TRP DH-R EVO BRAKES
Review by Nic “U-Turn” Hall
Photos by Cole Gregg
With the new DH-R EVO, TRP Cycling Components set out to create a mountain bike brake strong and reliable enough to handle the continually increasing speeds of mountain bikes. Larger wheels and better suspension have demanded more braking force while heavy eMTBs capable of quickly repeating DH laps put more weight and ride time into the equation. Over the past few years, we have seen TRP consistently put out brakes with huge amounts of modulation but left us wishing for slightly more stopping power. They sent us a set of the new TRP DH-R EVO brakes to conduct a Dissected Feature on many months ago, and we have requested two more sets to mount on various test bikes ever since. After almost a year of abuse on long travel eBikes, and enduro sleds, we are happy to report back with this long-term review.
TRP’s G-spec and Quadiem brakes had already made some moves in the market as they had loads of modulation but were missing just a bit of all out power for big, quad piston brakes. After a full season of testing prototypes with their downhill World Cup team, they released DH-R Evo with much excitement. Instead of relying solely on their previous DH caliper and master cylinder designs, TRP incorporated a few lessons they learned with their eMTB brake and made some significant changes across the board.
They began with a redesigned lever, offering better single finger engagement with increased grip. The master cylinder has a redesigned internal piston for greater feel, while claiming a power output increase by a whopping 62%. The hose connections on the DH-R EVO have been improved for easier install and bleeding, with the hose rigidity also being increased to better transmit hydraulic pressure and provide better thermal stability.
Rotor thickness has increased to 2.3mm wide and they offer a massive 223mm diameter, which TRP claims translates to better heat dissipation and less brake fade. Oil flow channels within the DH-R EVO caliper were redesigned to improve initial bite response and provide better feedback at the lever, all while decreasing the chance that air can get stuck in the system while bleeding. Lastly, the mineral oil in the system has been reformulated for a higher boiling point and better long-term performance, for less frequent oil changes.
We broke all those changes down into more detail in our Dissected Series Feature on the DH-R Evo, which you can check out here. While the changes may seem minor in isolation, our testing found that the sum of the parts is way more than we expected.
TRP came out swinging with the fit and finish on the DH-R Evo. The CNC and polishing process is top notch on the lever, master cylinder, and caliper. The edges are all smooth, clearances for pad install are plentiful, and the overall design is on the level. Details like recessed bleeding screws, large knurls on the lever adjustment knob, and minimal catch points on the brake really convey the image of a flagship product.
We mounted the TRP DH-R Evo brakes to a 48lb eMTB, a DH bike and an enduro-ready Norco Sight for the testing period. The bikes were running 29in wheels and the large 223mm rotors. The Initial bed in process was one of the fastest I have experienced. TRP said they reformulated the resin pads for fast break in but would not divulge any details. To test the claim, I started with brand new brakes at the top of a trail, gave them two quick bed-in full power pulls, then dropped in. I was amazed that within the first few corners, the brakes were at full power.
Lever feel is impressive in initial bite, modulation and feedback. This modulation is present throughout lever travel, all the way to full lockup, letting you consistently scrub just the right amount of speed without locking the brakes. When you do want all the power, it is just a slight pull further. This allowed me to brake later into corners, moving my braking points deeper and carrying more exit speed. A big benefit of the increased power is decreased hand and arm pump; letting you ride steep, chunky trails longer as your fingers are putting out way less effort on the brakes. Something our TRP DH-R Evo brakes had no shortage of on our favorite eMTB trails.
The thicker, larger rotors are a sight to behold and have us hoping more brands will follow suit. Until then, TRP’s DH-R EVO brakes will hold a significant advantage in heat management, and thereby power. They dwarf previous offerings and look as if they are begging for the steepest descents to test their mettle. We specifically tried to overheat these brakes by using only the front or rear on steep 2,000-3,000 foot descents without success. You would have to really work hard to glaze these brakes over.
THE WOLF’S LAST WORD
Simply put, TRP has us all looking for a set of DH-R Evo brakes to mount up to our personal bikes, that is how good this brake is. It has huge amounts of power, modulation, feedback, and is damn near impossible to overheat. The only downside we could think of is the weight at 300g and that they do not always play nice with SRAM AXS or Shimano shifters and dropper post levers on cluttered cockpits. It could take a bit of time to get your levers and shifters in a comfortable spot, but once you do, you will not have to move them again as all three sets of our test brakes have required exactly zero maintenance with well over 30,000 feet of descending on each set.
Price: $229 per brake
Weight: 300g without rotor