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Verdict: 
Currently about the best braking performance you can get from a road lever. Not perfect, but definitely progress.
Weight: 
198g
Contact: 
www.upgradebikes.co.uk
TRP Hy/Rd mechanical interface hydraulic disc brakes
8 10

TRP Hy/Rd disc brakes combine cable actuation with hydraulic power right in the calliper. They're powerful, easy to live with and the best solution so far for disc brakes with conventional brake/gear levers.

Disc brakes on road bikes are here to stay, folks. SRAM have unveiled theirs, Shimano prototypes have been spotted and there are even rumours Campagnolo has been working on one too.

This is all high-end stuff though: SRAM's discs are only for the top-end Red groupset and a full set will cost you £850 RRP for the levers and callipers. It seems that Shimano's will be based around the Di2 electronic groupsets which have plenty of space in the lever for a master cylinder but again that's top-dollar gear.

So what are your options further down, if you have mechanical shifters? Well until recently there were two: run mechanical disc brakes, or use a converter system (Hope V-Twin or TRP Parabox, for example) to convert cable pull to hydraulic push.

The Hy/Rd is a refinement of that second solution. The cable runs all the way to the calliper, and the hydraulic master cylinder and pots are all bolted on to the frame or fork as one unit.

After a month or so testing these brakes in all conditions, I'm happy to say that they're about the best-performing brakes I've used with road levers. They're more powerful and controllable than rim brakes and easier to set up and maintain than mechanical discs, and they win over stem-mounted converters in their simplicity with no noticeable loss in performance. Here's a rundown of what's good about them.

They're easy to set up and adjust

Ridiculously easy, in fact. I swapped out Avid BB7s for the Hy/Rds and a bit of cable outer trimming was the only thing that required anything other than a 5mm Allen key.

Setting the brakes up is a doddle. There's a knurled wheel that screws a bolt into the lever arm to lock the brake open, and once locked you can pull the cable nice and tight to make sure there's no play in the mechanical system. Then you unlock the lever, loosen the mounting bolts, pull the brake on hard, tighten the bolts and let go. That's pretty much it. The self-centering hydraulics will take care of pad positioning like they do on your Mountainbike.

Adjustment is taken care of by the open hydraulic system: the rotors run free on my test bike with a barely discernible gap to the pad, the way you wish you could get your mechanical discs to sit but never can.

As the pads wear they move in, so the only real maintenance is changing the pads when they're finished. In a cyclo-cross environment, when a muddy race can shred a pair of organic pads, the constant pad adjustment is a major benefit over mechanical systems.

Since the hydraulic system is completely enclosed there's no reason to suspect it'll need to be bled unless you manage to boil the brake fluid, which I don't reckon is possible given the field testing I've been doing.

I found that the default position gave a bit too much lever throw but there's a barrel adjuster on the calliper to take up any remaining slack. However, you need to be careful with that; pushing the pistons in too far can affect the brake's ability to self-centre. I found the lever throw more of an issue in the drops, with heavy braking pulling the lever quite close to the bars.

TRP say that you can also use the lever lock to stop your pads getting pushed together when you take the wheels out (in transit, for example) but you'll have to be really sure you'll remember to unlock them at the other end if you don't want to end up in a hedge.

They're really powerful and the power is easy to modulate

These brakes are more powerful that rim brakes and nearly all mechanical discs I've tried. That means it's easier to lock the back wheel up and the first few times you use them you'll skid to a halt. But the practical upshot of all that power is that braking is easy once you've adjusted your filter: less lever force for the same amount of stopping.

That means better control and more confidence on descents. It means that you don't have to go down onto the drops to be sure you can grab enough brake to haul yourself up at the end of a big road descent, or on a technical cyclo-cross run.

To everyone that thinks they don't need more powerful brakes, I'd say: try more powerful brakes. They're better. Like modern dual pivots are better than those old Weinmanns you had on your road bike in the 80s. In terms of performance, it's progress.

Mechanical discs work much better with a high quality, compression-free cable outer and these Hy/Rds are the same: if your outers compress, the brakes will feel spongy. Fit the best cable outer you can afford. Our brakes ran mostly on a Pinnacle cyclo-cross bike with mid-level Jagwire cable housings and we had no issues, but top-quality housings would no doubt give a slightly improved lever feel.

