SRAM Drop bar to MTB hydraulic brake interoperability

Bicycles Asked on February 28, 2021

In a previous question I asked about compatibility of drop bar shifters with mountain bike derailleurs. Now I’m curious about drop bar hydraulic brake lever compatibility to mountain bike hydraulic brakes. Is that something that can be made to work?

For example, if I got a bike with SRAM “Level” hydraulic discs, will SRAM integrated drop bar shifters/brake levers work with them?

I know the gear shifting will work as long as the levers and derailleurs are all 1:1 (SRAM’s “Exact Actuation”). Is the same true of hydraulic brakes?

If that can be made to work, please provide an example SRAM drop bar lever that would work with those brakes.


One Answer

I was very interested in this question, because I have a set of Apex road brakes (levers & calipers) mismatched with one flat mount and one post mount. As noone has provided a satisfactory answer, I thought I'd do it myself.

For my new frame, I need post mount brakes, but the HRD calipers are rather hard to find and expensive. Also I have a set of Avid Juicy 3 brakes sitting around, one fine, the other seized.

At a glance, and without taking any measurements, the Juicy caliper looks very similar to the Apex Post Mount caliper with a very similar size and shape body, similar pad area and very similar piston diameter, so I hooked up the front of the bike with the standard Apex setup and the rear of the bike with the Juicy caliper. The brakes feel similar to each other at the lever, enough to say there's no difference. The Juicy caliper works very nicely though does provide a little extra braking power. In my opinion, the SRAM road disc brakes are a bit weak, so this is welcome. I doubt there will be longer term problems but I will update with how things go as the (new) pads wear down.

juicy 3 caliper apex lever

Answered by JoeK on February 28, 2021

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