The New Brake That Aaron Gwin Helped Shape - Taipei Cycle Show

Mar 25, 2017 at 7:22
by Vernon Felton  
2017 Taipei Cycle Show

When Aaron Gwin announced that he'd be using TRP brakes, there was a whole lot of head scratching and WTF-ing going about. It's not to say that people thought poorly of TRP's Quadiem and Slate brakes. It's just that not a whole lot of people thought about the things at all.

TRP isn't new to the bicycle brake market (think Tektro), but in the world of mountain bike stoppers, they are very much the new kid on the block whose name still slips everyone's minds.

But that might change.

TRP G Spec Brakes Quadiem Slate
Aaron Gwin helped shape the new TRP G-Spec Quadiem

Aaron Gwin is famous for being a stickler with his equipment. The guy takes his tech seriously. You can argue that Gwin signed with TRP for the money, but he, frankly, isn't the kind of guy who's willing to lose races on account of his equipment. I'm guessing Gwin must've felt TRP was on the right track with their brakes or he'd never have signed on the dotted line in the first place. Gwin, however, clearly didn't feel they were perfect. Over the course of the past year, Gwin and TRP have been tweaking the brakes to get them to a l Kosher-Gwin level. Mike Levy reported on the G-Spec Quadiem during Eurobike, but a few details were still up in the air at that time. Here's more of the story from TRP's soft launch of their new brakes, here at Taipei.

G-Spec Quadiem
• Intended use: downhill
• Mineral oil system
• Four-piston caliper
• 16-mm, hybrid ceramic/stainless-steel pistons
• Forged, polished and anodized lever blade
• Split, hinged clamp
• Tool-free reach adjust with detents
• I-Spec and Matchmaker compatible
• Titanium hardware
• 320 grams (front)
• MSRP: $199 (per wheel, no rotor)
TRP G Spec Brakes Quadiem Slate

The Quadiem had been in TRP’s line for a while when the company began its collaboration with Gwin. The brake didn’t get a wholesale rebuild, but the tweaks are more than merely cosmetic. For starters, the brake gained a new lever that went through 15 iterations before finding its final shape and finish. The lever blade is forged, polished and anodized, and features texturing to enhance grip. The brake always had tool-less reach adjust, but at Gwin’s behest TRP added detents, making it easier for riders to match front and rear lever reach.

While the company considered opening up the back of the caliper, Gwin and company felt such a design would lead to flex in the caliper and an intolerable level of mushiness. Would you feel the same? Probably not, but then you’re not mobbing your Tuesday down a World Cup course for a living. TRP, however, did machine a bit of material off the caliper. TRP aimed to reduce system heat by machining grooves on the caliper—something they say increases available surface area for air to flow over.

TRP G Spec Quadiem brake
TRP G Spec Brakes Quadiem Slate

Another heat-reducing feature? Hybrid composite/stainless steel pistons. The composite reduces the amount of heat working its way into the brake fluid (and therein reduces the risk of brake fade during extended periods of OhCrapOhCrapOhCrap braking). Why did TRP wrap that composite piston in stainless steel? The company sys the composite has too much friction when it passes back and forth across the piston seal, and that this would likely lead to premature wear and crappy pad retraction. The stainless steel wrap job reduces friction and nips that potential problem in the bud.

TRP G Spec Brakes Quadiem Slate
G-Spec Slate
• Intended use: all-mountain/enduro
• Mineral oil system
• Four-piston caliper
• Hybrid ceramic/stainless-steel pistons
• Split, hinged clamp
• Forged lever blade (same shape as Quadiem)
• Tool-free reach adjust with detents
• I-Spec and Matchmaker compatible
• Stainless steel hardware
• 290 grams (front)
• MSRP: $149 (per wheel, no rotor)

While the G-Spec Quadiem has received the lion’s share of the press of late, it’s not the only brake in TRP’s line. The Slate was already positioned as more of an all-rounder brake and has also received the Gwin treatment in the form of the $149 G-Spec Slate. As with its pricier sibling, the G-Spec Slate is a four-piston, hybrid piston affair. The G-Spec Slate also shares the same basic lever—that is the same shape and dimpling, albeit in a less fancy, anodized finish. The G-Spec Slate also features the tool-less reach adjust with detents. The G-Spec Slate’s hardware is stainless steel and the caliper features an open-back design. Like the Quadiem, you can expect to find the G-Spec Slate on sale in mid April.

