Skip to main content

TRP Spyre road disc brake - First ride review

Image 1 of 8

The new TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes offer a fresh new option for riders who want to try discs but aren't yet ready to commit to full hydraulic setups. Modulation is excellent but power definitely isn't as good as with TRP's mechanical-hydraulic HY/RD hybrid caliper, though - or Avid's benchmark BB7 Road for that matter.

The new TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes offer a fresh new option for riders who want to try discs but aren't yet ready to commit to full hydraulic setups. Modulation is excellent but power definitely isn't as good as with TRP's mechanical-hydraulic HY/RD hybrid caliper, though - or Avid's benchmark BB7 Road for that matter. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
Image 2 of 8

TRP will offer the new Spyre with either aluminum or carbon fiber arms. Claimed weight for the standard Spyre is 239g for a complete front setup with 160mm rotor while the carbon-enhanced Spyre SLC trims another 8g.

TRP will offer the new Spyre with either aluminum or carbon fiber arms. Claimed weight for the standard Spyre is 239g for a complete front setup with 160mm rotor while the carbon-enhanced Spyre SLC trims another 8g. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
Image 3 of 8

The TRP Spyre's main advantage over the stalwart Avid BB7 or other cable actuated competitors is its dual piston design, which moves both pads symmetrically via the wraparound arm for more even wear.

The TRP Spyre's main advantage over the stalwart Avid BB7 or other cable actuated competitors is its dual piston design, which moves both pads symmetrically via the wraparound arm for more even wear. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
Image 4 of 8

It's tough to see but embedded in the middle of the outer Torx-head fixing bolt is a small set screw to independently adjust the outer pad spacing. This effectively provides pad contact adjustment.

It's tough to see but embedded in the middle of the outer Torx-head fixing bolt is a small set screw to independently adjust the outer pad spacing. This effectively provides pad contact adjustment. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
Image 5 of 8

The new TRP Spyre is impressively narrow, trimming about 20mm from an Avid BB7. Heel clearance wasn't an issue at all during our test ride.

The new TRP Spyre is impressively narrow, trimming about 20mm from an Avid BB7. Heel clearance wasn't an issue at all during our test ride. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
Image 6 of 8

The proliferation of good road disc brakes will likely translate into an increase of 'real world' road bikes such as this Volagi Liscio.

The proliferation of good road disc brakes will likely translate into an increase of 'real world' road bikes such as this Volagi Liscio. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
Image 7 of 8

The use of 135mm-wide rear disc hubs also means the ability to run 29er mountain bike wheels. Enve Composites' 29 XC carbon rim, for example, is exceptionally lightweight but yet surprisingly rigid with a very wide tire bed for excellent casing support.

The use of 135mm-wide rear disc hubs also means the ability to run 29er mountain bike wheels. Enve Composites' 29 XC carbon rim, for example, is exceptionally lightweight but yet surprisingly rigid with a very wide tire bed for excellent casing support. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
Image 8 of 8

TRP's new Spyre mechanical disc brake caliper (right) is substantially narrower and more modern looking than Avid's aging BB7 - but unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work as well.

TRP's new Spyre mechanical disc brake caliper (right) is substantially narrower and more modern looking than Avid's aging BB7 - but unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work as well. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)

This article originally published on BikeRadar

We've already shared our experience with the new TRP HY/RD mechanical-hydraulic hybrid road/CX disc brake, and now we can supplement that with first impressions on the corresponding cable-actuated Spyre. Though it shows a lot of promise, ultimately its modest bite might not win over many rim brake users.

There's a lot to like about the new TRP Spyre (US$80/£70 per wheel with 160mm or 140mm rotors) and the higher-end, carbon fiber-infused Spyre SLC (US$110/£90 with 160mm or 140mm rotors).

At 239g for the complete standard version (claimed, with post mount hardware and 160mm-diameter rotor) and 231g for the SLC, it's nearly 100g lighter than Avid's benchmark BB7 Road and still more than 60g lighter than the new BB7 Road SL.

TRP has also given the Spyre a symmetrical dual-piston design with two sets of ramps and ball bearings that move the pads evenly against the rotor, as opposed to the single-piston layout used by every other major contender.

The trim and distinctly modern-looking body look admirably up to date. Plus, it's about 20mm narrower than the BB7 for improved heel clearance, especially on frames with chain stay-mounted disc tabs.

However, it's TRP's claims of delivering 20 percent more power than the BB7 that we take issue with. As expected, peak power definitely isn't as good as on the HY/RD. But during our early test session, at least, it doesn't seem as good as the BB7 when paired with a 160mm-diameter rotor.

Initial bite is somewhat so-so and, whether it's due to a too-soft pad compound or some sort of other mechanical losses in the system (we were using Jagwire compressionless housing, by the way), power didn't ramp up in a predictably linear fashion.

Even with a freshly bedded-in rotor and pads, we still had to pull the lever harder than expected to dump speed for a tight downhill corner. We found the SRAM Rival lever on our Volagi Liscio test bike to feel a bit spongy as well. Although, in fairness, newer SRAM or Shimano levers would yield a firmer feel thanks to their increased cable pull.

We'll reserve final judgment (and a score) on the Spyre until we're able to get a pair installed on a familiar bike – and we'd also like to try a different pad compound with a higher friction coefficient.

As is, we remain intrigued with the new brake and are still happy TRP has invested the resources for a new cable actuated disc option. But let's just say our initial enthusiasm has waned a little.

Price: US$80/£70 per wheel (TRP Spyre w/ 160mm or 140mm rotor); US$110/£90 (TRP Spyre SLC w/ 160mm or 140mm rotor)
Weight: 154g (TRP Spyre caliper only, claimed); 146g (TRP Spyre SLC caliper only, claimed); 85g (160mm stainless steel rotor, claimed)
Pros: Trim and compact design, symmetrical pad movement, lighter than existing options, good modulation
Cons: Disappointing power
Cyclingnews verdict: TBD – stay tuned
More information: www.trpbrakes.com

The new TRP Spyre is impressively narrow