TRP's Less Expensive Four-Piston Brake - Interbike 2017

Sep 19, 2017
by Mike Levy  
Interbike 2017

Interbike 2017


I've had TRP's G-Spec Quadiem brake, the very same model that some fast guy named Aaron Gwin uses, on my own bike for many months now. Sure, I might have less skill than Gwin possesses in the tip of his braking finger, but I've been impressed with the four-piston G-Spec stoppers, and especially their modulation; it's like my brain is hardwired directly to the huge silver calipers. My overdue review of those brakes will happen in the next few weeks, but let's take a look at another brake from TRP that probably deserves more attention: the standard Quadiem.

What's so neat about the non-Gwin-ified Quadiem? Well, they're the same brake mechanically as the pricier G-Spec model, but they don't sport some of the finishing details that Gwin's anchors do. That means they should perform the same but for less money, which is a win in my books.

The G-Spec brake comes in at $199 USD per end (without rotor), but you can snag a normal Quadiem for $149 USD (also sans rotor), which saves you $100 USD on a pair of brakes. For the same brake. Minus some fancy pants finishing details. Gwin who?
Interbike 2017

Both the G-Spec and standard Quadiem models share the same finned, four-piston caliper that's home to ceramic/steel hybrid pistons, the same dimpled and drilled lever blade, as well as the same tool-free reach adjustment dial and split perch. But where TRP forges the G-Spec master cylinder/perch before putting it through a hand polishing process prior to anodizing, the normal Quadiem sees a cast top-end that doesn't receive the same special treatment and forgoes a few aesthetic touches.


Interbike 2017


The G-Spec model does see a small update for 2018, one that will make its way to the less expensive standard Quadiem as well. TRP used to employ a rather large bleed nipple that stuck up out of the caliper like, well, a large nipple. It worked fine when you needed to do a bleed, but the updated caliper ditches the nip in place of a recessed screw and now requires the same threaded bleed fitting that you use at the opposite end of the system.






98 Comments

  • + 79
 Pinkbike do a comparison test between, SRAM RCS codes, TRP, and shimano saints please.
  • + 5
 Formula Cura can hang in there.
  • + 18
 what about hope?
  • + 2
 @MetalheadWolfRider: f*ck yeah, if TRP can hang with Hope, that would be sweet!
  • + 23
 And Hayes Nines.
  • + 3
 @bishopsmike: I know a guy thats rocking nines on his 06 manik and I don't think they've ever been bled but they still work like a charm. The strokers on the other hand were trash
  • + 10
 All SRAMs should be ruled out. They are all crap
  • + 5
 PB please give us some comparison tests/analysis...you don't even need to declare a "winning" product. Just highlight the differences, pros/cons of each.
  • + 10
 @MetalheadWolfRider: Yeah, perfect comparison would be the top level DH brake on the circuit :
- SRAM RSC Codes
- TRP Quadiem
- Hope Tech3 V4
- Shimano Saint M820
- Magura MT7
- Formula ROR
- Trickstuff Cleg4
  • + 6
 @qreative-bicycle: Trickstuff Diretissima is more for downhill than the cleg
  • + 1
 @RafaelH: formula cura is the new DH brake
  • + 1
 @qreative-bicycle: don't forget Zee's. same caliper, different lever, but a touch less power. would be cool to see where they actually end up.
  • + 1
 Box one has a quad brake too...
  • + 1
 @inventor: I have zees and saints. Stopping power is the same I cannot feel the difference. The zees are better with a bolt holdin the brake pads in place instead of the cotter pin that they come stock with. Where the big difference is in the lever. The lever it self has a better feel and the contact Point can be fine tuned a lot better
  • + 31
 As a recovering Shimano fanboy, Ive been running TRP SLATE T4 G-spec brakes for the last few months. I LOVE THESE BRAKES!

Easiest bleed of any brake I have worked on
Endless tuneablity
GOBS of power (Stock pads kinda sucked but replaced with shimano Metalic) Epic performance
And very ergonomic lever feel

Did I mention I didn't have to sell my unborn children to pay for them?


