Do you have a road bike with mechanical disc brakes? Wish they had a bit more oomph? We’ve been sent a pair of hybrid disc brakes by Taiwan’s Juin Tech, and they promise to fix that hole for the modest sum of £150 / $200 / AU$TBC.
While Shimano’s and SRAM’s full-on hydraulic brakes have garnered rave reviews for good reason, they’re also hella expensive. Enter Juin Tech’s R1 brakes, which pair cable actuation at the brake unit with a closed hydraulic mineral oil system. And they’ll work with your existing brake levers.
The pistons, and therefore pads, move together in tandem to apply the brakes, rather than the one-sided movement of most mechanical discs. This is claimed to deliver power much closer to fully hydraulic systems – and pad wear should be more even too.
This isn’t the first attempt we’ve seen – TRP’s HY/RD model have been out for a while, and impressed in our road brakes grouptest earlier this year. But those are £110 (or US$150) per wheel, while Juin Tech’s alternative is £150 (or US$200) for both front and rear.
They’re also light – we’ve weighed them at 142g per caliper, compared with a claimed 195g per calliper for the HY/RDs. In the box, Juin Tech provides two post-mount disc calipers (including adaptors), pads, two 160mm stainless steel six-bolt rotors and all mounting bolts. You might want to consider investing in some compressionless cable housing from Tektro or similar.
So: cheap, light, powerful – what’s the catch? Well, heat dissipation and brake fade on long descents could be a challenge, given the relatively small fluid volume compared with full hydraulic brakes. But the similarly-built TRP brakes have impressed BikeRadar reviewers after extensive testing down Boulder’s Flagstaff Mountain, which steadily drops more than 600m in just 7.25km (2,000ft, 4.5 miles) with maximum grades in the upper teens.
The proof, as ever, is in the pudding – and we’re going to ride these Juin Tech brakes long and hard, so we can report back on how they perform.