Review – TRP Spyre SLC Cable Disc Brakes

TRP Spyre SLC Disc Brakes Tim Wiggins
Cable actuated disc brakes get a lot of bad press. There is some justification for that — most of the systems lack the modulation and performance of their hydraulic counterparts. There is however one set of cable disc brakes that shines above the rest — the TRP Spyre SLC Disc Brake. This lightweight and sleek cable disc caliper excels in both design and functionality.

My Kona Private Jake arrived in 2016 with a set of TRP's Spyre-C disc brakes fitted as standard. Those brakes worked very well for over 25,000 kilometres of use and abuse; I rode the bike for daily commutes (including a salty daily ferry journey), and I rode the bike fully loaded over the highest cols in the Pyrenees on the #CoastsandCols tour. The Spyre-C took all this abuse in hand, and always produced the stopping power I demanded.

This year, with the Kona Private Jake hitting a 25,000 kilometre anniversary, I decided it was time to upgrade and replace a number of the parts. To be honest, most of the components, wheels, and drivetrain have already been worn out and replaced; but the Spyre-C brakes remained to date, if looking a bit tired. This winter however, I decided it was time to swap them out for the newer upgrade version — the TRP Spyre SLC.

The TRP Spyre-C is the OEM (after-market) version of the Spyre SLC, and although the two look and function similarly, there are a few notable improvements in the SLC model. I run through these features below…

The main thing that sets all TRP cable disc brakes apart from their competitors, is that when you pull on the lever with the TRP Spyre then both pads move simultaneously in towards the rotor; rather than the normal case of the cable simply pulling one pad in, and bending the rotor so it touches the second pad. The dual-pull design is better for a number of obvious reasons: it provides a more even and progressive brake feel and performance, as well as giving better power, better pad positioning, and delivering more even pad wear.

Both the TRP Spyre brakes also have the superb pad adjustment functionality on the outside of the caliper. These pad adjustment screws allow you to move the pads in and out towards the rotor, using a simple 3mm hex key. This adjustment, combined with the barrel cable adjuster, provide the ability to fine tune the set-up to give the best pad position and braking performance.

So, both the TRP Spyre-C and Spyre SLC use the same industry leading pulling action, and the same pad adjustment system. Where they differ is in the material composition and cable housing.

The Spyre SLC is a super lightweight design. It uses an aluminium alloy caliper body, and a carbon fibre pulling arm — to create a light but strong design. The Spyre SLC also benefits from an integrated plastic pad cover — keeping the winter muck away from the brake pads. Finally, the SLC features a sealing cable sleeve to keep damaging grit out of the vulnerable cable end. These subtle developments on the SLC are small, but they do make a difference; and make the SLC a notable upgrade on the already good Spyre-C design.

The Spyre-SLC was quick to set up, and delivered impressive performance from the first ride. Assuming you use good quality compression-resistant outer cable, and pre-stretched and lubricated inner cable, then you can expect impressive brake feel, modulation, and power. Adjusting the brakes for pad wear is also super easy using the barrel adjuster and pad-in adjusters.

Whether sharp braking in wet conditions, or lengthy braking on long hot descents; the TRP Spyre SLC Disc Brakes have continued to perform well — with little brake fade or performance deterioration. If you are running cable brake levers, then these are a superb upgrade to make.

TRP Spyre SLC Disc Brakes Tim Wiggins

TRP Spyre SLC Disc Brakes Tim Wiggins

Upgrade Bikes UK provided Life In The Saddle with a set of TRP Spyre SLC Disc Brake Calipers for testing and review

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