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SRAM SwingLink: The Secret to Better Brake Modulation

SRAM has some new technology featured in their higher-end hydraulic mountain bike brakes, but much of it sits behind the scenes. We wanted to shed some light on one technology point in particular, the SwingLink cam. SwingLink was introduced without much fanfare, so you might not even know whether your current brakes have it! This article will tell you which models have the SwingLink cam, what it looks like, and what difference you can expect for your ride.

The SwingLink cam is found on higher end Guide and Code brakes; the ‘S’ in Guide RS and RSC and Code RSC models stands for SwingLink. It sits directly behind the lever, connecting the brake lever to the plunger that forces fluid through the system to the activate the pistons and squeeze the pads together. While the design isn’t new to the world of high-performance brakes, SRAM have been able to use the technology in conjunction with the upsized pistons and efficient lever-throw of their newer brakes to make the perfect combination of power and control.

 

“When the pads contact the rotor, power is modulated, avoiding that “on/off” brake feel. It’s the perfect balance of power and precision.”
-SRAM.com

In essence, SwingLink controls the amount the pistons move for a given amount of lever throw. The triangular shape of the cam forces more fluid through the system at the beginning of the lever stroke. This moves the pistons from their retracted state (where they won’t rub on the rotor) to an engaged state (contacting the rotor and slowing it down) very quickly, meaning less of a ‘dead band’ in the brake lever throw. The brakes feel like they engage faster. Brakes that engage quickly and deliver all of their power at once are very difficult to control, however. Sram’s SwingLink design is such that once the pads are engaged, the amount of modulation that the lever provides increases, giving the rider precise control over the brakes.

The result is a brake that has a very distinctive feel. A short lever throw, and a uniquely precise bite point, without ever feeling ‘grabby’. Add the adjustability of SRAM’s tool-free contact and reach adjustment (found on RSC and Ultimate models) and you have a brake that delivers all the control you could want, and can be adjusted to fit your riding style perfectly.

Looking to upgrade your current brakes to something a little nicer? Stop by your local LTP Sports dealer today and grab a pair of SRAM Guide or Code SwingLink-equipped brakes to upgrade your ride!