We first reviewed Craig Edwards’ superb Eecycleworks Eebrakes back in early 2009 and found them to be among the very best of the ultralight road brake breed, with awesome power, outstanding control and good lever feel. All this came at an otherworldly weight of just under 200g for a complete front and rear set with pads and all required titanium and aluminum hardware.
Fast-forward to 2010 and Edwards now offers a revised Eebrake that addresses our short list of concerns. Thanks to a slightly tweaked geometry, this latest version is now far more accommodating of wide-profile road rims – we had no issues setting up our testers around ultra-fat Zipp 303 tubulars – is more tolerant of housing length than before, and delivers a snappier lever feel, all without adversely affecting the predecessor’s proven formula or adding a single gram.
As on the original design, braking power is exceptionally good – and in some cases better – than top-end calipers from the big three that weigh as much as 50 percent more. And compared to some other popular lightweight brakes we’ve sampled in the past, the difference is akin to disc brakes or drums on a car.
More importantly, that power builds smoothly and predictably so it’s highly controllable, too. While not as linear in progression as more conventional dual-pivot calipers or offering quite the same awesome lever feel as the latest Shimano Dura-Ace group, there are still almost no other ultralight brakes on the market we’d rather have installed when hurtling at warp speed into a sketchy, decreasing-radius downhill corner.
Clever linkage design
The key to the Eebrakes’ stunning no-compromise performance is the clever CNC-machined aluminum design, which uses a progressively increasing-leverage geometry that retains generous pad clearances but quickly brings them to the rim then piles on the power from there in a veritable avalanche of braking force.
The well-crafted layout also minimizes power losses due to flex. The linkage dimensions are admirably compact, the pivots rotate slop-free on durable, low-friction composite bushings, the bracing angles are surprisingly wide given the caliper’s small size and light weight, and the mostly symmetrical layout produces almost no out-of-plane cantilever loads.
Squeeze the brake lever artificially hard in a repair stand and there’s not a smidgeon of unwanted movement in the mechanism – nor is it obvious just how much flex is inherent to a conventional caliper until you compare them side-by-side. Even the machined aluminum pad holders are trick, using a brilliant design that requires no tools to swap pads.
In his quest for ultimate engineering perfection, though, Edwards has carried over a handful of quirks we’d rather see omitted. To keep the pad slots and outer arms as short as possible (thus theoretically reducing flex), the main body of the Eebrake clamps around a big, hollow, titanium mounting stub with an eccentric head. This provides the same total range of pad height adjustment as a standard brake but you need to first determine whether the higher or lower cam position is best suited for your particular setup.
In addition to producing an extra step during the installation process, the short arms notably cut down on tire clearance and, unfortunately, you have to eyeball the position too, as there are no markings to denote top dead center in either orientation. On the plus side, centering the brake is a piece of cake – simply loosen the 4mm clamp bolt, rotate the caliper body into position and retighten.
One final minor point of contention is the quick-release mechanism. While it’s easy to operate and works well, there’s no intermediate position available in case a wheel gets tweaked mid-ride, and the barrel is somewhat awkward to rotate. Some might say they’re not the prettiest things, either, but as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Oh, did we neglect to mention the price? That’s probably because the Eebrake will run you an ungodly US$569 per set. SwissStop Yellow King pads will cost you another $50 on top of that and if you want a custom anodized color, tack on yet another $100. Yikes.
That being said, the Eebrake is a stunning paragon of engineering brilliance that delivers some of the best stopping performance we’ve experienced in a road rim brake coupled with ultralight weight. If Edwards can figure out a way to bring the price down then all the better but in the meantime, at least here you get what you pay for.