TRP G-Spec Quadiem Brake - Review

Oct 12, 2017
by Mike Levy  
Staff Rides - Mike Levy s Rocky Mountain Element


The brake hierarchy is really split up into two groups, with SRAM and Shimano seeing the lion's share of spec across the board and the leftovers fought over by four or five less common names. TRP is - or maybe was - a minor player, even among that second group, but their signing of Aaron Gwin went a long way towards changing that.

Essentially the high-performance arm of Tektro, TRP had their Quadiem SL's on Gwin's bike at the beginning of last year's World Cup season, but it wasn't long until he showed up with a set of brakes tailor-made to his liking. TRP says that those four-piston brakes are exactly what you see reviewed here: the $199.99 USD (sans rotor) G-Spec Quadiem.

G-Spec Quadiem Details

• Intended use: all-mountain / downhill
• Mineral oil system
• Four-piston caliper
• Ceramic/steel pistons
• CNC two-piece caliper
• Tool-free indexed reach adjust
• Polished, anodized finish
• Weight: 317-grams (front, w/o rotor and hardware)
• MSRP: $199.99 USD (without rotor)
www.trpbrakes.com

TRP G-Spec Quadiem review test


Details

When I first took the G-Spec brake out of the box, I briefly thought that someone at TRP had accidentally sent me some sort of motorbike setup. Shimano and SRAM's four-piston calipers look downright shapely compared to the comparatively massive TRP block that sees cooling fins machined into its roof. Inside, it's home to a set of ceramic and steel hybrid pistons that are said to shave 30-grams over the steel pistons that were used on the standard Quadiem, although both models now employ these ceramic and steel hybrid pucks.


TRP G-Spec Quadiem review test
TRP G-Spec Quadiem review test


Up top, you'll find an equally solid looking master cylinder and lever blade, as well as a hinged clamp that's tightened down by a 4mm hex bolt. That small black dial behind the lever is there for you to adjust how far away it sits from the handlebar, and it's indexed to keep it from backing in or out during use. Unlike high-end offerings from some other brands, there is no second dial to tweak the G-Spec's bite point, with TRP going with a simpler setup instead.


The lever itself is relatively tall and has a pronounced hook to it and, apparently, Gwin wanted a dimpled, textured surface for a bit of extra traction for his digits. That means that we also a get dimpled, textured surface; Gwin is the 'G' in G-Spec, after all. All of the above is finished up with a hand polishing and anodizing to give it a shiny enough look that it might attract a few crows while you're out on your ride. Here's a hot tip for you: it's that finish that's actually the only difference between the $199.99 USD G-Spec brake and the less flashy, $149 USD standard Quadiem SL.


TRP G-Spec Quadiem review test


Like some other brakes on the market, the G-Spec's ship with a set of semi-metallic pads ($19.99 USD on TRP's website) installed, something that I always find a bit odd given that four-piston stoppers should equal all the bite and all the power. TRP also offers metallic pads ($24.99 USD on TRP's website), but you'll need to buy them separately from the brake itself, and it's no secret that Shimano's four-piston pads are the exact same shape and fit perfectly. Mineral oil pushes those pads down onto the rotor, so you won't melt the paint off your bike or contribute to killing a bunch of dolphins as you might with DOT fluid.
TRP G-Spec Quadiem review test

Rotors range in price from $29.99 USD to $59.99 USD, so factor that into the G-Spec's $199.99 USD, and they're available in all the sizes, as well as both six-bolt and Centerlock mounting. TRP also sells a load of small parts on their website, so if you're handy and prefer to fix things yourself, you can probably order what you need instead of taking the brake to a shop.


Performance

The G-Specs have seen approximately a zillion miles of use, including the BC Bikes Race, shuttle laps, and even some time in the Whistler Bike Park on a short-travel rig, and I've come away from that with two notable talking points. First, they've been impressively consistent during that time; second, they offer a remarkable amount of feel and modulation, especially for a four-piston brake intended for downhill use.

TRP sells the G-Spec with semi-metallic pads, so while that's rarely my preference of stopping material, that's how I ran them for the first few months. In this stock setup, there's less initial bite and overall power than I expected, but it's still more than reasonable enough when it comes time to drop anchor. A bleed and line shortening later and they felt the same, which was certainly less outright stopping force than a four-piston Code or Saint offering but, more importantly, with so much modulation that it was like the neurons in my brain were acting on the G-Spec's ceramic and hybrid steel pistons rather than my two pointer fingers.


Staff Rides - Mike Levy s Rocky Mountain Element


They were that good, and remarkably impressive when traction was a guessing game. But, considering that these are four-piston brakes made for downhill use, power wasn't as high as I expected, so in went a set of TRP's metallic pads.

As you'd assume, the change in pad material bumped the brake's outright power up to where it belongs, which will be enough for pretty much anyone, but the more interesting bit is that the full-metallic friction material didn't do much to dampen the modulation. If I had to pick one word to describe the G-Spec brake, it'd have to be 'control,' with the shiny silver brake offering a huge amount of it, especially compared to Shimano's four-piston offerings.


TRP G-Spec
TRP G-Spec


With full metallic pads, which is how most riders will run them, their initial bite feels gentle, yet it's not because the friction and power aren't there. It's a bit like that initial lever pressure is just the pads whispering to the rotor, ''Hey, let's just take a chill pill and avoid a needless lock-up, alright?'' And that's exactly what happens, too, unless you want to lay down a big skid for shits and giggles, of course. The great modulation is a real boon in those low traction settings, which pretty much sums up my entire summer riding season that saw about as much moisture as my stomach sees vegetables.

Locking your wheel (or wheels) up is always good fun, but the quickest way to ride a trail is often just on that fine edge between breaking traction and not braking enough, which is where the G-Specs shine brighter than any other brake I've used.

