An eternal debate over Shimano VS Sram exists. We want to know which is the best. The real answer is both! It really depends on what you are looking for in your brake. We will find together the big differences and the advantages of each companies.
We have brakes that are quite ON/OFF. What I mean by that is that the brake has little or no modulation. When you push on the ''lever'' you don't have to go far before the brake ''Bite''. Even with the XT and XTR , which are the most flexible from shimano, you have to be careful not to press the brakes too hard or too quickly, because they will tend to block more quickly than Sram brakes. If you are looking for a powerful brake and with which you will not have the impression of having often changes of sensations or reaching the end of your ''lever'' to brake, go with shimano! In addition, on the maintenance side, they are really easier if you want to do your maintenance by yourself!
These brakes have a lot of modulation, you feel that you can slow down without being afraid of locking the rear wheel since the ''Bite'' is really further away. What's also fun is that no matter the price range we find this level of modulation. On the power side, for a brake that has a lot of bite, you have to go with the code R or code RSC . In terms of maintenance, it's a bit more Tricky and you have to bleed it a bit more often since it's synthetic oil, which absorbs more moisture.
In the field
MSA favorite tracks: adorila, vietnam, avenue royale and la bella coola
For 6 years I have always had Shimano Zee or SLX. I always found them to be consistent and I was never surprised if I was going to run out of power and where my bite point was going to be. This year, my two bikes have Sram (code R and G2 R ) and what impressed me the most was their level of modulation. The technical passes are, in my opinion, easier since we have better control of the speed. In terms of power I find that it lacks especially compared to Shimano Zee, it seems that we have to push really far on the lever to achieve a bit of bite. Also, with the same number of rides, I had to bleed my brakes 3 times more often than with Shimano.
In conclusion, if you are looking for brakes that you don't want to spend your time bleeding and having constant stopping power, go with Shimano. If, on the contrary, you want to have brakes with a lot of modulation and that bleeding your brakes does not stress you, go with Sram. If you do a lot of downhill, prioritize the R or RSC code from Sram and XT , XTR or Saint from shimano.