TRP is now my favorite brand of brakes
  • + 17
 Selling unborn children... Wallstreet did it
  • + 6
 hang on, Shimano Metallic pads in your TRP brakes?
  • + 16
 @jojotherider1977: YEAH! TRP basically took a Shimano styled brake and modified it to their liking. (Not really but close enough) the pads are all interchangeable. Saint,zee. Slate, quadiem.
  • + 2
 Do these have a contact adjustment point? Or a reasonable way to set contact/stroke adjustment? Thanks.
  • + 4
 Completely different experience on two sets of Slate T4 in our rider group. Ok brakes. No leaks, easy to bleed, but no where near powerful on our bikes (different shops and mechanics and bleeds, not same person trying to fix them).
On 6" type aggressive bikes, not enough stopping power we're both finding.
I switched to finned Shimano metal pads (Zee and Saint pads fit). Bit better but not really. Tried several different rotors (except TRP two peice). Just not enough power to stop in aggressive dh type situations - yes I know not dh bike, but on descents that are steep and fast, not enough power. From my personal experience, and another rider I know. Lever is nice with dimples. Just not for heavy riders and steep descents... Other areas good.
  • + 5
 @kgbdhbiker: I had that issue at first but then I watched the video that was put out by Gwin's mechanic on bleeding these. In the bleed process you have to set the pad depth otherwise you will get that "not quite powerful enough feel." And I will admit swapping out pads made a huge difference paired with a proper bleed. Infinitely better than out of the box.

With a double syringe setup, once you finish the caliper bleed and have the wheel and pads installed, Force fluid into the system from the lever syringe until the wheel won't spin before you put the bleed screw back in. This wil set the pads closer to the rotor. It acts as a "free stroke adjustment" of sorts.

@flagstaff: These don't have a proper free stroke dial or screw of any kind. All the adjustments are possible in the bleed procedure tho.

I can give a more detailed bleed process to get these guys dialed if anyone wants.
  • - 11
flag uuuu (Sep 19, 2017 at 13:06) (Below Threshold)
 @DragontalesDH: bleed has absolutely nothing to do with power unless the brake physically runs out of stroke (i.e. lever hits grip or MC bottoms out internally). @kgbdhbiker 's experience stands.
  • + 14
 @kgbdhbiker: I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that if they're good enough to slow Gwins ass at race speed.. They're probably good enough for you on your trail bike. Just sayin.
  • + 8
 @uuuu: now would be a great time to move away from that rock you seem to have been living under.

