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.