Construction-wise, Giant Root brakes are hard to fault. With a cast alloy lever body and levers, they use the same open self-adjusting system that’s been well proven by the likes of Avid, Hope and Shimano for years.
The hoses lead down to chunky one-piece alloy callipers which, while weighty, don’t flex under hard braking loads. The brakes, priced £60 per end, are bled and ready to roll.
Fitting (providing your frame is ready to accept discs) should take about 15 minutes. If they need bleeding, check out our workshop feature on bleeding Hope brakes – the procedure is identical. Dial-in reach adjustment and you’re done.
On the trail, the braking feel is, in a word, woody: an on/off experience that doesn’t leave a great deal of opportunity to build your skills and feather braking power for sensitive trail moments.
You can certainly give the lever a good yank and you’ll get a big dose of braking power, but with mountain bike brakes feast or famine isn’t generally a great approach.
Finessing the brake was dificult, even after a standard bedding-in period for the Root’s pads and rotors, and we often found ourselves arriving faster into situations than was ideal.
It’s good to learn to stay loose and carry corner speed, and if we panicked and grabbed a big handful they’d stop us okay, but as many riders know, lock-ups may be easy and fun but they’re not that useful in terms of skill.
The hydraulic brake market is a busy place and is crammed with good brakes at the budget end. We’d steer clear of the Root and look at something like the Avid Juicy 3, Tektro Auriga Pro or new Shimano Deore instead.