The brand responsible for slowing down one of the world’s fastest mountain bikers has gone from relative obscurity in the mountain bike world to spotlight-worthy attention. Aaron Gwin joined the TRP program in 2016 and has been helping them improve what were already strong performing brakes ever since. While the masses clamored around the introduction of Gwin’s signature G-Spec Quadiem brakes, we chose to see how TRP’s more affordable, everyman brake would perform for the rest of us mere mortals on a budget. With a price tag of $149.99 (per brake, excluding rotors), we were curious to see just how well these four-piston stoppers work.
Built out of cast aluminum then treated to a flashy silver finish, the G-Space Slate may be TRP’s more affordable option, but still prioritizes performance and appeal. These brakes ooze refinement and style.
Calipers Hybrid ceramic/steel pistons work to better dissipate heat and ensure smooth actuation. In fact when we first installed the brakes, we immediately noted the even and buttery movement of the pistons as they pushed towards the caliper. TRP uses two different sized pistons to control modulation and power. Brake pads are easily changed thanks to a top loading design, which was handy since we ended up changing the stock pads to a metallic set for a bit more bite.
Levers TRP revised their levers, based on a lot of feedback from Aaron Gwin, and they now feature a dimpled and drilled design. The drilled holes give a very race-inspired look but also improve the tactile feel at the lever. Increased grip means less finger-slip on the lever blade. A tool free indexed reach adjust lever helps riders fine-tune their preferred lever reach. The adjustment lever is a very nice size, has smooth, reliable actuation and affirmative detents, however the placement makes it our second favorite behind Shimano. TRP offers adapters that will mate their brakes to Shimano XT/XTR or SRAM Matchmaker bar mounts. It’s good to see a company that is willing to make their parts work with other commonly spec’d components.
Rotors Several rotors are available through TRP however, we were recommended their new TRP-29 slotted rotors. Six recessed slots are machined into the rotor to create channels. In inclement weather, debris, muck and water can get trapped between the rotor and pads, greatly reducing power and consistency. The goal of the channels is to improve the rotor’s ability to shed debris. We rode in some minor rain and muck and while it was far from a mud bath, they did seem to keep marginally cleaner and quieter than other brakes in similar situations.