While those hydraulic road brakes won’t likely hit retail until 2011, Ashima’s PCB (Pan Cake Brakes) hydraulic mountain bike disc brakes are starting to ship now, which means they should hit U.S. retailers in early March.
The PCB is the world’s first pistonless hydraulic disc brakes, using pads mounted directly on diaphragm seals that move them toward the rotor.Ã‚Â This design allows for an extremely light package, with the entire set as pictured weighing just 308g (claimed).Ã‚Â This compares to 279g for Formula’s R1, 288g for SRAM’s Avid XX setup and 355g for Hayes’ Stroker Gram. (claimed weights are for front brake + lever, 160mm rotor).
So it’s light, but it’s not the lightest system on the market.Ã‚Â Couple that with the fact that it’s an entirely new design and it’s clear the performance and ease of maintenance are where they need to stand out, and Ashima claims the PCB is up to the task.Ã‚Â One-way fluid flow means they’re going to be easy to bleed (their designer says it’s a two-minute process once you know what you’re doing).Ã‚Â The pistonless design means fewer moving parts, and they claim the brakes are very durable.
As for performance, their launch was delayed nine months while engineers worked to increase the power, and Ashima claims their power is on par with top offerings from other brands.Ã‚Â The external fluid transfer (red tube) keeps helps with heat dissipation, too, keeping brake fade and pump in check. We’re scheduled to get a set to review in mid-February and will report back as soon as we’ve got a few rides on them.
Further down the pipeline, Ashima has a bigger, more powerful dual-stage hydraulic disc brake for more aggressive riding (photo after the break!).Ã‚Â Look for those to be formally introduced at Eurobike, which means they’ll probably hit stores early next year with the road brakes.
The forthcoming Ashima APVs four-piston, dual-stage hydraulic brakes will initially push two 14mm pistons for normal braking.Ã‚Â Squeeze into the “oh crap” zone and larger 22mm pistons swing into action and save the day.