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Unboxed & Weighed: Rever MCX1 dual piston mechanical disc brakes – plus first ride impressions

Rever MCX1 mechanical disc brake dual sided pad movement details actual weights and first impressions
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Designed around short pull levers for road and cyclocross use, the Rever MCX1 mechanical disc brake debuted officially at Sea Otter as only the second real option for anyone wanted both brake pads to move without going hydraulic.

Our test set arrived in two very beautiful boxes, complete with everything you’d need to install them on any disc-brake ready bike, from cables to bolts to adapters and more. And that’s part of their pitch: race-ready brakes in a box, just install and go, no need to dig around your own parts bin or head to the store for any adapters. As such, installation was easy once things were all playing nicely together. I used the cables and housing already on my bike since the World’s Funnest Bike is still fairly fresh, but some other parts created an issue that delayed my first ride by a day. Once that was resolved, it was off for a first ride…

Rever MCX1 mechanical disc brake dual sided pad movement details actual weights and first impressions

The internal packaging is just as nice as the external presentation. Depending on how many upgrades you’ve done over the years, the brake mount adapters and mini L-shaped Torx wrench can start to resemble all the cheap USB cables that come with every electronics device these days, just filling drawers. But for those without them, the Rever philosophy really does make for a one purchase solution. Just pick the box with the desired rotor size and you have everything you need…except cable cutters. And please, get yourself some real cable cutters.

Rever MCX1 mechanical disc brake dual sided pad movement details actual weights and first impressions

Contents are printed on the outside of the box. Cable housing ends, inline barrel adjuster and frame protecters are all in the box. The calipers have a built-in barrel adjuster, too, so you won’t need to install the inline one if you’re just getting started on home repairs and installs.

Rever MCX1 mechanical disc brake dual sided pad movement details actual weights and first impressions

The caliper comes in at 165g, 160mm rotor at 138g and full length cable and housing at 116. You definitely will not need the entire length.

Rever MCX1 mechanical disc brake dual sided pad movement details actual weights and first impressions

Six rotor bolts are 12g, caliper mounting bolts for putting it into direct frame mounts are 11g. The mounts and adapters are 13g and 16g each.

Rever MCX1 mechanical disc brake dual sided pad movement details actual weights and first impressions

The caliper mixes black and polished “storm” gray that should match up with both SRAM and Shimano parts.

Rever MCX1 mechanical disc brake dual sided pad movement details actual weights and first impressions rever-mcx1-mechanical-disc-brake-detail-photos-04

Semi-metallic brake pads are top loading and secured by a small bolt. They’re also independently adjustable to help center them on the rotor, but they come out of the box positioned in their outermost setting, so you’re better off getting the caliper properly positioned manually then using them to fine tune than following the included instructions to the letter. Why? Because if the pad is initially too close to the rotor, you can’t back it out to add space.

Rever MCX1 mechanical disc brake dual sided pad movement details actual weights and first impressions

The pad adjustments are made using a 3mm allen wrench slide deep inside the cover, which is removable using a 4mm allen wrench…which can be a little confusing at first.

SETUP & FIRST RIDES

rever-mcx1-mechanical-disc-brake-spoke-interference-02

The World’s Funnest Bike was set up with Crank Brothers Cobalt 3 wheels, which use a split spoke that places a fatter part at the bottom. Whether it was this extra girth or just the fact that the spoke flanges are set wide on these wheels, the result was that the caliper made contact with them. So, in the unlikely event you’re running Crank Brothers mountain bike wheels on a road or ‘cross bike, these probably aren’t compatible.

So, after setting up another set of wheels (Reynolds Stratus Pro) with cyclocross tires and remounting the rotors, I was back in business.

It’s not shown, but these were setup using the TRP levers that ship as part of the Gevenalle friction shifter system.

Rever MCX1 mechanical disc brake dual sided pad movement details actual weights and first impressions

From there on, installation and setup was quick and easy. The calipers stayed in place while tightening the mounting bolts, which is a massive plus. All too often, particularly on the front and on carbon forks, the caliper will shift as the bolts are tightened, which is (from my own estimation) often the result of imperfectly faced mounts, which requires filing, occasionally washer(s) and cursing to fix. But I digress…

One install note worth mentioning: I used a third hand cable puller/holder at the port behind the barrel adjuster to pull the cable tight, then clamped down the cable bolt. As was, there were maybe 5-7mm of “free stroke” that the cable could pull without affecting the lever. This made for a very sloppy lever feel. My solution was to loosen the cable bolt, push the lever arm on the caliper forward a bit and retighten it. This took up the slack mostly…

Rever MCX1 mechanical disc brake dual sided pad movement details actual weights and first impressions

A tension bolt on the back of the lever arm will add a bit more spring tension, which has too benefits: First, it took up any remaining slack in the line without having to use the barrel adjuster. That’s important because it gave the brakes a more immediate feel and action without putting the pads in a too-close-to-the-rotor starting position.

