SRAM issues total recall and Stop Use Immediately warning for Red 22 and S700 hydraulic brakes

Component maker dramatically upgrades earlier recall to include all 19,000 brakes after reported system failures in US cyclocross races

by Tony Farrelly   December 13, 2013  

SRAM 22 Hydro lever action close up

US component maker SRAM has this evening dramatically upgraded its limited product recall on SRAM Red 22 and S700 hydraulic brakes to a warning to ALL those with the brakes on their bikes to stop using them immediately. This new and much more serious product recall on the brakes is not for the same fault identified in a limited batch of brakes that were subject to last month's product recall. 

In that original recall SRAM said the problem identified related to a specific batch of brakes and was a quality and performance issue with no reported failures. This seems to have changed dramatically now with a number of failures reported to the company during cyclocross races in the US last weekend.

SRAM say that to their knowledge there have been no injuries as a result of the failures which occurred during cyclocross races held in sub-zero temperatures when, according to SRAM, the master cyclinder seals (the master cyclinder is located in the brake lever) failed to hold pressure resulting in "abrupt loss of brake power, and an inability to stop the bike." 

According to the SRAM statement, reproduced in full below, the advice to stop use immediately applies to 19,000 brakes - the majority will be on bikes that are either en-route to bike shops or are further back in the supply chain. SRAM is recalling all the brakes of those particular models they have shipped so far. 

While the recall and its timing in the run up to Christmas will prove to be a major headache for those manufacturers, distributors and bike shops holding large numbers of bikes specified with those brakes, those who have bought bikes with SRAM Red 22 or S700 hydraulic braking systems face being unable to ride their new machines for the immediate future. SRAM has committed itself to replacing all the brakes but at this early stage has not yet come up with a timetable for doing so. There must be some question as to whether a redesign and a change of manufacturing process will be required to solve the problem. 

SRAM will now have to answer questions about its pre-launch testing procedures and its manufacturing testing procedures and quality control. The brakes failed at operating temperatures which must surely have been contemplated as being within the range of normal use. If that wasn't the case, SRAM will have to explain why not. Either way, something would appear to have been missed either during in the field testing or quality control.

In one sense at least the company has been lucky. The failures occured in the relatively controlled environment of a cyclocross race and not on an alpine descent where wind chill temperatures can also easily dip below zero. Given the potentially catastrophic consequences of such a scenario, it is little wonder SRAM has moved so fast to warn people to stop using Red 22 and S700 brakes.

SRAM Statement

UPDATE: SRAM Road Hydraulic Brake Recall – STOP USE IMMEDIATELY

On November 4th SRAM identified and announced a technical issue with respect to a narrow production range of its RED 22 and S-700 Hydraulic Road Brakes. At that time, it was described as a performance and safety concern with no reported failures in the field.

It has recently come to our attention that during last weekend’s Cyclocross racing in the US, in sub freezing temperatures, several failures were reported. In these conditions the master cylinder seals failed to hold pressure resulting in abrupt loss of brake power, and an inability to stop the bike. These failures are related to product that is outside the originally stated date code range and unrelated to the original failure mode. No injuries have been reported to date.

As a result of this new finding, SRAM requests that anyone who has a bike equipped with SRAM Hydraulic Disc or Hydraulic Rim Brakes stop using the bike immediately. All products shipped to date, and currently in the market or in inventory will be recalled.

Further, we are asking our Bike Brand customers, OE factories, Distributors and Dealers to cease all sales and shipments of SRAM RED 22 and S-700 Hydraulic Road Brakes. A total of approximately 19,000 brake systems have been shipped to date into the global market.

Quarantine efforts currently underway with Factories, Bike Brands, and Distributors will be broadened to include all Dealers with inventory on bikes, or as Aftermarket product. Additional information related to timing and replacement of product will be forthcoming.