I'd explain just how wrong you are but based on how confident you sound in that comment it's probably not worth my time.
  • + 2
 @uuuu: your totally wrong mate....
  • + 3
 @therealtylerdurden: I'd say the opposite Smile Taking use per run, Gwins brakes have much easier life than mine... he brakes much harder few times. I brake hard rarely and a bit lots of times... now take an absolute beginner with death grip and he needs 300mm rotors, 8 pistons per caliper, 100ml reservoir and preferably a parallell circuit with liquid nitrogen...
  • + 2
 @therealtylerdurden: thanks for that, but I don't think Gwin uses the T4 Slate on his race speeds. I would agree I'm sure they'd be good enough for me, as I'm probably a little bit slower - but I'm sure he's using the G-Spec Quadium on his bike. Thanks though.
  • + 5
 @therealtylerdurden: no meh. I guarantee you, I'd cook the system if I rode down Val DI Sole from top to bottom without stopping. Most of us would.
  • + 1
 @DragontalesDH: thanks for info. I'll look for video and use this technique.
  • + 1
 @DragontalesDH: where did you see this video. I cannot find it
  • + 1
 @Wheelersmtbholidays: well... It was there a few months ago when I needed it but now I can't find it either!
  • + 2
 @therealtylerdurden: maybe thats why Gwin is so fast he uses brakes that wont slow him down lol Jk Im sure they work great given they are dialed in properly
  • + 1
 @DragontalesDH:
Sorry man but Uuuuu is right.
He just didn't explain himself well.
Power comes from friction.
Friction is unrelated to the bleed.
Sure, if the bleed is so bad that the lever pulls right to the grip your brake won't work very well. But it could still have loads of friction and therefore power.
metal vs organic pads also has very little to do with it.
  • + 1
 @piersgritten:
No mate. He's not.
  • + 3
 @jflb: how is friction at brake pads contacting rotor unrelated to pressure in the system? We don't really need to get into quantum mechanics here
  • - 1
 ..
  • + 2
 I've been running TRP Slate T4's on my DH bike for the past few months, really impressed with them! I'm 110kg with gear on and i'm riding a 2009 Propain Rage which can't exactly be described as a lightweight! I can't say i've had any issues with the brakes not feeling powerful enough, and I like my brakes to be as powerful as possible. That said I do remember the brakes lacking a bit of power straight out of the box, however once the pads bedded in and i'd shortened the hoses and done a proper bleed on both ends there were no issues whatsoever. I'm still running the stock pads but will replace these with Shimano metallic pads when needed, should get even more power from what i'm hearing.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns:
The fluid system and the friction system are separate.
Dragon guy is saying that bumping up pad contact point makes the brake more powerful.
That's just not true.
Overfilling the system with oil doesn't make the brake any more powerful.
  • + 5
 @jflb: ah... I guess I will have to explain my self after all. Listen up half-whits. Ahemmm:

Off the start you will find that pressure (hydraulics) and surface friction (pads) are components of braking force so idk why you are trying to separate the two. Listen close to the rest of this rant.

With the cam system employed in the lever pivot you get a lot more fluid displacement in the first bit of lever throw than in the rest. The first bit is exponential leverage while the rest is more linear. Shimano calls this servo wave. It's responsible for their "slam shut" feeling. TRP uses similar trickery.

If you have the pad contact way out there so the pads are a mile apart then you used that huge hop up of fluid before your ever make contact with the rotor. The only bonus to this is that you can run a bent rotor with no issues. My slates came stock this way.

Mechanically you just can't force as much fluid into the caliper in the second half of the lever throw as you can in the first half. It's not a perfectly linear rate as so many people seem to think. It's designed this way on purpose.

So if you set those pads a whole lot closer to your rotors suddenly you make pad contact with the rotors while that cam is still in the exponential portion of the leverage curve. Which means you are capable of slamming exponentially more pressure down on those pads. Not only will it make the lever feel a lot more solid, it will reward you with a TON more pressure on the pads pressing against the rotors when you clamp down. Which in turn creates more stopping force.

Sure pressure and surface friction are two different variables but it takes both to create a braking force. You can't separate the two if we are talking about slowing a moving bicycle.

And if you run your levers really close to the bar like I do then you definitely appreciate that short and tight lever feel.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: And I guarantee you, meh.
  • - 2
 @DragontalesDH:
No buddy. Servo wave is a fishing feature that allows you to get more fish on the line faster, but in the end it still takes th same amount of time to deal with the fish once you reel them in. So basically it's a farce. Your robbing Peter to pay Paul.
It's ridiculous that trp thought they were gaining anything from ripping off this idea originally created in shimanos fishing department.
  • + 1
 @DragontalesDH: "With a double syringe setup, once you finish the caliper bleed and have the wheel and pads installed, Force fluid into the system from the lever syringe until the wheel won't spin before you put the bleed screw back in. This wil set the pads closer to the rotor. It acts as a "free stroke adjustment" of sorts."
does that work for Shimano too? i am having issues doing my Zee brakes. i know they are bleed right and i kind of tried what you were talking about, but i did it from the caliper end. it still didn't do much, if anything. i'll have to buy the right thread in syringe to do what you are talking about.
  • + 2
 @inventor:
No you just have to put up with whatever shit feel your shimanos give you.
Don't push fluid into the shimano lever it won't like it.
  • + 2
 @jflb: agreed, if you try to overflow, the lever will just bleed it out on its own. I've read this was a "feature" of shimano brakes. Also, i think you'd run the risk of over extending your piston.

