The SRAM brake we've all been waiting for?


According to SRAM, Maven is the most powerful brake they’ve ever made. They claim that this mineral oil brake produces nearly 50% more power than their Code model. SRAM also says it takes 32% lighter force at the lever to generate the same amount of power as Code. Inside the large oversized calipers that are held together with four bolts reside two pairs of pistons measuring 19.5mm and 18mm. SRAM says the calipers are made for greater thermal mass meaning they take longer to heat up and cool down which in theory would provide more consistent brake performance.

Its pads are larger than Code’s and offered in sintered or organic compounds. According to SRAM the organic brake pads are ideal for a strong initial bite feel and less overall noise with the best performance in drier conditions. Their sintered brake are the most resistant to sustained heat and offer better performance in wet or muddy conditions.

The levers are Maven-specific with a master cylinder size ratio matched to the large caliper pistons for just the right leverage. Inside the lever assembly is a linkage SRAM calls SwingLink that increases the leverage ratio through the lever’s arc. In other words, the farther you pull the lever the more leverage is applied to the system. Even though the lever assembly is completely different and specific to Maven, SRAM says the ergonomics and feel as well as adjustments are all the same. The brake hoses feature the newer stealth style that angles them in closer to the bars for a cleaner look.

The Mavens range in price from $599 for theMaven Ultimate Expert kit that comes with everything you need to set up a bike including rotors and bleed tools to $185 per wheel for the brake only without rotors for the Maven Bronze.



SRAM sent us a complete Maven Ultimate Expert kit which we installed on a Trek Slash. We removed the Codes and installed Mavens using the same HS2 200mm rotor size front and rear. A complete front setup with hardware and 200mm rotor weighs 584 grams – exactly 51 grams more than an identical Code Ultimate setup.

Installation is straightforward and much like the Codes except for one small detail. After bleeding, SRAM recommends massaging the pistons in the bores. This means extending them out and retracting them back in a few times. SRAM says this helps break down initial friction between the pistons and seals creating a lower pad gap and consistent pad actuation. It’s worth noting that the Bleeding Edge fittings for the mineral oil brakes are a different size from the DOT versions so you can’t mix them up.



Lever feel from an ergonomic standpoint is pretty much identical to the Codes. We were hard-pressed to feel any difference. Same with the lever resistance and drag – nearly identical to the Codes but far from the airy lightweight feel of Hayes Dominions. After properly bedding in the pads and rotors we hit our favorite downhill trail and were immediately impressed with the stopping power. There is noticeably more initial bite, then power delivery feels somewhat similar to the Codes before really ramping up as you squeeze harder. The power difference is substantial and requires a lighter touch at the lever.



Feel and modulation are excellent and much like the Codes. Lever engagement and bite point remained consistent. All of this testing was with the organic pads. We will swap in metallics, try different-sized rotors and use them on various bikes as we continue testing. We are particularly curious about their performance on longer-travel eMTBs where heat management can challenge some brakes. Stay tuned for a long-term review where we see if the Mavens are the brakes we’ve been waiting for SRAM to deliver. With just a few rides in on them, we’re starting to think they just might be. The Mavens certainly seem to check all the boxes.

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