Sram’s New Maven Brakes Bring More Tuneable Power to the Table

Sram’s New Maven Brakes Bring More Tuneable Power to the Table

It's been a while since we've seen a completely new gravity brake come to the table from SRAM - their Codes have been a mainstay of downhill, enduro and even trail riding for quite some time now, the RSC models especially combining good, reliable power with a decent amount of modulation that riders can count on, and for many people, they're the gold standard in braking performance. Well, they were. Enter the Maven.

SRAM's Maven brakes are a completely new design from the ground-up. The massive caliper doesn't do much to hide that fact. Somewhat reminiscent of the original Codes, the Maven has a somewhat familiar but altogether new look that just means business. 

Sram Maven Ultimate Expert Kit

What's in a Name?

Names are important, and the Maven is no different. Maven means "one who is experienced or knowledgeable : expert". The Maven is the culmination of decades of learning and experience, all coming together to produce a truly expert level product that leaves no box unchecked, no avenue unexplored, and well and truly honed to perfection.

What's New?

In short, everything is new. New caliper, new lever, new seals, new piston size, new lever feel, new aesthetic, new fluid, new way of thinking about braking. The Maven is so supremely powerful that it's going to change the way people think about their brakes and set them up, with a much larger window of performance than ever before.

Sram Maven Ultimate Lever


First let's talk power. The Maven produces nearly 50% more power than its predecessor, the Code. that's a lot. Though don't worry, the Code is sticking around. One of the most striking factors behind this huge increase in power are the massive 18mm and 19.5mm pistons in the Maven, vs the 15mm and 16mm pistons in the Code. Couple that with a more progressive swinglink across all models, and an optimised master cylinder, that makes for big power numbers.


With great power comes great responsibility. The Maven in its most powerful guise is going to be too much for most people, that's a fact. SRAM are introducing a new way of thinking about braking in terms of tuneability. Remember what I said about a a larger window of performance? Most riders typically end up maxing out the performance on their Codes with the biggest rotors and metallic pads, with nowhere further to go.

By making the brake more powerful, it gives options to tune or de-tune the brake, for example smaller rotors for less power, useable organic pads for less initial grab, larger rotors and metallic pads for brakes that will stop a bus on a dime. Compatible with the older style Centerline rotors or newer HS2 rotors, the HS2 represents a 7% increase in power, and each step up from 180-200-220mm represents a 14% jump.

SRAM HS2 Rotors

Harnessing Heat

Lots of people think that heat is the enemy when it comes to brakes. SRAM are turning that idea on its head with the Maven. Managing heat is important, but heat isn't a bad thing. Brakes don't work without some heat in them - remember, their primary function is to turn kinetic energy into thermal energy, so let's make that job easier. Starting with the seals, SRAM developed new seals to properly utilise the benefits of mineral oil, rather than DOT. Next, that large caliper has a greater thermal mass, helping retain heat, meaning fewer fluctuations in termperature and therefore more reliable braking performance. Finally, heat ducts in the caliper body help diver excess heat away from the braking surface, keeping things at operating temperature, even on the longest, steepest descents.

What Does All This Mean?

In short, this means the best braking experience possible. By creating a wildly powerful brake, the Maven gives the fastest, rowdiest riders somewhere to go from their tuned-to-the-max Codes. It also gives riders genuine options when it comes to tuning their brakes for courses and conditions, for example useable organic compound pads for quieter braking when it's wet out with good brake performance. 

While power is significantly higher, SRAM designed the Maven to have a familiar lever feel, so those that enjoy the feel of SRAM brakes already will feel right at home. More power means less input at the lever, so less fatigue over longer descents, and lots of adjustments mean you can get your brakes just so, whether you like lots of modulation or something really grabby.

SRAM Maven Caliper

The Options

Following on from their usual pricing structure, there are three levels of brake available - Bronze, Silver, and Ultimate. At the very top is a limited edition Ultimate Expert Kit.

The Bronze level brake comes with stainless steel hardware holding that four-piston caliper together, organic pads as standard, stealth levers with reach adjust, mineral oil architecture, swinglink technology and a fixed hose port.

The Silver level comes with the same stainless hardware and organic pads but upgrades to an adjustable angle banjo for the hose, and upgrades the lever to forged lever blades rather than stamped, and has a contact adjust with a bearing pivot rather than a bushing for a more precise feel.

The top level Ultimate brake has titanium hardware throughout, and polished lever body and machined caliper. The Ultimate Expert Kit is a limited edition for launch, coming with a complete front and rear brake system with limited edition anodized red splash calipers, four rotors (1x220mm, 2x200mm, 1x180mm), two sets of organic pads and two sets of metallic, a full mineral oil bleed kit, rotor storage bag, and two brake adapters to enable the user to run any combination of the supplied rotors.

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