TRP G Spec Brakes Quadiem Slate


  • 173 8
 Braking news!
  • 127 3
 Oh stop it!
  • 25 9
 These puns just take the piston.
  • 53 2
 @racecase: Oh give him a brake!
  • 51 4
 Guys please slow down on Those Really Poor comments
  • 19 5
 It doesn't bleed to have some puns.
  • 92 2
 It's not often you see puns of this caliper all in one place.
  • 13 5
 The lever of these puns are unstoppable!
  • 27 2
 whenever there is rider of this caliper involved in a product you just know people aren't going to be able to stop themselves from pulling the lever on the puns. They seem to be pretty fluid at first, but inevitably they start to reach and the momentum fades.
  • 3 22
flag Antron (Mar 25, 2017 at 13:32) (Below Threshold)
 Everybody get out!
  • 9 1
 For some reason these puns really resinate with pink-bikers.
  • 15 1
 Here you go on Agwin with these endless puns. Someone has to put a stop to it.
  • 14 1
 im just here to pad out the comments
  • 5 23
flag bholton (Mar 25, 2017 at 21:52) (Below Threshold)
 These are some very high calibre comments.
  • 15 1
 Of course there's a pun train, what else did G-Spec?
  • 5 1
 I took a brake from work to stop in and read the puns.
  • 6 3
 You guys are acting like a bunch of quads.
  • 7 0
 Were there anyone running these at Rotor-ua?
  • 3 0
 Interesting disc-ussion.
  • 1 0
 Not looking to piston Gwin's parade but I thought he'd rotor go without brakes?
  • 103 4
...uses brakes?!

  • 77 6
 Its for others safety, not his
  • 65 7
 fake news.
  • 40 1
 He has to stop after crossing finish line. You know, crowd safety Wink
  • 11 0
 @strasznyzbigniew: He didn't stop after the finish line in Fontana.
  • 4 34
flag Maverickdh00 (Mar 25, 2017 at 12:12) (Below Threshold)
 Knowing where to brake and how to brake that is the question! To avoids the breaks! If Gwin was Chuck Norris the ground would break instead! Rocks would move out of his way Trees would part and hills would flatten Opposition would look under theyre beds before going to sleep TRP really stand for Terror Ripping People!
  • 3 25
flag Maverickdh00 (Mar 25, 2017 at 12:23) (Below Threshold)
  • 3 27
flag Maverickdh00 (Mar 25, 2017 at 12:24) (Below Threshold)
 @Kyleponga: it did pass the Senate vote and the Supreme Court!

Might be a future travel ban into the USA though, just saying ????
  • 2 0
 NO, he doesn't! Aaron Gwin Helped Shaping The New Brake! BRAAAAHAHAHAHAH
  • 21 0
 @Maverickdh00: You must be great at parties...
  • 38 2
 The puns are heating up but dissipating quickly.
  • 1 27
flag Maverickdh00 (Mar 25, 2017 at 12:38) (Below Threshold)
 Theses brakes should be called the Ghost brakes, they could kill noobs faster than death can process them!
  • 35 1
 Ohhh, the irony of the unstoppable Gwinn helping design brakes. Next Gwinn will co-develop a new chain.
  • 24 0
 Gwinner tubes?
  • 15 4
 The clicky reach adjust, is pretty banging, as even for the average rider, could find it handy for matching the left and right levers, as it's easier to count clicks than count turns of a screw.
  • 23 5
 Why would you ever do it by counting anything? You just put your fingers on them and adjust until they feel right. It's a one time setup pretty much.
  • 12 4
 @psyickphuk: its sorta like lining up your stem and steerer tube. It might feel right but it also bothers you knowing that it's not exactly straight when you're riding.
  • 6 1
 You can measure length from grip to lever with a ruler...
  • 1 0
 @millpill: when you think you have your stem aligned just right, you turn it a hair to the right, that way you know that it is purposefully "just off" and don't have to heed anal tendencies while riding. same with brake levers, purposefully have the left just a hair further out from the grip, that way you "know for sure it's just off a hair" instead of second guessing while riding.
  • 3 0
 @millpill: That's some OCD shit.
  • 9 1
 I wonder if this is something Aaron's been dwelling on for some time now?,504
  • 29 2
 TRP brakes looking fresh. And they are not crazy expensive either. Good job folks.
  • 6 1
 @mooseman414: Word. The price points on both brakes look pretty nice. @vernonfelton - when is a review of either brake dropping?
  • 4 2
 Sort of like a Poor-Man's Trickstuff!!
  • 2 4
  • 24 0
 @drfaceplant: Tektro sent over a set of G-Spec Quadiems for testing just a few days ago. I haven't ridden them yet because they sent them to that bastard, Mike Levy. In short, we're a good ways off from a review, but there might be a First Look in the near future.
  • 11 0
 @vernonfelton: Replies like that are why I'm glad PB got you.