So, there's more feel to this brake than watching 'Marley & Me' by yourself on a Saturday night, but outright stopping power doesn't seem quite as high as a four-piston setup from SRAM, and especially Shimano's Saint system. I'm not a huge guy, so I've never felt the need for 200mm rotors, even on a downhill rig while on long, steep trails, but I'd want to bump up to the largest size rotors if I was using the G-Spec brakes in that type of setting on a regular basis. They're not short on power, mind you, and they easily trump any two-piston system, but they just never had that massive, train stopping type of authority that a Code or Saint anchor does.


TRP G-Spec Quadiem review test



TRP vs Everyone

Well, not literally everyone, but let's talk more about how the high-end TRP stoppers compare against the likes of SRAM, Shimano, and a few others.

Modulation: I've long believed that Magura and SRAM own this one and that Shimano's brakes have a lot in common with a light switch when it comes to power delivery. The G-Spec Quadiem's could take the crown, however, especially when it comes to four-piston control. TRP's brakes have a gentle initial bite, both with semi-metallic and metallic pads, and power that ramps up from there in a controllable way without ever feeling like someone's jammed a golf club through your spokes. This type of thing is especially important when the ground is wet or exceptionally dry and slippery, and those are the type of settings where it's clear the G-Spec Quadiems win this one.

Consistency: I've gone through two sets of the stock semi-metallic pads and one set of metallic pads since I bolted the G-Spec Quadiems to my bike, and not a single reliability concern has come up. Lever feel will change slightly when the pads become excessively worn (I'll have to talk to my mechanic about why he's so lazy...), but there has been zero pumping up when descents are long, and all eight pistons are still moving freely and evenly. The one bleed that I did perform was really only to see how difficult the job was (it wasn't), and in a time when brake reliability has gotten worse rather than better, it's interesting to see a name that a lot of riders would consider as a "budget brand" turn out to be very dependable.


TRP G-Spec Quadiem review test
TRP G-Spec Quadiem review test


Ergonomics / Design: With no bite point adjustment, a feature that I'm a big fan of, the G-Specs can't ever win this one, at least in my mind. So while I didn't have an issue where the TRP brakes engage, I would have definitely tinkered with it if I had the option to do so. On the flip side, the missing adjustment probably does make for a more reliable design. Also, the robust master cylinder perch and huge lever blade aren't really my cup of tea - they look bulky and like they belong dirt bike - but the shape of the lever does feel good. The long blade also means that there's plenty of real estate for your other controls to be wherever you need them.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesWhile not the most powerful setup out there, the G-Spec's class-leading modulation makes them far more than just a shiny alternative to SRAM and Shimano's brakes. Impressive control aside, as so many other brakes seem to become less reliable, it might be the G-Spec's consistency that wins many riders over. Mike Levy

219 Comments

  • + 80
 “Shimano's brakes have a lot in common with a light switch when it comes to power delivery.”

I seriously question the fine motor skills of anyone who feels this way about Shimano stoppers. Yes they engage quickly, but the modulation is there, and it comes from how much pressure you apply. Unless you’re Lenny from Of Mice and Men, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. That said, these things do look really nice and I’d be keen to try a pair.
  • + 21
 I agree that’s a bit of an exaggeration but if you’re looking for the best modulation on the market Shimano isn’t where you’ll find it.
The levers have an initial stiction (I think cus of the servo whatsits?) which tends to ‘snap’ open when you’re looking for a feather touch and get the opposite. Couple this with the sheer power of them and you have kinda poor modulation. I find it hard to manual and wheely with em cus a feather touch is difficult but on the trail I notice it less. Shimano’s are great but not for their modulation!
  • - 34
flag usa-dh-racing (Oct 12, 2017 at 9:28) (Below Threshold)
 good point. modulation is just another word for poor stopper power. The more real stopping power the easier it is to just feather your brake. done.
  • + 17
 Some people like a wide modulation which to me, just feels spongy. I like a nice tight modulation, close to the grip. Effortless single finger braking with less arm pump. Kinda need a bite point adjuster to fine tune that feel so, no bite point adjust, no Interest
  • + 16
 I love the extra sensitivity provided by Shimano's "lack of modulation".

You have full control over the braking power in a short amount of lever travel. Other brakes just feel spongey and ponderous to me tbh.
  • + 17
 There are only two types of people, ones that run Shimanos and ones that like modulation.
  • - 1
 @greglikesspecialized: incorrect. I like modulation AND run Shimano’s. Because Shimano.
  • + 2
 No there are two kinds of people, those that think there are two kinds of people and those that like modulation.
  • - 2
 @greglikesspecialized: no there is something called "Zee". For people who want modulation + power + shimano but reliability issues with 30-40% of the brakes.
  • + 2
 @acali: No I know personally at least two riders who despise modulation. Hard to believe, I know, but it's true. They do exist.
  • + 3
 @usa-dh-racing: Your comments are as binary as your preferred brake modulation, and always topped off with a verbal foot stomp. Thanks for being such an authority.
  • + 5
 @zede: Haha reliability issues with Shimano, good one!

