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Upgrade Tektro Axis Brakes?

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Upgrade Tektro Axis Brakes?

Old 10-15-18, 09:43 PM
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radroad
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Upgrade Tektro Axis Brakes?

These are functional, but mediocre brakes. They get the job done but require a fair bit of hand pressure. Would a move up to 105 or Ultegra make a noticeable difference?

This video is probably indicative of the type of problem I am having with my tektro brakes:


Last edited by radroad; 10-15-18 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 10-16-18, 09:23 AM
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Good brake pads will help some, and cost far less than new calipers.

BXP | SwissStop

I have Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 calipers on one of my bikes, and they flex a little under heavy effort. Not as much as those Tektro callipers, but it's hard to say how much effort was used in the video.

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Old 10-16-18, 09:40 AM
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Good cable housings will also help a lot. Posted about this in another thread but I switched from Jagwire's "pro" compressionless housings to their entry level stuff to save $$$, and unless I'm crazy it has significantly impacted the braking performance with the same calipers/pads (Apex/105).
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Old 10-16-18, 11:18 AM
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I agree pad and cables will make a difference. But I've had a few sets of cheap Tektro calipers and they still suck compared to Shimano brakes. I have had 6800, 6700, 5800 and 5700 brakes on different bikes (as well as some older stuff) and they are all much better then Tektro in my experience. Currently I have a bike with 4700 and their no noticeable performance difference from 105 or Ultegra so I'd consider those as well. You can get a set of 4700 calipers for around $50 from UK retailers or maybe less on ebay if you are patient. Swissstop pads are about $25 and you still have weaker calipers
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Old 10-16-18, 11:32 AM
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As mentioned - pads and housing will make the most difference but you can't fully polish a turd. Nice brakes are nice for a reason. Go to a shop and feel the action on a display bike with nice brakes. Then buy some. Hey - maybe even from the shop. *just sayin.
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Old 10-16-18, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
I agree pad and cables will make a difference. But I've had a few sets of cheap Tektro calipers and they still suck compared to Shimano brakes. I have had 6800, 6700, 5800 and 5700 brakes on different bikes (as well as some older stuff) and they are all much better then Tektro in my experience. Currently I have a bike with 4700 and their no noticeable performance difference from 105 or Ultegra so I'd consider those as well. You can get a set of 4700 calipers for around $50 from UK retailers or maybe less on ebay if you are patient. Swissstop pads are about $25 and you still have weaker calipers
Interesting. I checked 4700 vs 5800 caliper prices and the price is the same. I am ruling out ultra 6800's since they can only accept a 25mm tire and I would like to try 28mm eventually.
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Old 10-16-18, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by radroad View Post
Interesting. I checked 4700 vs 5800 caliper prices and the price is the same. I am ruling out ultra 6800's since they can only accept a 25mm tire and I would like to try 28mm eventually.
I had 700x28 tires on a bike with 6800 brakes an had no problem. But not every 28mm tire is created equal
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Old 10-16-18, 07:14 PM
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Friends don't let friends ride tektro.
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Old 10-16-18, 09:10 PM
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I had Axis brakes on my Roubaix and went with 105's about 3 months ago. I have no regrets. The design and mechanism is a much better with the 105. Very limited play at maximum brake pull.

Is there a stopping difference between the two? Probably, but I haven't had a situation where I had to lock up the brakes yet. I will say, if a car pulled out in front of me, I would be thankful for the 105's as a couple feet in a shorter stopping distance might mean the difference between an accident and a serious accident. Yes, do the swap.
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Old 10-16-18, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Nachoman View Post
Friends don't let friends ride tektro.
Yea. I just got some old SRAM Reds and they're a step up from the Force I was using. Less slop, better bite, and more modulation because the arms are much stiffer.
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Old 10-17-18, 06:10 PM
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There are a couple of ways you could look at it...

The simple way is that if you have a dual pivot on the front, of pretty much any variety, then you have enough brake to lock up both wheels (it'd have to be a truly execrable unit to fail that test on the rear), and as long as you can hold the back wheel just off the ground in an emergency stop, you have all the modulation you need.

The other way is that when it comes to brakes, it's easy to justify a standard of excellence.
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Old 10-18-18, 11:17 PM
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I have tektro brakes on one bike and 105 brakes on the other. Both have swissstop brake pads. There is a noticeable difference between the stopping power of the brakes.
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Old 10-19-18, 07:42 AM
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You WILL notice quite a difference with the 105 ones. I had a 2012 Orbea with their own branded brakes that were by far the worst brakes I've had.

I put some Kool Stop pads on them and they did brake better but lots of force keep being wasted on the caliper flexion.

With the ultegra ones I use now and same pads I can brake like on half of the distance.

If you are not sure about it, get the front 105 caliper, which is the most important one.
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Old 10-19-18, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
There are a couple of ways you could look at it...

