Have been lurking the forum for a few years every now and then, but I just got a set of ali-lekki's in the mail today and decided to finally chime in. Will be posting about them once I properly get to try them out.
First impressions though is that both these and the lekki8's are definitely cool looking carbon components, the weight is less than half of the calipers I had setup beforehand, and did I mention they look cool?
On the other hand, I'm curious to see how these will actually perform on the road. From a perspective of mechanical design, both these and the lekki8's are in some areas great, in others fairly stupid. For instance, the adjustable cam is nice, but the carbon fiber sandwich on a barbeque skewer design is inherently asking for flexing and maybe even failure. And yes they definitely have quite a bit of lateral flex in terms of flex on the axis normal to the face of the brake body plates. In my case, the rear brake flexes more than the front from what I've noticed. Just putting the bike up on a stand and pedaling quickly then squeezing the brake lever, you can see (when viewing the bike from the side as opposed to head on) the brakes get pulled slightly in the direction of the wheel when any braking force is applied. When you do this really quickly and pull the brake lever hard, the brake very slightly albeit quickly flexes in the direction of the wheel until the wheel stops and the brake can release back to its neutral position. I believe this is a design flaw inherent in both the lekki8's and the ali-lekki's, NOT a matter of "cheap knock-offs". The reason for this is simple. Due to the nature of the carbon plate sandwich design, the bolt attaching the brakes to the frame is also the bolt that keeps the center of the brake body together, and also serves as the axle for the main pivot of the brake. Soooo, tightening the bolt to prevent any looseness and to minimize flex, also hightens friction between the moving parts. This is a big issue, because when the brake body is tightened enough (continuing to talk about the main central bolt) the plates and the metal piece sandwiched between them now struggle to move freely. The spring on these is also nowhere near strong enough to accomodate that kind of friction, and it shouldn't be, as this is the kind of design flaw that you shouldn't need to work around to begin with because no *f##k* brakes on the planet are made from a sandwich of plates lol.
What was Ciamillo thinking?
Secondly, the springs are very okay. That's about it. They function, but they could be better. I would imagine sourcing a stronger spring would make these brakes better in a lot of ways, and if you can manage to find one, it would probably be a sweet upgrade. Possibly this is where the official lekki8's differ in construction, other than the aforementioned max width as others have noted.
Then there's the matter of setting them up, and since they're a "floating" caliper brake, they take a lot of fiddling. A LOT. I needed to trim my brake cable housing as it was pushing the brakes off center and causing brake rub. My wheels are also in need of truing so I can't get them as close to the rim as I would like, so my setup is probably a little more sloppy than ideal, but they seem to work atm.
I'll report back within some time on how they're holding up, as long as
the carbon fiber matrix of the plates is strong enough to withstand the forces exerted on the brakes, these should be fine even with the flexing.
Of course, the real versions of these brakes have been given a mixed bag of good and bad reviews, and many have used them extensively without qualms, so there's a chance these are decent AND super light brakes.
I paid $173 USD for mine taxed and shipped. There's a handful of aliexpress sellers selling them, so if you're interested in experimenting with your mortality, just lurk around and get whichever ones have the lowest price and use the coupons that pop up. They're all the same, just different brands.