Ps if you ever did a jovial behind the scenes series, I'm sure it'd be a hit. Y'all seem like you have some good chemistry.
  • 5 0
 @vernonfelton: I suggest jacking his bike for about 30mins and swap out brakes between Mike's and your Bike once the TRPs are on his. Then go ride the sh!t out of your bike like Gwin. Looking forward to the review. Please include a shots of you jacking Mike's bike with an evil smile.
  • 2 3
 @vernonfelton: "Kosher-Gwin level." Interesting descriptor as Gwin at least was somewhat of holy roller back during his Trek days. Perhaps he's gone down the left hand path with those devil worshippers (I don't think they are heebs which would be cool, but whatever) at YT. Oy vey!
  • 3 0
 @jm2e No comment...
  • 20 9
 Surprised he doesnt run shimanos blacked out like his Onza/Maxxis tires
  • 24 0
 His famous double brake failure at 2012 Worlds were on Shimano so he's probably not going back to those any time soon. He switched to Codes after that and before TRP.
  • 8 5
 I'm pretty sure his "official" tyre was unvealed a few months ago by Onza. Surprisingly, it's a "Can I copy your homework?" of a minion dhf
  • 6 1
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em
  • 3 1
 I guess he only does that when the sponsor product is not optimal. Clearly these brakes are okay for a world champion
  • 13 7
 Mineral oil !!!, you mean you don't need DOT 4 to stop a 200 lb projectile from getting away from you, who knew, take note brake mfgs it ain't rocket science just a bit of hydraulics, next do away with those retarded bleed kits with syringes. If it Bleeds it Leads sorry couldn't stop myself.
  • 5 4
 Minéral is for sissies.
  • 16 0
 I put DOT4 in my cereal. Never had a problem.
  • 2 1
 @passwordpinkbike: What no red Poo!!
  • 4 0
 TRP is on a good path. I've Slate 4 which came with my bike and they look like Saint prototypes. They not as powerful but still stronger than most brakes that comes stock with bikes.To be honest I'm very happy that I got them instead of some low group 2 piston brakes from Shimano or Avid. If they play their cards right it might be very interesting proposal in brakes department in near future.
  • 4 0
 i agree. I love my Slate T 4 brakes. Same pads as the Quadiem, and there be room for finned pads if you so choose. Cheap as chips, and a ton of value for the dollar.. so far so good
  • 3 0
 The lever on that G-spec. I would like to talk about it to their sales rep.
- Dude, it looks like Shimano!
- No.
- Man, that's a total rip off of Shimano.
- No.
- Yes it fkng is.
- No, not at all.
- C'm on.
- C'm on what?
- C'm o-on, there has to be a way of doing it so that it doesn't look just like Shimano lever.
- No it doesn't look like Shimano lever.
- It does!
- I personally do not think so.
- Ok I'm off.
- Good bye Sir, Thank you for your interest in world's leading mountain bike braking technology
  • 9 3
 would they fit a 26" wheel bike?
  • 2 1
 Love it!
  • 1 0
 i m sure they will. just make sure u have the proper mounts
  • 2 0
 Is it really a feature to have a 'tool-less reach adjustment'? I mean, how often are people adjusting the lever? Or is the intent to compensate for pad-wear and a different contact point? If so, I can't imagine people making such frequent adjustments as to warrant a knob over a standard set-screw. Thoughts?
  • 2 0
 OhCrapOhCrapOhCrap braking. Vernon pointed that out and Gwin is particularly good at smoothly getting his breaking done in a short (and still sometimes rough) distance.