Oh you're serious.. let me laugh even harder!
  • + 3
 So true! Every time I hear someone complain about modulation, I get the feeling they are either talking through their posterior or have fallen sooooo hard on the modulation bandwagon, that they know not of what they speak, only how to parrot what others say in an attempt to differentiate between brands. Modulation? When I don't want my brakes to lock up, I don't squeeze the levers as hard. That is the very definition of modulation. If you think modulation is squeezing the brakes super hard and they don't lock up, then squeeze them even harder to get them to lock up, that is not modulation, that is a brake that isn't powerful enough. Period. This discussion is over.
  • + 24
 The lightswitch reference might be hyperbole, sure, but Shimano brakes, and especially their four-piston models, are more on/off than some other options out there. I've had countless Shimano brakes, both on test bikes and personal bikes, and I can happily live with them, but SRAM, TRP, and Magura all offer better control/modulation.
  • + 3
 @bentown: there is a common issue with zee brakes, ask around. Still way better than the sram, avid, Hayes and tektrobrakes I have used so far
  • + 5
 @rcybak: You don't seem to have a very good understanding of modulation, no one thinks modulation is the inability to lock a brake by squeezing hard. Its the fact that I don't have to use all that power that makes good modulation, and something Shimano struggles more with. As Mike clearly states, being able to easily control the line between too much and too little braking, and therefore continuous rolling traction, is a major benefit.

@bentown: Shimano has almost as many reliabilty issues as Sram, deal with it. I have a faulty Saint with a sticky lever blade in my garage right now.
  • + 6
 @mikelevy: have you tried hope? I've had the top codes, XTR and SLX of late and hope blow them all out of the water. Perfect balance. Plus they look the tits.
  • + 2
 @Altabird tell me about the modulation, George Smile
  • + 1
 @ThomDawson: LOL A light switch also has modulation....before the light goes on and off. But it's there the modulation it's there.....
  • + 11
 @acali: NO, there are only two types of people in this world:
1) those who can extrapolate from incomplete data
  • + 4
 Call me Lenny all day the light switch is a fine analogy for a shimano brake. Lots of folks like shimano brakes, just not for me. I think I'm never stepping away from hope tech brakes
  • + 3
 @NickB01: Notice what Mike said, he said Shimanos are MORE on/off than OTHER OPTIONS. That's the correct way to state it. Some people will see this as Shimano's being "too on/off" or "like a lightswitch", and SRAM offering "better control", while others see the exact same thing as Shimano's being "extremely powerful" and SRAM's being "soft".

I definitely can feel a difference, but to say that Shimano brakes are "like a lightswitch" is complete BS. They have plenty of modulation, it's just not as much as SRAM. And yes, that does give the impression that SRAM's brakes are less powerful. Even with that effect taken into account though, SRAM cannot match Zee and Saint for power...it doesn't matter how far you squeeze that lever, you aren't going to get the same power with SRAM. Modulation is great and all, but when you need to stop you need to STOP.
  • + 3
 @greglikesspecialized: no there's three kinds of people: those that can count and those that can't.
  • + 2
 The on / off switch nature of Shimano's is exactly why I run them and always will. If people want modulation it's called finger control. I don't get the constant need for brakes to have better modulation.
  • + 1
 @intensemack10: despite my earlier comments (should have said i like modulation BUT run Shimano) the on/ off feel of Shimano’s is why I run em too (hang over from trials days) but the feel at the lever is poor. If Shimano improves their levers with bearings and the super smooth feel of Guides then there’ll be no competition whatsoever. At present the lever feel of Shimano’s is quite terrible by comparison despite all the power. I’m about to try some Maguras in place of XTRs which I’m quite excited by (another trials thing).
  • + 1
 @excavator666: IF I ride my bike with my XT brakes after riding my bike my Guides, I hate the XT's for awhile. Same thing going back to my bike with the guides. And don't get me started if I jump on my DH bike with Hope 6 pots because they feel like squeezing marshmallows after riding XT's...until the end of the day comes and you realize your fingers aren't cramping at all and they are awesome in any condition.
Bottom line? I love all my break systems, they all work great. Of course I had to rebuild my Guides like everyone else first.
  • + 1
 @mbiker35: my problem with my xt m8000s is that the bite point seems to migrate to a different point in the stroke two or three times per downhill run. It's very disconcerting.

I'm thinking about changing to hope for this reason, but I don't know which to get.
  • + 0
 @jaame: I haven't looked into hopes current systems, but I'm sure they haven't gone backwards since I bought mine in 2008 or 9. With all of the seasons since then they have never failed me, no leaks, sticky pistons, not one issue other then getting a little soft. But that was from me being lazy and not changing the fluid until this year, so we're talking what? like 7-8 YEARS. And I only run EBC DH pads. THEY ROCK.
Bite the high price bullet, get the Hopes for your DH bike.
  • + 1
 @ThomDawson: Yeah man, I gotcha. I demo'ed a bike a couple weeks ago that had the Guide Ulitmates on it, and you have to pull so hard on them to get any appreciable braking power out of them, that I was completely UN-confident going down one of the trails I am most familliar with that isnt steep at all.

