TRP Slate Brakes
- Integrated matchmaker/i-spec compatibility
- Split, hinged handlebar clamp
- Banjo hose fitting
- Top loading pads
- 4 piston caliper
Blister’s Measured Weight (2 levers and calipers, no rotors, adapters, or bolts): 586 grams
MSRP: $119/wheel, not including rotors
Mounted to: Canfield Yelli Screamy
Configuration Tested: 180mm Rotor Front, 160mm Rear
Rider: 5’8”, 160 lbs
Test Duration: 27 days – stock pads; 4 days – replacement pads
Test Locations: Park City, UT; Jackson, WY
[Editor’s Note: We’ve swapped out the brake pads since our original test of the Slate, so we’ve updated this review.]
TRP stands for Tektro Racing Products, a division of Tektro USA that focuses on upscale and aftermarket parts while the main Tektro branch focuses on OE (Original Equipment) products.
Tektro made some of the most commonly spec’d, original equipment V-brakes on the market a few years ago, and you’ve probably seen them on a zillion Trek hardtails. In recent years, TRP has gained attention for their hybrid cable-actuated hydraulic brake that is finding its way onto road and cyclocross bikes.
On the mountain bike brake side of things, TRP offers the Quadiem, the Dash, and now the Slate.
The Quadiem is billed as powerful but heavy (it has a 341g stated weight w/out the rotor).
The Dash has something of a reputation for lacking power, but comes in at a lower weight (320g with the rotor).
The Slate is a new offering, said to have the power of the Quadiem at a weight that’s closer to that of the Dash.
I was eager to try out the Slate brakes to see how they compare to current offerings from Shimano and SRAM.
Build & Weight
These brakes exceeded my expectations in terms of fit and finish. They are definitely on par with offerings from SRAM and Shimano in this regard. The Slate’s hinged lever clamp is slick, the paint finish seems solid, and I have yet to chip it.
There is a ton of range in the reach adjustment (though it has to be adjusted with a hex wrench instead of a simpler, more user friendly knob). The brake lever has dimples on it that increase grip in wet conditions and feel nice in general.
TRP has made the Slate both matchmaker and i-spec compatible, so you can sync them up with shifters from Shimano or SRAM.
I tossed the Slates on a scale before putting them on my bike and read 286g for the front brake and 300g for the rear brake, not including mounting bolts or adapters. The 180mm rotor weighed 146g and the 160mm rotor weighed 128g. These aren’t particularly light brakes, but they match up well against the similarly priced Shimano SLX (which have an MSRP of $129.99, but you can find them for ~$85). Here’s a comparison between the Slate and some of the competition when it comes to weight:
Each caliper has four pistons, one 11mm and one 14mm piston on each side. The pads mount with a threaded pin and a retaining clip and can be inserted and removed from the rear. This system is essentially identical to Shimano’s pad system (but Shimano pads aren’t quite large enough to be interchangeable—I tried). The large opening in the back of the caliper should help dissipate heat and prevent brake fade.
Brake hoses attach via a banjo fitting that can be rotated to optimize routing. The Slate’s stock hose length is on the short side, though. I had no trouble fitting the hoses on a 120mm 29” wheel fork and a Large hardtail frame, but an XL bike or a bike with circuitous routing might need longer hoses to run the Slate.
Hose lengths with the Slate are 840mm for the front hose and 1475mm for the rear hose. Stock Shimano XT hoses are 1000mm and 1700mm, respectively. It was nice that I didn’t have to shorten the hoses for my bike, but it would be maddening to have to purchase longer hoses for these brand new brakes, so I’d rather see these ship with longer hoses.
The durability of the hoses seems pretty standard; I kinked one in a crash, but I don’t think a Shimano or SRAM brake line would have held up much better.
NEXT: The Ride, Bleeding, Comparisons, Etc.