They're more predictable in all conditions

One of the main benefits of discs on a mountain bike is that they're out of the mud and grime. The same is obviously true for cyclocross. On the road the mud's not so much of an issue, but wet rims can seriously affect braking, especially on carbon rims. Discs have a smaller surface area than rims, they don't pick up water from the road and they run much hotter, so braking performance in the worst weather is miles ahead of rim brakes.

If you want to run carbon rims then you'll get the same braking performance, obviously, and with no rim brakes eating into whatever rims you choose you can expect your wheels to last longer.

A lot of the talk around road discs has been to do with heat build-up and in the interests of science I've done my best to cook the Hy/Rds by dragging them on long and steep descents, one brake at a time.

It's possible to induce a bit of heat-induced brake fade if you drag a single brake down one of Bath's many hills and then try and use it to stop at the bottom, but it's fairly predictable fade and once you're using both brakes together it really ceases to be an issue at all. Even with a bit of fade you're still applying much less pressure on the levers than you would with rim brakes.

Heat transfer to the actual calliper unit is minimal. Even when the rotors are piping hot the hydraulic system is barely warm. TRP uses a Bakelite piston to insulate the hydraulics against the braking heat and it seems to work. I haven't tried firing myself down an alpine col in the high heat of the summer with these brakes, but I wouldn't have any qualms about doing so.

TRP Hy/Rd brakes are powerful, easy to set up and adjust and they work well in all conditions. What's not to like? Well not much, really.

The lever throw to the bite point is a bit longer than would be ideal, and not that adjustable, but it's still acceptable. In terms of weight (198g per wheel not including rotor) they're not all that different to a set of BB7s and they don't stick out anywhere near as far, giving you more heel clearance.

TRP reckons they could be made a bit lighter, and I'd like to see them do a bit of work on the look, which is currently a touch agricultural; fine for a cyclo-cross bike but a road bike wouldn't wear these as easily as it would the Red hydraulics or TRP's new Spyre mechanical unit.

As a first iteration of a new product, though, TRP has more or less nailed this one. At £110 RRP per wheel you'll be seeing these on bikes at Shimano 105 level. Look out for them, because they're worth having.

Verdict

Currently about the best braking performance you can get from a road lever. Not perfect, but definitely progress.

road.cc test report

Make and model: TRP Hy/Rd mechanical interface hydraulic disc brakes

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

The latest iteration of our industry leading efforts to bring hydraulic performance to the developing road/cross disc market, the HY/RD is an OPEN hydraulic system that is FULLY compatible

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

-True 'plug-and-play' compatability with ALL existing cable actuated systems

-Hydraulic reservoir provides automatic pad wear adjustment

-Works with ALL cable actuated road levers

-TRP's own ultra-grippy semi-metallic pad that is Shimano compatible allowing for further customization

-Available in black ano with polished cap or polished with black ano cap

-140mm or 160mm rotor options will work for both front and rear

-All mounting hardware included

-140 versions include our L2 (140F/160R) IS to PM adapter

-160 versions include both L2 and L3 (160F/180R) IS to PM adapters

-Post mount to post mount adapters available separately

-Weight: 195g/caliper per wheel

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

They're the best performing brakes I've used with a road lever

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Braking power, consistency and modulation

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Slightly agricultural looks

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 190cm  Weight: 102kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

 

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

24 comments

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bike_food [167 posts] 2 years ago
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I guess you need the relevant frame bosses and a new set of wheels to upgrade? Pretty much a new bike.

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VeloPeo [300 posts] 2 years ago
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Odd comment. Wouldn't have thought these are aimed at people converting to discs - rather for new bikes or those of us already running them with mech discs.

Been waiting for the review of this before getting them for my Kinesis Crosslight Pro 6 which I'm running BB7s on at the moment. Looks like a worthwhile upgrade

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ch [168 posts] 2 years ago
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> That means it's easier to lock the back wheel up and the first few times you use them you'll skid to a halt.

I have heard nothing about ABS brakes for bicycles. Even motorbikes have ABS.

