Tour Tech 2013: Mark Cavendish’s Venge with SRAM hydraulic rim brakes + video

A video look at Cavendish's Specialized Venge equipped with SRAM's new Hydro brakes

by David Arthur @davearthur   July 3, 2013  

As we reported at the weekend, Mark Cavendish rolled out onto stage 1 of the Tour de France with SRAM’s Red Hydraulic Road Rim (HRR) brakes. He’s the first rider to use them in any World Tour race. Apparently, after testing riding them before the race, Cav was insistent on running the new brakes in the Tour, although we don't know if any of that is marketing spin.

We very often see brand new equipment ridden at the Tour. Cavendish wouldn't want to leave anything to chance, as much as SRAM might have been insistent on seeing their latest products get into the TdF spotlight. You might think that it's odd that Cav didn't decide to test them in a smaller race before the Tour, so clearly he had the confidence to take them into the biggest race on the calendar.

One of the key performance advantages to consider about hydraulic rim brakes (and disc brakes for that matter) is that you need less force at the lever. You can pull the lever with one finger, with less effort, and produce the desired stopping power. There’s a lot to be said for extra confidence in the stopping ability of your brakes, and we’re sure Cav appreciated them in the first big pileup of the race on stage 1.

SRAM are introducing both hydraulic rim brakes and hydraulic disc brakes for road bikes into their line up for 2014. The hydraulic disc brakes provide more power but they’re not race-legal. The hydraulic rim brakes sit somewhere between standard cable-operated rim brakes and SRAM’s hydraulic disc brakes in terms of power and modulation. Mat was out at the launch earlier this year and you can read about how he got on with the new brakes here.

5 user comments

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Anybody know what happens then the hydraulics fail?

netclectic's picture

posted by netclectic [128 posts]
3rd July 2013 - 9:59


Same thing that happens when a cable snaps!

Either way, it's rare at worst. I've only ever had one cable snap in 20 years of riding, and never had a hydraulic brake fail. Oh, and I've far more maintenance issues with cable brakes than I have with hydraulics (although personally I'd never touch SRAM as their MTB disc brakes are a nightmare maintenance wise).

posted by joules1975 [270 posts]
3rd July 2013 - 10:13


shimano hydraulics .... fit, use, forget - job done Smile

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [922 posts]
3rd July 2013 - 10:38


netclectic wrote:
Anybody know what happens then the hydraulics fail?

You can't stop. Much the same as when a cable snaps or pulls through at the caliper.
How many hydraulic brakes have you seen fail? Given that they're used on cars, planes, trains, bikes...

There's no issues with the reliability, hydraulic brakes (rim and disc) have been used on MTBs for 15 years.

posted by crazy-legs [654 posts]
3rd July 2013 - 11:16


Never used such light and easy to pull brakes before, not sure if I'd like them as I'm a bit clumsy and could see myself turning the bicycle into a catapult! Capital Cycles

posted by TeamCC [146 posts]
4th July 2013 - 0:31