SRAM Maven Brakes

SRAM Maven Brakes Component Review

Imagine a vinyl collector who lovingly curates their collection, appreciating the warmth and nuance of analog sound. They know the perfect needle pressure and alignment to extract every detail from the grooves. The SRAM Maven Ultimate brakes bring this same attention to detail to the trail, offering braking performance that lets you savor every twist and turn with the rich, smooth control of a perfectly played record.

Right out of the box, the SRAM Maven Ultimate brakes impress with their solid build quality and meticulous attention to detail. The design is sleek yet robust, signaling that these brakes are built to handle the rigors of aggressive riding. The levers feel familiar and ergonomic, fitting naturally into the hand, and the anodized finish gives them a professional look that matches their performance pedigree.

“In the last few years, we had riders asking for more power,” said Chris Mandell, Product Manager at SRAM. “In terms of power, weight, and modulation, Code, which has been on the market for a while, made a ton of sense when it came out but bikes have progressed quite a bit since we introduced Code. People are going faster than ever before, and the rise of e-bikes means the system weight of rider plus bike is higher than ever.”

With 50 percent more power than Code brakes, Mavens are not just answering the call of those who wanted stronger brakes—they are adapting to the market and offering riders looking for a robust and versatile brake a completely new option.

“What we really want people to do as they start riding Mavens is think about their needs and tune the overall power of the system for that,” Mandell said. “And there are a bunch of different options for doing that.”

With the ability to choose between different pads and rotors, users can tune Mavens to meet the preferences of various styles across different bikes and conditions. While these modifications are possible with any brake, Mavens offer a larger usable window of performance.

When the Maven Ultimate brakes are taken out on the trail, their effortless strength stands out. Whether tackling steep descents or navigating technical terrain, these brakes deliver consistent, reliable stopping power. The four-piston calipers provide ample force, yet the lever remains light, making it easy to modulate your speed with confidence.

Another standout feature of the Maven Ultimate brakes is their heat management. Long descents can often lead to brake fade, but the Mavens never once showed any signs of losing grip, which was surprising since these brakes have no noticeable cooling features like fins. But then again, it’s not the cooling that makes brakes feel consistent—it’s more about balance.

“The caliper design carries a lot of mass so that it can hold heat to make sure that the brake doesn’t get too hot but, at the same time, it ensures that the brake doesn’t cool down to ambient temperature too quickly either,” Mandell said. “What this allows the system to do is stay in that optimal temperature range.”

Mineral oil was also chosen for this brake partly to manage performance related to temperature. Perhaps even more importantly, it was chosen for its ability to work with the type of seals the design team wanted to use for the Mavens. The type of seal technology chosen for this project was key in allowing the smooth and consistent feel these brakes have while operating such large pistons.

Maintenance is often a dreaded task for mountain bikers, but SRAM has made it as straightforward as possible with the Maven Ultimate brakes. The tried-and-true Bleeding Edge technology simplifies the bleeding process, ensuring that you can maintain optimal brake performance without the frustration that often comes with hydraulic systems. The Bleeding Edge port is designed for easy access and the process is quick and clean with a bit of practice.

“Part of the bleed procedure for Mavens is the piston massage,” said Mandell. “I’ve also started doing that on Codes and Levels, and I’ve found that it really improves the brake feel.”

Although the piston massage is only featured in the Maven service manual, it is an excellent technique for anyone trying to bring new life into their brakes. As a mechanic, I used to do this to get sticky pistons moving freely again, but I never knew it had such a relaxing name.

The SRAM Maven brakes are a testament to what can be achieved when a company obsessed with performance does what they do best. With their unparalleled stopping power, exceptional modulation, and impressive heat management, these brakes enhance the gravity-hungry rider’s experience in every way. Add in the ease of maintenance, along with customization options and you have a braking system that stands out in a crowded market. For those who appreciate the finer details and demand the best, the SRAM Maven brakes are a worthy addition to your rig.


MSRP: $300-$599 USD

Learn More: SRAM Maven Brakes