They already make my favorite rotor, guess I better build my next gravity bike with these and give them hell.
  • 7 2
 G-Spec look like mini shimano´s...
  • 1 3
 Way to slow down the puns
  • 1 2
 @Ride406orDie: looks like a T?
  • 8 4
 Wonder why they needed 15 iterations to get that lever right, and why's that even a thing worth mentioning?
  • 4 4
 My thoughts exactly. Why was it so hard for them to make a good lever lol.
  • 2 0
 Not so much to make a good lever but to make the lever Gwin wanted. Even the best pros don't know exactly what they want the first round. Round after round we found characteristics that he liked or didn't like until we ad made Gwin's dream lever blade. The final result is a comfortable long lever that one can tell was inspired by Gwin's moto roots.
  • 5 1
 I was riding the powerless breaks even before they were cool, they were called Avid Elixir.
  • 1 0
 The only way i would consider trying these brakes over my goto SRAM ultimate guides or saints is if they came in different colors. This is how you compete against the more proven brakes. TRP i hope realizes that serious riders don't care what pro run these brakes because their mechanic is working on them every run. What we care about is real world results when you can't afford to constantly tune, adjust and fiddle with these brakes. For example, MT7 brakes are a total nightmare to keep working properly, always having to fiddle with them. but when they work MT7 is a powerful stopping brake but not worth the fiddling required.
  • 4 0
 I need to stop glazing over articles.......
  • 2 1
 I wonder if the Slate has the same braking performance of the qaudium?
Looks like the same caliper but with out the machined grooves.
Are the pistons smaller? Smaller diameter lines?
  • 1 0
 Not quite the power of the Quadiem but a really great four pot stopper for a bargain price. Got Quadiems for the DH and Slates for the AM.
  • 3 0
 The Slate has nearly the same end power but a slightly different power curve. The Quadiem is designed for downhill where instant maximum power is most important. The Slate is designed for trail or enduro style riding where modulation is important to prevent unwanted skidding and a more gradual power ramp to make feathering and scrubbing small amounts of speed is more important than mass amounts of instant power.
  • 3 1
 Hmmmm they look nice but they're made by Tektro. I'm not Gwin. Not even close. But the thought of trusting my life to Tektro made anything just gives me the willies.
  • 2 0
 Tektro Racing Products. Same company. Budget OE and high spec for Gwin.
  • 3 0
 Nice brakes. The G Spec Slate caliper looks like an old Formula Oro and Shimano XTR got together and had a kid. Very nice.
  • 3 1
 Breaks are just as essential part of Gwin bike as chain....
  • 4 2
 FWIW, TRP is Tektro's fancier line, like Lexus is to Toyota.
  • 2 0
 Tektro Racing Products
  • 3 1
 Aaahhhhh I love my hopes lol
  • 2 1
 These puns are unstoppable..
  • 2 1
 Honestly, just once can we get a brake from these comments!
  • 1 1
 U need to break up with Pinkbike!
  • 2 1
 Mineral oil, I am in with all thumbs.
  • 1 0
 Stop it i can't take it anymore.
  • 1 2
 If I was looking for a new set of brakes then these brakes would cut through a knife like hot butter! Might be up theyre with my MTs for next build!
  • 1 1
 Gwin doesn't use his brakes much so he's probably not the best test rider lol
  • 1 0
 Think quality over quantity. Yes, he uses them less than most but when he does use them he is going faster and braking harder than anyone in the world.
  • 1 0
 This far into the thread and the puns are fading.
  • 1 0
 well that became rather heated= best to keep a cool on the pace of banter
  • 1 0
 Just make sure that the fluidity of these puns keeps on flowing!
  • 1 0
 There's going to,be some pun-itive damage here.
  • 1 0
 "Mobbing your Tuesday down a World Cup course" lol. Must be auto correct!
  • 2 5
 looks like a badass break, sweetness. myself i'd drop the adjusters so I can lose weight and make more room for hands and less to break off on some other breaks out there, an allen key is a simple adjuster too.
  • 3 3
 If they are made with the help of God...I am buying!
  • 1 0
 Bling bling calipers
  • 1 3
 "These new brakes will revolutionize the sport and they were designed by the young man from CALI," PER Aaron Gwin's agent. Damn that was a weak pun : (
  • 1 1
 "Not for the money." Can we get another naive statement?
  • 1 0
 formula 1 4pot
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