I'm all about the on / off switch brakes. I'll probably be picking up the new XT 4-pistons when they come out in a couple months.
  • + 1
 The spongy feel of the Guides isn't an issue if you have the contact adjustment (at least for me). I run my pads as close to the rotors as possible so they bite instantly, but still feel like they have loads of modulation. Only downside is the extra coin $$.
  • + 1
 @jaame: this was an issue with early m8000 brakes - hit your lbs, they'll check the date code and get you a new pair of levers.
  • + 1
 @bcmrider: that and with the pads set like that, if in wet conditions they drag so badly.
  • + 1
 @Mngnt: thanks for the heads up. It'll give it a go.
  • + 1
 @jaame: same on my saints, expansion gland has oil behind it from over filling, there is a fix....
1 under the lever is a small grub screw, remove
2 use grub screw to remove master cylinder end cap noting position of rubber gland
3 remove gland and clean exterior of oil and refit without squashing.
4 bleed using flicking lever technique
  • - 1
 @ThomDawson:
My favourite part is where you contradicted yourself just 6 comments apart.
  • + 1
 @jflb: I didn’t choose my words very carefully but I don’t think i contradicted myself. Im capable of observing and accepting the flaws in something at the same time as appreciating its triumphs. I’m willing to suffer the weaker modulation of the Shimano because it’s a superior product in every other way. Sram stuff rarely gets anywhere near my bike. I do like modulation, just not so much I’m willing to put Sram parts on my bike. And to clarify I think all that Shimano need to improve the modulation is a smoother action at the lever. They have this weird progressive feel and that could be why people find them so on/ off? And not necessarily because they’re so powerful. I like the instant bite and the effortless power of Shimano, I think it helps ward off arm pump and fatigue. IMO if they just improve the feel at the lever they will blow all competition out of the water by improving modulation by design. Rather than just having a crappy brake and pretending it’s cus you designed it for better modulation like some others we know.
  • - 1
 This whole argument centered over "modulation" is so silly. If you take "lever feel" out of the equation, Shimano's brakes are in another league. I mean you need SRAM's four-piston brakes just to match the power of Shimano's two-piston brakes. SRAM has nothing for Shimano's four-piston sets. And then reliability? There's no contest. There is a slight difference in the amount of lever throw needed to take a Shimano brake from 0% to 100%. If SRAM's levers move 1" from 0-100, then Shimano's levers do it in 7/8". If this bothers you so much that you are willing to deal with DOT fluid, regular lever rebuilds, and constant re-bleeding, then stick with SRAM.

As always we have a huge debate over something that the average rider wouldn't even be able to identify.
  • + 1
 @TheRaven: I love all the debates on pinkbike, they can really help when looking for something.. its the best way of getting the real story on something. But most people will defend what they own to the wall, unless it is real crap. I started this tread by saying I run different brake systems, and the love hate you have switching back and forth. Bottom line is you buy one thing ...get use to it, and everything else feels like crap. To me, they all work pretty dam good in different ways.
  • + 1
 @mbiker35: that is the key point. you get used to whatever you have. you don't need a new anything, least not boost or a metric shock. upgrade next time you fancy a new bike in a year or two..., but don't switch now just for the sake of it
  • + 1
 @TheRaven: what’s silly is getting involved in an argument you claim is silly. Like the guys who always spout ‘just ride your bike’ like we’re here when we could be out for a ride. We’re here to fill time between rides ffs and talking/ debating/ arguing about bikes is better than doing the dishes or making sure my child is well nourished and stimulated.
Like @mbiker35 I find debates and people’s opinions useful mostly and even when they’re not it’s often better than the alternative Razz of course I like to voice my own opinion as well which is moar better than everyone else’s opinion Razz
As for defending “what they own to the wall”, I can only agree, most people do. But not everyone.
@Jaame agreed. The super deluxe shocks I’ve ridden were actually a pretty clear improvement but still not worth an early upgrade if what you’ve got is working for you. But Boost, as I’ve said before, is good for nothing but lining pockets.
Time to dash, have to pull a toddlers fingers out of a power socket.
  • + 1
 @ThomDawson: But what I called "silly" is this long-term, heated debate, over something that is really a VERY small difference. It's like the debate about which suspension design is best. FSR/VPP/DW/Delta...and so on...all the modern suspensions climb and descend nearly perfectly. The differences are so frikin minute, yet the debate rages as if one cures cancer and the other kills kittens. Same with the brake "modulation" debate. The difference goes completely unnoticed by the average rider.
  • + 1
 @TheRaven: I’m with ya mate, my apologies!
It is a bit silly! And I agree, people tend to get a bit over excited (obviously I would never!), it is just bikes at the end of the day and we’re spoilt with the level of our kit these days. I guess as gear gets better and better there’ll be less and less to tell two brands apart? Luckily as enthusiasts (geeks) we’ll always be able to tell the difference and make sure everyone knows about it!
  • + 1
 @ThomDawson: It's all good today. all you have to do is jump on any bike that us older guys started with 25- 30 years ago, and you would say holy S@#$ how are you still alive!! We rode DH on 2.5 inch of
travel and it felt like a Motocross bike to us...and couldn't wait to get my hands on a set of those new V-brakes that were coming out soon...lol
  • + 0
 @TheRaven: But here's the funny thing, it's opinions like yours that drive the "silly" long-term, heated debate:

"This whole argument centered over "modulation" is so silly. If you take "lever feel" out of the equation, Shimano's brakes are in another league. I mean you need SRAM's four-piston brakes just to match the power of Shimano's two-piston brakes. SRAM has nothing for Shimano's four-piston sets. And then reliability? There's no contest."

Pretty aggressive argument no? I disagree so massively with that statement that I then have to give my opposite opinion, wherein I won't ride Shimano brakes on my bikes.