Second, it gave the brake lever a snappier return feel, which enhanced overall modulation. Oddly, there’s no mention of the tension screw adjustment in the included manual, but I confirmed with Rever that it’s OK to use this. The bolt is basically a tension adjustment, which serves exactly the purpose we needed.

Rever MCX1 mechanical disc brake dual sided pad movement details actual weights and first impressions

Spoke clearance was generous with the Reynolds wheels.

Rever MCX1 mechanical disc brake dual sided pad movement details actual weights and first impressions

Once out on the road, I took it through a few grassy paths and dirt walking trails with a couple short ups and downs and tight corners just to see how they’d react. They did the job quietly (yay!) and without drama in dry conditions. The brakes took very little time to bed enough safe stopping, but I’m hoping they’ll develop a little more bite with continued use.

My TRP levers they’re pulled by have two cable mounting positions, and I have them set in the upper position for longer pull. With multi finger braking, they’re plenty strong enough, but wasn’t a ton of leverage for single digit braking from the hoods.

The solution was to backtrack a bit, loosen the cable bolt so the lever arm could open all the way back, pull the cable tight and affix the bolt, then jack up the tension spring. This kept the brake lever taut with no slack in the line and allowed me to pull through more of the caliper’s articulation, which improved lever feel and leverage with single finger braking. So, having gone through all that, I’d recommend just going ahead and threading in the tension adjustment screw a couple turns and starting there.

And with all that, I’m happy to say the brakes work just fine. Having swapped from the TRP HyRD calipers to these, they lack the power that a hydraulic system provides (expected). But for a mechanical brake they’re good, the feature set is solid and weight is comparable or better than brakes like BB7 SL and Hayes CX5, neither of which have dual sided pad movement. The obvious comparison is the TRP Spyre, which has a virtually identical feature set and costs less but does not include the compressionless cable housing, cable and inline adjuster. Weights are about the same though.

From here, the brakes will switch onto one of Jayson’s bikes for a summer’s worth of riding and gravel racing, look for a long term review in a few months.

MSRP is $149 per wheel with any rotor size, available now through any bike shop or online dealer with a QBP account.

RideRever.com

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23 Comments
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Eric E. Strava
Eric E. Strava
9 years ago

Please trim that excess cable and put cable ends on. Yeesh.

Jack
Jack
9 years ago

Great to read a practical review that did not just gush about how great the thing is. Obviously, like so many things, it has it’s plus and minus. Good review.

Timquila
Timquila
9 years ago

Just to expand on Eric’s spot-on comment: Yes, cables should be trimmed short enough so they can’t get brushed into the rotor which will stop the wheel and over your go; enjoy your flight over the bars right before your well-being suddenly degrades upon landing. Trimmed cables benefit more than aesthetics. A half inch of cable sticking out is more than enough.

sspiff
sspiff
9 years ago

Ask your mechanic. There is only one ‘real’ cable cutter:

http://www.felcostore.com/item/f-c7?referer=othertools.jsp

a
a
9 years ago

I guess not having the power/modulation of hydro is what would turn me off.
i tried several mechanical disc brakes in the past and yes, they brake better than rim brakes in the rain/mud/etc… but they provide about the same power/modulation as the rim brakes.

on hydro you can really be fine grained in how much braking you want and its more consistent, every time, without having to press hard at all. (which in my eyes is a must since this is the difference between a crash and not crashing)

Casey
Casey
9 years ago

@the author of this article. I would strongly recomend against telling people to take a file to their brake mount posts. It is way too easy to make the problem much worse with a file. A purpose made brake mount facing tool is what should be used… So that you can ensure that the mounts are truly perpendicular to the rotor.

David Chen
David Chen
9 years ago

I’m curious how they compare with the TRP Spyres, if you’ve tried those out.

jb
jb
9 years ago

Serious question: why, in this day and age, when superb hydros are available cheaply, would anyone ever want to use mechanical disks? Can I buy a fax machine with these?

LateSleeper
LateSleeper
9 years ago

Hydro is nice, but I run mechanicals on my winter commuting bike.

Dave
Dave
9 years ago

Jb, I’d be open to upgrading my existing cable actuated discs if a viable upgrade is available. However, I have no interest in upgrading the levers. Besides, are there really any inexpensive road hydro levers out there??

