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What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 6:37 am
by Piemonster
Morning,

Bit of a first world problem as I have a fully functioning set of brakes, but I’m looking to eliminate as much faff as possible from my winter training and the all too frequent adjustments on my #GW brakes is one of those items of faff. The daily time slot I have for getting out on the bike is quite tightly time constrained so I need as few barriers as possible to getting out the door. I’d originally set this bike up for cycle commuting where it’d be left in a location regularly targeted by thieves, but my role is now confirmed as permanently a home working role so that’s no longer an issue and I’m less concerned about the theft value.

Anyway, I’m currently running TRP Spyres, which when freshly adjusted, stop the bike ok. But nothing more. But do need frequent small adjustments. And the rear cassette I’m running actually inhibits the inboard rear brake adjustment, not a problem with a smaller cassette as you can get a straight line with the Allan key which is irritating, but not irritating enough to make me want to run 2x and a smaller cassette.

So, I’m thinking of fitting hydraulics, no requirement to be able to fix this beside the track in remotest Uzbekistan, I just need (I mean want) day in day out powerful brakes where the only adjustment is (normally) swapping out the pads.

I can get the adapters from here (I’ve post mounts on the frame) https://www.assolutions.ca/product-category/adapters/

And the GRX brake set with levers will come in around £350ish so not exactly a small investment.

Or I can get the TRP Hy/Rd and use my existing levers (rattle 105s) which seems like a bit of a bodged half way house solution. That’ll be what £160 plus cables.

Anyone used both of those options? Any other options I should think about?

Just to be clear, efficient mechanical competence on my part is not an available solution, it’d have happened by now if it was on the cards.

.

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 7:07 am
by Jurassic
I was in a similar situation quite recently when I upgraded from an alu gravel bike to a ti build and carried my Spyres over. To be honest I always liked the Spyres and found them to be decent to use and maintain but I felt that the new ti frame warranted an upgrade to hydraulic brakes. I looked at HyRds as well (which would have allowed me to continue using my SRAM Apex shifters) but eventually I went for GRX and I have to say it's superb. The brakes are much stronger than the Spyres (I'd say the difference is similar to the difference in going from rim brakes to cable discs) and the shifting is lovely. If you can afford it I'd say it's a very nice and very worthwhile upgrade.

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 7:33 am
by Piemonster
I am already running a GRX rear derailleur and have been very impressed.

Although that was coming from a 105 mech on a road link.

So long as it costs less than what I was paying ScotRail each month it’s affordable.

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 7:42 am
by Landslide
I got to spend 5 days riding a bike with Ultegra hydros. The extra power and modulation was a different class, way better than anything I've managed to get from Spyres.

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:41 am
by redefined_cycles
So me dreaming of getting a carbon DISC gravel fork for my roadie just so I can upgrade the front calipers from TRP ling drop rim (really powerful with Swisstop pads and I'm left impressed when descending offroad DH gravel), is totally wrong thinking. Especially if I'm expecting much better stopping with just SRAM bb7 ???

To be fair, part of the stopping power on the TRP is the pads but alot probably the levers (Dura Ace 9001 [think XTR of just 1 model old]). But now you've posed this Q and BB7 haven't even had a mention it's got me thinking.

Definitely know I need to make the jump to front disc as it makes it futureproof (IMO)... Hmmm, maybe bb7 or trp HyRd isn't gonna give me the better stopping and slightly (as the levers are v good) less hand pump on the DHs!!

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:01 am
by techno
I've just picked up a 2nd hand set of nearly new hope v-twins from ebay (£80!!!!) they generally seem to go really cheap. I've not got them fitted yet but just thought I'd mention it as an option.

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:05 am
by lune ranger
I’ve used either BB7 or Spyre/Spyke throughout all of my didc brake history.
IMO both the TRP and Avid versions work noticeably better on flat bar set ups with MTB levers. Spyre and BB7 road have pretty spongy lever feel.
For flat bar versions BB7 wins on braking (Maybe) and Spyke for adjustment.
The Avids are MUCH longer lasting. TRP’s stop returning do well when used in wet/muddy conditions and arn’t properly serviceable.
Presently I’m building a Transition Rapture CX bike into a general adventure’ hack.
I have bought Juin Tech R1 brakes similar to the HY-RD.
Bit of an unknown quantity for me but reviewed very well by all testers. Lighter than the TRP equivalents and only £115 for a full set inc all mounts and rotors from an EU supplier.
I’ll report back on how they work.

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:50 am
by redefined_cycles
lune ranger wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:05 am
I’ve used either BB7 or Spyre/Spyke throughout all of my didc brake history.
IMO both the TRP and Avid versions work noticeably better on flat bar set ups with MTB levers. Spyre and BB7 road have pretty spongy lever feel.
For flat bar versions BB7 wins on braking (Maybe) and Spyke for adjustment.
The Avids are MUCH longer lasting. TRP’s stop returning do well when used in wet/muddy conditions and arn’t properly serviceable.
Presently I’m building a Transition Rapture CX bike into a general adventure’ hack.
I have bought Juin Tech R1 brakes similar to the HY-RD.
Bit of an unknown quantity for me but reviewed very well by all testers. Lighter than the TRP equivalents and only £115 for a full set inc all mounts and rotors from an EU supplier.
I’ll report back on how they work.
https://www.bikeradar.com/reviews/compo ... &gallery=1

Luke.. they look good. Got a link

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:55 am
by faustus
I made the move to full hydro brakes on the 'gravel' bike a couple of years ago. I was never much of a fan of cable dics anyway, even with compressionless outers and good adjustment, the difference is well worth the outlay. I got my set-up fairly cheaply, with 2nd hand rs685 levers and new deore calipers. I've run them for two years with spot on braking and shifting throughout. The added braking confidence is as you'd have on an mtb. You can probably get the whole lot cheaper if you look for 2nd hand levers or a brakeset, and get new calipers. Also worth it over a cable hydro set-up i think.

