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Thursday, 14 June 2012

Reader report - EE brakes

This was kindly contributed by James, he of the amazing SL4 with EPS

In the quest for something a little exotic on my new build, I asked Barry to source a set of EE brakes. With a few weeks of use under my belt, here are my thoughts.

First up the aesthetics. The EE brakes are available in silver and black, and both options have an industrial look about them. Personally I love the look, but you obviously have to happy to break up the homogeneity of a full groupset. If you are willing to do that, you will get some real performance enhancements.

For weight weenies, the brakes are light. Less than 200g including pads comes in below stock brakes. But it’s not the weight you feel in operation, the revelation is in their feel and performance.

Designed to be super stiff (hence the straight arms and articulation) these brakes have great absolute stopping power. Many reviewers compare the EE brake favourably to DA despite their lower weight. I used to run Campy Record brakes and the EE brakes are a significant step up in terms of power – they are at least one finger stronger.

More impressive, however, is the modulation. They are incredibly smooth and accurate giving a lot of sensitivity before finally dropping the anchor out. Again, a tangible step up over the stock brakes I had been running before.

I run them with SwissStop Yellow pads on Zipp 404s and SwissStop Green Flash Pro pads on my alu rims – in both dry and wet conditions these pads in combination with the EE brakes have been universally excellent.

I swap between training and race wheels on a regular basis and the chore of changing pads quickly becomes a real hassle. Fortunately, the pad holders on the EE brakes are another highlight. They fit Shimano compatible pads and secure them with a friction based channel and notch design. This provides for the easiest and quickest pad change I have come across. Pad removal can easily be done by hand and involves levering the rear of the pad out away from the holder, and pushing the remaining part of the pad still attached to the holder through the channel. This youtube video gives a pretty accurate demonstration:

The EE brakes have a large range of adjustment. Some of it comes during installation (for example you can fit shims between the pad holders and the brakes) and some of it is done in situ. I have played around with a few of the features. Adjusting pad height and angle is straight forward, taking in cable is equally easy either using the bolt or the adjuster barrel (which is also far better than Campy). One problem I have had in the past when swapping wheels is different rim widths which require a recentering of the brakes. With the EE brakes, the process is simple and accurate. Loosen a bolt behind the brake with a 4mm allen key, apply brakes at the brake lever until the pads lightly touch the rims, tighten the bolt.

All in all, the EE brakes offer that elusive quality – something that is both a bit exotic while also providing a significant performance benefit – something that can’t always be said of fancy bits of kit!

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