SRAM Road Hydro Disc Install & Review (New) & Pinarello Dogma F8 Frameset Unveiled

I thought I would write a review of how to install and adjust / bleed the newest road hydraulic disc components from SRAM (the SB700 series).  They just arrived at the shop a few days ago and I was anxious to see what the differences were and how they would perform once installed.  As normal, there were some easier parts and more difficult ones and I am sure I will encounter new challenges with it for each new frame it’s installed on.

This review is based off of a popular frame — the Specialized SWORKS Crux.  It’s cable routing was designed to use road hydraulic brakes (or mechanical) and was the first one in the shop to be updated.  Here goes.

This is the group right out of the package.  This is the SB700 series and it also came with Zipp Service Course SL tape (black), new rotors/pads, and caliper bleed blocks.

The Shipment New SRAM Hydro  The S Series CaliperThe S700 hydraulic road lever

The front and rear setups were in separate boxes and packaged well.  The only thing that I would have liked to have seen would be a printed copy of the bleed procedure.  However, I did find it easily online here

This bike stayed in the shop from the initial recall and so removal of the recalled hydraulic brakes was fairly quick and easy.  I cut the lines for the rear brake because of the internal routing and pulled the line through after installing this little connector and hose plug to avoid DOT fluid dripping through the frame.

The first thing I did was to clean all of the surfaces the components would be installed to with isopropyl alcohol.  This leaves no residue and provides the cleanest contact surface.  Before this, I also disconnected and removed the old derailleur cables.  Installation of the brake/shift lever is next and was mounted using a small amount of grip paste behind the handlebar mounting bracket to ensure stable placement and zero movement while riding.  Photos below.

Installed rear lever Old lever marking for replacmentInstalled rear lever

 

Once the lever was installed, I checked out the caliper to notice any differences.  These next photos are of the caliper installed and on the bench.  I figure it is more useful to know as many things as possible before the install and some of these things were discovered throughout the installation.

The caliper beside the diagram of parts The removable hose / barb/ olive for trimming 92 Caliper brake pads Bleed block

 

In the above photos, you will notice that the caliper looks about like any other hydraulic caliper out there with a few minor differences.  First, the hose can be cut and sized for the frame at the banjo.  Where older style brakes seemed to always have the crimped metal cap on the hose where it meets the banjo on the caliper, there is a standard 8mm fitting bolt that compresses an olive and barb into the body of the banjo.  Secondly, the pads are uniquely shaped compared to other SRAM/Avid brakes.  Lastly, the safety retainer clip for the bolt that hold the brake pads in the caliper is clipped on the inside of the body, where the edge of the pick is pointing in the second photo.  As a side note, I just realized the potential to use the bleed block as a tool to hold the hose while installing a barb by squeezing the end of the bleed block that is slotted.

Next, the front caliper was installed and appropriate measuring for the hose was fitted for the frame.  I used the smaller cylindrical caliper mounting spacers and found it to look sleek and minimal while providing a stable “post” for the caliper to mount to.

Brand new rotors Installing the front caliper  Installed caliper and rotor on front wheelEasy hose cutting and sizing

 

Cutting and sizing the hose for the front brake was relatively easy and required about the same time as it does for a mountain hydraulic brake.  With no internal routing for the front brake, it simply passes in a nice arc in front of the head tube and follows by a retainer clip on the fork down to the caliper.  Pivot washers and new mounting hardware were all included (a 12mm top spacer and a 7.5mm bottom spacer for a 140mm rotor)(A standard adaptor was also included for a larger rotor).

Now, I’ll cover the installation for the rear brake and then go over the bleed procedure last.  The rear brake hose, as mentioned earlier, is routed through the frame, below the bottom bracket to the non-drive side of the bottom bracket cable guides for the derailleur cables, and out of the rear non-drive chain stay to the caliper.  The caliper mounts directly to the frame mounts along with pivot washers.

