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Better Braking, Lighter Weight


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Now that I’ve got that comfort bike and kids bike tech out of my system, it’s time to go back to sweet cycling goodness some like to refer to as "bike porn". Back in ’04, Zero Gravity introduced their version of road brake calipers and gave cyclists another option in the exclusive component market. It was like none other road brake seen before; CNC’d from 7075 aluminum, the calipers were a simple single pivot design with a special cam to increase leverage. Weight of the brakes were an astonishing 180g per pair (average 187/188g on weightweenies.starbike.com) compared to 300 plus grams for Dura Ace or Record brakes. Then in ’05, they upgraded their brakes with better leverage at even less weight (164g per pair), nearly half the weight of other brakes. It’s no wonder Zero Gravity brakes are seen on more and more pro bikes today.

For those that have entirely too much money to spend and love to stand out from the crowd, £680* ($1237.39 USD) will get you AX-Lightness carbon brake calipers (no pads). Weight for their new Orion brakes are 95g (claimed) per pair (yes, per pair) without pads. That is crazy light.

With everyone focusing on SRAM’s new Double Tap levers, not many have paid attention to their new brake calipers. They are cold-forged aluminum, double pivot design. Claimed weight is 279g per pair (I know, now this sounds like a heifer, but for us mere mortals, that's pretty good in the weight department). From cyclingnews.com, Ben Jacques-Maynes of the Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada Cycling Team testing the new SRAM group states:

"Don't miss the brakes, either. They haul you down from speed with one finger action and I have been surprised by how well they work in all conditions."

Shimano has also revised their '07 brake calipers - mountain not road (as of yet). As per VeloNews.com, their new XTR V-brakes have better tire clearnace and more uniform pad pressure, while the levers incorporate "Servo Wave" technology to give more braking power.

Of course if you aren't satisfied with any of the options currently available to buy, you can make your own, like this guy on plusonelap.blogspot.com. Cyclocross calipers weighing in at 63g per pair with calipers!

These newer and lighter brake components force Shimano and Campagnolo to rethink their tried and true designs. They must think up new ways to keep us interested which means that we may very well see new versions of Dura Ace and Record brakes coming in the near future. Do I smell carbon?

* price quoted from poshbikes.com

Related articles
Shimano offers a look at 2007 XTR braking options (velonews.com)
How I made my carbon brakes (plusonelap.blogspot.com)
images from competitivecyclist.com


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