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TRP Slate T4 EVO disc brakes review

Aaron Gwin-influenced stoppers

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £105.00 RRP | USD $120.00
per brake
TRP Slate T4 EVO disc brake for mountain bike

Our review

A good mid-priced brake with some great features but just missing out on power
Pros: Easy power management; good build quality; easy to achieve a solid bleed
Cons: Power levels not quite as high as obvious competitors
Skip to view product specifications

While Aaron Gwin was directly involved in the development of the DH-R EVO brakes, some of the lessons learned in that process were applied to these lighter weight Slate T4 EVO brakes, which still pack a punch.

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TRP Slate T4 EVO disc brakes specification

TRP’s Slate T4 EVO is competitively priced but still comes with a fair number of features that are good to see. That said, the overall finish isn’t quite as polished in some places as you’ll find on some pricier brakes.

At the lever end, the lever blade is textured with dimples and has a decent amount of finger security thanks to a well up-turned lever end.

TRP Slate T4 EVO disc brake for mountain bike
Reach adjustment is easy using the little wheel.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

The lever has reach adjustment that’s easy to actuate via a turn wheel on the inside of the lever blade pivot, and there’s a pretty decent range of adjustment available.

The lever is held in place with a hinged clamp that has a top-loading bolt. I like this because it means you’re less likely to drop the bolt when loading it.

The clamp isn’t overly broad, but this doesn’t seem to compromise the lever’s fairly stiff overall construction.

TRP Slate T4 EVO disc brake for mountain bike
A hinged bar clamp makes life easy.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

TRP says that it’s made the hose a touch wider in diameter and stiffer too to help with routing through frames. At 1,900mm per end, there’s plenty of hose length for the left/right-specific levers.

The hose enters the caliper at an adjustable banjo, meaning it’s easier to get a clean cable routing in the rear triangle of your bike.

The caliper holds four pistons that push onto a resin pad that’s accessible from the top of the caliper. The pads are then held in place with a screw-in pin.

The caliper is reasonably open, which I like because it makes pad swaps easier. Pad shape is similar to that of some Shimano pads, and thus the two are interchangeable.

The instructions I received with the brakes didn’t quite match up with the brakes I had, though. For example, they talked about loosening a bleed nipple on the caliper that doesn’t exist on mine, so I borrowed a bleed technique from Shimano. That said, the process was easy enough once I had decided how to go about it and I achieved a decent bleed first time round.

TRP Slate T4 EVO disc brakes performance

I liked the feel of the TRP brakes, not just the comfortable lever blade that gives your fingers a secure pull on them, but also the reasonably light lever stroke that helps with hand comfort and arm pump on long descents.

TRP Slate T4 EVO disc brake for mountain bike
Four pistons sit inside the TRP caliper.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

Power levels are good thanks to the caliper’s four pistons. The initial bite is significantly softer than on Shimano brakes, but a little sharper than the likes of Formula. In that regard, it’s a relatively neutral feeling brake.

Power levels really start to grow in the lever’s mid-stroke, so gentle speed scrubbing with the early stroke is easy to manage, but it doesn’t take too much effort to have a real effect on your speed.

TRP Slate T4 EVO disc brake for mountain bike
The stock pads performed well, some Shimano (M810 shape) pads are compatible too.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

Top-end power levels aren’t as high as some brakes, so those looking for a set of stoppers for an enduro race bike or e-MTB might be better served elsewhere.

However, when it comes to overall performance, I think these would be a good option on most trail bikes and I’d certainly be happy to see them on mid-priced builds.

TRP Slate T4 EVO disc brakes bottom line

TRP’s Slate T4 EVO brakes work well, with good, if not exceptional, power and a tidy looking, easy to work on caliper. There will be obvious comparisons with similarly priced Magura MT5 and Shimano BR M520 brakes.

The Slate T4 EVOs don’t have the power of these two brakes, however their initial bite is a little softer and easier to manage than the Shimano BR M520s, and the lever construction is better than that of the Magura and comparable to Shimano’s.

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They’re similar in weight to the BR M520s brakes too, but close to 100g heavier per pair than the MT5s.

How we tested

We rounded up 12 powerful hydraulic brakes to find out which are the ultimate speed-scrubbers.

To get to know what it’s like to live with these brakes, we asked the brands to send us their official bleed kit, then trimmed the hoses to our ideal length.

As such, we’ve cut and bled every set we tested to see just how easy they are to maintain. Then we saddled up to see how they performed on the trails.

Overall braking power is important, but so too is the ease with which you’re able to access that power – if you have to squeeze the lever really hard, that’s likely to lead to arm pump. Brake ‘feel’ is another key aspect – it’s subjective, but some people like a really grabby feel, while others prefer the power to progressively build as you squeeze the lever. We also needed to work out just how powerful the brakes are, and how resistant to heat build-up.

So, with the help of both leg power and some electrical assistance, we took them to the top of some of the South West’s steepest slopes and pointed our bikes downhill to see how these 12 stoppers coped.

Note: Weights and prices are for a single brake (caliper, hose and lever, but no rotor or adaptor, unless otherwise stated).

Also on test

  • Clarks M2 Disc Brake
  • Formula Cura disc brakes
  • Hope Tech 3 V4 disc brakes
  • Magura MT Trail SL disc brakes
  • Magura MT5 disc brakes
  • Shimano BL-MT501/MT520 disc brakes
  • Shimano SLX M7120 disc brakes
  • Shimano XTR Trail disc brakes
  • SRAM Code RSC disc brakes
  • SRAM G2 Ultimate disc brakes
  • Tektro HD-M285 disc brakes

Product Specifications

Product

Price GBP £105.00USD $120.00
Weight 603g – calliper, hose and lever - for front and rear
Brand Trp

Features

Features Pistons: 4
Fluid: Mineral oil
Weight: 294g (f) 309g (r)
Details: Split lever clamp; MatchMaker and I-Spec B/II options
Adjustment Reach (TF)
Brake type Hydraulic disc