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Verdict: 
Excellent hydraulic braking for your singlespeed (or 1x Di2 bike)
Weight: 
812g

If you don't have a disc brake-equipped singlespeed bike then you're obviously missing a niche: go out and buy one immediately. If you do, then obviously you'll know they're great. You don't have many options if you want a full hydraulic system on your disc-equipped singlespeed: there's this TRP Hylex system... erm, and that's about it. The good news is that it's an excellent system: easy to fit and service, with plenty of power and modulation available. And if you're looking to build a 1x Di2 bike then you can use Shimano's climbing shifter to make the Hylex Di2 compatible.

  • Pros: Good power and modulation, easy to fit and bleed, Di2 fitting kit available, pretty much your only option for a full-hydraulic singlespeed build
  • Cons: No fork plate included

The Hylexes (Hylices?) have been out for a few years, but the RS is a new version. The most obvious difference is in the lever, which has a drilled-out blade which 'shaves weight as well as improves grip' according to TRP. It looks cool too; TRP forgot to mention that but it's pretty important. You can have the black finish that I've tested or a brown/silver colourway that will look the ticket on a more classic-looking singlespeed disc bike, if that's a thing.

> Find your nearest dealer here

Post-mount and flat-mount callipers are available; you'll need the FF-5 Front Flat Mount 140/160mm adapter to fit the front calliper to your fork. Since you're always going to need one, it's odd that it isn't supplied.

TRP Hylex RS -6.jpg

TRP uses mineral oil in the Hylex system. Shortening the hose (or cutting it to feed through an internal hose route) requires a new compression olive and hose insert. Pro tip: if you blast the end of the hose with a hairdryer to warm it up a bit you can push the insert in. The only issue I had was removing the cut end of the hose from the calliper, which required plenty of twisting and jiggling.

Once it's all back together, bleeding the system is easy enough. The TRP bleed kit (sold separately) contains everything you need, and it's really just a case of pushing oil through the system from the calliper up to the lever until all the air is expunged. I had to cut both lines to fit the brakes but only the rear one actually needed bleeding once it was back together. I had to poke a cable up the rear hose to guide it through the frame, and that displaced some oil; If you were just cutting the hoses to length for an external run you probably wouldn't need to bleed either brake if you were careful.

TRP Hylex RS -7.jpg

It's best to remove the pads if you're cutting the hoses to avoid contamination; the Hylex system is compatible with Shimano pads so replacements are easy to come by. The stock pads are TRP's semi-metallic pad compound which is good for all-purpose road riding.

> All you need to know about replacing disc brake pads

I've got these brakes fitted to my Dward Design fixed gear. Because you need to adjust the wheel position with fixed, Ed designed the frame with sliding dropouts that move the rear flat mount with the rear axle. It works a treat, and the brakes do too.

Dward fixed -3.jpg

With fixed you can adjust your speed with pressure on the pedals, but I like to have proper braking on hand on any bike I'm riding on the open road. And the Hylex system is excellent. The levers have a comfortable shape; they're not overly big because the master cylinder doesn't have to share the internals with any shifting gubbins.

The lever is easy to access from the hoods or drops, and the bite point feels more or less exactly right. You can adjust the reach of the lever with a 2mm Allen key through the front of the lever, and even when dialled right in the brake bites well before the lever gets to the bar.

Dward fixed -7.jpg

Once the callipers do engage there's lots of usable power, and the brakes feel very easy to modulate. I've had a few squeaky moments in heavy rain (on well-used rotors) but for the most part the Hylex brakes have got on with the job without any fuss or bother, and the power on offer is at least one rung above the alternative mechanical systems. If you want good brakes on your disc singlespeed, these are, in my opinion, the best brakes that are currently available. They're neat, easy to fit, easy to service, powerful and easy to modulate.

The Hylex system has another trick up its sleeve. It's designed to work with a Shimano Di2 climbing shifter so you can have a single-ring Di2 setup with shifting on the lever. It's a some-assembly-required kind of a job, involving pulling the shifter apart and cutting a hole in the lever's rubber cover, but the end result is pretty tidy.

