TRP 970SL Brake review

I’ve been riding these brakes for a little while now – certainly long enough to know how they work, feel and generally perform. About time I told you a bit about them then…

I’ll admit, there’s always been ‘something’ about TRP brakes which has put me off – I won’t say I can’t pin-point it, because I know exactly what it is: ‘Tektro Racing Products’. Yup, I was being a brand snob. There’s just too much of a connection to cheap Tektro brakes on bikes where the manufacturers are cutting out groupset components to hit a price point. Regardless, I saw these on a Colnago C59 in Sigma Sport, decided they looked great and decided to take the leap.

Those who have been reading Brain Farts for a while will know I have a bit of a light weight brake fetish, having been through a set of KCNCs, a set of M5s, a set of EEs, some Ciamillo Gravitas, a pair of Token and now these. A connoisseur of the über light brake perhaps. How do these rate then?

They’re good, I’m impressed.

My KCNCs were light, but flexy. The M5s were light and stopped you incredibly well, but had next-to-zero modulation. The Tokens work well enough but don’t particularly shine. I struggled to get the Gravitas setup right, although they did show glimmers of promise. I love the EEs so much I bought a second set for the Baum. The TRPs are easily as good on setup, power and feel as the EEs – for those who don’t like the quirky looks of the EE brakes but want something aside from standard groupset brakes, you may well have your answer here. And I say that having come straight off of a set of bog standard SRAM Red brakes, which stop better than most of their light weight counterparts.

Fitting and setup was an absolute doddle. I couldn’t find anything anywhere to tell me if the red Swissstop pads that come with the brakes are designed for aluminium or carbon rims, but I reasoned that as long as I didn’t use them on aluminium first they’d be fine on carbon – they’ve done a fine job so far, although haven’t been free from squeal as my riding buddies will no doubt agree (I must re-adjust them before I next ride…).

My only complaint with them was the quick release – I say “was” because with the way the brakes arrive and the lack of clear instruction to suggest otherwise, I left the rubber grommet where it was when the brakes arrived. In doing so the paint came off of the edges where the cable adjuster slips through. Do that too often and the brakes will look tatty pretty quickly. However, in pulling this review together today and having seen other shots of these brakes online I now realise the grommet should sit between the cable adjuster barrel and the brake arm. Oops (you can see it squished into the quick release slot in the shot above, and actually if you look at the Sigma Colnago shot above, they’ve done the same!).

It’s worth noting that I used a set of the EE brake pad holders on these and that was an easy and direct swap from the standard ones. For anyone who swaps wheels regularly, or wants to be able to but currently doesn’t because of the faff of changing pads I really cannot recommend them enough. You can literally change pads in 10 seconds flat:

EE Brake Pad Removal

Look great, perform well. Not particularly cheap – aside from the lack of instructions around the quick release which resulted in the paint scratch they’re damn near flawless, even if they’re not the lightest brakes I’ve used.

Bike Tart approved.

Rich [@RichTheRoadie]

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