The Trail SL is near-identical to TRP’s Aaron Gwin-designed G-Spec DH brake, but with a lighter lever body. At 333g (rear brake, without rotor or hardware), it weighs fractionally more than the similarly-priced SRAM Code R (319g).
My brakes required bleeding after cutting the hoses, but my first effort, using TRP’s £10 bleed kit, was ineffective. The second (successful) attempt employed a Shimano bleed cup to allow oil to flow through the brake.
SRAM shifters don’t fit neatly next to the lever clamp so need to be set about a centimetre further inboard, which can make reaching the shift paddles a bit of a stretch.
SRAM Matchmaker and Shimano I-Spec II kits are available separately, for £10, to fit shifters more ergonomically.
Once properly bled, the lever doesn’t pump up like on many Shimano brakes, and there’s no flex or play in the broad lever blade, creating a solid feel.
There’s no variable leverage ratio cam, as found in Shimano’s Servo Wave and SRAM’s SwingLink systems, which is good if you like a firm rather than well-modulated bite-point.
Power is ample, not astonishing, but the G-Spec Trail’s consistent lever feel let me forget about braking and focus on riding.