One of the important factors in internal routing for hydraulic hoses (and full-length housing) is being able to wrap cushioning around it to prevent rattling in the frame every time the bike hits a bump.  Specialized had provided a spiral foam insulator that was wrapped on the excess of the hose and pushed into the frame where it passed below the bottom bracket (shown below)

The bottom of the photo is where the insulator is pushed into the down tube.  It is incredibly helpful to use some sort of snaking light to illuminate the inside of the frame so the derailleur cables can be checked for crossing when installed (also internally routed).  It’s an easy thing to miss with all of the other focus points of the install and will definitely lead to terrible shifting.  I left the hose for the install as long as possible (cutting it about two inches from the banjo on the brake caliper) so there would be plenty to use for correctly sizing to the frame.  I would note that gloves are definitely useful and necessary while routing the cable so no DOT fluid contacts the skin.

Cable liners routed for derailleur cables Hose plug and tool for routing through the frame Installing new barb and olive onto the cut and sized hose The installed caliper before attaching the hose Rear rotor (and still works for racks on bikes)

The routing through the frame wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be since the hose was fairly rigid and could be easily seen with the light shown into the frame. Using the little red plug also marginally helped to prevent lots of air from entering the system while installing, which made bleeding the brake quicker and more effective afterward.

The pads lined up to the rotors well for the front and rear.  The pad spacers were held in place well and resisted falling out (great for packing and transporting).  Before bleeding both brakes, I went ahead and installed the derailleur cables back onto the components and adjusted as necessary.

Once the rotors, levers, shifter cables, hydraulic hoses, and calipers were all installed, it was definitely evident and expected that one or two bleeds would be required to get the correct actuation of the lever.  Initial pulls on the lever yielded solid piston movement in the caliper — even with air in the system.

The bleed procedure is quite normal and easy.  The bleed port on the lever is located at the topmost section of the grip, underneath the rubber.  A standard T10 fitting right in the center connected to a 1/4th filled bleed syringe with DOT 5.1 fluid and a hose clamp.  The inner part of the caliper body bolt is the second fitting (also T10) for the 1/2 filled syringe of DOT 5.1 fluid with a hose clamp.  Past this, the bleed procedure is described in depth, step by step at the link mentioned at the start of the article.

Lever bleed port T10 Caliper bleed port T10 Remember this clip! Bleed manual off of website for Road Hydraulic

 

A few things to remember — clean the entire caliper with isopropyl alcohol after bleeding the brake and before reinstalling the brake pads.  Use the included bleed block.  Do not forget the clip for the retainer bolt on the caliper that holds the pads in place.  While not critical for the brake to function, it is a safety clip so the pads do not vibrate out and cause the pistons to contact the rotor in the event of a failure.  Lastly, always go through the bleed procedure step by step.  As noted in the manual, it may be necessary to bleed the brake more than once for the initial install.  I bled the rear brake twice and the front brake once (due to less air exposure than the rear and great results after the first bleed).

I checked the position of the brake pads in relation to the rotor and centered them on either side by loosening and tightening the mounting bolts and placing a white sheet of paper below the caliper (which makes it incredibly easy to see the space between each brake pad and its respective side of the disc rotor).  Once fine-tuned, I test rode it around the area outside our shop and was noticeably impressed.

The shifting performance felt better than the original hydraulic version and slightly better than the mechanical 22 groups.  The brake pads were burnished to the rotors with about 40-50 hard stops and responded quickly to fast braking and slower modulation.  The reach can also be adjusted for quicker pad contact and shorter distance to the handlebars.

All in all, I thought the install took an appropriate amount of time and was well prepared for by SRAM.  The bleed procedure is quite like their mountain brakes, which is easy and was convenient to perform with a brand new bleed kit included with each set of brakes.  The braking power was solid and adequate.  I’ll be awaiting real ride feedback from riders picking them up as I finish installing the others.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments regarding this article or in your own install as I am always looking to expand the knowledge base to provide accurate instructions and review.  Thanks for the support!

– S.N.C.