As originally announced we have reported this issue to the US CPSC and will be cooperating with the agency to announce a Safety Recall. We will also be contacting and working closely with appropriate like agencies in Europe and globally.

SRAM engineering and manufacturing is committed to the highest Quality standards. On behalf of all employees at SRAM we apologize for the business disruption to our customers business and to the individuals who have placed their trust in our products.

31 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

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posted by allez neg [4 posts]
13th December 2013 - 23:52

32 Likes

On the plus side, if ya can't stop, you can't stop for an Eartha Kitt on the village green.....

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
13th December 2013 - 23:59

39 Likes

I'm always grateful to 'early adopters' for paying over-the-odds and risking their necks for our benefit.

posted by Joeinpoole [308 posts]
14th December 2013 - 1:24

5 Likes

To all the anti-UCI whingers who whine big-bike-corporations' sad propaganda song of stifled technological development (eg. disk brakes on road bikes now!) — this is a great example of why "wait, test and see" is a good policy. Maybe Pat McQuaid got something right after all.

Have a nice day.

DavidC's picture

posted by DavidC [77 posts]
14th December 2013 - 6:38

12 Likes

by the sounds of it the problem is just a poorly designed/sub standard rubber seal that causing the issue.

generally a very easy part to replace but obviously given the number of brake units involved means it will be a mammoth task to get them all returned, replace the seals and ship them back to market

i still cant believe people bash disc brakes, they have been well proven in mtb's for years and when any product is modified for a different market you will have some problems and in this case it seems sram overlooked something

disc brakes are the future for road bikes and my next bike will have them, just wish i could have them on my bmx too (frame design, rider preferences and disc/caliper damage protection issues prevent it)

posted by kev-s [65 posts]
14th December 2013 - 8:03

18 Likes

DavidC wrote:
To all the anti-UCI whingers who whine big-bike-corporations' sad propaganda song of stifled technological development (eg. disk brakes on road bikes now!) — this is a great example of why "wait, test and see" is a good policy. Maybe Pat McQuaid got something right after all.

No it's not it's just a design flaw in one product.

Disc brakes are better, mountain bikes have already forged that path, now it's just up to the manufacturers to fathom how to cram the hydraulics into the flappy paddle gear shifters on road bikes.

William Black's picture

posted by William Black [196 posts]
14th December 2013 - 8:15

1 Like

kev-s wrote:

i still cant believe people bash disc brakes, they have been well proven in mtb's for years and when any product is modified for a different market you will have some problems and in this case it seems sram overlooked something

well proven, so why have Avid screwed up!!!!

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1366 posts]
14th December 2013 - 8:38

15 Likes

ive no idea about any issue with avid disc brakes

but just because avid are having/had problems means all disc brakes arent well proven?

that makes it seem more like the problem is avid's design not disc brake design in general

so all the disc brakes made by shimano, hope etc... which have been produced/developed over the last 15+ years which would prob run into the 100'000's if not millions of brakes units made make disc brakes not well proven?

posted by kev-s [65 posts]
14th December 2013 - 8:49

1 Like

kev-s wrote:
ive no idea about any issue with avid disc brakes

but just because avid are having/had problems means all disc brakes arent well proven?

4 Mountain Bikes and all have Avid brakes and the only problem with Avid brakes (certainly the Elixir range) has been a bit of a faffy bleed procedure.

They definitely trumped (at the time) Hopes and Shimano for feel and power.

William Black's picture

posted by William Black [196 posts]
14th December 2013 - 9:02

11 Likes

DavidC wrote:
To all the anti-UCI whingers who whine big-bike-corporations' sad propaganda song of stifled technological development (eg. disk brakes on road bikes now!) — this is a great example of why "wait, test and see" is a good policy. Maybe Pat McQuaid got something right after all.

Trek recalled their non-disc Madones on the same day because of an issue with the brake bolt. you know, just sayin'

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
14th December 2013 - 9:03

9 Likes

So, as I understand it, you must stop using Sram Hydraulic brakes because you can't stop using Sram Hydraulic Brakes...

