TRP has a brand-new 7-speed, downhill-specific derailleur and shifter, the DH7, and there are heavy hints that wider-ranging groupsets will appear in the not too distant future.
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For a couple of years now, Aaron Gwin’s bike has been decked out with a groupset seen little elsewhere, and certainly without ‘big S” logos etched on to the cage.
We’ve known for a while that it was made by TRP (Tektro’s performance-level brake company) and, at Eurobike, a working, production-ready set of components were there and waiting to be fondled.
The DH7 mech and shifter have had very heavy input from Gwin and his engineer John Hall.
Hall has helped design the mech to be as quiet as possible, a requirement (Gwin even races with earplugs in, apparently), with the so-called ‘Hall Lock’ being key to this.
From the sound of it, TRP is investing heavily in this project, with very strong hints that more will follow shortly. We believe that it’s opened a new production line just for this product.
TRP joins Box Components and Sunrace in its production of alternatives to SRAM and Shimano.
TRP DH7 derailleur
The Hall Lock is a lever in the mech’s body that locks the position of the B-knuckle (the bit that you screw into the derailleur hanger). By locking it in position, rather than it being spring-loaded, the derailleur is said to move back and forwards less, creating less noise over rough terrain.
Were the mech left in this locked position, getting the wheel out would be a nightmare, hence the lever function, which allows the mech to swing freely.
Furthermore, this lever’s ‘lock’ can be adjusted, changing the feel of the mech – dependent on bike design and rider preference.
The next feature is the adjustable ratchet clutch, which, in some ways, is also found on Shimano derailleurs.
Again, this can be turned off for easy wheel release, but its tension adjustability is there to work with bikes with more or less chaingrowth.
Furthermore, it is there to let riders who can feel the resistance of the clutch on bigger impacts to tune this feeling out, assuming chain security isn’t compromised.
The mech’s construction is largely alloy and carbon, with the cage and upper link being made from carbon. The pulleys have sealed cartridge bearings and the pivots are spaced wide to ensure stiffness.
TRP has also added a small chain-length icon to help set your chain length with the derailleur. TRP claims the derailleurs (in silver, gold and black colourways) weigh 272g, and will retail at $180.
TRP DH7 shifter
TRP has eschewed the usual arc-like movement of the shifter levers in favour of more linear lever paths. This, it says, gives a better feel on rough tracks, with the paddles getting ridged profiling to also improve feel.
The cable-pull lever gives five clicks of shifting and can have its position adjusted by 40 degrees.
The shorter cable release lever is made from carbon fibre, as is the upper housing, contributing to a claimed weight of 120g. The levers rotate over ball bearings for a smooth feel.