Ashima PCB disc brake review£130.00

Pistonless hydraulic setup

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Ashima’s radical semi-composite PCB (Pan Cake Brake) is super-light for any money, but actual braking performance and feel means it’s worth waiting for its imminent replacement.

At 328g for a full 180mm front setup, the PCB is one of the lightest hydraulic brakes on the market, despite costing less than half the price of most super-light options. This is partly due to a composite master cylinder and the unique pistonless calliper design but Ashima’s super-light cutaway Airotor, alloy rotor bolts and a really light cutaway mount adaptor also help a lot.

Unfortunately there’s a lot of wobble in the lever blade from new, and the square body and fixed underside hose exit make it really hard to sync with shifter pods. The alloy rotor bolts need utmost care not to round out, too. 

Ashima’s “unique” squeezy lever feel and serious lack of modulation also failed to find any fans among our testers and it’s well below par on power even before torque drops as temperature rises. The good news is that there’s a totally new brake in the pipeline which will hopefully fulfill the potential of a promising idea.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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