When in actual fact yes, the difference over-all is small. Everyone just ride your damn bike.
  • + 65
 Brakes?!? Gwin doesn't use brakes!
  • + 18
 true, he either wins or crashes out
  • + 35
 @hamncheez: Crashes? You mean breaks a part. Even then, probably could still win.
  • + 17
 They would only slow him down.
  • - 3
 @chillrider199: Lordes and Fort Bill
  • - 3
 @chillrider199: and Andorra worlds two years ago. Now if we start talking about TT runs...I know it hurts fanboys, but even Gwin crashes
  • + 26
 @zede: Lies! Gwin does not fall. The ground comes up to him.
  • + 5
 u need to hit the g spot for boost.
  • + 15
 @chyu: I've never been able to find it Frown
  • + 2
 @hamncheez yea right! It’s either all out for him or his equipment fails!
Very rare to see aaron crash
  • + 0
 @chillrider199: Don't you mean Gwin?
  • + 0
 Gwin doesn't. Breaks do.
  • + 25
 Does anyone consider that what we call "modulation" on a brake is hugely dependent on each rider's speed, weight, and available traction? I'm 210lb, medium fast, live in loamy PNW and Saint brakes are easy to control on a full suspension bike to me. I'm guessing if I were suddenly 150lb, got slower or was on a hardtail - those same brakes would start to feel like "light switches".
If you're light weight and on a shorter travel bike - maybe buy brakes that align with your needs? The one ride I've had on these TRP brakes (on a demo Marin) had me death gripping the levers at my usual pace. Not sure what pads they had in, but I don't think brakes are a one size fits all component.
  • + 4
 Agreed, at my weight (230) before gear it's saints or nothing.
  • + 4
 Can't upvote enough! When I was a healthy teenager I was 180lbs, and any hydraulic brake was pretty much amazing, now I'm 250lbs, and fell on my ass the other day because the brake didn't hold on a rear wheel dab.
  • + 22
 Tektro is like the Suntour of brakes. People like to scoff at them, but unless you're a pro, they actually make really good stuff that isn't going to hold your riding back at all.
  • + 45
 Don't all brakes hold you back, even pros? Isn't that the point of brakes?
  • + 18
 Unless you're a pro? I don't think these held back Gwin at all last season? Tracey Hannah seemed to do ok on her Suntour forks too. Florent Payet got a 3rd in worlds on them too..... Not really sure how being a pro means TRP and Suntour stuff would hold you back.
  • + 0
 :double post:
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: touche!
  • + 8
 @mgolder: My point was that many of us keyboard warriors think we "need" the new hotness when in reality we'd probably ride just as fast and have just as much fun on the mid-grade stuff we often think is below us.
  • + 5
 Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't Sr sumtour make every single high end mountain bike fork?
  • + 3
 @thenotoriousmic: No. No they do not
  • + 2
 @thenotoriousmic: Obviously Showa does
  • + 1
 @DonkeyTeeth: I know RST used to make fox and sr suntour make DVO / marz. Who does Showa make forks for?
  • + 0
 @hamncheez: I like your style kid!!
  • + 1
 @thenotoriousmic: suntour is DVO, or at least hey have a stake in DVO and do the manufacturing. Marzocchi used to be suntour up to about 2010 when they changed manufacturing partner.

RST and fox I'm not sure about.
  • + 1
 @jaame: well RST used to make the fork chassis and uppers for fox while fox made the internals and assembled them or so I've been told I don't know if they still do.
  • + 1
 @thenotoriousmic: I know that fox forks are currently 100% made in Taiwan. Chassis and internals.
  • + 20
 We use these on our demo bikes. They are flawless, easy to prepare, never need any work and modulation for days! We can't recommend them enough!
  • + 8
 But how do you feel about novatec wheels?
  • + 15
 If there's one thing that still amazes me is the false environmental narrative of mineral oil vs DOT fluid. Compare the MSDS sheets for both and you'll see that both have their fair share of environmental issues, but if anything mineral oil has a higher degree of impact as it doesn't break down and can bioaccumulate, unlike DOT 3/4/5.1. So stop with the falsehoods and stick with the facts and ride performance. www.deler.no/userfiles/file/RED%20mineral%20fluid%20Safety%20sheet%20-%20ENG.pdf s7d9.scene7.com/is/content/GenuinePartsCompany/715874pdf?$PDF
  • + 30
 Exxon Juan trying to sell petroleum products? Ya don't say...
  • + 11
 Mineral oil is marketing at it's best. It's still a petroleum product!
  • - 2
 @gonecoastal: After a particularly messy Elixir bleed job a few years ago, I lost my voice completely for a few days. Wasn't sick, hadn't had a cold or cough, my voice just disappeared. The only non-normal thing I'd done was bleed Elixirs, using hydraulic brake fluid. My overactive imagination attributes this to breathing the otherwise odorless DOT fumes.
  • + 5
 Can't argue the fact that it eats the paint, which just adds another layer of pain-in-the-ass.
  • + 3
 Environmental issues....Im all for the environment but lets face it, not much about a bike is eco anything friendly.
Whats in your brakes is about what happens when its not in your brakes!
And for that reason alone, I will never own anything that runs on that freakin’ hideous corrosive evil that is DOT fluid.
  • + 17
 @twozerosix: Elixirs have caused me to lose my voice before, too. Could've been the DOT fluid fumes, or from me yelling expletives due to their design/performance.... Still not sure.
  • + 27
 I have an undergrad in Environmental Science & Engineering and I'm in graduate school. I have to say, the two links you provided offer little insight into ANY actual environmental impacts of these two fluids. The first link is a spec sheet from a Norwegian wholesaler of bicycle products. Not exactly a leader in revolutionary empirical research. The second link provided is a tech data sheet from Warren Unilube Inc. The very same company that produces the petroleum fluids that are in their technical data sheet. Nothing you provided offers any insight into empirical 3rd party research of either product. I have bikes with both types of brake fluid, and have no preference of either. So, unless you're prepared to explain how Alcohol based Glycols' covalent bonds are broken by natural weathering. Please don't just regurgitate tech data sheets and claim "I DID A SCIENCE". Thank you sir . . .
  • + 0
 @schofell84: I just lol'd bravo
  • + 1
 @schofell84: Ha! I'll give you that one. Gotta keep my stock prices high.
  • - 2
 @trekondale91: I won't disrespect your pedigree, as the point is that both fluids carry consequence if mishandled, and that should be reflected in the media. You don't dump either down the sink, right? As for the MSDS sheets, and if you want the exact ones I'll reach out and request them from the companies as they're required to provide them when asked.
  • + 3
 @gonecoastal: Wait, you're telling me there's oil in mineral oil?
  • + 4
 Mineral oil is baby oil. You can rub it on a baby's skin. Brake fluid is not baby oil. You cannot rub it on a baby's skin. Unless you want the skin to fall off.
  • + 1
 @acali: Cyclists act as if it's derived from Unicorn jizz or a liquid that was harvested on the distant planet Zlotoff and beamed down to earth specifically for cyclist usage.

