Bike racing experiences using WW brake calipers

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by LouisN

I would like to hear your stories, experiences with WW brakes.

It's often the same story, attractive weight gains can be made with calipers, but are WW brakes that "sketchy", to the point where you shouldn't put them on a bike you'd use in fast group rides/sportives/racing in tight crits,etc... ?

In all racing situations, have your brakes responded well, or they were the cause of a crash, etc ...? Include your weight and the brake brand/model.

Hoping this might help me take a decision....

Louis :)

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by rruff

A long time ago I had some crappy calipers. In a panic stop in a crit, I was able to flip over forward quite easily. So...

IMO the only time the calipers need to be good is when you are charging down a long steep switchback descent. Then it's a matter of hand fatigue.

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by Mr.Gib

I say if you are light OK. But if you are heavy no way.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

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by sleepingmenace

I'm a big bloke by pretty much any standards, I'm 6'3, and 115kg. I'm passionate about cycling, but have no desire to lean out just for road cycling, I also lift weights, ride DH..etc.
I recently put a set of Planet X CNC lightweight calipers on my bike and was thrilled with the results. There's plenty of power there for any kind of riding. As with any caliper, the most important thing is to have very high quality brake pads and have them adjusted properly. With those in place, these calipers did very very well, especially when you consider the 102g each weight and price tag around £100-120.
..did a mini review of them on my blog if you're terribly bored..

http://anotherdooratthe.endoftheinterne ... ute-review

They're every bit as powerful as anything else I've used for a road brake..

Cycle related blog entries, including a few 5 minute reviews:
http://anotherdooratthe.endoftheinterne ... y/cycling/

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by rustychain

At 95 kilos I am no lightweight. I have raced on and off for many years. I have use Zero gravity ti, M5, and EE brakes. All have been used in races and on those very steep mountain descents. The ZG's stopped well in all conditions with proper pads but on those long descents hand fatigue did become an issue. Went to the M5 brakes. Setup was a bit of a pain but they stopped as well or better then any brakes I had used up till that time including Shimano and Campag. Modulation was fine for me but lighter riders needed to use brake pads that were less likely to grab. Tire clearance with M5 was limited to 23's and I like to run 25's in the winter and on really bad roads so........ EE brakes are now my fav's. Light, stiff and plenty of power and great modulation. Easy set up and best pad holders available for multiple wheel sets. All these brakes are a bit of a pain to clean but a parts brush does the job quickly. I had multiple panic stops on all these brakes and IMO EE is the best balance of power and modulation. All are light and all are race worthy. I would say however that if your a featherweight the M5 may be an issue racing do to perceived limited modulation and are best for riders skillful enough to use them correctly. All brakes need to have brake pads selected with rim type, riders weight and preferences in mind. Pads effect any brake to a marked degree. If your having issues with lack of stopping power try them first
WW Velocipedist Gargantuan

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by Gregorio

Never had a problem what so ever.
ZG ti on 2 of my bikes and FRM on another. Good working pads do make a difference.

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by kgt

Gregorio wrote:Good working pads do make a difference.


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by eric

I tried KCNC CB1s. They were ok in races, but when doing repeats on a local climb with a very twisty long descent (it takes an hour) my hands started to hurt. Not muscle soreness but tendon or nerve problems. I could barely hold the steering wheel on the drive home. Saving a few grams is not worth that.

The problem is the stronger return spring coupled with needing to squeeze the brake harder to get the same stopping power. I went back to 7800s. I'd already replaced the KCNC pads with DA pads.

I've never done a race that had anywhere near that much technical descending. So they'd be ok in races.

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by topflightpro

I've raced with my Zero G Ti brakes with no issues. But none of my races have included major descents.

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by whoizrob

I am a porky 185, like racing crits mostly and run KCNC CB1s (mostly because I couldn't afford any of the big name calipers).

In non critical stopping areas they work just fine (training rides on familiar roads, bleeding off small amounts of speed in crits, etc). In critical area like panic stops, sudden decreasing radius turns on unfamiliar roads, or crash avoidance I have found myself with sore hands and a few close calls. As soon as I can afford a new set I am going EE's. Your experience may differ if you are lighter or don't push it much but in my opinion, while these CAN lock up a wheel, it takes A LOT of lever pressure and is not confidence inspiring at all.


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by dcl10

Tried some -G's for a few weeks. They stopped adequately enough for racing, not the best, but good for most situations. However I switched to some Sram Red brakes for a few reasons.

For one changing the brake pads was a pain, although not all lightweight brakes share this problem (EE's) the Sram holders only take me about 5 seconds per pad versus several minutes.

The quick release is completely inadequate. It does not open wide enough or fast enough to facilitate quick wheel changes. Not only that but it's impossible to release the brakes while riding, and brake rub was a constant problem. Even with my 2.68 on an orc hub, which is my stiffest rear I need about 2mm per side of clearance, which was not possible with wider carbon rims. Could not even get my 808's to work. The Red brakes have an indexed quick release, so if I change a wheel, neutral service or otherwise, I can adjust accordingly and precisely. That also leads me to another problem which is the horrible barrel adjusters, which afford pretty much no actual adjustment.

All in all, pretty much a hug pain in the backside for 60 grams. I put the -G's on my non race bike, and they have been great for that, and I can't see too many problems with them for the recreational cyclist, but I would not try some WW calipers on my race bike again (ok, maybe some EE's or 970's if I could get 'em cheap enough).

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by Rick

I recently put a set of Planet X CNC lightweight calipers on my bike and was thrilled with the results. There's plenty of power there for any kind of riding. As with any caliper, the most important thing is to have very high quality brake pads and have them adjusted properly.

Another +1 for Planet-X brakes. They are freakishly light, and inexpensive; but actually work fine.
They are a little more difficult to adjust than some, and they save weight by not having a "quick release" lever.


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by jooo

Can't you just pop the barrel out of the arm to act as a quick release?

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by bigskyTi

I'm 180 lbs and run ZG's (Ti) on my Tri rig and my Road rig (Gravitas)

The Gravitas have more power but the Ti's have enough that when coupled with SRAM levers I've not had a problem getting the rear wheel off the ground or hand fatigue on long descents.

They did not work as well with DA 7800 shifters IMHO but are even better with Campy record or the new shape Levers.

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by Rick

Can't you just pop the barrel out of the arm to act as a quick release?


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