Gimme a brake

The TRP Spyre mechanical disc brake.

The TRP Spyre mechanical disc brake.

I spent a little time in our freezing-cold garage this morning, adjusting the cantilever brakes on my Soma Double Cross, and then said to hell with it and rode the Novara Mazama instead. It’s Monday, Christmas is over, back to work.

The outside wasn’t much warmer than the garage, so I layered up: heavy leg warmers, bib shorts, three long-sleeved jerseys, winter gloves, tuque, shoe covers, etc., et al., and so on and so forth. Then I went exploring, riding unfamiliar streets on an unfamiliar bike.

The brakes on the Mazama are of a higher order than the stoppers on my DC: TRP Spyre mechanical discs. I’ve ridden Avid’s BB5 and BB7, and Hayes CX, but this is my first experience with TRP. A couple hours of gentle cycling on forgiving terrain hardly makes me an expert, but so far, so good. Nice modulation, plenty grippy when you need ’em to be, and they don’t screech like Ann Coulter when the laundry puts starch in her banana hammock.

I wasn’t asking much of them, I’ll admit. I’d been wanting to check out a couple of the neighborhood roads that have bike lanes attached, so I was riding them uphill and then dropping back to Tramway via a short, swoopy bit of single-track. It being the Monday after Christmas, most folks were doing their work indoors, which meant more trail for me. Yay.

Speaking of trail, someone who should be hitting same is Rep. Steve Scalise (R-You Kiddin’ Me?). The freshly elevated House majority whip claims he had no idea he was addressing a clot of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other such cuddly types when he spoke to David Duke’s European-American Unity and Rights Organization in 2002. That’s extra-dumb, even by House leadership standards.

His enablers are trying to whitewash (har har) the escapade as an example of poor staff work done on behalf of a then-36-year-old state legislator. Honky please. I knew what Duke was in the Seventies when I was a 20-something reporter and interviewed the sonofabitch over the phone. And I didn’t even ply my trade in Louisiana.

Happily, I still don’t. So it ain’t my cross to bear. Or burn.

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17 Responses to “Gimme a brake”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I am very interested in the TRP mechanical disc brakes, especially the Spyke mountain model. Will the Saga disc being prepared for your testing also have TRP Spyre brakes?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hey, Pat … I’m not sure which brakes the Saga’s coming with. Stan Pun at Merry Sales said he was going to have to order some up, but didn’t specify which sort.

      I’m curious about the brakes too, not least because of the recall ordered earlier this year and because of the lukewarm reception some product reviewers gave them. James Huang, a dude who really knows his tech, in December 2013 deemed the brakes promising, but added that there was work yet to be done.

      Avid sure seems to be sucking up all the oxygen in this little room, spec-wise.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Big Motor Reggie, who I ride with occasionally, just got a new Giant Defy Advanced 1 with the Spyre brakes. I haven’t had a chance to ask him about them. Padraig, over at RKP, is also reviewing a bike with Spyres. I used to be an early adopter, but now I do a little more research and take my time before letting the moths out of the wallet.

  2. Libby Says:

    I subscribe to the Twelve Days of Christmas model and I’m clinging to it!

  3. Larry T. Says:

    The dual piston mechanical design is interesting. Might take some more R&D to get it right, which always bothers me as it seems too often the customers are performing this…while paying for the product as well. My fantasy idea is double disc rotors on the front clamped by a pair of these mechanical calipers. A cable setup to actuate both would be far less hassle than hydraulics and would work with any road lever. I doubt it would be too tough to come up with a front hub to mount a disc rotor on each side, just like MOTOGP. Out back all you’d need is a tiny rotor and single sided caliper to make up for the extra weight up front where the real braking happens. Some crazy guy like Bruce Gordon is probably working on this right now!!

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Maybe Gordon can get Brembo to partner with him. I could go for a set of Brembo dual piston mechanical disc brakes on my Niner. With red calipers, of course.