As a final note, we also just got a shipment of the new Pinarello Dogma F8 — an incredibly light frame with post hardware rolling in at about 980g!  Below are photos of the frame before the build and I’ll have build photos in the next week as five are already getting ready to head out to the road for takeoff!

 

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What’s in the stand today?

This is what I was working on today….

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Specs are as follows:

Specialized SWORKS Shiv frameset with integrated aero brakeset, seatpost, and Sitero saddle.  This was a stock build I had etched up a few months back and it had been sitting on our Specialized wall with some grandeur.  It’s spec’d with a Dura-Ace 9000 groupset with time trial shifters.  Zipp Beyond Black stem was swapped for the standard stock stem setup in order to run a Zipp Vuka Bull base bar with TRP carbon brake levers and Fizik matte black tape.  The wheelset currently is a nice set of CXP80 Cosmics, but likely will be switched to Zipp 808s.  It’s a really great aero build that will be the epitome of stealth and craftsmanship.  Since I built it accordingly before, it’s been easy to set in the new cockpit and all that is left is to route the new cables and tune.  Other pressing projects intervened this build today including a Di2 upgrade on a Caad 10 Synapse frameset, a SWORKS lululemon Amira with Ultegra Di2, and an SWORKS hardtail Stumpjumper that needed a final bleed and hose replacement for Formula brakes front and rear.  That was also a great build last week that I should have a finals slideshow for tomorrow evening or Sunday.  Internal hydraulic routing and XX1 group with a nice tubeless setup.  Anyways, I’ve had a long week and got a lot of great projects out to happy riders and need some rest.  I’ll have a short article on some tech stuff that has been important to the industry lately tomorrow.  Thanks for checking things out!

-SNC

Sworks Tarmac SL3 Rebuild

A project that has been in the shop for a few weeks has finally been completed and I wanted to share some photos and background that I believe really details what the cycling industry is about.  This Specialized Tarmac SL3 had been in a crash during the prior year and it was questionable as whether to replace the frame and wheels or repair them.  Weighing in originally at just over 13 pounds, it was equipped with SRAM Red, Zipp 202s, and Specialized components.

Upon inspection, it was evident that the rear chain stay had a major break in the FACT 11r carbon fiber and the other stay would likely have been compromised from the impact.  In addition, the rear wheel was destroyed as well as the fork.  We consulted both the costs of a new frame and wheels and with a company out of North Carolina called Jack Kane Cycles that could repair the carbon.  They assured us after sending multiple photos of the damage that it could be repaired, but that a new finish needed to be applied to the whole frame for aesthetics and durability.  After debating about this issue in the shop, it really made good sense.  At Kane Cycles, they believe that a repair in carbon fiber means making the whole system complete as a skeletal structural unit.  It should essentially look like nothing ever happened.  After sending them the frame and a replacement fork, they matched the paint and finish and repaired the damage with impeccable quality work.  I highly recommend their services and very much appreciated their updates and professional attitude.

While the frame was being repaired, we decided to use the hubs from the Zipp 202s and rebuild them with Sapim CX Ray spokes and Alchemy TB-25 tubular rims.  Alchemy machines a variety of hole drilling for their rims, which made it an excellent choice along with the great reputation they have for quality products.  The spoke calculations made it the hardest set of wheels I have ever laced.  From spoke nipple washers to measuring spoke length for recessed straight pull crossed and radial lacing to mounting the tubulars, it came together absolutely even and precise and dropped almost a hundred grams off the original set.

The rest of the bike suffered no damage in regards to the components, bars, and crank.  After cleaning and lubricating all of the parts, I installed Teflon shift cables and housing with long tongue protectors and put the sweet machine back to racing performance.  With Look Keo pedals installed, it weighed in at 14 pounds 11 ounces.  After a quick test ride, I realized that the industry was at a point where the technology is at the same level as our ability to repair it.  The bike is different today than the original, but now reflects a much more customized look and feel with a “one-off” style.  I plan to write a followup post later concerning the building of the wheels and how to measure for such a situation.  Here are the photos!    – SNC

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