In this article, we’ll be discussing a Hydraulic Brake Control Device with Handlebar Proximal Hose Attachment by SRAM, US publications 20220185425 and 20220185426. The publication date is June 16th, 2022, and the filing date is Dec 10th and 14th of 2021. Neither of these are granted at the moment.
So, I’ve done this before, where I can’t find a particular public release (see Shimano pedals and SRAM buttercups) because they’re usually a pretty quiet release, and they’re like a zillion every month. That being said, I’m pretty sure these are not the DB8’s that were released in April. But, I am a fucking moron, so I could have missed this release, as well.
Brief Summary (tl;dr)
SRAM are working on a new lever/reservoir system, where the whole lever system sits very close to the handlebar, and the cable is tucked up nicely against the bar. This allows for a cleaner cockpit and a more unobstructed view. If we remember, I wrote about an integrated braking system from SRAM that everyone seemed to hate. Maybe they listened to you folks. Doubt it; they’ve probably been working on this in parallel for years.
This appears to be a follow-up to the relatively new electrical revolution we’re in right now. SRAM says this is simply to clean up the cockpit because wireless componentry already removes some cables. They want to continue removing cables from your gaze.
With the introduction of wireless shifting and remote technology for bicycles, many cables and housings in the cockpit area of bicycles of the prior art are no longer needed. The elimination of such cables and housing in the cockpit area provides a cleaner overall appearance for the bicycle.
I’ve said this before, but aesthetics run this industry. No one gives a shit about how things work, as long as you look cool doing it.
FIG. 2 shows an iso-view of this new brake. She look good.
This is the current Code RSC vs the new proposed Code FTW. Among other smaller changes, the two major external changes are the orientation of the handlebar clamp and the outlet port of the hydraulic cable. Both of these changes contribute to the new, tucked lever assembly. So, it’ll be nice and tight against your bars.
The outlet port allows the brake line to be tucked nice and tight to the handlebar, but does that mean we have to then zip-tie the cable to the handlebar? Is SRAM going to provide a new attachment system? Or are they going to release a new handlebar altogether with some integrated attachments? Or do they have a simpler answer that I can’t think of?
The proximity of the outlet port of the brake control device to the handlebar and/or the direction the outlet port faces facilitates hose routing along the outer surface of the handlebar and/or within the handlebar. This improves a field of view for the user in a direction of travel and is less distracting for the rider.
FIG. 9 shows a cross-sectional view of this new brake. I want to be clear that I don’t know if this is any different than the Level, Guide, or Code that are currently available, but this shows the possible internal structure of this new brake. As far as I can tell, this may be a pretty standard situation, where the lever moves a piston, the piston files a fluid reservoir, and the fluid passes to a caliper. The only issue I see here is you’ll be taking the brakes off the bars if you want to take the reservoir cap off, but how often do you really do that?
I’d also like to point out that the outlet port orientation would work really well with internal routing into the handlebar. Not that I support it, but it could work.
FIG. 20 shows another variation. The outlet port is a little different, and the reservoir cap isn’t perfectly perpendicular to the handlebar. The important legal difference here is the cylinder axis 1086, and the clamp surface axis 324 are parallel. I have no idea if that has any impact on performance, but they define this pretty explicitly in the document.
6/19 Edit: Looks like this one has been spotted before by Bikerumor. Thanks to Mr. Steward on FB.
There are a few more orientation examples in the document, FIGs. 10 – 19, if you feel like digging more.
I’ve said this before, but god damn SRAM’s patents are good; they have a super solid IP department.
What I don’t see here is how the brake line will be routed to the fork and rear caliper. They have this line stating the currently available brake cables go away from the handlebar, but isn’t that a good routing direction for (at least) the front brakes? I’m sure SRAM have a plan, but they don’t have any figures clarifying this part.
A number of hydraulic brake control devices of the prior art are configured such that an outlet port to which the brake hose is attachable faces away from a handlebar to which the hydraulic brake control device is attached. Hose routing is thus highly visible to a rider, and a brake hose attached to the outlet port of the hydraulic brake control device is visible in a direction of travel and distracts the rider from objects in view.
Maybe the design intent of the current brake reservoir orientation is because we had a shifter to contend with? Now that wireless shifting removes those cables, there may not be a reason to keep these in their current orientation. That being said, we used to have secondary clamps for the shifter, but I think this is a follow-up to the Match Maker rather than the AXS.
Lastly, I run Code’s on everything I own, so I’ll probably be getting a set of these Code FTW’s because they look super fresh, and idgaf about how they work. We just peacockin’ out here.