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KCNC Road Brake



The lightest brake calipers we've ever tested – by miles – but if you're after all-out power look elsewhere

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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These are the lightest brake calipers we’ve ever reviewed – by a long way – but they’re not the most powerful.

Light? How does 82g (for the rear) grab you? To put that it perspective, it’s about half the weight of Shimano’s top level Dura-Ace.

These are a dual-pivot design made from 7075 T7 aircraft-grade aluminium. There’s heaps of machining on the arms with grooves and beveled edges all over the place to remove material and keep the weight down. It’s all beautifully done. You get plenty of length on the threaded barrel adjuster to fine-tune the distance between the pads and the braking surface, and the notched quick release cam gives you tons of clearance for removing your wheels. The brake shoes are skeletal – there’s almost as much space as actual shoe-age – with titanium bolts and you get both standard and carbon-specific brake pads in the box.

In use, gunk can build up in all the holes and channels quite easily – but that’s not much of a problem unless you’ve got a particular aversion to giving your bike a quick once-over every now and then.

More significant, these brakes don’t have the power of something like Dura-Ace. Don’t get us wrong, they’ll modulate your speed just fine and they will stop you – they’re okay – but there’s quite a bit of flex here, and they don’t have a massive punch on them. That meant that we found ourselves braking earlier than normal and occasionally scrubbing off speed ‘just in case’ when we wouldn’t have bothered if we’d had the confidence of more braking strength at our disposal. They do the job – but they lack authority.

If all-out power is unlikely to be an issue, fine – you might fit them on a time trial bike, for example. And lighter riders will certainly notice the lack of bite more than larger riders. But we can’t help feeling that a big slice of performance has been sacrificed for the sake of saving weight here.

As well as black (pictured), these are available in gold, silver and red anodized finishes.


The lightest brake callipers we've ever tested – by miles – but if you're after all-out power look elsewhere test report

Make and model: KCNC Road Brake

Size tested: n/a

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

Did you enjoy using the product? Not enough punch for me

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? For lightweight riders only

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 184cm  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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maxlite | 13 years ago

For £90 less, I bought Ultra Light CNC calipers 205g!

dave atkinson | 13 years ago

yeah, we're looking to test those too... stay tuned  1

simonmb | 13 years ago

For an extra twenty quid sounds like you'd be better off getting their C7 brakes. It's the 2010 version of the CB1, weighs just 2g per caliper more than the CB1 and claims to have overcome the weaknesses you mention - comes with softer pads too.

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