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Hailing from Korea, Outbraker has created an inline power adjuster for hydraulic disc brakes that lets you set the limit as to how much rotor they’ll grab.

The device plugs into the brake hose, either directly at the lever or anywhere in between it and the caliper, and adds a cut-off valve that limits how much pressure is sent to the caliper. While they were mum on how exactly it worked, we asked another brake brand to speculate and the consensus it that works as a secondary master cylinder that limits the hydraulic pressure by closing off a check valve at some point between 0% and 100%. That point is user adjustable, letting you find the sweet spot of powerful braking without locking up the front wheel…

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A spring loaded valve is pushed toward a port inside the Outbraker’s piping. Once the valve covers the port that flows fluid down the line toward the caliper, the system is closed and the pressure remains constant until you let off the lever. So, no matter how hard you grab the lever beyond that point, braking force won’t increase.

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The limit is set with a special 5-sided “hex” key. The entire body (colored blue on this one) can swivel, allowing the brake hose to move freely with the bike and suspension movement.

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Normal hose hardware is used to run the device inline on the brake hose.

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The five-sided allen key means your friends can’t take their mini-tool and screw with your braking power when you’re not looking.

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These gauges show the difference in pressure before the valve and after, with the higher pressure being what’s coming from squeezing the lever really hard, and the lower one (bottom right) being the static brake pressure maintained at any point past where the limit was set.

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It’s designed to work for road bikes and mountain bikes, and works with DOT fluid or mineral oil equally well. Unit weight is just 39g, and it’s meant for front brakes only and primarily to prevent endos.

While performance riders may not flock to such a device, the potential for casual riders, commuters and newbies to have what’s effectively an antilock braking device is very good. It works exactly as advertised, something I tested on a short loop with many, many attempts to brake extremely hard. The range of adjustment is whole, allowing you to set it exactly how you want it. They recommend putting it somewhere around the 80-90% range for solid braking performance just shy of wheel lock, but it really does let you set it anywhere you want. For the right rider, it’s an impressively simple but effective piece of hardware.

Outbraker.com

 

50 COMMENTS

  1. Another gadget in the category “things the world really doesn’t need”
    Would also fit in the category “solving a non existent problem”

    As the point (brake pressure) where your wheels block is strongly dependent on surface condition, there is no way it will ever make sense to just limit your brake power.

  2. This is essentially the same as the “brake power modulator” used on cheap V-brakes, right? Reducing max braking power so that those who don’t practise hard braking avoid endos. Could make sense for some commuter and city bikes.

    Practise would be best of course. But if you’re going to limit your braking power, then it seems better to use one of those single lever front-rear coupled systems where front brake pressure is reduced when the rear wheel locks (because that might mean it has left the ground). But then again, you’re reduced to a single lever, no backup – unsafe and illegal some places.

  3. That “gadget” brought to memory my first car ABS system. When i pushed the brake pedal hard it started bumping under the foot due to the (not soft) braking power modulation.
    So did the weels! Whit small “stops and go” until the car stopped completley
    Can i have that feeling in my brake lever please!!

  4. “The five-sided allen key means your friends can’t take their mini-tool and screw with your braking power when you’re not looking.”

    Of course all my friends want to do that !
    This pecific tool is a stupid choice

  5. “While performance riders may not flock to such a device, the potential for casual riders, commuters and newbies to have what’s effectively an antilock braking device is very good.”

    How many ‘casual riders and newbies’ will ever learn of or be interested in spending the money on this device? Seems like mainly enthusiast level riders will be determining if this product sinks or swims.

  6. @Dave – my thoughts exactly.

    And, newbie’s don’t endo due to excessive brake force. They endo due to poor positioning while braking, with a resultant endo happening with relatively little force. Just lifting the rear wheel while sitting in a normal riding position requires braking harder than most will ever do.

  7. Calling this “effectively an antilock braking device” shows complete ignorance of what antilock brake systems are and how they operate.

    Also, “The five-sided allen key means your friends can’t take their mini-tool and screw with your braking power when you’re not looking.” … wow. If someone is messing around with your brakes, they are NOT your friends.

  8. So, nobody here thought they might offer and a brake bias solution? I usually brake almost (almost is almost) with both brakes with almost the same finger-force (:D), but rly need rear:front ratio of 65:35

  9. Most people do need a weaker rear brake…which they could achieve with a smaller rotor, except that those same people tend to ride the read brake, overheating it.

    Anyway, wake me when someone comes up with a brake that’s DH-strong with 29er-sized wheels.

  10. Let’s take an already pristine system–a set of Shimano XTR Trail brakes, for example–and modify it using a component by an unknown, off-the-shelf vendor, whose track record is unknown.

    Reminds me of a thread I’m reading on an MTB forum in which dudes are second-guessing decisions made by rooms full on engineers, and altering pivot link geometry, wheel sizes, tube angles, all for the sake of having something to annoy us all about at the trailhead. Like those people at cocktail parties who have to let everyone know that they don’t watch TV; and if they do watch TV, yell loudly, “WHAT, you haven’t seen The Wire?! OH MY GOD.”

  11. It’s not every day that everyone agrees in the comments.
    When has anyone complained that their brakes have to much power?
    People are usually complaining that certain brakes don’t have enough.
    They have created a solution for the problem of “I don’t know how to ride my bike or use my brakes”

  12. They could achieve similar results by putting some type of limit screw behind the brake lever that would prevent you from pulling on the lever too much. And you could adjust it by screwing/unscrewing. More elegant, and would cost like $5.

