Fabien Barel On-board Testing for Brake Authority

Apr 12, 2012
by Matt Wragg  
On-board tests have always been important at Brake Authority. We have been doing them for five years now and, within the MTB brake industry, this innovative practice has made our brand a real pioneer.

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Fabien Barel on-board testing with Brake Authority

Fabien, "testing." Photo courtesy of Greg Germain.

The aim of these test sessions, organized at least twice a year, is to link the feedback from the riders to our lab testing and simulations. Because of this approach, our pads are continuously evolving, often by small touches that we believe in the end makes all the difference.

Under the watchful eye of the double World Champion (and our R&D Manager) Fabien Barel, our most recent test session took place in Peille in the south of France. Over two days our engineers worked with our technical partners, motorbike telemetry specialists, Tecmas to evaluate a dozen prototypes pads of different potential evolutions. They all had different compounds – mixtures of sintered metal ores. The one thing they all had in common was that they don’t contain nickel as we believe it causes too much damage to the environment.

Fabien Barels Mondraker test bike.

Close-ups up Fabien Barels Mondraker test bike.

Fabien's Mondraker bike with the test equipment mounted on it.Photos courtesy of Greg Germain.

It was a blind-test and we used three different riders of different levels – a recreational rider, an occasional racer and, well, Fabien Barel. The onboard equipment measured temperatures, pressure on the master cylinder lever, on the caliper pistons, the length and the power of the braking sequences. The testers completed a form at the end of each run to give us accurate and as detailed feedback as possible. We asked them to focus on five areas : power, feel, braking progressiveness and control, comfort and eventually noise and vibrations.

Examing the data.

Manuo Gauzy giving feedback about the compounds.

Examining the data and taking feedback from the riders. Photos courtesy of Greg Germain.

Once again this test session allowed us to close off a few ideas that didn’t work so well and put forward new directions we can follow to improve further the performances of our products.

Our Burly, Aggressive or Aggressive Ceramic pads are designed to be universal and suit every type of riding but with noticeable differences between models. So if your riding is essentially XC, there’s no point in getting the Aggressive Ceramic, and on the extreme, if you’re a DH rider at an international level, we designed our Aggressive Ceramic with you in mind.

Fabien Barel on-board testing with Brake Authority

Fabien Barel on-board testing with Brake Authority

Photos courtesy of Greg Germain.

The next on board test session is already booked for next autumn.

Brake Authority, Performance and Respect.



  • 41 1
 Fabien would be no good for testing brakes, he's so pinned he would never use them haha. Perfect man for the job lots of passion for the sport
  • 13 0
 I agree, he's a clever rider with great experience. Definitely the right man to do it.
  • 2 0
 Fabien is such a great ambassador of the sport and he has the track record to prove it. A real class act and gentlemen. M'ennuie de toi Fabien dans le world-cup mais je suis content de te voir tres active dans le sport. Lache pas.
  • 12 0
 I want to become a chief ingenieer :-)
  • 19 1
 gotta learn to spell first Smile
  • 3 0
 The video actually credits one guy as chief ingenieer!
  • 3 0
 george0812, was being sarcastic. Some poor stressed out french guy with a tight deadline spelled it wrong in the video.
  • 4 0
 I wasn't sure george was being sarcastic Razz
  • 3 0
 Poor ol' George just didn't get it :oD
  • 1 0
 its all a joke, we spell it up here like that jokingly also...
  • 8 0
 Don't forget that Fabien is also an engineer, a sound mind in a healthy body Smile .
  • 2 0
 Really? Didn't know that. I knew he is one of the most methodically racers out there but I thought that was more a french approach to racing as it was pretty similar to Vouilloz. Do you know in what branch of engineering he specialized? I'm betting on mechE. but wonder what his specialization was.
  • 3 0
 When he was sponsored by Subaru he was working for Subaru France as an engineer. A long time ago, like 10 years more or less I remember reading an interview of him on a French speaking magazine that says he was right in the middle of his engineering degree. Thinking about it I remember now, Fabien has a management engineering degree plus a Master in ... cannot remember that one sorry.
  • 5 0
 Super cool to see just how much work and testing goes into the parts that we put on our bikes.
  • 2 0
 That or it's just another excuse to get out and ride on someone else's dime! Wink
  • 1 0
 That bike has way too much stuff on it though
  • 5 0
 what's this?! a trail bike on pinkbike!
  • 2 0
 that front fender looks a mess..
  • 1 0
 Just the right thing to go with that hunchback bend in the frame!
  • 1 0
 Nice to see Fabien wearing the new All M lid by Urge maybe he is testing it as they arent available until September
  • 1 0
 Killer diagnoses for the rider and bike!!! I dig it. I'd rather put the equipment on a bike of my choice though.
  • 3 1
 Maximum satisfaction
  • 1 0
 That accent... haha! and I'm french.
  • 1 0
 And I thought my bike had a lot of cables...
  • 2 1
 Which mudguard is that?
  • 4 0
 £59.00 For a mud Gaurd! what a joke! Its so close to the wheel, Not sure where it was tested but when i live that would clog up with mud in seconds. :S

Fabien Barel it top bloke and great person to put brakes to the test Smile
  • 9 0
 59.00 to look like a bender
  • 2 0
 yeah 59 is too much for one...i just made one for about £4.50 using an old mouse mat and a s@#t load of cable ties...and it works a treat!
  • 1 0
 I doubt it would clog up, it was designed for use on the World Cup circuit so I'm sure it would cope fine in claggy mud. Atleast I'd expect it to at just under £60...

The Mucky Nutz mudgaurd is less than £10 and it looks as if it would perform just as well as the DFender. It's probably less likely to get damaged in a crash too seeing as it is more flexible.
  • 1 0
 It might clog up my way dingus Wink

  • 1 1
 Mothership !
  • 1 2
 Damn that frame is ugly!

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