Is that right? Confused

Grizzerly

posted by Grizzerly [147 posts]
14th December 2013 - 10:00

12 Likes

As per Premium Rush.....it does indeed seem that 'brakes are death'

Or fit a fixed wheel......

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [682 posts]
14th December 2013 - 10:22

10 Likes

That proves it. Disc brakes are rubbish. I'm off to the garage to have drum brakes put on my car.

posted by Jerm [39 posts]
14th December 2013 - 10:23

15 Likes

Breaking news : all manufacturers recall all rim brakes due to major design flaws that may inhibit proper functionality. Engineers discovered that by placing the braking surface 20-30mm from the road surface it was extremely prone to contamination from water and other substances that could be present on the road, sometimes resulting in partial or complete loss of braking friction. Furthermore, the abrasion resulting from repeated use of the brake would eventually cause the wheel to fail catastrophically unless the entire rim or wheel was replaced before the damage became too severe.

Honestly, do these people not think before they produce such ridiculous components?

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [917 posts]
14th December 2013 - 10:51

7 Likes

Flying Scot wrote:
As per Premium Rush.....it does indeed seem that 'brakes are death'

Or fit a fixed wheel......

Fixed is banned. Wink
See California County Bans Brakeless Fixies, Dec 12 2013. Rolling On The Floor

TDL

tourdelound's picture

posted by tourdelound [92 posts]
14th December 2013 - 11:34

19 Likes

Can we bloody shut up about disc brakes. I'm just sick of this web site being taken over by the for and against disc brakes.

posted by DeanF316 [105 posts]
14th December 2013 - 20:15

15 Likes

DeanF316 wrote:
Can we bloody shut up about disc brakes. I'm just sick of this web site being taken over by the for and against disc brakes.

Oh, I thought it was taken over by the anti helmet/reflective clothing brigade calling everyone victim blamers...It would be lovely to have disc vs rim debate at least it has something to do with cycling rather than commuters dying in london.

William Black's picture

posted by William Black [196 posts]
14th December 2013 - 20:48

4 Likes

Avid disc brakes?

ask the mountain bike community for their strong views on the misery that Avid disc brakes have brought to many riders over the past decade including the Juicy, Code and Elixir product lines

I use Avid disc brakes on my mountain bike, and have been using their brakes and selling / servicing them for many years..including lots of warranty claims for customers.

Bit like old Manitou forks, with Avid you either got "good ones" or "bad ones" that constantly gave you bother.

Unfortunately when you produce huge numbers of brakes for OE and aftermarket customers, you get many sets of "bad ones" and the use of DOT fluid never helps with long term reliability and piston movement.

The Elixir 7's on my current bike were replaced within 2 months, because the MC in the brakes were 'faulty' and even SRAM TECH could not find a fix

SRAM do have very good warranty backup and I was given the upgraded aftermarket Elixir 7 with carbon levers at no upcharge, cannot complain about that?

Bike was out of action for less than 1 week.

unfortunately the good warranty backup SRAM offer, might be needed more often than not D Oh

most of the MTB community see Avid as a swear word and often switch to Shimano for hydro discs

posted by hampstead_bandit [227 posts]
14th December 2013 - 21:16

2 Likes

^^^ I have strong views on Avid Elixirs...I have four mountain bikes that are in regular rotation and all of them have Elixirs on them.

I really wouldn't ride with anything else, they are a bit of a faff to bleed I'll grant you that, but well worth it as I like the bite and feel of them over just about any other brakes I've used.

I'd probably only ever swap over to Formula brakes for weight savings but I like the simplicity of swapping race wheels/tyre setups between bikes with minimal fuss.