  13. Francois – just cement a few tacks to the lever. The pain inflicted keeps the user from braking too hard while establishing a sub conscious muscle memory to reduce pain when braking.

  14. Nice jokes, but I still can’t see the reason why we don’t have brake bias on the bicycles. Of course, I’m talking for a normal to dh riders – where rider-bicycle’s center mass is closer to the rear wheel, contrary to (extreme aero) roadies

  15. Contrary to the comments, I actually see a place for this. It would have to be O.E., and on basic hybrids n such. Hydro discs are trickling down the line. Lots of bikes still come with a “power modulator” inline spring for the front V-brake, and as much as I hate them, they make sense for their target audience.
    Like the “power modulator”spring, however, I’d have if so that at the set point, power still goes up as you squeeze the lever, just at a much reduced rate.

  16. meh – Brake bias is typically needed when one controls the brakes of two different circuits from one point (i.e. the F/R brakes on your car are controlled by 1 pedal). And its typically only used to tune a system that has been differentially designed in the first place (i.e. smaller disc at the rear of your car) On a bike, brake bias is accomplished via the rider as one has a separate lever for each brake. How would you bias separate systems other than just making one weaker via smaller caliper/pads and/or smaller disc.

  17. JBikes, show me a style where we NEED to operate 2 brake levers all the time, not one lever-two brakes. DH? MTB? AM/Enduro?

    In fact proper brake balance gives more control and traction, especially on motors. The ratio should be always based of weight distribution, in the bicycles the heaviest part is the rider with higher center of mass and it’s not good to control it leaving all pressure on the front brake. Also I highly doubt that riders use their front brake while removing a debris from the face. Mistakes like this one lead to a beautiful faceplants (or worse injuries)

  18. ONLY if they also offer a hose splitter for single lever dual brake actuation would this make any sense to me.

    Would be great for bike polo and one handed athletes, and allow easy control of front / rear brake engagement.

    Otherwise pretty useless, just get a feel for your brakes. I switch between XT’s and mini v’s and I’m happy.

  19. meh – I didn’t really understand that. Are you saying you want a single brake lever with a bias front to rear? Yeah, that is easily doable. Some motorcycles have it (see Honda VFR). IMO, it is not hugely beneficial to a bicycle, and it is not without downsides either.

  20. JBikes – It depends. Do you think all riders can make the best use of Front/rear brake at all times? A lot of motorcycle riders said as just same like you when “one lever two brakes system” was released on motorcycles at first. But it’s going to be mandatory in some countries such as Brazil.

  21. I can see a use for a switch/lever that you can set to wet/dry according to the road surface, and which, when in wet mode, gives more modulation/lowers the braking force curve at the higher forces. Naturally you would be able to operate the switch/lever while you were going along.

  22. Shawn, on my motorcycle (Honda VFR800), braking distribution needs tends to remain more consistent as I tend to be one position during braking (seated) and my moto weighs some 500+lbs.
    On my bike, I am the predominant weight and I move around a lot depending if I’m on flats or descending, also vary position for turning, terrain, etc (blah blah blah, I’m sure you know/do this) My F/R braking varies quite a bit depending on what I want to do and what I am doing.

    I could see the advantage for something like an strict commuter bike, but that is about it.
    On my motorcycle, about the only downside I have is that its hard to set suspension coming into a turn using rear brake only (I do track mine) since I get some link front braking with it. But that is probably a rare need/desire for a lot of motorcycle riders out there.

  23. JBike – i pretty know well it sometimes makes people like you annoying. But for scooters such as Kymco, Sym, people love that much now.
    You know, a number of people in Denmark, Taiwan ride bicycles for living and the brake trend is changing to hydraulic. Are you going to ask all of them to practise?

  24. JBikes – I meant exactly that. As an average Joe The Rider I prefer to have proper ratio even on a bicycle. And less levers to operate. If you ask me the only reason to have two levers is that you’re on a two-wheeler with open construction and that means doubling the input for the braking system gives more safety (yes, more is very very subjectively). There’s a problem maybe – hose/caliper fail must close this defective line so we still have proper functioning of the whole system.

  25. Jbikes and meh, my comment about a single lever system was for special paraathlete application, like my buddy who rides trails with only one hand capable of actuating controls. He rode with a single brake for ages, now has two brake levers actuated by different fingers.

    Most riders just need to learn how to brake.

  26. Shawn – not annoying at all. I think you confuse my dislike for linked brakes in certain applications, for a dislike of link brakes in all applications.

  27. And you don’t even need to go hydraulic
    http://problemsolversbike.com/products/double_barrel_brake_levers

    I sure someone that has a handicap or missing an arm/hand has already rigged up a proportioned valve hydraulic system. It would be simple outside the need for a larger master cylinder on your lever (and this may not really even be necessary if you mixed and matched components correctly) Motorcycle proportioning valves are already out there and relatively small.

  28. This re-applied technology. This same design is used on industrial lubrication systems to keep from blowing out seals and overlubricating when grease or oil beaing applied. I’m surprized it hadn’t been applied to something like this before.

  29. What a load of crap,now I’ve never pressed a front brake with so much force I’ve been flipped over my bars now if you can’t brake properly then you shouldn’t be riding a bike,the only use for this would be if u could link brakes to help people with the use of only one hand otherwise what’s the point.
    Pretty much a Useless product

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