      • Larry T. Says:

        Or maybe a pair of the TRP HY/RD’s? Might be little tight fitting all that stuff in there, but with a fat tire on a road bike you could dive really deep into turns on fast descents. A Bruce Gordon Monstercrosser set up this way might be a very fun toy to play with on pavement? 30 years ago I’d be on the phone with some crazy guy like Gordon with a machine shop who could make this happen, but maybe some younger guy with a lot more money to spend will do it instead?

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Yea, like Patrick.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I’m with you on the Brembos. Amazing stoppers. But the ones on the K1100RS are a little heavy to move over to the pedalbike!

        I like the idea of dual front disks. That might make the present idea of dishing the hell out of the front wheel less necessary, i.e., make the disks and wheel buildup symmetric. I especially worry about a heavily dished disk front wheel on a tandem ridden by two old farts, but so far have not heard of anyone augering on a twofer because of disk brakes.

      • Larry T. Says:

        Never used any Brembo stuff as back in my day the state-of-the-art was a set of Lockheed calipers (hydraulic pistons on both sides) each clamping a 13″ steel rotor floating on an aluminum mount. They rattled when the bike was stationary, but 2-finger stopping from 150+ mph (once the tire was warmed up – and we didn’t have those fancy electric blankets to do that!) was amazing.

      • Larry T. Says:

        Should have known some crazies have already played with this idea
        A narrow version for road bike size tires should not be too tough for these guys, perhaps with the HY/RD calipers so all you need is a cable splitter to use ’em with STI or Ergopower?

      • khal spencer Says:

        I could barely get my Hondas (1969 CB 450, 1979 CX 500) much above 100 mph, usually by laying down on the gas tank and getting a tailwind. The brakes on those bikes, even the CX, were frightfully bad; in wet weather, they were the next best thing to nothing at all. I’ve hauled down the BMW from ton up a couple times and the difference between those Brembo stoppers and the 1970s stuff is amazing. At my age, I have a serious aversion to speeds I would have loved to have enjoyed as a young fool. Fortunately, I never had the money back then to buy a superbike and auger it on a decreasing radius curve. Too many kids think having a superbike means you know how to ride it–a skill I am sure you honed carefully as a pro racer. Back in Honolulu, it was not unusual to see the weekend Darwin Award Road Race as 19 year olds with a fresh GI paycheck bought more bike than they could ride.

        I imagine dual disks would scrub off a lot of speed, but then one has to design contact patch and fork around the better stoppers. Hopefully the engineers are thinking of all that.

        Happy New Year, all.

  4. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Well, the year is rapidly winding down. I would like to thank Patrick for all the bike advice and reviews, chuckles, laughs, political insight, and best rants since the beloved “Friday Foaming Rant” temporarily (hopefully) went away. Happy New Year to the O’Grady clan and all who visit this hallowed blog. Sorry I’m late with the new year wishes, hurben.

    • John Dallager Says:

      Mega-dittoes here to all…..especially POG, Herself, and The Menagerie.

      Happy 2015 to all……get out there, stay safe, and ride those bikes!! 🙂

    • khal spencer Says:

      Same here for all. This is a fun place to visit and shoot the shit. One of these days we all have to descend on Chez Mad Dog and have a non-virtual get together.

  5. hurben Says:

    And Happy New Year to you Pat, POG & all who venture here.

    I’m blessed to live in NZ, amongst all it’s pluses, we’re the first to welcome the first rays of the New Year & speaking from a gloriously sunny 1/1/15, it’s looking like a good one. (did I mention that it’s warm?)

  6. Jeff Cozad Says:

    I swapped on a Spyre on my commuter to replace a BB7. I have been replacing the whole assembly every two years or so since I ride that bike year round in Iowa. I have nothing but good things to say at the present. The big draw for me was the fact that both sides move to engage the rotor. I’ll know a whole lot more in another six months or so.

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