or put me OTB with my index finger.
I have. But I'm also a super-clyde so banging downhill at 15+mph it takes a little more to get my 250+ pound ass stopped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Tried the four piston XTs. Didn't get more than a parking lot test, but on 180/160 rotors they seem to have a smidge more power than my Guide Rs on 203/180s.

If the Guides take a dump I'll be getting the XT 4-cylinders.
 

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I've been plesently surprised with my Guide R brakes. After several years on XTs, I thought I'd hate them. Now I have to learn to breed them.

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If you figure out how to get them to breed...let me know. I need another set for a new bike I'm building. Breeding would be a lot cheaper than having to buy a new set.
 

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I'm a Shimano XT brake user (love them), but have had Guides RS on a bike in the past with no complaints.

I've read the RS is a better lever than the R (haven't use R's, so I have no comparison)

S stands for swinglink. Per Sram-"A new cam system requires less lever throw to push the pads toward the rotor"

https://www.sram.com/sram/mountain/technologies/swinglink
 

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I believe the Shimano's "Servo Wave" lever cam is principally responsible for the wandering bite point and grabby action of their brakes. I think they've recently toned it down so as to be less objectionable. I hope the SRAM Swinglink doesn't produce those same side effects.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Official results are in from my demo ride tonight, two-pot XTs on 180/160 have noticeably less power than my Guide R set on 203/180 so take that as you will.

I didn't feel any bite point wander.

The 4-pot XTs though, just as much power on 180/160 as Guide R on 203/180.
 

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BOOM goes the dynamite!
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Official results are in from my demo ride tonight, two-pot XTs on 180/160 have noticeably less power than my Guide R set on 203/180 so take that as you will.

I didn't feel any bite point wander.

The 4-pot XTs though, just as much power on 180/160 as Guide R on 203/180.
If they're not on your radar, the new 4-pot SLX were announced with the SLX/XT 12spd stuff and are apparently shipping now/soon. Also, the MT520 (basically 4-pot Deore w/ceramic pistons, just not called that) have been out for a while. I have a set of the latter arriving Monday and plan on using them as front with 2-pot on the back w/180mm rotors f/r.
 
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