@jaame: Yes, rub the fractionated crude oil byproduct on the babies skin. Baby Powder doesn't appear to have been such a good idea for personal use as of late...
  • + 4
 @jaame: Please for the sake of the children do NOT rub mineral oil brake fluid on them. Mineral oil is a very broad term and while the stuff you buy at the store and the stuff Shimano puts in brakes are both referred to as mineral oils they are very VERY different chemicals and they are not interchangeable.
  • + 6
 @fullfacemike: thanks for telling me that. I was about to rub shimano mineral oil in my kids tonight, because I used up all my Johnson and Johnson baby oil in my brake bleed last month!
  • + 3
 Thats why I use Pentosin CHF 7.1 on my children. Well my child. They took away my first one something about using ATF oil.
  • + 1
 @acali: If the ATF was organic they probably wouldn't have.

I'm pretty certain there isn't refined crude oil in Avocado or Olive Oils
  • + 3
 @acali: ATF is good for kids, but I prefer to just use Nitromors in their bath, they come out so clean and fresh...
  • + 2
 @cunning-linguist: all joking aside, you can use Johnson and Johnson baby oil in shimano brakes. I did it myself for years in Taiwan. I had to do a bleed and could not find any shop with bike brand mineral fluid. I bought a bottle of baby oil and it worked fine, so I just continued to use it until it ran out... which took years even with the tiny bottle.
  • - 1
 @jaame: Best troll ever.
Oct 13, 2017 at 6:25 "They're the same!"
Oct 14, 2017 at 1:50 "I know they're not the same!"
Oct 14, 2017 at 17:54 "But seriously they're the same!"
  • + 2
 @fullfacemike: Hahaha!

Just to clarify.

You can use baby oil on babies and in your brakes. I have done both, so they are the same enough.

I would not put shimano mineral fluid on a baby.
  • + 1
 @jaame: yeah, I wouldn't use shimano fluid on my little ones. Should I consider stopping the use of the dot fluids on them too....
  • + 1
 @cunning-linguist: I think it depends how old they are. As a rule of thumb:

Dot 3 for under 3 years old.
Dot 4 for 3-4 years old.
Dot 5.1 for 4-5 years, 36 days old.
Over that age, you can use any lotion intended for adults.
  • + 18
 Are they better than hope brakes though?
  • - 17
flag YouHadMeAtDrugs (Oct 12, 2017 at 8:32) (Below Threshold)
 mineral oil, so yes.
  • + 5
 "and they easily trump any two-piston system"

Sounds like he never tried a pair of Hope V2 Wink
  • + 6
 @eldiddo: moto v2's are indestructible I've still got a set that I chuck on when my sram or shimano brakes are getting fixed. Only been bled once in ten years work faultlessly still loads of life left on the massive sintered brake pads.
  • + 1
 @eldiddo: still the best brake and it's years old. Just went back to another pair after being disappointed in all the new options out there time and time again. Well worth the weight penalty.
  • + 17
 Mike - eat your vegetables!
  • + 5
 Nah
  • + 7
 Hops are a vegetable...I tell myself.
  • + 10
 " breaking traction and not braking enough".

Thank you for including that for all grammar police. Useful review
  • + 11
 Hmm...gotta have that Saint power. Sorry, but it's addicting.
  • + 1
 I heard Mag's MT5's and 7's are the most powerful brakes out there (I love my Saints too)
  • + 2
 addicting is not a word. it's addictive. - the grammar police
  • + 3
 @dubod22: I have a set of MT 5's and the power is definitely good, but nothing out of this world.
  • + 1
 @kanioni: get some bright yellow Gustav M's from the early 2000's. They were DH and Tandem orientated and I've never known power like it before or since. They'd stop a feckin bus!!!
  • + 1
 @cunning-linguist: meh thanks but I'm good, I'm not a bus Big Grin
  • + 7
 Does pinkbike have beef with Hope brakes? They never include them in comparisons. I know they're not as popular as sram/shimano/magura but they make really good brakes. I think the last review was in 2013 haha
  • + 11
 Nope, no beef. I should get a set of those and the crazy Trickstuff brakes in for testing soon.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: That's cool, looking forward to it. Hope you'll be doing some park stuff or at least really gnarly steep terrain on either of those. Should be fun!
  • + 1
 Hope doesn't seem to come stock on any bike and are only talked about in forums. How are they not used as the gold standard for comparison? Is there some sort of conspiracy that we don't know about? In my circles if you ask any DH rider what the best upgrade they made on their bike was, if they have them, Hope Tech 3 V4s' is the answer.
  • + 8
 Finally a comprehensive review on these! Just popping off to order a set now...
  • + 6
 I wish all 4 pot brakes would come with metalic pads. My guides felt like shit out of the box, but after swapping the pads they felt great.
  • + 5
 Me too.
  • + 3
 I prefer organics.
  • + 3
 @poah: I like to piss on my garden too.
  • + 2
 Lies, you don't have a garden @therealtylerdurden:
  • + 4
 @poah: lol I do too! I grow tomatoes, cilantro, and weed in it! lol
  • + 3
 Why do they put the banjo fitting on the outside of the caliper rather than the inside? Shimano does this too on their 2 piston calipers... As a mechanic I've seen this contribute to kinked lines at the caliper, poor cable routing and rubbing on stays causing line failure.
  • + 2
 Hey @mikekazimer, any commentary as to squeak, squeal and howl? My saints have howled and Turkey gobbled on every bike I've had them on. Quietness might be the main selling point for me at this stage.

