Friday Battle #1: Lightweight Brake Shootout Welcome to the first of our weekly Friday Battles, where we pit three challengers against one another to determine who has the most outrageously fantastic products on the market. We decided to start this series by riding three of the world's best lightweight brakesets from around the globe – one German, one Taiwanese, and one from the good ol' USA. What are we looking for in an ideal set of brakes? Well, overall stopping power is key, modulation (or the ability to precisely control braking force) is vital and often overlooked, and ease of setup is of course also a benefit. If you're a 250 lb Clydesdale, don't stop reading...one of the choices might be right for you. To find out which brakeset is best for you, let's go to the polls... Our Three Challengers:
- THM Fibula Carbon Brakes
- Far & Near Alloy Brakes
- EE Cycleworx Brakes
- Bram's M5 Alloy Brakes: perhaps the strongest brakes on the market in terms of raw stopping power and one of the most outrageous looking components around, Bram's M5 brakes still have several notable drawbacks – poor modulation, no quick release, suspect aerodynamics, and sketchy availability make these a tough pill to swallow for anyone but a Clydesdale looking for maximum stopping power in an uber-light brakeset.
- Ciamillo (Zero Gravity) Brake Series: the most “mainstream” of the lightweight brake producers, Ciamillo have been building weight-savings calipers for over a decade. From their insanely light and sexy Gravitas carbons ($900), to their Zero Gravity titanium/alloy stoppers ($425) that have been an ultra-light build staple for years, Ciamillo has plenty of experience in this category. Add in custom colour options and their more robust Negative G brakeset ($325) and you get a wide range of brakes to suit most buyers. We have Gravitas brakes coming into stock next week, btw, so come check them out in person!
- TRP Brake Series: if TRP sounds like a relative newcomer to your ears, perhaps you've heard of Tektro, their lower-end sister line. Nonetheless, TRP has steadily climbed the ultralight brakeset ladder with the increasing success of their 950 SL ($255), 960 Alloy ($300), and 970 Magnesium ($425) lineup. With looks and performance that is closer to Shimano and Campy than to the ultra-light options listed above, TRP makes lightweight brakes for the masses. The 960's are a bit spongy but offer great value and good weight, whereas the 970's up the ante in terms of both performance and weight savings – plus they come in a sexy white version.