> Everything you need to know about disc brakes

You'll need to factor in the cost of the shifter itself and TRP's £35 fitting kit. This used to be the only way of getting a single-ring Di2 drivetrain on your bike without having any redundant shifters, although now Shimano has unveiled its GRX groupsets there's an out-of-the-box Di2 solution, so it's maybe not as much of a USP. You could of course hack both your levers for a 2x system.

At £125 an end, the Hylex system isn't cheap exactly, but if you were to buy a pair of TRP's drilled mechanical levers and some Spyre callipers you'd only be saving yourself about £50 once you'd added some cables, and the performance of the Hylex discs is far superior. If you're building a bike that would suit them, or you're upgrading a bike you already have, they're a great buy. The other options are all part-mechanical: TRP's HyRd and Juin Tech's R1 convert to hydraulic at the calliper, and Giant's Conduct uses a stem-mounted master cylinder. All those systems can be used with STI levers as well as singlespeed levers; the Hylex RS is simpler because it's a dedicated singlespeed setup, and all the better for it if you're fitting it to your fixer.

Verdict

Excellent hydraulic braking for your singlespeed (or 1x Di2 bike)

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: TRP Hylex RS brakes

Size tested: Flat Mount

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?

TRP says, "A drilled out lever blade shaves weight as well as improves grip. This is a full hydraulic disc brake system for drop bars. It sports an integrated master cylinder in the low-profile ergonomically shaped lever body. This brake is for single speed aficionados, the rider who wants simplicity without sacrificing braking performance. Using our Hylex Di2 Adapter Kit this system can be used with a Di2 drivetrain."

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

From TRP:

HYLEX RS

Front Brake is a left-hand lever with 800mm hose

Rear Brake is a right-hand lever with 1800mm hose

Full Open Hydraulic System

Ergonomic and perfectly sized hoods create a natural extension from the rider's hands to the bike

Utilizes TRP's semi-metallic pad compound

Compound works well in dry conditions but may wear quicker in wet/muddy conditions

Post mount version compatible with Shimano M525/M515 pads

Flat mount version compatible with Shimano K02S/K04S pads

Rotors, adapters, and flat mount mounting bolts sold separately

All flat mount calipers being mounted to the fork require the FF-5 Front Flat Mount 140/160mm adapter

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Pads are reasonably soft so won't last as long as full sintered pads but the braking is good.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10

Levers are a comfortable shape, reach is adjustable.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Not cheap, but it's not like there's another cheaper option out there.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Easy to fit, work well, comfortable, adjustable.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

No fork plate included.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

There aren't any, really.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

These are excellent brakes for your singlespeed. They're not masses more than a mechanical setup and better in basically every way.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 45  Height: 189cm  Weight: 92kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura

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

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

12 comments

Avatar
ped [319 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

Drillium FTW! 

I've got the previous version of these on a CX bike, currently modded to make use of a long cage Shimano MTB rear-mech with a Gevenalle conversion kit. 

The only issue I have is the pin that holds the levers in place often works itself loose. It's seemingly only held in place by the rubber hood cover, and every so often I'll need to push them back in. It's never fully disengaged with the lever body, but is something I need to keep an eye on.

Other than that I can only back up Dave's thoughts on them being top stoppers with comfy hoods to hang on to.

Avatar
daccordimark [91 posts] 5 months ago
4 likes

"Excellent hydraulic braking for your singlespeed (or 1x Di2 bike)" or your touring bike with bar-end shifters.

 

Avatar
dave atkinson [6547 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
daccordimark wrote:

"Excellent hydraulic braking for your singlespeed (or 1x Di2 bike)" or your touring bike with bar-end shifters.

 

Yeah, that too. All the niches!

Avatar
Ti-Buron [13 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

Niches .... Twist grip Rohloff. When I converted to Rohbox and modded SRAM levers, I put the Hylexi on a Cotic RoadRat Singlespeed. That frame has now been converted into a 1x flat bar bike for my beloved. I've still got the TRPs - cos I really like them. Does anyone have any suggestions for a Singlespeed CX/Gravel frameset I could put them on?

