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REVIEW: Trickstuff Direttissima Brake

If you read through the description of the new Direttissima by Trickstuff on their homepage, you quickly realize that the Freiburgers are fully convinced of their product. When you talk to the creators of this eccentric brake, you will hear a fair bit of pride and joy, that resonates in the subtext of each word. All of that sound very convincing, but as the saying goes: “Trust is good, but control is better!”. That’s why we took the chance and have throughly tested the new and noble Direttissima brake from Trickstuff.

INTRODUCTION

With great expectations and a dose of impatience we waited for the package from Freiburg. When it finally arrived and we have freed the Direttissima from its pretty wooden box, we got enchanted to say the least. It was time to pause and appreciate the sheer beauty of that thing. We do not want to talk about love here, but the first sight was a real feast for the eyes. The brake levers and the calipers are completely machined from aluminum and look fantastic. Brake lever is relatively narrow, but the caliper with its four pistons looks massive. Nevertheless, our set with the kevlar hoses weighs only 492 g. The disc brake rotors (203 mm in front, 180 mm in the rear) weigh together another 341 g.

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There is not much to be said about the quality of workmanship, other than it is second to none. All parts of the brake handle and brake caliper are CNC machined from aluminum (7075 T6). You won’t find any flaws or imperfections, no sharp edges, no inaccurate curves. The contact surface of the lever is pleasantly smooth and without any holes or grooves.

In addition, the developers have put a lot of emphasis on the optimal lever ergonomics. Therefore, the Direttissima has a wide range of lever reach adjustment (measuring between 45-85 mm from the handlebar). This can be adjusted with a 2 mm Allen key. The free-stroke however, cannot be adjusted.

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Lever reach adjustment is done by a small Allen key.

Trickstuff relies on mineral oil. They use oil from Ferodo called Kryptonol, as it has a very high boiling point of about 250°C. It is also possible to use normal mineral oil (for example from Shimano) without any problem. To ensure that there is always enough oil for the automatic break pad adjustment, the Direttissima has been given a reservoir with 3 ml capacity.

A progressive brake power means, that four pistons made of stainless steel, bring as much power to the disc as possible, but at the same time make that power easy to dose. This is achieved by the toggle lever effect. In this case, a high pressure is generated by the long lever, while the lever’s stroke remains short. With this mechanism, disproportionately more force can be exerted with a low actuating force, which is noticeable especially in the last millimeter of the lever stroke.

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Our brake came in anodized orange. If you do not like it, you can get a completely black Direttissima or one of many other colorful combinations. There are a total of nine different colors to choose from: Black / Silver / Gray / Red / Blue / Cannondale Green / Gold / Trickstuff Orange / Purple.

The cost of the brake developed and produced in Germany is €880.00 for the complete system including the rotors and the matching adapters. If you do not need adapters and brake rotors, you can only buy the brake handles including calipers for €750.00. The Direttissima comes pre-bled and with the desired hose length. You can choose either Kevlar or steel braided hose.

SETTING UP

We mounted and tested the brakes on our Liteville 601. Installation of the complete brake system was fast and caused no surprises. The brake caliper is attached to the frame using post-mount standard. The brake lever is fixed to the handlebar with a rather narrow clamp, but it is also supported by a small tab which reclines on the bar for better rigidity. All in all, this construction takes a lot of space on the handlebars, which as a result compromise the positioning of the shift lever. At the beginning we have mounted the lever far-in (to be able to operate it with one finger) and the shifter far-out. This proved to be suboptimal, as we often unwillingly hit the shifter lever with a hand. Moving the shifter far-in, behind the brake handle, solved this problem, although it wasn’t perfect from the ergonomics point of view. Fortunately, Trickstuff offers an adapter for the most common shifters, with help of which you can minimize such dilemmas.

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Compromised position of the brake lever and shifter

The lever reach can be optimally adapted to the finger length and personal preference. This is done by using a small 2 mm Allen screw. In our opinion, the angle at which the screw is located on the lever is a bit awkward, since the Allen key could only be turned in small movements before the handlebars got in the way. To keep going, one have to fumble with the small screw and repeatedly reposition the key. Luckily this part of setting up doesn’t need to be done too often, so missing tool-free adjustment is not that that big issue. While setting up we noticed one cool thing which we really liked – adjusting the lever reach does’t affect its free stroke.

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ON THE TRAIL

The performance of the Direttissima can be described as very powerful and snappy. Supplied organic pads didn’t take long to bed-in. Only one finger was enough to develop the full power of the brake. Here, the toggle effect is really noticeable and delivers loads of stopping power at any instance. This was very welcoming especially on long and steep descents. Our previous reference brake, the Shimano Saint, is however in no way inferior to the Direttissima in terms of braking power.

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Stoppies – no problem!

Meanwhile, the dosing is unparalleled. Here, the developers from Trickstuff have managed something truly special. Power is one thing, but being able to control it is another thing and that is the great strength of the Direttissima. Stoppies in steep terrain with pivoting the rear-end or super precise braking are piece of cake. This is due to the reliable, slightly flexing bite point, which comes with a short lever stroke.

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Even on the super long or steep descents with dragging brake the Direttissima remained firm and predictable. We did not experience fading at any time. The 2.05 mm thick rotors and the brake calipers do a great job dispersing the heat.

We have tested it extensively for three months without any defects or issues. Also frequent installation and removal of the front wheel for transport didn’t have any bad influence. Calipers remained perfectly aligned and brake pad wear was reduced to minimum. Once pads are worn they can easily be replaced from the top of the caliper.

At the end of the test we did not see any need to re-bleed the Direttissima, however, if needed, it is not a rocket science. The bleed screws are very well positioned, so that the air finds its way out without any major obstacles in the levers and calipers. Screws are M4 (brake lever) and M5 (brake piston). Trickstuff is also offering a bleeding-kit (Heinzelmann) which consists of two matching syringes, tubes and valves.

CONCLUSION

The developers of Trickstuff have created a truly great brake and they are rightly very proud of it. The workmanship is first class. Visually, it is an absolute treat. The performance on the trail is superb and we are a bit sad that we have to give the Direttissima back.

Text: Philipp Kargel / Cycleholix.de Photos: Patrick Frech / Cycleholix.de.

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