TypeVertigo
9 years ago

I’m certainly interested in a head-to-head shootout of the Rever MCX1s vs the TRP Spyres. I’ve had nothing but praise for the Spyres that came with my TCX SLR 2; they’ve saved my skin on more occasions than I can think of. The only area I feel could be improved upon is brake pad replacement requiring wheel removal on the Spyres, which the MCX1 already addresses.

Nice that the MCX1’s actuation arm tension screw gets a mention here too. Judging from this writeup, that’s a neat bit of kit and plenty useful for dialing in lever feel and caliper action.

Heffe
Heffe
9 years ago

@jb Hydros are expensive, very messy and potentially difficult to maintain, and there is possibly caustic, ecologically nasty stuff like DOT fluid that you can’t even just throw away to deal with. Yuck what a pain. If these can get you most of the way there and not have those huge drawbacks more power to them, as it were.

raphael
raphael
9 years ago

Shimano and tektro use mineral oil, much less caustic. I ride every day in German winter with hydraulic discs. People think that mechanical brakes are easier to maintain which in my honest opinion is wrong.

Steel cables/housing rusts/freezes; no braking power, cable tension needs to be manually adjusted with pad wear, suboptimal braking power.

They are only really expensive for road bar set ups now, but in the next year or so the price should really drop down.

Flat bar bikes should always get hydro discs.

John B.
9 years ago

– What pads do these brakes use? Are they Shimano 685/785 compatible, by any chance?

– Is the brake pad adjustment indexed? The big failing of the Spyres is that the pad adjustment is not, which causes them to come out of adjustment in very short order.

Jc
Jc
9 years ago

I love how everyone’s opinion is always right on the comment board. This website is so blessed to be visited by so many geniuses!!! P.s. I appreciate everyone who uses this space to genuinely interact with the author and not just denigrate everyone else’s options, choices and actions.

Patrick
Patrick
9 years ago

Levers are set to long pull and you’re using them with these short pull calipers? Really? No wonder single digit braking feels like crap…

David
David
9 years ago

As a longtime proponent of Gevenalle products and sometimes defiler of the same, you set up your brake levers wrong. You set them in long pull mode, and this is a short pull brake. This would absolutely account for the lack of power, but with super snappy feel.

elvis
elvis
9 years ago

well, if you favor reliability then mechanical discs are THE way to go. No issues in low temps – sure they make low temp mineral oil but you don’t need to worry about that with cables. Ever nicked a brake line out in the backcountry? I have and I’m sure I’m not alone.

that isn’t to say mechs aren’t without their drawbacks (which presumably we’re fairly well aware of by now). This just attempts to lessen the drawbacks and seems to do a reasonable job.

Mike Bechanic
Mike Bechanic
9 years ago

not trying to pooh-pooh these, i’m sure they work fine but i’m still trying to figure out why having both pads move on a cable actuated brake is “better”. I know single sided pistons a la BB7 flex the rotor but how is that bad?

DT
DT
9 years ago

@ Tyler Benedict
“…Because if the pad is initially too close to the rotor, you can’t back it out to add space.”??
You can only adjust the pad closer but you can’t back it off??

Hans
Hans
9 years ago

@Mike Bechanic, in practice it isn’t a big deal, but having even pad wear makes it really trivial to adjust for pad wear (just adjust cable tension).

I just dont understand these brakes vs the TRP Spyre. The Spyre are just over half the price, a little lighter, and also include “everything you need” (adapters appropriate for rotor size etc.). True that TRP only include a short section of fully compressionless housing, but for the difference in price for a *single* brake you could buy a full Yokozuna Reaction (brake & shifter) housing and cable set.

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

Gotta agree with David… Short-pull calipers require a short-pull lever. Using long-pull levers on a short-pull disc brake is the perfect way to reduce a brake’s power right from the start. The reviewer effectively handicapped the brake.
About hydros… I agree that they have the capacity to be marginally more powerful, but don’t think it’s a serious difference. If your mechanicals have good cables and strong full-length housing, the loss in braking power and modulation is honestly very, very small. Now if someone would come up with a self-adjusting mechanical disc brake…
And I know one way to get braking power from a mechanical brake that will outdo most hydraulic brakes: use a Shimano LX V-Brake brake lever with Servo Wave. The leverage ratio on them changes from low at the beginning of the stroke (= lots of pad-disc clearance) to high at the middle-end (= lots of power when you need it). Too bad they are long pull and won’t work on these brakes, otherwise I would run the Revers on my MTB.

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