Written by Ed 650Braley
Thursday, 11 January 2007 04:00
Product Reviews -
Bikeman's Product Testing
The R556 caliper is a familiar looking brake. It's based on the dual pivot technology that we've seen in use for about 15 years now, ever since Shimano released the 105SC dual pivot caliper in the early '90s. The R556 has the kind of strong, progressive, stopping power and good modulation that makes dual pivot brakes so popular, and it is designed to work well with today's aero brake levers, including the STI and Ergo variants.
What makes this new brake unique is the amount of reach, or range of distance, that the caliper can span from the mounting bolt to the rim. The Tektro R556
has a whopping 73mm reach capacity, and it can be set as close as 55mm. The space between the caliper arms is also generous, and well rounded. These two attributes combine to make the R556 caliper an ideal brake for use with wide tires and fenders on bikes that have the capacity for such things.
Typically, bikes intended to fit big tires and fenders are designed for v-brakes, cantilevers, or more recently - disc brakes. All of these braking systems are more complicated for the bicycle manufacturers because they require some combination of canti bosses, disc tabs, cable hangers, etc. And the placement of the frame fitments is critical. This new 73mm reach dual pivot can allow the use of big tires and fenders, while preserving the simplicity of the caliper brake. The installation and setup is simple, too.
The R556 caliper pairs are available in the aftermarket for people who want to upgrade older bikes, or do wheel conversions. This is where the R556 enables something which was difficult before. With the 73mm reach of the R556 brake, it is easy to configure a strong, lightweight braking system on a 650B converted 700C bike which was originally configured with recessed nut attached caliper brakes. You may have seen the Trek 1200C and Trek Pilot 2.1 650B conversions in my
. The R556 calipers look right and provide high performance braking for these all-roads, rough-stuff machines. Similarly, this brake could enable someone to convert a 650C wheeled bike to 26inch wheels, allowing the bike to fit 1.5inch tires and fenders, for example.