Trickstuff have been machining overly sexy, intricate and geeky mountain bike parts in Freiburg, Germany since 2003. Their first product was a humble brake pad, and they have added innovative and useful metalwork to their range ever since. The Direttissima is the king of their range, boasting massive stopping power, low weight and proudly marked with a 'Made in Germany' etching. Trickstuff even describes the Direttissima as"fiercely expensive"
which I cannot argue against at €375 each.
Construction Trickstuff Direttissima Details• Intended use: downhill, enduro, slowing down quickly
• 4-piston caliper
• Mineral oil
• Goodrich or standard hose options
• Average Power [Nm]: >150
• Weight: Front brake 277g / Daechle 203mm rotor 192g (actual)
• Pick your own colour options
• Made in Germany
• Price: €375 each / $396 USD (approx)
The Direttissima is machined in the Trickstuff house in Freiburg, Germany. The part-time environmentalist in me likes the buy local theme, joining Hope and Formula as the few remaining brake manufacturers still producing in Europe.
An 11mm-wide, band clamp connects the lever to the handlebar. There is an extra support, which braces the lever again the bar, decreasing flex, but also widening the total width of the lever clamp 24mm. This width could cause some problems for riders needing the levers close to the grip. It might also make it hard to find space for other controls. Trickstuff, however, has a range of mounts to combine the brake clamps with shifter or dropper post levers.
The lever has four cartridge bearings on each side for super smooth action and durability. There is lever reach adjustment from "I like my lever hitting the grip before it works," all the way to "I have giant hands and want the lever miles away from me," via a 2mm hex key. There is no bite point adjuster or tool free option.
The main lever reservoir capacity is 3ml of mineral oil, Trickstuff boasts that this is the largest on the market and will give the same power even when the brake pads are worn and the pistons are extended further towards the rotor.
The caliper is a two-piece, CNC-machined, alloy unit. There are four Teflon coated pistons to lower friction and avoid lazy piston retraction.
There are nine anodized colors to choose from, and customers can pick their shades of the lever, lever body, top cap, bolts, and caliper to suit all of their wildest `90's ano dreams.Rotors, Pads, and Housing
The Daechle discs have a trick stuffed up their sleeve that makes slotting wheels in a breeze – the outer edge of the rotor is beveled on each side at 60º, so the rotors won't catch on the brake pads when installing the wheel. Does this turn the rotor into a sharpened cutting blade? No, there is still a flat edge on the outer surface of the rotor, this gives it a rounded feel to the touch, and is less sharp than two 90º edges.
Discs are available in 140, 160, 180, 200 and 203mm sizes, in a six-bolt pattern. A few other weird shapes and sizes for Rolhoff'ers and Coda hub riders are available.
Trickstuff's NG+ brake pads also share the same chamfer as the rotors. The plus sign of the NG+ relates to the pads which are thicker than most brands at 2.3mm, compared to 1.5mm-2mm on many brands (SRAM Guide pads are 2mm for reference). It may not sound like a big deal, but Trickstuff claims that difference can provide you with 15% to 50% more pad life than you currently enjoy (depending on which brand of brake you currently employ). The pads handily share the same shape as Shimano XTR-XT-SLX brake pads, so finding replacements should be easy wherever you are in the world.
The Direttissima lever and caliper are connected via a standard kevlar hose, though I opted for the legendary Goodridge hose upgrade. Goodridge hoses are renowned as the strongest on the market; they're basically unbreakable, uncrushable and provide a more solid feeling since there is almost no expansion of the hose under brake pressure.Bleeding
The brakes arrived pre-bled with the hoses cut to the consumer-requested length, so installation was a breeze. After a few months, I decided to change to internal cable routing to tidy up my frame, which required bleeding. Trickstuff provides an in-depth bleeding manual
on their site, with two options: the 'Quick and Clean' method and the 'Slow and Dirty.' The first method should be used for emergency use and the second for a 'perfect bleed.' Cornelius Kapfinger, from Trickstuff, suggested that most bleeding manuals and methods are only 90% accurate, where the Trickstuff method, although seemingly complicated, will achieve 100% accuracy and provide many years of trouble-free braking.
I went for the Slow and Dirty method. Slightly complicated by the number of steps, the repetitious failsafe method, the need for two syringes with different size threads (one M4 and one M5) and only having two hands. With the help of a friend and some spare minutes, we managed to bleed the brake with success first time.
I suggest adding the €29 Heinzelmann
bleed kit made specifically for this brake. I made my own from various other syringes, but adding another few euros to the shopping cart won't hurt. You might even manage to get to four figures just for your braking setup.On the Trail
The Direttissima's have an unparalleled, lightweight lever throw before the brake pads contact the rotor. There is no noticeable pressure or friction to overcome, giving a weightless feel. The lever's pivot placement provides a great ergonomic angle, not bending my index finger out of line. The contact area at the fingertip is larger than that on most levers. It's also flat and smooth, which provides a sensitive feel.
And to the power. The power is huge. I think they generate more power than Shimano's mighty Saint, and are getting close to Magura's superb MT7. But, power is nothing without control, thankfully the modulation of the Direttissima is light, followed by superbly progressive. The angle of the piston in the lever changes throughout the stroke, giving a true progressive curve and increasing power with more finger power.
The bite point is solid, but not grabby, and builds through the stroke. Cro-magnon style fist-clenchers may have an issue feathering the power, but for the masses, controlling this brake should be safe, easy and intuitive. Issues
The original pair of Direttisma's I received last June did spring an oil leak at the top cap. Trickstuff said that this brake was an earlier model that didn't use thread lock on the top cap screws, which led to it coming loose. I lost some oil, and in the process of re-tightening, the seal got damaged. I returned the brakes, and they were upgraded to the thread locked screws and a new version of the seal – the Direttissimas were trouble free afterward. All production brakes have since been upgraded.
I also broke a 180mm Daechle disc; luckily I spotted this before anything untoward happened. Trickstuff says they did have some problems with earlier Daechle discs when riders performed trials-like maneuvers and the rotors were stressed in a rearwards direction. These rotors have all been replaced by a new version with improved strength.
Tiny hex bolts. The 2.5mm bolt for the lever clamp is too small, and the brakes wouldn't tighten enough for a solid fix on the handlebar without risk of rounding off the bolt (this is more of a problem with carbon bars). In the end, I could the tighten the bolt enough to make the levers stay put during riding, but it was still possible to move them easily by hand. I'm sure there are reasons for tiny bolts, like stopping people overtightening things, saving weight and letting the levers move in the event of a crash, but fiddly is frustrating. I had a similar gripe with the Trickstuff Deckele 'star nut.'
In total, the brakes need 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3 and 5mm hex wrenches, plus a Torx T10 and T27, then an 8mm wrench – of course, this is what's required for a full, nut-and-bolt rebuild of the brake and not the general adjustment, but I like simplicity. Pinkbike’s Take:
|The Trickstuff Direttissima's have really set a standard of performance and power in the braking world. The price and lack of tool-free adjustment puts them out of line of the general consumer, but racers and serious riders will love the feel and power, as will anyone who purely wants to add a touch of class to their machine. - Paul Aston|
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