Raicam are not yet a brand one might associate with mountain biking. The Italian company is located in Mondovì, Italy, where they have been manufacturing clutches, flywheels and torsional dampers as an OEM supplier to Aston Martin for many years. Now, they are set to apply their knowledge and experience of hydraulic systems to mountain bike brakes. Proudly set out on display at Eurobike were their prototype 2- and 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes for XC, Enduro and Downhill MTB. We take a closer look at these new mineral oil brakes.
Raicam Mountain Bike Brakes for XC, Enduro and DH
While mountain bike brakes may be new to Raicam, general braking and hydraulic systems are certainly not. Indeed, they have been an OE supplier of brakes and drivelines for the automotive industry and motorsport for decades. Their products are in widespread use today on the Fiat 500, and most notably on Aston Martin cars. Around two years ago, they set out to develop hydraulic disc brakes for mountain biking, the first editions of which were on display at Eurobike.
Raicam will enter the MTB market with 2- and 4-piston mineral oil brakes for XC, Enduro and DH, all of which have been developed in association with top-level Italian athletes, the names of whom cannot be released yet. These will be available to OEM partners, and to the aftermarket. Though no price list is available yet, a Raicam representative informed us they would not be quite as expensive as the top-of-the-range brakes from Trickstuff and the likes, but would still pack a very high performance. They will all be manufactured in Italy, so don’t expect to be able to complete on price with SRAM and Shimano who are manufacturing brakes in Asia.
There are three models. The highest performing brake is the RG, for Gravity applications like Enduro, DH and eMTB. This one will likely be the most expensive brake, and should appeal to riders looking to upgrade from the stock brakes. Next up is the RXO (or Cross Over) for Trail and Enduro. This is expected to come at a more affordable price point, and is aimed at OEM partners, but still capable of a high performance. Last but not least is the RXC, a 2-piston brake designed for cross-country and down-country applications where weight is a priority.
The Raicam RG brakes have a mono-block caliper design with a banjo connector, and both a 4-piston and 2-piston version will be available. Those can be paired with the RG lever that allows for both reach and free-stroke adjustment, so riders should be able to dial in the bite point to exactly where they feel it is most comfortable. The lever weighs a claimed 150g. The 2-piston caliper weighs a claimed 101g, an the 4-piston caliper 110g, both weighed without brake pads installed.
The RXO brake caliper is two-sided. It too will be available in 2- and 4-piston caliper options. The RXO lever loses the free-stroke adjustment, but retains the lever reach adjustment. Raicam say the RXO brake offers the best compromise between weight and stopping power. An RXO Cargo model is on its way, too.
The lightest option is the Raicam RXC. They say this one represents the pinnacle of their research in terms of weight saving and braking performance. This one is available in a 2-piston caliper only, weighing a claimed 78g without brake pads. The lever offers reach adjustment only and weighs a claimed 94g.
Across the line-up, the pistons are made of a proprietary polymer optimized for its heat management properties. We didn’t get too much information on the bleed process, only that it is said to be user-friendly.
For the launch, Raicam will partner with Galfer to offer complete mountain bike braking systems, having not yet developed their own brake pads and disc rotors.
Raicam were also showing their Integrated Handlebar wherein the brake’s master cylinder is tucked away inside the lumen of the bar. That leaves only the lever itself to busy the cockpit, making for a much cleaner set up.