Under Test: Selle SMP Saddles

SMP Plus

Selle SMP offers some of the most distinctive-looking saddles around. Whether it’s the eagle-beak nose, open central channel, or raised rear section, the Italian-made perches definitely stand out in the crowded saddle market. And with nearly twenty models–not counting their city and trekking line–there’s bound to be a saddle for nearly any type of rider (we chose the company’s Avant (269mm x 154mm), Plus (279mm x 159mm, pictured), and Pro (278mm x 148mm) for our test).

Stay tuned…

Under Test: MKS Prototype Clipless Pedals

IMG_8332

Based on MKS‘ US-B (Urban Step-In B) pedals, these prototype pedals feature composite add-ons designed to aid entry and clipping in. And like the company’s US-B clipless pedals, the prototypes utilize lightweight resin bodies and triple-sealed bearings. The (included) premium brass cleats are Time ATAC-compatible, and can be configured for 12° or 15° release.

Stay tuned…

First Impressions: TRP RG957 Brakes

TRP is widely known for their gravel-friendly cantilever and linear-pull brakes, but the company also offers a wide range of high-performance caliper brakes. One model–the RG957–combines long-reach compatibility with modern aesthetics for a brake that’s equally at home on paved or unpaved roads.

TRP_RG957_Front

Plenty of clearance with 30mm (actual width) tires and 25mm rims.

The RG957 ($179.99 MSRP) brakes share many of the features found on TRP’s other road calipers, including forged-and-machined aluminum arms, stainless steel hardware, Teflon® bushings, and inplace adjustable pad holders. At 170g per-caliper, the RG957s are on par with 47mm-57mm reach brakes from Shimano and Velo Orange. TRP offers the brakes in three finishes: matte grey (which we tested), matte black, and polished silver.

Installing the RG957 brakes is just what you’d expect with dual-pivot sidepulls–quick and easy. The brakes’ fittings take standard tools, and the cable adjusters are easily operated with one hand (even while riding). Despite repeatedly switching between rims of various widths, the brakes always remained in adjustment. TRP’s deep drop calipers cleared 32mm cross-type knobbies with room to spare, and accommodated full-size fenders with narrower (25-28mm) tires.

TRP_RG957_Rear

The RG957’s in-place holders offer easy adjustment and pad replacement.

Paired with modern integrated levers (we used SRAM‘s Force 22 and new Rival 22 controls), the RG957s deliver powerful braking with a mildly progressive feel. Whether braking from the hoods or the drops, modulating the long-reach TRP stoppers was predictable and consistent. Part of the credit goes to TRP’s alloy rim compound brake pads. The RG957’s pads required virtually no breaking in, and remained quiet during our test period. The pads’ wet weather performance was better than expected, with little difference in power in wet or dry conditions.

Some riders may scoff at the thought of using sidepulls for off-road use, but we found that the RG957s actually outperformed many cantilever and linear-pull brakes. Not once did we find ourselves wishing for more braking power when riding dirt and gravel aboard bikes equipped with 25mm-32mm tires. Discs and v-brakes may work better for larger, more aggressive tires, but for road-style tires, the TRPs proved more than adequate. If you’re building up an all-roads bike that requires 47mm-57mm brakes, the RG957 should definitely be on your short list for consideration.

Disclosure: TRP provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.