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Tested 8/31/09

TRP R960 Road Bike Brakes

  • Lightweight Dual Pivot caliper brakes
  • Forged and CNC'd 6061 Aluminum Arms
  • Adjustable cartridge pad holders with SwissStop pads
  • Patened "Slyde" quick release
  • Titanium nuts n bolts
  • Available in anodized Red or Black
  • Reach: 39-49mm
  • Claimed weight: 120 grams each; 240 total with pads. Actual 238 grams total with pads.
  • MSRP: $399; (Currently available for much less)

Design
TRP specializes in bicycle brake calipers and levers for a range of applications including road, mountain, cross, and tri/tt. They use a variety of materials including carbon, aluminum, and titanium. The TRP R960 is the lightest in their line of road brakes and features very lightweight forged and CNC'd aluminum arms.

What strikes me first about these brakes is that they are massive. The calipers  are 30mm wide. They are 100% wider than Zero Gravities which measure 15mm across. They also use three arms to enable the dual pivot mechanism. Conveniently, the centering bolt is easily accessed for fine tuning.

 

Another cool (and patented) feature is TRP's  "Slyde" quick release system. I admit that, at first, I couldn't figure them out. However, a friend of mine did. You first pop up a plastic retention lever. Then you "slyde" the barrel adjuster inward, toward the center of the wheel. Voila!-- the arms open up to facilitate the wheel change.

TRP also includes the brakeset with excellent SwissStop black pads. The black pads are aluminum-specific and fit well into the brake holders.

One nit with the brakes is the rubber O-ring that sits under the barrel nut. Another friend was checking the brakes out, and he yanked on the barrel adjuster (not sure why...). The ring sprang and the barrel adjuster was loose. Luckily we found the O-ring. Point being, when you use the Slyde, the O-ring flops down. You have to remember to put it back into the threads. One wonders how long it will last. That being said, the O-ring isn't really mission critical once the brakeset has been mounted, so it really isn't an issue. 

Performance
With the massive calipers, I assumed these brakes would be effective. I was right; the brake body is exceptionally stiff. Braking performance was excellent--it was easy to lock the brakes up. The modulation was almost too quick; small pressure is effective but larger pressure can easily lock them up. They were noticeably more powerful  than my Zero Gravity Ti brakes. However, the eebrake seems to have a slightly more progressive feel than the TRPs.

Regardless, these brakes perform extremely well and they inspired confidence on steep downhills. On aluminum rims, there was no chatter or screeching at all.

The anodized red color was also cool. While not quite the same tone as the red on my Cervelo R3, the red brakes were a nice overall accent to my setup. The brakes are also available in black, to match a wider variety of frames.

Weight and Value
Brakes are an important upgrade. They can save significant weight, and, obviously, they are a critical link to your safety. At 238 grams, with pads, these TRP's are 32% lighter than the benchmark Shimano 7800. But the MSRP of $399.99 is pretty steep. Fortunately, these brakes can now be found for ~$250/set from merchants on the Internet, and they represent a much better value at this price.

Brake      MSRP      Weight      $/gram   < 7800 %<7800 %<TRP RBR
1 Mavic SSC   $190 310 $0.61 4 1% 23% 4.88
2 Dura Ace 7800   $235 314 $0.75 0 0% 24% 5
3 TRP R960 $250 238 $1.05 76 32% 0% 5
4 Campy Record Skeleton   $300 275 $1.09 39 14% 13% 5
5 SRAM Red   $295 265 $1.11 49 18% 10% 5
6 Simkins Skelter  $290 254 $1.14 60 24% 6% N/R
7 Sampson Sl $319 240 $1.33 74 31% 1% N/R
8 Dura Ace 7900   $440 284 $1.55 30 11% 16% 4
9 TRP R960 $399 238 $1.68 76 32% 0% 5
10 Negative Gravity Ti   $400 230 $1.74 84 37% -3% 3.25
11 Bontrager Speedlimit XXX $400 220 $1.82 94 43% -8% 4
12 KCNC  $330 168 $1.96 146 87% -42% N/R
13 Feather 199 $400 199 $2.01 115 58% -20% N/R
14 Zero Gravity Ti   $430 186 $2.31 128 69% -28% 3.83
15 eebrake   $519 184 $2.82 130 71% -29% N/R
16 M5   $740 202 $3.66 112 55% -18% N/R
17 AX-Lightness Orion   $1,600 144 $11.11 170 118% -65% N/R

In sum, at 238 grams, the brakes are light, and though they face stiff competition, notably the Zero Gravity Ti's which are a whopping 122 grams lighter, they offer superior braking performance. And since these brakes are now widely available for around $250, they seem like a screamingly great deal.

Summary
TRP provides yet another option in the hotly contested brake aftermarket. They are very well built, offer excellent braking performance, and are reasonably light. However, the MSRP is somewhat high relative to lighter options. But if you can find them for around $250/pair, they become a lot more attractive.

Value: 3.5 stars 
Overall: 4.25 stars


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