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:42 am
by lune ranger
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/392868246476

This doesn’t really constitute a recommendation as I’m yet to even fit them but I’m inclined to think they are worth a try.

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:51 am
by faustus
Or this would plug and play with GRX mechs...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Shimano-105- ... SweKZfJ7iE

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:36 pm
by ScotRoutes
Just random...

I used BB7s on the Amazon for 10 years or so. Can't really fault them. Once set up with compressiinless outers and pads properly adjusted they were quick to act, smooth and reliable. My one small issue came when changing wheelsets. Getting the pad alignment perfect each time just added more faff than I wanted. It was OK once in a blue moon but tedious if I was changing wheels more regularly.

I now have Shimano hydros (2nd hand). Stopping power is probably better but they're not some magic revelation in operation or function. In fact I'm thinking of doing the old over-filling trick to get back some of the instant bite that I achieved with the BB7s (I know this is a personal taste thing and lots of other folk would be happy with them as they are).

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:42 pm
by Piemonster
Do you still have your BB7s?

The adjustment on those is by hand isn’t it?

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 1:01 pm
by FLV
ScotRoutes wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:36 pm
In fact I'm thinking of doing the old over-filling trick to get back some of the instant bite
This led to minor brake rub for me. Nothing draggy, just noise.

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 1:41 pm
by lune ranger
Not knocking BB7’s at all.
I still use them on my Krampus and have no intention of changing.
Apparently the Juin Tech allow the bite point to be altered a la BB7, something I was glad to see.
Maybe these will be a bust but maybe they’ll be good. We’ll soon see.

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 1:57 pm
by ScotRoutes
Always interested in feedback on stuff I've not tried.

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:15 pm
by htrider
Got 200 miles on trp full hydros and they are really good so far. Good solid stopper and were fairly easy to set up

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:40 pm
by mattpage
GRX are impressive. Lever shape is a big improvement and its the levers, rather than the calipers where all the good stuff happens.
Different pivot point also makes braking from the hoods feel better.

Before GRX I would have put SRAM very slightly ahead on braking performance, but now GRX are superior for drop bars.
It will be interesting to see Campagnolo 1x when released soon. No personal experience of the Campagnolo disc brake range, but I have heard good things overall. The Campagnolo brakes are essentially Magura designed.

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:14 pm
by Jurassic
mattpage wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:40 pm
GRX are impressive. Lever shape is a big improvement and its the levers, rather than the calipers where all the good stuff happens.
Different pivot point also makes braking from the hoods feel better.
I used to have to get on the drops to get enough power to brake hard on my old cable set up. With the GRX I can stay on the hoods and still have enough power to lock up at will (not that it's not easy to modulate, it is). I assumed all hydraulic drop brakes were like this (GRX is my first experience of "road" hydraulic discs), maybe not? Whatever I've found the GRX brakes to be really easy to modulate and powerful from either hand position. I'm running 160 rotors front and rear for reference.

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:43 pm
by BigdummySteve
I struggled for a long time to get any performance from SRAM dropbar brakes, I tried different pads, multiple bleads and different rotors. I swapped the calipers out for Hope RX4’s and they are excellent, much better power, modulation and they don’t eat pads, in fact in a year I’ve probably recouped the cost in pads and warped disks. They are available in Shimano fitting as well. Highly recommend, I’m fairly heavy which may have a bearing on the issues I had.

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:15 pm
by redefined_cycles
lune ranger wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:42 am
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/392868246476

This doesn’t really constitute a recommendation as I’m yet to even fit them but I’m inclined to think they are worth a try.
I'm the happy owner of some new (to me) CX trek disc forks. Anyone wish to go halves on some Juin thingies as i don't plan on having disc mounts added to the frame (just yet) so only needs the front! Let me know please

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:14 am
by mattpage
Jurassic wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:14 pm
I assumed all hydraulic drop brakes were like this (GRX is my first experience of "road" hydraulic discs), maybe not?
All, or at least all major hydraulic brakes that are working correctly will be like that compared to cables. It is just that GRX takes it up a notch.
From the hoods, the lever shape for braking is fantastic too.

That said, braking from the drops is still the best place to use from a performance point of view as it gives higher leverage and greater riding control.

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:32 pm
by composite
I have 105s on my CRG and they are more power than I normally need. Don't eat pads either... I've done about 6000km since last November on that bike and I have just swapped out the pads!

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:12 pm
by Jurassic
Coincidentally my GRX brakes saved me from a certain crash today. I was riding down a singletrack tarmac lane on my way back from a gravel ride loop and came round a downhill corner to find a stationary transit van and car trying to get past each other and completely blocking the road (there was no verge on either side for an escape route). I panic braked and locked up the back wheel and the bike went completely sideways before I had the presence of mind to release the brake and allow it to straighten up before braking again and just managing to stop. I have no doubt whatsoever that if I'd still been riding my old cable discs I would have hit the back of the transit (I dread to think what would have happened if I'd had rim brakes). Technically my fault I know but still a timely reminder of how important decent brakes can be........ :shock:

Re: What Gravel ****** brakes - GRX worth the dosh?

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:38 pm
by Piemonster
Having adjusted my TRPs yet again today I’m definitely ditching mechanicals.

That sounds like a close call Jurassic! Just skid marks on the road hopefully!