Also, seeing as shimano and TRP both use mineral oil, any thoughts of a franken-brake with saint levers and Gspec calipers?
  • + 4
 They had just the odd warrble when it was wet and I would first start braking, but it would go away after only a few seconds. They're essentially silent in my books. As for the TRP/Shimano combo, I'm not sure how well that would work as I think the port size and piston size are designed to work together. It might be fine, but it might not be.
  • + 0
 @mikelevy: thanks dude!
  • + 1
 +1 for the frankenbrake but i`d say Gspec levers and saint calipers as the smaller pistons engage first you know what i mean. Tried that with a set of saints and xtr trail levers and feels like the power curve is much more flat in your hand as it is always mighty.
  • + 2
 “...in a time when brake reliability has gotten worse rather than better, it’s interesting to see a name that a lot of riders would consider as a “budget brand” turn out to be very dependable.”

Yup. But it’s not a surprise. I’m sure Gwin got a good chunk of change to sign with them but am pretty sure his competitive nature wasn’t going to settle for less.
  • + 3
 IMHO brakes as well as drivetrain, it is all about spares, SRAM and Shimano spares are easily accessible all across the globe, and you can choose from variety of models depending on your budget and performance needs;
  • + 5
 depending on the model tektro/TRP brakes can use shimano B01S/M05, and J-type pads, and these quadiems look like they can use D-type pads from Zees and saints.
  • + 1
 @colourclashing:thnx, that's good to hear
  • + 2
 My 3 year old SLX brakes are so solid and have had zero maintenance, so it would be so hard to buy something else from a smaller brand. I agree with those that like Shimanos lack of modulation. As a rider who's far from being pro, I find them forgettable (which is perfect) and other brakes with greater modulation mushy.
  • + 6
 Great review. There's no way I'm watching Marley and Me alone though.
  • + 1
 Glad It's Not Just me...
  • + 3
 "there has been zero pumping up when descents are long".

So what you are saying is that these are the "anti-Guides"? Sounds good to me!
  • + 1
 Going from Shimano to SRAM makes you understand modulation. It's that period when you apply the lever and don't slow down until you make the travel half way to the bar. The brakes feel broken until you get use to it. Most of my experience is Shimano so when I get a demo or rental with SRAM it takes some getting use to.
  • + 2
 Kudos PB!
This is the first review I've read that actually reveals the only difference between the 'G-Spec' and regular Quadiem is the finish on the lever blade.
The 'regular' Quadiem is $50 cheaper per axle
  • + 1
 Isn't there also a difference in master cylinders - I think read. Machined VS forged or something. Not sure what pro/con hat would make, but I think manufacturing of master cylinder also different?
  • + 1
 @kgbdhbiker: According to the call I made to TRP the Quadiems are the same with the finish being the only difference.

This is NOT the case for the Slate T4s, I believe the G-Spec Slates have the hybrid pistons while the normals do not.
  • + 1
 @softbatch: I'd be really interested in knowing. I'm no machinist or industrial guy, so no idea pros and cons, but TRP website says Forged lever assembly on GSpec, and Cast on the regular version. Then obviously the polished.
Maybe someone from TRP will reply, as I see they have chimed in here.
And again, I am not trying to pretend I know one is better, but hard to Beleive just polishing makes the price and model difference...
  • + 1
 @softbatch: sorry, also NSMB states that one is forged and one is cast lever/master assembly.
I wonder if that is the case, if one is more precise and thus more high performing and the other maybe more potentially prone to some issues that this whole thread talks about with other manufacturers...
Just thinking / wondering.
  • + 1
 Is that a reverb remote missing the plastic spacer I see? I had a friend lose a pair of carbon bars to a mechanic doing that, the clamp is an oval shape without the spacer and it only takes a slight amount of tighten and it f*cks the bars!
  • + 1
 The only thing holding me back from tektro/trp brakes is that they suck to bleed. I spent 3 hours on my first tektro brake the other day and it didn’t feel any better than when I started, and I had their specifc bleed kit and everything. Does anyone have any tips for bleeding them?
  • + 1
 I was wondering about that. I can bleed my saints in a couple of minutes!
  • + 3
 @MX298: It is the exact same bleed process as Shimano. Should be no more difficult or time.
  • + 1
 @ccooddyy: looks like a special fitting at each end, I use a 5 year old shimano funnel and a piece of tubing and gravity! Hard to imagine their better and easier to work on then my saints. Oh and saints have way better feel then any sram guide/code brake I have ever used!
  • + 1
 How is the lever feel stiff like shimano or mushy like sram? How long are the levers compared to a shimano? Where on the power spectrum do these fall weak (guide) moderate (XT) brick wall (saint)? Would you buy the non shiney version or zees?
  • + 1
 They look nice and the review makes them sound nice but what happens when you need parts in a hurry! Like when your at the bike park and you fall and you bend a lever or snap the handle bar clamp mechanism?
  • + 2
 You'd for sure be more likely to find parts for Shimano and SRAM brakes in a shop, but a bunch of small bits can be ordered off TRP's website.
  • + 6
 @mikelevy @beeboo We just launched a new site which will be getting updated with more replacement parts as time goes on. You can email or call us 8-4 Monday-Friday and we will ship replacement parts anywhere in the world. We also make pads and oil compatible for easier service, no reason to reinvent the wheel to be different.