The simple way is that if you have a dual pivot on the front, of pretty much any variety, then you have enough brake to lock up both wheels (it'd have to be a truly execrable unit to fail that test on the rear), and as long as you can hold the back wheel just off the ground in an emergency stop, you have all the modulation you need.

The other way is that when it comes to brakes, it's easy to justify a standard of excellence.
Agreed. Pretty much any brake can lock up a wheel. But the important thing is how easy are the brakes to use? This always gets argued back and forth in the C/V forum. Sure, there are plenty of front brakes of the old variety (ie..exposed housing, non brifter, from the 60s and 70s) that will lock up your front wheel. The maximum braking force is more than sufficient. But it isn't, not really. Because the maximum braking force requires you to be in the drops, with your whole hand clamped around the lever. A position virtually nobody is going to be riding in most of the time. So what really matters is braking force under normal riding circumstances, with minimul/zero warning. And on those old school brakes, the available braking force under normal riding conditions was ~0%. Because your hands weren't even on the brakes, or near them for that matter. Unless you had the chicken wing levers, and would be scorned into quitting cycling altogether.

The same thing applies to more modern brakes. If you have brakes that require less force to produce more stopping power, they're better/safer than ones that don't even if both can lock up the wheels. Because 90% of the time you're going to be covering the brake with a finger or 2, and one brake will require you to shift your hand, and THEN apply force required to stop as quickly as possible, while one will already be applying that force.
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Old 10-19-18, 02:27 PM
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I got a spec road bike last year with a 105 group set. Had the Tektro brakes installed from factory as well. I too thought they were "OK" and I put new pads in and that helped but still were just good.

I gave in and put Ultegra calipers on. I didn't get the 105 simply because the color of the grey Ultegra looked better on the bike. Anyways the cost was around $75 total for both. WELL WORTH THE COST. The Ultegra brakes are way better, just felt better. Glad I changed, if you got the spare cash its worth it.

Its already been stated but if your tight on funds, or just not sure just get the front changed. That is the important end of the braking system.
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Old 10-19-18, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by sdmc530 View Post
I got a spec road bike last year with a 105 group set. Had the Tektro brakes installed from factory as well. I too thought they were "OK" and I put new pads in and that helped but still were just good.

I gave in and put Ultegra calipers on. I didn't get the 105 simply because the color of the grey Ultegra looked better on the bike. Anyways the cost was around $75 total for both. WELL WORTH THE COST. The Ultegra brakes are way better, just felt better. Glad I changed, if you got the spare cash its worth it.

Its already been stated but if your tight on funds, or just not sure just get the front changed. That is the important end of the braking system.
That's an amazing price! Mind sharing the vendor here or via pm? I'm assuming those were 6800's. Again, if the 6800's can fit 28's, nice.
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Old 10-19-18, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Abe_Froman View Post
Agreed. Pretty much any brake can lock up a wheel. But the important thing is how easy are the brakes to use? This always gets argued back and forth in the C/V forum. Sure, there are plenty of front brakes of the old variety (ie..exposed housing, non brifter, from the 60s and 70s) that will lock up your front wheel.
If we're talking about dry pavement, it should be extraordinarily difficult if not impossible to lock up your front wheel, regardless of the type of brake. Braking pitches your weight forward, which increases the traction out front. Even if you brake so hard that the rear wheel lifts off the ground, the front tire should not skid. A tire would have to have incredibly poor traction for this not to be the case.
(Wet weather and other surfaces are of course a different matter.)

As far as the old brakes go, it's complicated.

The old "non-aero" brake levers (with exposed housing out the top of the hood) are geometrically similar to flat-bar brake levers. When used from the drops, they work pretty much the same as a flat-bar brake lever, and arguably even have a slight advantage over modern "aero" levers in that the cable routing has fewer sharp bends.
The quirk is that, if you're in the hoods, the lever's pivot position is in line with your palms. So in order to get brake leverage, you have to "push down" on the lever as much as squeeze, which is ergonomically weird and reduces braking force.

The brakes themselves vary a lot in effectiveness. The average single-pivot caliper was designed with a pretty low mechanical advantage (perhaps to compensate for their sloppy centering adjustment?), and was somewhat spongy. Decent brakes did exist - their development having been triggered by gravel and tandem scenes in the mid-20th century - but are unfortunately not the norm on existing vintage road bikes. A well-adjusted 1950s Mafac Racer with good housing and pads is still a pretty good brake today, but you're much more likely to come across a 1980s Dia-Compe G.

Because the maximum braking force requires you to be in the drops, with your whole hand clamped around the lever. A position virtually nobody is going to be riding in most of the time. So what really matters is braking force under normal riding circumstances, with minimul/zero warning. And on those old school brakes, the available braking force under normal riding conditions was ~0%. Because your hands weren't even on the brakes, or near them for that matter. Unless you had the chicken wing levers, and would be scorned into quitting cycling altogether.
???