William Black's picture

posted by William Black [196 posts]
14th December 2013 - 21:56

11 Likes

I too have strong views on Avid Elixirs; I found my Elixir 3's to be utterly hopeless. They squealed in use and suffered from pad run which couldn't be eliminated despite much fiddling. Worst of all they felt wooden. It got to the stage that I just didn't want to ride my mountain bike, So back in the summer I bought some XT brakes (M785) and what a revelation, no pad rub and no squeal at all and they just sort of work.

ralphred1965's picture

posted by ralphred1965 [12 posts]
14th December 2013 - 23:30

2 Likes

Why not try going out for a bike ride instead of arguing on here.

posted by DeanF316 [105 posts]
15th December 2013 - 6:45

3 Likes

From both personal-use experience and from fixing or servicing customers and mates' brakes, Shimano and Hope brakes are reliable, rub-free and a piece if piss to bleed and maintain. Not just the pricey Hope stuff, a mate has a basic £500 Carrera with shimano brakes and they just.......work.

Avid brakes - the Juicy 3s on my wife's bike are a bit mushy and the master cylinders always seem to have a light mist of fluid on them, the Elixir CR I had on my Merlin was great right up to the point that a seal went in the lever and fluid leaked out and the brake ceased to function halfway down a descent.

The Avid brakes on various mates bikes fill me eith dread whenever they bring them round to me for tweaking or pad replacement - what should be a 5 minute job never is as I expect largely rub-free operation but rarely achieve it. I'm not a spanner - twirling Yoda but someone with plenty of years experience in bike shops, cytech qualified and someone who's managed to fit Goodridge hoses to his R6 and tested then from 150-0 on more occasions than I ought to admit so I'm not entirely incontinent in the workshop.

A prejudice ceases to be a prejudice if its an opinion based on personal experience and as someone who has old-skool Avid Ultimate and Arch Rival levers and brakes which are enduring things of beauty, it saddens me to see a once-desirable brand so devalued. I'd never choose Avid again, or indeed other SRAM owned products based on my experiences.

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
15th December 2013 - 15:26

1 Like

DavidC wrote:
To all the anti-UCI whingers who whine big-bike-corporations' sad propaganda song of stifled technological development (eg. disk brakes on road bikes now!) — this is a great example of why "wait, test and see" is a good policy. Maybe Pat McQuaid got something right after all.[/quote

I'd say this recall says precisely nothing about the suitability of discs on road bikes and lots about one company's pony qc procedures.

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
15th December 2013 - 15:32

1 Like

DeanF316 wrote:
Why not try going out for a bike ride instead of arguing on here.

I'd love to but the company who made my brakes told me not to! Applause

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
15th December 2013 - 15:49

1 Like

DeanF316 wrote:
Why not try going out for a bike ride instead of arguing on here.

Don't be ridiculous. Cycling is far too dangerous and expensive to actually do, it's much better just indulged in hypothetically.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [917 posts]
15th December 2013 - 22:25

9 Likes

My All-Time Top Cyclist Dinner Party Conversation Starters:

Helmets
Red lights
Hi-Viz
The Rules
TT'ing on A-roads
Riding two abreast
Online or bricks'n'mortar

And now, drumroll please...

Disk brakes.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [631 posts]
16th December 2013 - 9:24

6 Likes

allez neg wrote:
I'm not entirely incontinent in the workshop.

It's always good to know there are house trained bike mechanics about.

William Black's picture

posted by William Black [196 posts]
16th December 2013 - 10:10

8 Likes

William Black wrote:
allez neg wrote:
I'm not entirely incontinent in the workshop.

It's always good to know there are house trained bike mechanics about.

I'm sorry but if you've never shat yourself in the workshop then you can't call yourself a bike mechanic, c'mon.

posted by drfabulous0 [403 posts]
16th December 2013 - 10:26

3 Likes

I save it for the village greens

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
16th December 2013 - 10:43

3 Likes

great way to start the "mass" adoption of road discs

posted by jarredscycling [456 posts]
16th December 2013 - 17:08

4 Likes