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dave atkinson [6139 posts] 2 years ago
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ch wrote:

> That means it's easier to lock the back wheel up and the first few times you use them you'll skid to a halt.

I have heard nothing about ABS brakes for bicycles. Even motorbikes have ABS.

*very* few motorbikes have ABS. it's hugely difficult to implement on a single-track vehicle. there's been mutterings that shimano's adoption of the CANBUS protocol for Di2 paves the way for ABS systems on bikes, but we've not seen anything

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arevilla [2 posts] 2 years ago
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I ordered these one week ago and I am currently waiting for them to arrive. I am really looking forward to trying them, and I am pretty sure they will be a big step forward over my BB7s. However, I am not sure I like what I read about the long lever throw.
The thing is that, if you read the product description in the websites of online bike stores, including the UK distributor, (not in TRP's website, though), it says "cable fixing position options optimize performance with 2.0 or 2.5 ratio levers". Thus, it seems cable pull can be adjusted depending on how and where you clamp the cable. Do you have any further info on this? Maybe pinching the cable to the inner side of the bolt helps? Would that be possible?

Thanks

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Scottyroyal [19 posts] 2 years ago
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Also looking forward to getting hold of a pair.

Not too put off by the long lever throw, I actually quite like them to be fairly slack.
I tried the Hope V-Twin for a fem months and that was the opposite, as soon as you touched the lever the brakes were on.

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shawnriffhard [8 posts] 2 years ago
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I too am getting a set and wondering about the long lever throw. Does anyone know if adding the shims (5 or 10mm)on my Ultegra shifters would help with this? Thanks

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thereandbackagain [162 posts] 2 years ago
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Shims wouldn't effect the cable pull, so by starting the lever closer to the bar by adding a shim you're just moving the bite point closer in.

I do wish that TRP had offered a more adjustable cable pull. I know that changing the pull ratio would affect the amount of force needed at the lever, but cable pull is a very personal thing. I like it to be *just so*

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Hollisharri [43 posts] 2 years ago
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I'd love a pair of these to replace the BB5's on my Charge Filter Apex. Dunno if I could bring myself to pay £100 an end though...

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massimmo [2 posts] 2 years ago
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75 percent braking happens at front. I'm going to be cheap and try front first grey matter will adjust bias in lever feel  16

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Dibbs [3 posts] 2 years ago
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I fitted a set to my Whyte Saxon Cross a week or so ago, replacing the BB7's. They have a very nice feel and plenty of power. I'm currently trying to adjust them to reduce the lever travel.

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jamesb [5 posts] 2 years ago
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Just got a set of these to upgrade from BB5 which seemed to need constant fettling, especially front, to avoid pads rubbing.
After about 100 miles use and in heavy rain they`re very good stoppers---almost too good as it`s very easy lock rear wheel. I found that the Avid rotors gave better power than TRP ones supplied and didn`t `flutter`.
However used with campag pre 2010 ergopower levers I found the lever travel to be too much for my liking; indeed the gear shifter units almost touch the drops when brakes pulled on fully.
I also like to set up levers such that front has less pull required, so front brake comes on more powerfully. With the HyRd brakes there seems to be very little adjustment available---despite TRP adverts saying they can be set up for 2 or 2.5 ratio levers.
So for me although they`re very powerful and smooth these brakes are badly let down by lack of real adjustment on the levers ---which makes them less good than they could be

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jamesb [5 posts] 2 years ago
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any progress with reducing lever travel issue ?---seems to be a recurring theme

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bobike [5 posts] 2 years ago
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Similar issues with me on lever throw. I've had the TRP HyRd for nearly 2 months now running with Ultegra 6700 levers on a compact bar. They were OK to start with but a bit underwhelming, I was hoping this was bedding in period. There was some improvement but as the pads have gradually worn the system has failed to compensate. Culminating in complete failure today pulling a whole handful of lever to not much effect.
TRP have even issued a bulletin note on how to adjust them not using too much barrel screw and without "locking out" the system but for me this doesn't leave enough travel before I'm bottoming out the levers and that's with a lot of care to get the cables taught in the resting position. No shims or any other in line used.
Anybody got any other tips? My confidence is rattled after today's near miss and bail out at a junction.

