SRAM Stealth Brake Levers for Code & Level Sit Tight for Clean Cockpits
SRAM has released a new Stealth Brake Lever variation on its Code and Level mountain bike disc brakes, featuring a lever body designed to sit flush against the bar such that the hose exits much closer it. The Stealth Lever bodies are principally designed to complement the aesthetics of the new SRAM Eagle Transmission released today, as well as to integrate seamlessly with the ever-increasing number of bars, stems and headsets that can accomodate hoses and cables internally.
Equally as newsworthy is the announcement of a 4-Piston version of the SRAM Level Brake Caliper said to offer a superior power to weight ratio for XC racers who are, seemingly, subjected to more demanding descents year-on-year. The Stealth Level Lever is also improved over the current Level offering with tool-free adjustment of lever reach.
The SRAM Stealth Code, SRAM Stealth Level 2-Piston and SRAM Stealth Level 4-Piston brakes announced today are each available in two models; Ultimate and Silver, bringing Stealth technology to two price points to suit a range of budgets. Here's an overview of the fresh stoppers.
Today's announcement of the SRAM Stealth Brake Levers offers some explanation for the meteoric rise in popularity of cable-routed headsets. The love-it-or-hate-it design feature adorning so many bikes in 2023 could deliver a clean cockpit aesthetic when paired with the new Stealth levers, thanks to the hose exiting in such close proximity to the bar. Certainly, it seems the changes could make for less hassle when fitting a race plate or bikepacking handlebar bag.
In terms of tangible improvement, it seems the new Stealth offering is incremental at best. Indeed, SRAM claim no performance benefit here. The idea was to make the resultant cockpit easier on the eye, complementing the minimalist aesthetic brought by a wireless AXS shifter and AXS dropper remote. The Stealth Brakes will all come with stem clips for use with stems that have a specified gap between the stem body and face-plate on the two lower bolts; these help keep any rattling to a minimum.
Despite their strikingly different aesthetics, we are told that the internals of the SRAM Stealth Code and SRAM Stealth Level Brake Levers are almost identical to their non-Stealth counterparts; that's the SwingLink mechanism with the use of bearings at the lever pivot for a smooth pull and return. Thus, we might expect no difference in stopping power and lever feel. That said, there are some unique parts (not sure what); thus, there will be Stealth-specific spare parts kits.
The most powerful of the SRAM Brakes announced today is of course the Code Stealth. It is said to be on par with the Code RSC, sharing the tool-free adjustments of lever reach and contact point. Indeed, the Stealth Code SLV is, for all intents and purposes, simply a re-packaged Code RSC Brake. It gets stainless steel hardware and a forged aluminum blade. This is the more affordable option, retailing at $265 USD per brake – $20 USD more expensive than the Code RSC.
Topping the range is the SRAM Code ULT, benefiting from a lighter carbon lever blade and titanium hardware. We don't have any claimed weights to share with you just now, so can't say what the weight saving might be. Whatever it is, it will cost you an $35 for the pleasure, retailing at $300 USD per brake.
The SRAM Level Stealth Ultimate Brakes enter as the new top-end offering for dedicated XC racers; this one is a repackaging of the top-tier Level Ultimate with its carbon lever blade into the new stealth body. It also offers tool-free adjustment of lever reach. SRAM says this delivers one of the lightest, sleekest brakes in the market. This one will set you back $285 USD.
The SRAM Level Stealth Silver option brings a similar performance at the far more affordable price point of $185 USD. It too gets the tool-free lever reach adjustment, but runs a heavier forged aluminum blade and stainless steel caliper hardware.
New for 2023 is the addition of a 4-Piston SRAM Level Brake, only available with the Stealth Lever Body. The caliper itself is simply a re-branded G2 caliper, bringing the stopping power required for trail riding in an XC friendly package. Again, there is an Ultimate (ULT) offering with a carbon lever blade and titanium hardware; that one retails at $300 USD.
More affordable is the SRAM Level Stealth Silver 4-Piston Brake with the forged aluminum lever blade and stainless steel hardware; that one retails at $195 USD.
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