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Product Review: TRP HY/RD open hydraulic disc brakes – including set up tips

Until the release (and rapid recall) of the SRAM Red and S-700 Hydraulic disc brake systems, cyclocross riders wishing to emulate the performance of hydraulically braked mountainbikes on their newly acquired disc cx frames were forced into a bit of an ‘ingenious engineering solution’ corner. Or stuck with existing mechanical (cable) systems. A lack of hydraulic road-style shifters on the market spawned technical solutions from Hope (V-Twin) and TRP (Parabox) as well as a couple of keen engineering amateurs. And all worked, up to a point, delivering hydraulic braking in one form or another, but stopping short of a neat and practical solution in the absence of a full system.

Enter the HY/RD into this semi-hydraulic market…. Whereas previous solutions had focussed on taking the cable from the shifter and quickly converting cable-pull into a hydraulic force through a converter unit attached to the stem/handlebars, the HY/RD leaves pad actuation to the last gasp with an individual hydraulic caliper on each brake mount, and a full mechanical cable run leading into it.

And in this simpler solution (dubbed ‘plug and play’ by TRP) lies the strength of the HY/RD system. Gone are the box-type attachments under the stem and the long hydraulic hose lines, to be replaced by full mechanical cable run leading into a neat hydraulic reservoir on each caliper. And very effective it is too.

The older box solutions worked OK, at least on the versions I tried, but lacked feel at the lever, suffering from degrees of sponginess and stiff operation even when well set up. Add in chicken levers on the handlebars (valued by many 3 Peaks Cyclocross racers) and set up required Heath Robinson levels of ingenuity. Plus knowledge of setting up hydraulic hoses and systems, something many new-to-disc ‘cross users, like myself, lacked. NOt so with the HY/RD which simply attaches onto the end of your cable in the same fashion as an Avid BB-7 or similar.

2 replies
  1. Dave Haygarth
    Dave Haygarth says:

    Interesting and thorough as expected :-) Interestingly, I have a couple of bikes with these brakes but had my first interesting meltdown with them last week. I’d have put the brakes down as ‘not used much’ on the bike I’d ridden less of the two, but a 2hr, brakey, wet ride put paid to the front brake with hardly a moment of warning. I put it down to the organic pads that ship with them not handling the filthy wet very well, as they have been great in the dry and hardly showed any sign of wear. Fitting some sintered ones today and will monitor those. Mega braking power obviously needs to expend pads. I get that! They are terrifically powerful.

    Reply
  2. John Backhouse
    John Backhouse says:

    Ran these all last season and choice of pads make a massive difference. I settled on the superstar sintered (like ebc but 2 quid cheaper in the words of Peter Kay). Also full cable runs and high quality cables. I used alligator cables on one bike and jagwire on another and jagwire are better IMO. There is also a tip out there on flipping the cable clamp to the other side to reduce lever throw.

    Reply

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