@inventor One thing I've done (if I have time) is do the bleed as normal. then, with the bleed block in place, squeeze the lever and then zip tie it down. This tends to force all the air up to the lever since everything is under pressure. In the morning, hold the lever down and cut the zip tie. Slowly release the lever. open the bleed port on the lever body and fill it to the top.

A friend of mine does this and I thought it was pretty ridiculous. Gave it a try and was really pleased. There seemed to be a much firmer action at the lever. He'll also do the trick where you pull the wheel out and squeeze the lever a couple times to bring the pads in and then reinsert the wheel. I haven't perfected that yet. I tend to over do it.
  • + 2
 @jojotherider1977: ok. thanks, i'll give it a try!
  • + 1
 @inventor: not very easily. As has already been said. The new shimanos are designed to be bled 1 way so if you force fluid back thru the lever it will just squirt out the sides of the reservoir. ive heard of people using a thinner bleed block to accomplish this but with varying results.
  • + 1
 @jojotherider1977: I have found the trick to moving the pads closer to the rotor as a cheat pad-contact adjustment is to pull the wheel out and insert a feeler gauge. A brake disc is roughly 1.8 mm so I throw in a feeler gauge of say 1.4 mm and pull the lever tight. If that’s not close enough I tried again with 1 mm. Once I toss the wheel back and I get a much shorter lever throw (until the pads wear a bit and I have to do it all over again)...
Of course this all assumes that your rotor is laser straight..
  • + 1
 @jojotherider1977:
The zip tie trick is a good one.
Piston cleaning, exercise, and relubing is crucial for a crisp pad contact point.
And getting fresh oil in there regularly helps a lot that crap degrades so fast.
  • + 1
 @DragontalesDH:
ok, i'm trying the zip tie trick tonight. how does one acquire the bolt the Saints have so i can put them on my Zees? i guess double check Jenson and see if they have it!
  • + 1
 @inventor: most bike shops should have those laying around in a spare small parts bin of some sort. Would probably give one to you. However you don't need the screw. Just about about anything will work. A standard cotter pin will work. Or if you have any women in your life barrow a Bobby pin
  • + 25
 They cant even slow down Arron Gwin.
  • + 8
 If you guys are able to, can you review the SLATE T4? That seems like the TRP 'XT' brake set
  • + 1
 Ive been running the Slates for a while now. FREAKING LOVE THEM! They replaced my XTs that were on the same bike. the stock pads were a bit lack-luster but when I replaced them with Saint Metalic pads they are hands down my favorite setup now.
  • + 2
 @DragontalesDH: Ordered Slates today to replace my failed DB5's. Hope I won't be disappointed. Also have XT 785s that I don't particularity like. My take so far on these is, Shimano reliability and easy bleeding, SRAM modulation, competitive price and as a bonus, no DOT fluid, but mineral oil. I may get some Shimano pads for them eventually.
  • + 2
 @kryten: did you miss a comma out of the second sentence?
  • + 2
 @kryten: you will probably find yourself wanting more power right out of the box if you are used to Shimano brakes. there are several easy tricks possible with these to get exactly what your looking for tho. From my experience the modulation is right between Shimano and SRAM feel. And tuneablity is easy in the bleed process.
  • + 3
 My local bike shop can't get ahold of any of these brakes. I'd love to try em, but we can't get our hands on any. I am partial to Shimano, but price and ease of maintenance could change my mind.
  • + 1
 CRC has em.
  • + 2
 tell them to go direct to TRP/Tektro no distros have them in stock right now but i just got mine direct through my shop last week.
  • + 1
 @Hobo1337: bti carries tpr stuff. Not s lot of people use them cause the suck but worth a shot
  • + 1
 @freeridejerk888: so does qbp but none in stock
  • + 1