Just like modern road bikes, most roadies didn't spend a bunch of time on the tops on their vintage bikes. Some people liked them on climbs, sure, just like some roadies still do today. But if the tops were a "main" hand position that you were sitting in at times when panic braking might be merited, then there was a serious problem with the bike fit.

Turkey levers (and stem shifters) weren't addressing a need that roadies had, they were addressing the Bike Boom problem of how to sell slammed "racing"-style "10-speeds" to people who should have been riding a less aggressive bike.
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Old 10-19-18, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by radroad View Post
That's an amazing price! Mind sharing the vendor here or via pm? I'm assuming those were 6800's. Again, if the 6800's can fit 28's, nice.

dont mind at all. Was chain reaction. They are still on sale for 40/35 there abouts.

They fit 28s because its what i run on my rear wheel. But you have to let some air out to remove the wheel but there is just enough clearance to be ok.

https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/m.../rp-prod108683
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Old 10-19-18, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
I agree pad and cables will make a difference. But I've had a few sets of cheap Tektro calipers and they still suck compared to Shimano brakes. I have had 6800, 6700, 5800 and 5700 brakes on different bikes (as well as some older stuff) and they are all much better then Tektro in my experience. Currently I have a bike with 4700 and their no noticeable performance difference from 105 or Ultegra so I'd consider those as well. You can get a set of 4700 calipers for around $50 from UK retailers or maybe less on ebay if you are patient. Swissstop pads are about $25 and you still have weaker calipers
Perfect summary.
Out with Tektro. Would replace with 105 or...I personally prefer late model Ultegra dual caliper which are fantastic. Only rub forgive the pun on the Ultegra brakes is...when contaminated they get bound up. Easy to clean. Vat of sudsy water and toothbrush...scub, rinse, dry, relube and off you go.
Love Shimano brakes and even run them on Campy bikes.
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Old 10-19-18, 05:59 PM
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I had Tektro dual pivots, but my bike was a true full 105 groupset minus the calipers, so I upgraded to 5800 105 so I could have a truly full 105 bike. I have no regrets, they do work better.
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Old 10-19-18, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post

Turkey levers (and stem shifters) weren't addressing a need that roadies had, they were addressing the Bike Boom problem of how to sell slammed "racing"-style "10-speeds" to people who should have been riding a less aggressive bike.
I was trying to say that people didn't ride the old school bikes in the hooks, with their hands covering the brakes. That would be ridiculously uncomfortable. Sure people rode the drops...but a normal hand position in the drops still puts you a good 6" away from the brakes. YOu need to either move your hands, or at least contort your wrists a bit before applying serious braking. However...people DO ride modern bikes on the hoods while covering the brakes for miles on end. The second scenario is much safer and results in faster stopping.
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Old 10-20-18, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
If we're talking about dry pavement, it should be extraordinarily difficult if not impossible to lock up your front wheel, regardless of the type of brake.
Yeah nah, that's called a faceplant. Grab a good front brake hard enough, and the wheel will stop moving through the fork. You can probably skid the front in the dry on a tandem... come to think of it, I used to do it on a cargo bike sometimes.

Just like modern road bikes, most roadies didn't spend a bunch of time on the tops on their vintage bikes. Some people liked them on climbs, sure, just like some roadies still do today. But if the tops were a "main" hand position that you were sitting in at times when panic braking might be merited, then there was a serious problem with the bike fit.
The fact that aero levers work from the hoods means that can be a main position. With my slammed 17 degree stem it's probably about as aero as being in the drops on a lot of bikes...
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Old 04-26-21, 12:32 AM
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I had the same conundrum on my Specialized Allez Elite 2019. The only advantage Tektro Axis has over r7000 105 calipers is ~30g weight advantage, so I can see why Specialized choose this aside from cost. The Allez isn't exactly a light bike. But after trying out 6800 on similar routes with steep fast descents and in the rain I knew then the Tektro didn't inspire much confidence. Ultegra components where I live have ridiculously inflated price since the pandemic, so I went for the next best thing : 105. Now my ride has full 105, except for the Praxis Works Alba cranks, which looks nicer.
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Old 04-27-21, 08:32 PM
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1000% yes. I rode the Tektro for two rides before I went 105 and there is a significant difference in power and feel.
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Old 04-27-21, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by radroad View Post
Interesting. I checked 4700 vs 5800 caliper prices and the price is the same. I am ruling out ultra 6800's since they can only accept a 25mm tire and I would like to try 28mm eventually.
Not true. I have 28mm's on my Kestrel 1000 w/ Ultegra 6800 rim brakes.
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