Sunday, June 7, 2009

TRP R960 Road Brake Calipers Review

In the never ending quest to make bikes lighter, brakes are one of the easier places to drop a significant amount of grams from the stock brakes like Dura-Ace, Record, etc. Usually, sacrifices are made such as less power, poor modulation, difficulties setting up, and difficulties removing wheels since the calipers don't open very wide. TRP's R960 claims to have banished all these issues, and also have managed to slice a hefty chunk of grams off of the stock competition.

TRP is Tektro's fancy racing brand most likely re-named to separate themselves from the extremely cheap to decent brakes they put on a lot of mountain and road bikes seen across the world. I could care less what brand name the part is, I just want performance and quality. TRP works for me.

These brakes come in two anodized aluminum colors - black or red. I opted for black. They retail for $400. I got them off eBay for significantly less brand new in the box. I think I paid a little over $200.

The first thing I did after removing them from the box was weigh them. They came in exactly as claimed @ 240 grams for the pair. That's over 70 grams lighter than Dura-Ace and about 40 grams less than the Record 11 calipers.

The R960's come stock with some super sweet Swiss Stop brake pads - imo - the best on the market. All the nuts and bolts are titanium to help keep the gram count as low as possible. Aggressive machining is evident throughout the calipers including the brake pad cartridges.

Mounting them is extremely easy. As simple as you could ask for.

The quick release mechanism is something I've never seen before. It involves flipping a red plastic lever underneath the barrel adjuster, and then sliding the entire cable down a bit. It works a charm and even my semi-mechanically minded self could figure it out quickly without consulting a manual or TRP's website. The calipers open wide making wheel removal a simple procedure.

Who cares about all that stuff though? How the heck do they work???

I'm happy to report they stop my 165 pound body with very little effort. I've not once heard a peep from them even when using carbon pads on Reynold's carbon wheels. They are incredibly strong and confidence inspiring. The swiss stop pads are excellent. They feel very snappy when they hit the rim. They are as strong as any brake I've ever used on a road bike. Basically, they hang with the big dogs, and are quite possibly even better.

Highly recommended!