 I must say, I've been running TRP brakes for about 4 years on ALL my bikes from Road to Downhill and LOVE them. Powerful, Easy to Service (Mineral Oil), Affordable/Easy to Find Service parts! Thanks guys! Keep up the good work.
  • + 4
 When Chain Reaction has them for below wholesale, I'm in!
  • + 4
 Drop it another $50 per brake and these sell hot-cakes.
  • + 1
 Slate T4s mate
  • + 1
 Pretty much what magura is doing, 75€ for 4piston brake, so far I have been very impressed with mine.
  • + 0
 It blows me away, 1 bike part released, and the whole world has to know. Hydraulic brake technology has been around since the dawn of time, I just picture some retard going, "hurrrrrmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, I did it again guys! Yaaaayyyyy!!!!!" I just want to pat that guy on the back.
  • + 2
 I think that's a pretty nice looking caliper. The lever reminds me of the older Shimano style. It's a clean looking brake for a damned fair price. Well done, TRP.
  • + 1
 Can anyone compare this brake's modulation to Magura's? After using MT5, I can't go back to Shimano or anything else, but I am tempted to try these.
  • - 3
 don't use the MT7 4 piston brakes. these brakes are a disaster because the pistons brake pads don't engage the rotor evenly and your lever goes all the way to the handlebar. other mgf have done away with this issue by using only one brake pad for 2 pistons on each side of the caliper. but the MT5 work well.
  • + 1
 @usa-dh-racing: Can you use the mt5 pads on mt7s?
  • + 3
 @usa-dh-racing: seems like your brakes are not bled properly and you should service your caliper.
  • + 2
 @usa-dh-racing: you must have them set up wrong. I had them for 2 years with zero issues in lever feel. had substantially more power then the saints they replaced. when I changed out pads they all looked the same.
  • + 1
 @Lagr1980: You can, but why would you....The MT7(8 series) pads are way better.
  • + 1
 @zutroy: I bought the 4 pads for my Mt5s, but for those who cannot make the 4 pistons go even.. it might help.. I found that not only bleeding but oiling and good cleanup of the pistons from outside keeps maguras 4piston running smooth,,
  • + 1
 A lot of it I think is not bleeding all the air out of the caliper.
  • + 1
 @Lagr1980: yes I agree. remove the wheel and brake pads, place a spanner where the disc goes and pump out all 4 pistons. clean the surface and do not scratch anything. oil them with whatever brake fluid your brake needs and push the pistons with a plastic tire lever back in. I had the same problem with my 4 year old xo trail last week and I also had to change the quad rings inside the caliper to make them work...
  • + 1
 Just put their mechanical Spyke brake on my son's bike. Those things are nice. Maybe I should use it on bikepacking bike myself.
  • + 1
 For this kind of money, are the levers and calliper serviceable items, eg, can you get seals or pistons if needed? Or is it just a whole replacement part?
  • + 1
 Great brakes, I really like my Quadiems, Very easy to work on, Built solid and they modulate great.
  • + 0
 Quin this, Quin that...in the end they a Tektro brakes and that by itself is a horrible fact! Not even mentioning that they complicated the bleeding process on the new model.
  • + 2
 Yes but will they work on ebikes?
  • + 2
 Only if you have 29" wheels with boost.....
  • + 2
 Can these take the same mineral oil as Shimano, by chance?
  • + 1
 Not only is that a yes they accept it. But they also come stock with it. TRP and Shimano are identical oils
  • + 1
 Anyone tried saint calipers on the TRP levers?
  • + 1
 Considering Saint lever for V2 caliper. Ey?! Big Grin
  • + 1
 I thought gwin didnt use brakes ????
  • + 1
 Most important question to me: how much are a set of replacement pads?
  • + 3
 they can use Shimano saint and zee pads
  • + 1
 So relatively cheap and extremely easy to get hold of
  • + 1
 Did that Dragontales put Shimano pads in his TRP brakes?
  • + 1
 TRP brakes have always used shimano pads.
  • + 1
 Yes sir! They are designed and advertised to work that way. Not a secret
  • + 1
 Stop! Right now.

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