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TRP Releases DH-R EVO Brakes - FIRST RIDE

As downhill race speeds and wheel sizes increased in recent years, braking power has needed to combat those forces. TRP, makers of the successful Quadiem G-Spec brakes ridden by the likes of Aaron Gwin, heard the concerns of their racers and went back to the drawing board to completely re-design their downhill brake. The result is the new DH-R EVO hydraulic disc brake.

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It was Neko Mulally who took note of a TRP G-Spec e-bike brake that used a 2.3mm-wide rotor/caliper instead of the standard 1.8mm. The East Coast shredder got on the brakes, hailed the performance and Aaron Gwin soon followed suit. More testing followed with TRP designer and engineers attending World Cup races (and even bringing back soil samples from the races to their lab). Racer feedback combined with in-house testing at TRP eventually yielded the DHR EVO. More than just thicker 2.3mm rotors, the DHR EVO features a slimmer ergonomic lever blade, new brake pad compounds, new mineral oil (which is less viscous with a higher boiling point), a slimmer, 5mm brake hose, new oil flow design in the caliper and a smaller master cylinder piston. The brakes were used by Brendan Fairclough at Rampage in his critical canyon-flipping run. Game on.

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TRP DH-R EVO Brake Specs

  • RECOMMENDED CATEGORIES - Downhill / Enduro / E-MTB
  • PRICE - $229 per brake (rotor not included)
  • WEIGHT 310g - without rotor & adapter
  • MATERIALS - Forged Alloy
  • COLOR - Silver
  • CALIPER- 4 Piston Hybrid Design
  • LEVER BLADE - 1-2 Finger Ergonomic Design/Alloy
  • LEVER REACH AJUSTABLE - Index tool free
  • OIL - Performance Mineral Oil
  • BRAKE HOSE - TRP 5 mm
  • BANJO FIT - Easy and flexible cable routing
  • PADS - Blue: Performance Resin - Copper: Full Metallic
  • ROTORS - 2.3 mm thick
  • ROTOR SIZES: 6-BOLT - 180mm (192g) $39.99 / 203mm (245g) $44.99 / 220mm (292g) $49.99 / 223mm (272g) $54.99 - Check your max fork rotor size
  • ROTOR SIZES: CENTERLOCK - 160 / 180 / 203mm
  • SHIFTER INTEGRATION - MMX: HD3.6/ I-spec II direct
  • CALIPER INTERFACE - Direct Mount
  • ADAPTER - Post Mount
  • ASSEMBLY - Pre-Bled - EZ-Plug Connection



First Ride Impressions

TRP sent us a pair of their new DH-R EVO binders to put under the testing microscope. Our tester, Kevin Lillywhite, has had some initial time on the brakes using a Specialized Stumpjumper EVO with 27.5-inch wheels and 203mm rotors front and rear. Out of the box, the brakes are extremely well-finished. The details and refinement are tidy and clean. Installing and bleeding the brakes was straight-forward. TRP has their EZ Plugs System that allows hose trimming and internal routing without fluid loss or the need for bleeding if done carefully. The system comes pre-bled from the factory with the lever removed and the Easy Plugs make setup relatively quick.

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The lever blades have a comfortable feel to them, being described as somewhere in between SRAM and Shimamo in terms of ergonomics. While SRAM lever blades have flatter, angular feel and Shimano run the opposite with curvier lines, the TRP levers are a happy medium of those blade characteristics. Remember when John Hall drilled out Aaron Gwin's lever blades at MSA last year? Well TRP has saved us all a step and the DH-R EVO blades have those speed holes built right in.

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Our tester removed SRAM CODE RSC brakes from his bike to install the DH-R EVO brakes. Stopping power on the trail with the DH-R EVO was near that of CODE. The bite point and modulation of the DH-R EVO brakes weren't quiet as precise or direct as CODE, but there wasn't a shortage of power or control, which some will appreciate. That "on-off" feeling of CODE wasn't present with the TRP brakes, and after a few rides, braking points on familiar trails were routine. Again, there was an "in between SRAM and Shimano" sentiment about the feel of the TRP brakes on the trail, which could make many riders not dedicated to one of those camps happy.

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Things That Could Be Improved

The lack of pad contact adjustment was the one thing our tester wished was available on the DH-R EVO. It wasn't a deal-breaker for overall performance or recommendation, but having the ability to fine tune the bite point is always a nice touch for the tuned-in rider. We also had a bit of play in the rear brake pad that resulted in a rattling sound under certain conditions. Play in pads is normal, but it seemed excessive. TRP sent out a new set of pads and it appears the issue has been remedied. We'll update with a longer-term review.

What's the Bottom Line?

At $229 per wheel with rotor prices additional ($40 - $55), the price falls somewhat in-line with SRAM CODE or Shimano XT 4-piston brakes. The ease of install and the braking performance make them a serious contender for those looking for a piece of braking kit that doesn't blend in with the rest. The racers, the mechanics, and the engineers at TRP have put in the hard work to create a solid mountain bike brake system in the new DH-R EVO.

Get more information at TRPcycling

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