In 2004 these brakes are now being distributed and re-branded as Zero Gravity 0G-04 by the manufacturer. Here's a description I received from the manufacturer re: the changes made to C.A.T. Claws:
"...When [we] took distribution in-house, [we] made several changes to the system based on feedback from the previous year. In our opinion, the pads and holders [previously] supplied did not compliment the system. We decided to machine our own pad holder system. The block inserts are KoolStop's Campy 2000 carbon compound. Here are the issues on the cat brake that have been improved:
cat front brake weight..... 108 grams........... Zero Gravity now 98 grams
cat rear.......................... 106 grams..............ZG now 96 grams
cat: small steel cable clamp bolt.....................ZG: titanium
cat: no toe adjustment in the pad holder.......ZG:mating spherical surface
cat: unbalanced spring..................................ZG: balanced spring
cat: steel pad hardware.................................ZG: titanium pad hardware
Please see our website for additional info.
The Cat brake retail was elevated ($380) due to the distributor's mark up. Now that we are handling distribution, [we are] passing a savings on to the consumer ($323)...."
The manufacturer stated that an upgrade kit is available for $55.00 (does not provide the toe-in adjustment, as that's newly machined on the 2004 caliper and the pad holder).
I am not espousing C.A.T or Zero Gravity, just posting the differences from last year to this. The changes do appear to be improvements, re: performance, adjustment, maintenance, weight, and price.
However, the other thread should be reviewed for overall characteristics and performance.
Another reader has advised that the new Shimano 7800 cartridge pads (not the 7700 2003), or else the Kool stop pads, black ones, are the most appropriate for these calipers.
spytech wrote:i did not say the brakes are not better, but half of the changes are to save weight, balanced spring is good, but it does not apply anymore force to the rim, thus not stopping you any better.
The balanced spring per se may not add force (that's a function of spring+caliper design, which, you're right, did not change significantly) but does affect the synchronization of the caliper movement. One of the problems, as I understand it, of the CATs was that one caliper (pad) would move (brake) first, then the other, so: out of sync, affecting braking function.
P.S. I was watching a pair of CATs on eBay, out of curiousity. They closed today, minus pads/holders, at $300.00! Add $29.00 + $29.00 = $58.00 for Kool Stop holders/pads = $358.00, plus, if desired, $55.00 for CAT to Zero upgrade (which still does not provide toe adjustment) that adds up to $413.00 wow, when the new Zero's complete would be $323.00 (and of course Campy Record +/- $220.00; Cane Creek BRS-200 SL +/- $160.00)
so all you EMPTORS definitely CAVEAT!!!
(and Spytech you list those baby CATs well, with the pads/holders, who knows....you may buy yourself some new Zero's with cash left for those Impact Mag/Ti's, or a couple cases of St. Pauli....)
I am going to get a set of the Z.G's for my new TT bike. Won't be used in the Colorado hills, so can't compare with superlite. Will be able to compare to 7700 durace or brew x-lite's, so I will let yawl know
Prices close enough (£150 record calipers) and $330 which is abit more but perhaps worth it for the 100g weight saving however, poor stopping power isn't an attribute most poeple would want.
also, i checked out the cane creek brakes which are single pivot. i also know a few people who ride and sell the FRM calipers.. say they are pretty poor at stopping man and machine.
Any opinions?? campag record calipers are 308g a pair.. i currently have veloce single pivot 345g calipers. could easily lose some weight but wouldn't mind good performance too.
I have Campagnolo Record, they're great: easy to adjust, feather control, strong and beautiful. (£150 seems steep, they retail here (US) for $230 and there's a guy in Ireland selling them for $210).
Cane Creek, FRM, and Brew Lite are basically the same brake with minor variations. All work well. I have used the CC, not the FRM, and they're super.
I understand, although there are those who differ, that the force exerted on the CAT's (Zero's are probably the same) deflects the arms, so that the braking force is not as much. Also, adjustability esp. on CATs seems a big concern.
The general consensus here, re: performance to value, not only weight, seems to be:
1. FRM, Cane Creek, and Brew Lite (+/- 250g; +/-$160.)
2. Campagnolo (+/-308g; +/- $225)
2. Shimano (+/- 314g; +/- $225.)
3. Zero (+/- 200g; +/- $323.)
4. CAT (+/- 200g; +/- 380.)
Concerning power for Zero Gravity brakes...
When I built the prototype for what is now Zero Gravity road brakes, I initially placed the lobe on the cam-lever 3mm closer to the fulcrum point from where it is now. In that configuration, I managed to crush a dimple in an aluminum rim. There is a trade off in power vs. travel for any caliper system. The limiting factor for power is rooted at the lever on the handle bars. Given a certain amount of stroke from the lever at the handle bars, it is up to the designer to balance that stroke input to the brake for both power and travel. Power may be amplified only with sacrifice of travel of caliper arms. As most of you know, travel is important in racing in that in the event of rim damage you would need the brake open enough that the warped rim does not rub. With the cam system on the ZG brake set, I set the power vs. travel to the optimum parameters for the given stroke at the handle bar based on valuable feedback from many riders.
As with any new product, the first year begs for polish. I have overhauled the brake system for 2004; although power has never been an issue, I am prepared to offer custom cam levers to anyone desiring more of it.
I have had many customers want their brakes upgraded to the new hardware, spring nut, and balanced spring. I am offering an upgrade package for $55.00. The package includes titanium hardware and the balanced spring mods. It does not include the new machined pad holders; this is because the ZG arms have a mating spherical surface for the pad holders machined in; this eliminates the need for a spherical washer.
I'm sure this forum wasn't set up to handle this type of business-customer discussion. So please contact me through my website regarding questions that you feel may not benefit others by asking here.
I asked for your approval prior to starting this thread, and I edited your response to publish the most salient aspects of your response which related to the discussion at hand. I thought that to be sufficient, and that readers could contact you directly through the link. This is not, as you point out, a forum for advertising product. It is designed for objective reviews and exchange. While I'm sure we all appreciate the comments again, certain questions still obtain, and it feels off that the manufacturer would promote the work too much here. Please do not take offence, just trying to underscore the intent of the forum, which your last sentence (maybe that could have been the only one....) alludes to.
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