Avatar
Luv2ride [135 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

I've got the non-drilled ones on a Pinnacle Arkose I converted from singlespeed to 1 x 11, using bar end shifters.  Brilliant brakes. Only issue I've found is that the levers can rattle if you dial the reach inwards.  Also, the grub screw which adjusts the reach adjusts itself slightly on rougher gravel rides, meaning there is a slight rattle by the time I get home.  Only happens on the right hand lever though, and never got around to applying threadlocker either.

Avatar
dave atkinson [6547 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
Ti-Buron wrote:

Niches .... Twist grip Rohloff. When I converted to Rohbox and modded SRAM levers, I put the Hylexi on a Cotic RoadRat Singlespeed. That frame has now been converted into a 1x flat bar bike for my beloved. I've still got the TRPs - cos I really like them. Does anyone have any suggestions for a Singlespeed CX/Gravel frameset I could put them on?

Surly Cross Check? slot dropouts so works s/s
Pinnacle Arkose Alfine? https://www.evanscycles.com/pinnacle-arkose-alfine-2017-frameset-EV294333

Avatar
mrml [51 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
dave atkinson wrote:
Ti-Buron wrote:

Niches .... Twist grip Rohloff. When I converted to Rohbox and modded SRAM levers, I put the Hylexi on a Cotic RoadRat Singlespeed. That frame has now been converted into a 1x flat bar bike for my beloved. I've still got the TRPs - cos I really like them. Does anyone have any suggestions for a Singlespeed CX/Gravel frameset I could put them on?

Surly Cross Check? slot dropouts so works s/s Pinnacle Arkose Alfine? https://www.evanscycles.com/pinnacle-arkose-alfine-2017-frameset-EV294333

 

The Surly Cross Check has cantis.  The Straggler is Surly's disc frame  equivalent.  

Avatar
dave atkinson [6547 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
mrml wrote:

dave atkinson wrote:
Ti-Buron wrote:

Niches .... Twist grip Rohloff. When I converted to Rohbox and modded SRAM levers, I put the Hylexi on a Cotic RoadRat Singlespeed. That frame has now been converted into a 1x flat bar bike for my beloved. I've still got the TRPs - cos I really like them. Does anyone have any suggestions for a Singlespeed CX/Gravel frameset I could put them on?

Surly Cross Check? slot dropouts so works s/s Pinnacle Arkose Alfine? https://www.evanscycles.com/pinnacle-arkose-alfine-2017-frameset-EV294333

 

The Surly Cross Check has cantis.  The Straggler is Surly's disc frame  equivalent.  

oh yeah. d'oh!

to be honest it's not easy to find disc singlespeed frames. i ended up getting one made custom

Avatar
philhubbard [208 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
Ti-Buron wrote:

Niches .... Twist grip Rohloff. When I converted to Rohbox and modded SRAM levers, I put the Hylexi on a Cotic RoadRat Singlespeed. That frame has now been converted into a 1x flat bar bike for my beloved. I've still got the TRPs - cos I really like them. Does anyone have any suggestions for a Singlespeed CX/Gravel frameset I could put them on?

 

You should be able to get a good deal on a Trek Crockett now that the new one has been released, or if you're feeling spendy maybe a Boone

Avatar
cdean [64 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
Ti-Buron wrote:

Niches .... Twist grip Rohloff. When I converted to Rohbox and modded SRAM levers, I put the Hylexi on a Cotic RoadRat Singlespeed. That frame has now been converted into a 1x flat bar bike for my beloved. I've still got the TRPs - cos I really like them. Does anyone have any suggestions for a Singlespeed CX/Gravel frameset I could put them on?

 

Genesis Day One? 

Avatar
rix [269 posts] 5 months ago
3 likes

Works perfectly as replacement for those ugly eTap shifters...

//i.imgur.com/McyJ46X.jpg)

 

Avatar
rix [269 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
Dave wrote:

The Hylex system has another trick up its sleeve. It's designed to work with a Shimano Di2 climbing shifter...

Dave forgot to mention that TRP also provide SRAM eTap integration https://trpcycling.com/product/trp-hylex-blip-adapters/

//trpcycling.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/etap_blip_hylex2.jpg)

...or use Shimano sprint blips instead of eTap blips

//i.imgur.com/Ixs7Xfo.jpg)