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fret [37 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm running SRAm Red on my cx commuter and am awaiting more reviews for the brakes as it seems they are not very good with older versions. I like my brakes to have very little travel before working.
A lot of money to pay out to find they don't work

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jamesb [5 posts] 2 years ago
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Well been using these now for about 1000 miles; supplied pads got worn through quickly and now use much better Nuke Proof pads. The lever travel is still an issue---I`ve contacted TRP who suggested `topping up` the reservoir which seems to partly solve the Campag travel issue; however still not entirely happy with this---work a bit better but if travel gets too much---which seems to happen still-then braking power is much reduced.
The only consistent way I can get less lever tarvel = more power is to wind out cable adjuster too much >>> a `closed system`; I can then change to `open system` to allow pad adjustment by using the lever QR button.

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VeloPeo [300 posts] 2 years ago
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Helen Wyman has been racing this season with Spyre and Hy/Rd - and was raving about the Swisstop E15 pads for when the supplied pads give up. See this article and her Twitter feed (@CXHelen) where she's pretty good about giving technical set up tips

http://road.cc/content/feature/99736-cyclocross-star-helen-wyman-talks-r...

Due to various factors (new job, farked knee) not done much mileage on mine yet but they seem great.

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sfichele [140 posts] 2 years ago
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bobike wrote:

Similar issues with me on lever throw. I've had the TRP HyRd for nearly 2 months now running with Ultegra 6700 levers on a compact bar. They were OK to start with but a bit underwhelming, I was hoping this was bedding in period. There was some improvement but as the pads have gradually worn the system has failed to compensate. Culminating in complete failure today pulling a whole handful of lever to not much effect.
TRP have even issued a bulletin note on how to adjust them not using too much barrel screw and without "locking out" the system but for me this doesn't leave enough travel before I'm bottoming out the levers and that's with a lot of care to get the cables taught in the resting position. No shims or any other in line used.
Anybody got any other tips? My confidence is rattled after today's near miss and bail out at a junction.

I've had a similar experience. My brakes started off with fantastic braking capabilities but after running them for only 6 weeks, the power faded slightly, and then I had complete failure of the rear brake. Luckily I was on a flat off-road trail. I've since reset the cables, which had stretched slightly. I find it slightly worrying that I was able to go from slightly-underwhelming braking performance to complete failure with very little notice from routine cable stretch.

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jamesb [5 posts] 2 years ago
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Just fitted new pads (again  2 and found it very difficult to get rotor back between pads---seems that as I`d topped up reservoirs as per TRP advice when pads were worn setup was too full of fluid for new pads---so had to remove a bit.
Noticed that with both back and front pads pad wear very uneven so pads are NOT self aligning it seems. Travel on rear had got to pulling lever to bars with little power--new pads now work well and shorter travel. BUT they are becoming so fiddley to get right. Several emaisl to TRP who still maintain brakes are fine for Campag....

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Iwein Dekoninck [59 posts] 2 years ago
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Any tips on where to buy the pads?

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jason.timothy.jones [293 posts] 1 year ago
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For anyone having problems with losing performance over time, I would suggest having a look at your cable outer. As you are putting more stress on the system between the calliper and lever, a cheep or even a decent standard cable outer will cause performance problems over time. I would suggest you try a gear outer rather than a brake one as the gear outer is designed to be much more resistant to compression

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Markus [49 posts] 1 year ago
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Resurrecting and old article, because some new bikes come equipped with these now. I'm contemplating this:
http://www.evanscycles.com/products/jamis/renegade-expert-2015-adventure...
So what might the final word be on the Hy/Rd, did you guys get the problems sorted?

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guyrwood [129 posts] 1 year ago
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I'm pretty sure my next bike's going to be the Genesis Equilibrium disc. I'm really looking forward to trying these brakes. I'm a recently converted roadie and am not hugely impressed with road rim brakes compared to V's or discs.

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mf0u3021 [4 posts] 1 year ago
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I struggle with small hands braking fully on the hoods (105's). Have to use the drops to get the lever throw required. Don't feel massively safe using these to be honest. Managed to get a couple of mm less throw but that was about all.