Alright, time to get down to the nitty-grity. TRP designed the G-Spec Slates to be an aggressive trail brake at an affordable price point. Right off the bat we set ‘em up for trouble as they went on an extremely capable 160mm enduro-ready 29er, but we figured, what better way to see how they hold up. Not surprisingly, they got overwhelmed in terrain that was above their pay grade. Super (we mean super) steep, extended descents tired our hands out more than other brakes. The Slates have a very linear and smooth power curve. This is mostly good, especially for their intended purpose.
On terrain more commonly ridden by bikes in the 120-150 mark, we were constantly impressed with the control the brakes offered. Control and power are different, and if you’re coming off other brand’s brakes you will notice a difference. Modulation was one of TRP’s main goals. Being able to consistently apply the lever and know how much power and the way in which it would come on did make these brakes some of the easiest to use. Unintentional skids or terrifying full lever pulls were not issues we experienced with the Slates. However, after coming off a pair of Shimano XT brakes, we did feel the brakes were a bit less powerful initially. The plus side was the Slates didn’t feel like they were full on or full off when we squeezed the lever. As the terrain got steeper, and the speeds got faster, we needed to pull the lever harder. Smooth, even power meant we could scrub just enough speed and not too much. However, as we said above, if you put these brakes outside their intended purpose, that harder lever pull will lead to arm/hand fatigue as the brakes are a bit underpowered and will feel like you need to squeeze the levers very hard to stop.