Test: the new Trail EVO brakes from TRP
From the outside, the design ethic at TRP seems easy enough to admire. Not much about their brakes that scream “count the grams”. For me, it is something like a blessed relief. I don’t mind that my brakes are heavier or my rotors are thicker. I understand why some people worry about their weight, or maybe don’t ride the technical terrain that warrants them, but I’m definitely not putting myself in that camp.
â¢ Boiling point of 270 Â° C
â¢ 307 g (80 cm hose, with pads, without adapter or screws)
â¢ High flow 2.3mm caliper
â¢ Hybrid composite caliper pistons
â¢ New resin pads
â¢ 5.0 mm hose
â¢ 10 mm master cylinder piston
â¢ US $ 209.99 per wheel – rotors not included
This is where the new TRP Trail Evo brake comes in. Not only does it have an actual weight of 307g for a front brake including pads, but excluding the rotor, which is heavier than the Code RSC or the four pot XT, it does too. this without some of the same features. I think if he included more adjustments we would see that weight increase more. I obviously don’t actively want heavy brakes, but it’s interesting to see where the priorities of the Trail Evo fall. To further accentuate this point, the TRP R1 rotors I use are 2.3mm – 0.5mm thicker than most rotors from Shimano or, until recently with their new 2.0 options. mm, SRAM.
The Trail Evo brakes are also very affordable. At just over $ 200 per end, it carries over the value Tektro is known for in its premium offerings.
The Trail Evo sits between the DH-R Evo, which is their downhill brake, and the Slate Evo, which is for light mountain bikes and E-MTBs. The Trail Evo is also priced between the two – $ 70 more than the Slates and $ 20 less than the DH-R Evo. All of these brakes all signify an overall commitment from TRP to thicker rotors, and all are recommended for use with the 2.3s.
Trail Evo brake calipers contain four hybrid composite caliper pistons that aim to meet the demands of heavier bikes and longer descents while better resisting heat build-up. The lever comes with a choice of mounting options for the I-Spec EV, SRAM Matchmaker and TRP shifters. It also benefits from tool-less reach adjustment, but unfortunately not contact point adjustment.
The Trail EVO features high-flow TRP calipers and a 10mm master cylinder piston with new seals that supposedly require less breakout force. It also uses 5mm outside diameter pipes which claim to be more rigid. This should help the hydraulic pressure as the lever forces oil to the caliper. They also use an updated mineral oil recipe. Reformulated oil has a higher boiling point.
Installation and configuration
The brakes come with a simple and efficient “EZ-Plug system”. It’s a very effective idea which basically means that the brakes have been bled at the factory, then their levers have been disconnected from their hoses and clogged. You can easily install them at home, including sliding them through any internal routing before cutting and reconnecting them. I thought I would cycle before I bleed it and found it to work admirably and have yet to take the bleed kit. If you need to, the method of purging the TRPs is very simple – you just need to push the oil upward through the system, which will remove all the air as you do it.
I really liked the simple hinged mechanism on the levers, and it dispenses with the release latch you’ll find on Shimano brakes. This approach facilitates installation and removal. The compatibility with the MMX shifter has scratched my head a bit, however. The adapters are inside the lever and those with small hands may find it difficult. Even using the limited adjustment of my SRAM GX shifter, it was never enough to move it to a suitable outward position. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but it does require you to move your hand slightly on the grip. This is exacerbated if you direct your hands towards the outer edge of the grip. Either way, there weren’t a lot of tweaking possibilities and it would soon start to look like a theme.
I put my levers in their innermost position. The spot where my finger fell on the lever itself was nice, however, at first I was concerned that there wasn’t enough lever before I engaged the rotor. Full range adjustment, in my opinion, was by no means a usable range. The outermost position was almost absurdly remote.
At close range, the distance from the back where your index finger would rest on the blade and the handle was 43.5mm. The bit point was measured at 27.5mm. The rear of the lever when the reach adjustment was in its outermost outward position was 69.5mm from the grip. I feel like the brake would win if all those numbers were reduced by about 20mm.
On the track, the brakes are sublime in many ways. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have weaknesses.
First, let’s talk about the power and the pads.
I first used these brakes with the new Performance Resin compound from TRP. They went to bed very quickly and the power was, in a nutshell, remarkable. What struck me was not how quiet and efficient the brakes were, but also how much power faded for an organic skate. There are some brands that have organic pads that in my opinion are not worth the backing plate they are stuck on, but that is not the case with TRPs. In fact, even in a particularly wet fall in Squamish, they even lasted well.
I had originally assumed that the resin pad would wear out quickly enough that it was only a week or two before choosing the harder metal option. However, even after many wet and soggy rides, there was some material left. I decided to blink my eyes first and switch to the sintered option.
The sintered pad, just like the resin, seems to deliver the performance you were hoping for without the blind spot that you can find with some of the brand’s versions. Not only was the power as consistent as you’d expect, there was a noticeable lack of glazing or vibration, even after long, heavy brake descents.
In the aforementioned points, these brakes really excel and left me very impressed. However, there are also criticisms.
I think the supreme power of these brakes is mitigated by somewhat lackluster ergonomics. I have pretty big hands, usually an XL or XXL with gloves on, and found that I couldn’t get the lever to sit in a good range of control – it was just too far out. I feel I can modulate the levers better when in a window closer to the helm than the TRPs might offer. The lever position, coupled with a brake that could best be described as delivering its full range of power in a short lever stroke, meant that if I ever got knocked or pushed around on the bike, which can happen often, I could more. – apply the brake and compromise myself.
There was also the problem of riding on wet and slippery rock slabs in Pemberton. Truth be told, the ergonomic quirks of the brake affected modulation when surface grip was limited.
I think it’s a really good drag, and there will be some people who will gladly trade out some positioning options for full power, but I would be hard-pressed to say I’m one of them. I really like them, and it’s not that they lack modulation, but rather a large amount of power on offer means they work best with mute, small inputs from your hands. It’s a force in some ways, and avoids hand fatigue on long runs, but it needs to be within a usable range and I don’t feel the Trail Evo is capable of delivering it to me.
I tried various bleed tips to bring the lever up, but their bite point would normally migrate out and away from the bar in half a stroke. I would always make them work, and I think their power and consistency could very well be best-in-class for horsepower per dollar, especially compared to industry giants Shimano and SRAM, but I do. would love if they could incorporate both power and consistency and better ergonomics. I feel like the lack of the latter undermines what would be a great braking package.
+ Very constant feeling of leverage
+ Huge amounts of power with minimal effort
+ Easy to install and bleed
+ Good price
– Lack of bite point adjustment
– The shift lever position could be better
– Adjusting the reach does not put the lever in a usable range
Pinkbike’s point of view