www.trpcycling.com
  • + 1
 For any problem other than a new lever blade, you'd be looking at a new lever or caliper anyways. And a shop may or may not have just a caliper or whatever to sell you.
  • + 3
 looks like a No BS brake for sure. the construction of it is very "shimano" straight to the point.
  • + 4
 You better not have been using these in corners! I'll tell Brendawg.
  • + 6
 The only trick I have is skidding.
  • + 3
 Been looking at these, flirting with the idea of making a purchase, and you may have just me over the edge.
  • + 1
 Get some Hope brakes on test, the E4 brakes are only marginally weaker than Saint brakes (101 Nm vs 116 Nm, XT was at 91 Nm), but with infinitely better modulation, and best in class reliability.
  • + 2
 What is this about Shimano having no modulation - sorry, that just isn't true. Zee, XTR, XT and SLX - ridden them all and wouldn't trade Shimano brakes for anything!
  • + 20
 Really? As much as i hate to say it, I'm running SRAM guides because I hate the on/off feel of anything Shimano. I had XTR trails and Saints on my last two bikes.
  • + 6
 It's not that they have no modulation, just that the modulation is noticably sharper. Some folks like that, others don't.
  • + 1
 Yeah the "no modulation" sentiment is exaggeration as usual. However if you have compared Shimano and SRAM brakes, you will notice that SRAM brakes feel "softer" which is actually the modulation difference being talked about. Shimano does not have "bad" modulation. They are not on/off unless you set them up that way. Calling Shimano brakes "on/off" would be like calling SRAM brakes spongy.
  • + 1
 Shimano brakes have a lot of initial bite and then the power seems to die off where you can really crank up the power with guides. I'm currently running xt's and guide rsc's. Like how light the leaver pull is on the xt's and the dimples but other than that the guides absolutely destroy the xt's. Sram are so far ahead these days.
  • + 2
 @packfill: I bought a Norco aurum that came with guide brakes, after a couple of months I swapped them for shimano saints as they didn't feel powerful enough, its just what people prefer the feel of that matters most,
  • + 2
 @mark3: yeah I wouldn't want guides on a dh bike codes or saints are a must buy on super steep technical terrain where your not really going fast especially where I live as it's always wet they're absolutely amazing.
  • + 1
 @thenotoriousmic: I had Guides and took the time to bleed them until there was no air left whatsoever. The contact on the disc was crisp and clean. But when I rode them they just felt shit. Coming from trials riding, I've always had brake that I can rely on. So they went and Saints replaced them.
  • + 0
 @dubod22: shit in what way?
  • + 1
 @thenotoriousmic: I did the same with my guide RS Brakes. Nice modulation for manuals and wheelies, but nothing in the wet and couldn't even pull a skid most of the time. Hopeless things. Went to XTR's which were an improvement, now on hopes new 4 pots and they are the best. No shadows of a doubt.
  • + 3
 I ran a pair of them for a bit. They surprised me too! Never a complaint, or a bleed. PNW approved
  • + 1
 So I'm a 115kg DH Rider and my Hope V4s aren't quite cutting it, but I am not a huge fan of Saints. Are these more powerful than the Hopes?
  • - 2
 I get that other brakes may be better in one way or another than Shimano, but I can't justify the price difference. I can get a pair of xt's for similar to the price of one of these. I can't believe that they are twice as good...
  • + 3
 The fair comparison would be these to Zee or Saint, not XT. Then the price difference is not very much, especially the regular Quadiem to a Zee.
  • + 2
 I'm starting to like these Mike Levy reviews more and more
  • + 8
 Me too!
  • + 0
 Was anybody else confused by the article picture showing an MRP fork, but the title of the article talking about TRP brakes?

I thought it was a typo at first.
  • + 0
 if it was a fox fork, would you have mistaken it for a fox review?
  • + 3
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: What? MRP is only one letter away from being TRP. Fox doesn't even share any letters.

I just had to double take, because my lysdexic self thought MRP started making brakes.
  • + 2
 It looks like the need to read other reviews stops here.
  • - 4
flag raditude (Oct 12, 2017 at 8:12) (Below Threshold)
 Yes, this review stopped me dead in my tracks.
  • + 7
 It is a high caliper review.
  • + 1
 Your puns make me brake down and cry.
  • + 1
 @nozes: grumpy cat likes this.
  • + 2
 My xt brakes modulate just fine thanks
  • + 1
 Wanted to know what are the comparison then to the Hope Tech M4 Evo's?
  • + 2
 Not tested on a DH bike?
  • + 1
 What’s going on with those rusty bolts?
  • + 17
 Iron and steel rust when they come into contact with water and oxygen. Both water and oxygen are needed for rusting to occur. Rusting is an oxidation reaction. The iron reacts with water and oxygen to form hydrated iron(III) oxide, which we see as rust.
These bolts in the picture above have clearly been affected by said rust, which you have pointed out. This is certainly not uncommon given the fact it is a mountain bike which is often exposed to most elements, i.e. precipitation.
  • - 2
 I’m not sure I understand you, are you saying they’ve rusted? Or?
  • + 3
 @ThomDawson: I get you Smile
I was mortified when I saw that picture. I was sick in my mouth and had to swallow it. It was gross.
There are no rusty bolts on my bikes. Nope. None at all.
  • + 2
 Neat
  • + 1
 Would love a comparo between these and the Trickstuff Direttissima..
  • + 3
 I rode those Direttissima brakes on Mick Hannah's bike in Whistler - they are insane. Without a doubt the most powerful brakes that I've ever used. I only did two runs on the bike and it would require a fair bit of time to get used to the instant power - I nearly tucked the front end a handful of times because I wasn't used to the crazy amount of initial bite. I'll get a set in for testing.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: Would you say that the Quadiems are significantly less powerful than saints, or just barely? How are they compared to other big bike brakesets? Hope V4, Formula, etc.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: I'm also very interested in the comparison vs Hope & Formula
  • + 0
 North Korea-Xc-racing approved brakes are the best
  • - 1
 Hose on the wrong side, no go
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