Aaron Gwin's Brake

TRP Quadiem G-Spec Brakes

Words Cam McRae
Photos Cam McRae
Date Sep 19, 2017

It seemed to many of us that TRP brakes came out of nowhere. All of a sudden the best downhiller racer in the world was on a brake brand nobody had heard of. The way the guys at TRP tell it Aaron was trying a bunch of different brakes as he was going on his own and setting up his own program and, after asking for a few modifications, Aaron chose the TRP G-Spec Quadiem model. Knowing how business savvy Aaron Gwin is there was likely a dollar value attached to that choice. And considering he says he stands to earn a million US dollars this year, it was likely more than the average American makes from January to December.


Four pistons that will make you go fast. 

There's no point being cynical about it though because without brakes that perform at the very highest level you aren't going to bang off a world cup top 20, let alone win the overall twice in a row. Since he's been running TRP brakes the lowest Aaron Gwin has finished in the overall is... 1st. 


TRD's relationship with Tektro was explained to us as akin to AMG vs. Mercedes. Which makes G-Spec TRP's Maybach. There is a lower model Quadiem that is only cosmetically different from the G-Spec, as well as having a  machined rather than forged master cylinder, and it'll save you $50 an end for virtually identical performance.  

So who is TRP? They are Tektro's AMG; the brand the Taiwanese brand launched to distance themselves from brakes found sometimes found on department store bikes or high end bikes for big box retailers. Tektro will tell you they have the kind of output required to push volume and consistency, but they also have the expertise to make an elite level product. In fact almost every part on these brakes is made in house; including the rotors, finish and engraving. 


That translates as: Aaron Gwin's 17th prototype. If Aaron suggested a change TRP got to work right away. 

Dave at Tektro was quick to give credit to Gwin for the current state of the product. Aaron is fussy about his equipment and the first thing he did was make changes to every element of the lever. The hook, the surface of the blade and every curve. The current lever on the top two models is Gwin's lever. 


Aggressive riders are once again gravitating toward uncomrpomising stopping force over weight. These are DH calipers but they wouldn't be out of place on an all mountain bike aimed at burly contours. 

When most companies bring a new version of a product to market, like XT brakes or XX1 cranks, that product remains unchanged until the next iteration is released. Because of Tektro's size and manufacturing power, their brakes evolve constantly. If a refinement is proven it's immediately incorporated, the way software is supposed to work. 


The Slate T4 is TRP's lower-priced trail brake. At $119 an end this mineral oil-filled performance brake that is compatible with both Shimano I-spec and SRAM's Matchmaker system is a huge value, if it works as advertised. 

It turns out it's incredibly difficult to produce hydraulic disc brakes that perform well consistently. A dud set from the best manufacturers is not an infrequent occurrence and most of the best models from every brand have some sort of non-fatal flaw; overheating prematurely, failing to allow volume to adjust and accommodate pad wear, and the most frequent flaw of all, allowing air to enter the system fouling the bleed. If, despite all these common pitfalls, TRP has managed to make the jump to the top performance rung as seamlessly as it appears it's likely they could eventually be a market leader. 

TRP wants to send us some test product and we aren't quite sure what we'd like. The Quadiem, Gwin's model, has been tested by a few other publications but it would be interesting to see if they make mortals go faster as well. The Slate T4 appears to be incredibly good value so maybe that's the one?

Which would you like to see us test? Let us know and we'll pick one commenter to win a Stevie Smith sticker pack

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+2 Velocipedestrian Darryl Chereshkoff
Holger Baer  - Sept. 19, 2017, 2:41 a.m.

Very interessted in a long term review of the Slate T4.
If it as reliable as my Shimano BR- 675 and has a touch more power and better modulation, then I´m in!! :)


+1 Velocipedestrian
Ed Ward  - Sept. 19, 2017, 5:16 a.m.

Ya I think a full review of the Slate T4 being pushed to  the limits would be good.    Single crown bikes ridden on the trail and some bike parks runs seems to be in tuned with the current population of fun riders.      Its so Enduro now.


+1 Cam McRae
Logan Gocza  - Sept. 19, 2017, 5:17 a.m.

I would like to see how the Quadiem brakes stack up against the new Code brakes from SRAM or even the six piston brakes from Hope. Even on my trail bike I love powerful, aggressive brakes, and I think the TRPs look sweet.


+1 Agleck7
Aaron Mecham  - Sept. 19, 2017, 5:52 a.m.

I've been considering the Slate T4, so of course I would like to see those reviewed. But maybe they would be willing to send you some Quadiems and Slates to compare against each other.


Riley  - Sept. 19, 2017, 8:50 a.m.

How about testing the Quadiem on the front and the Slate on the rear haha


+1 Cam McRae
Cooper Quinn  - Sept. 19, 2017, 8:57 a.m.

Quadiem or Slate, for sure.


+1 Cam McRae
JT  - Sept. 19, 2017, 9:26 a.m.

I vote for the non-Gwin spec Slates, just to see how they line up bang for buck performance.


stinky_dan  - Sept. 19, 2017, 10:26 a.m.

Slate T4 as well !
I'm especially interested in how they compare to the Magura MT Trail as far as performance at this price point goes.


+1 Cam McRae
____Joel____  - Sept. 19, 2017, 10:47 a.m.

Quadiem please as I've been waiting for a review of them that I can trust!


+2 Cam McRae Velocipedestrian
jclaremt  - Sept. 19, 2017, 2:01 p.m.

Slate T4 please. Hell why don't you ask for both and give us a full feedback on the products


+2 Cam McRae Velocipedestrian
khai  - Sept. 19, 2017, 2:49 p.m.

If you can only get 1 set, then the Slate T4s would be better.  Components that most people have a shot at owning.  I'm sure the Quadiems are the bomb - but much like XTR (or Saint), they carry a very premium price tag.  In my mind the Slate T4s are Zee equivalents, and thus more affordable for most.  "Best of the best" is always fun to read about, but bang-for-buck is what most people eventually buy.


+1 Cam McRae
grambo  - Sept. 19, 2017, 3:43 p.m.

Quadiem G-Spec vs. Saint vs. new Codes on a DH bike please.

Include reliability, ease of bleeding, consistency of power, lever feel etc.


Doug Hamilton  - Sept. 19, 2017, 7:37 p.m.

TRP has been around for about a decade, mostly making high end brakes for triathlon and TT bikes. Great to see a new player in the disc brake market. Consistency is the biggest issue I have with brakes when you are really pushing them.


goose8  - Sept. 21, 2017, 11:50 a.m.

I too would like to see a review of the Slate T4's. I've run XTs, Guides, and Maguras and all of them are lacking in at least one way (modulation, reliability, squeal, etc.), but I don't want to drop a fortune to upgrade them without having some confidence that the replacement is up to the challenge of stopping me without sounding like a special effect out of a b-rated sci fi flick.


Darryl Chereshkoff  - Nov. 9, 2017, 1:53 p.m.



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