SRAM introduce ‘Stealth’ levers for Code & Level Ultimate
You’re probably already well aware that SRAM’s mighty Code brakes have built a reputation for delivering incredibly reliable performance and ferocious stopping power!
Now SRAM are looking to up the ante even higher with an all-new brake lever design dubbed ‘Stealth’ which also sees the ‘Ultimate’ name brought to the Code family for the very first time. In addition, SRAM will also be giving the ‘stealth’ lever treatment to their Level brake family as well.
Visually we think that the new Stealth levers do look pretty cool with their rather bold and futuristic appearance. But the core intention that SRAM set out with in developing these new levers was to reduce the amount of ‘cable clutter’ across the cockpit area of the bike.
And these Stealth levers achieve that really well thanks to their clever design whereby the brake cable as it enters/exists is now angled directly back at the handlebars meaning the cables can be much shorter in length that they appear to sit ‘flush’ with the bars rather than flapping around in thin air out in front of the bike as has traditionally been the case. In order to achieve this new cable angle SRAM had to re-work the configuration of the levers internals which lead them to relocate the levers master cylinder.
Whilst the new Stealth levers have been designed and built from scratch the differences in terms of mechanical performance between these Stealth levers and the existing Code/Level models is minimal, and in fact SRAM actually admit that the new levers don’t offer any additional power or mechanical improvement to the overall brake system, the Stealth levers purely offer a visual improvement. However, here at the mag we have had the opportunity to test ride a set for the past couple of months and we discovered 2 very significant performance advantage that the Stealth levers offer, which we’ll dive deeper into later in this article.
Whilst the redesign of the new Code Ultimate Stealth lever bodies is said to be almost purely aesthetic by making cable management a breeze, there is a big advantage that I noticed after living with them for a while. With the cables tucked so well out of the way, the lack of movement from any cabling bouncing around at all was fantastic, no peripheral distractions whatsoever.”
Another design element of the new lever body that we really like is they now feature a mix of anodised and brush metal surfaces without any painted areas. Not only does that produce a weight saving benefit but as we’ve discovered since we’ve been set riding them the new ‘paint less’ finish also makes the lever much more durable and less prone to scratching / looking ratty over time.
Ever since they were first introduced into SRAM’s brake line-up many years ago Codes have always been their powerhouse ‘gravity specific’ brakes and in their quest for maximum power Codes have only ever been available with a 4-piston caliper. Now, one thing that we find quite interesting with the unveiling of the new Code Ultimate brakeset is that the calipers have actually remained completely unchanged from the previous/current model Codes. With that said, we would probably put that down to the fact that current calipers are already brilliant and ‘if it isn’t broke don’t waste time trying to fix it, eh’ of however that saying goes!
Now, as we mentioned earlier that since we began test riding the new Code Ultimate’s we have discovered a significant advantage that the Stealth levers offer. And that is, by eliminating that cable clutter on the front of the bike, whilst you’re riding along and you’re focused on the trail in front of you, with a traditional brake set-up the cables do actually interrupts your peripheral vision, and even though it’s maybe only a small distraction and one that most riders probably aren’t even aware of/bothered by because we just take ‘having cables on the front of our bike’ as a given, when those cables vanish it does actually make it a lot easier and less distracting to scan the trail in front.