I have been running Tektro brakes for many years, they are cheap, easy to maintain and they work well. I had found the same with the Sinz brakes. The problem with them both though was that they have a very limited colour range and limited adjustment. It wasn’t until Tioga released the PowerBlock tyre that I had to start looking around for other options. The PowerBlock has a larger outer diameter than pretty much any other BMX race specific tyre that I have ever seen. It caused a problem when slamming the back wheel forward in the drop outs of my frame reduced the clearance from the brakes to a point where they would actually drag on the tyre when you grabbed a handful of lever. I know it doesn’t happen to all bikes, but it did on my Supercross Bolt LT and I wasn’t about to change frames to fix a brake problem.
When I first started to look for a solution there were a couple of long reach options like the LDC and Paul brakes and of course the Prime Aero V2’s that we reviewed a while ago. (People say that long reach brakes are for smaller bikes, or when you are trying to fit smaller wheels in a pro sized frame, which isn’t the case. For example the LDC brakes were designed for pro bikes, so let’s smash that myth right now.) They all had the reach I was after, it was just a matter of narrowing it down.
I have a very particular taste, but I don’t think I’m alone there. I want both function and looks. I ruled out the Paul and Prime brakes right away, they are only available in silver and black and I was after blue and I really don’t like the tubular look. That left just LDC. They have more colour options and have the look I was after, the one thing that I wasn’t so keen about with them though was the MASSIVE LDC logos etched into them, but it was something I could live with.
My next problem was getting blue. Availability became such an issue time just kept passing by until I just dropped the idea of changing brakes and worried about more important things. That was until Speedline came out with their Linear brakes, it reignited the spark.
When Speedline released their brakes early this year they were snapped up quicker than you can say “I’ll have some in blue”. Again I had to wait a bit, but this time not too long.
The kit comes with the caliper arms, brake pads, noodle and bolts. I wasn’t too impressed with the alloy bolt that locks the cable down, because I am very heavy handed on bolts and didn’t trust myself so I headed down to the trusty bolt shop for a high grade replacement that could take a bit extra torque. (Some times I don’t know my own strength and have a tenancy to snap bolts before I realise they are tight.) I wanted to make sure that sucker doesn’t slip, so a stronger bolt would do the trick. The brake pads look pretty cool, they have an alloy holder and a replaceable pad that we believe will be added to the Speedline product range real soon now. Actually you will be able to purchase pad holders in different anodised colours so you can really get your colour scheme dialed.
They were a breeze to install. The only thing I had to do aside from swap the cable bolt was to switch the brake pad spacers around, putting the smaller ones on the inside, to bring the arms closer to the tyre and well clear of anything catching on them. While they have a longer reach than Tektro and Sinz they don’t have the reach of LDC, Paul or Prime. The bonus for me though was they did exactly the job I was after and gave me the clearance and adjustment that I was looking for. The long linear spring is a little different from what I’m used to but the design is for easy adjustment and the best modulation. They come with the spring zip tied to the arm to keep everything together in transport. I left the zip tie on the spring just to make things easier when I remove the brakes to clean my bike (you can see it in the photos) but it’s probably best removed.
If you are thinking the arms look like they could be a little lacking in the strength department, I did a little at first too. So I did the flex test. I squeezed the brakes on as hard as I could to see if I would get flex in the brake arms or in the frame, and I’m pleased to say the brakes didn’t show any sign of flex where the frame did. They did take a couple of rides to get them working like my older brakes, there just seemed to be a little resistance when releasing the brakes, but that soon fixed itself.
The brake arms are 3D CNC machined from 7075 T-6 Aluminum. Hence they are one of the more expensive BMX specific options. It takes a lot of machining time and precision to get them to the feather light bird cage design, the finished product is only 150 grams per pair in anodised colours. That’s 30 grams lighter than the TRP (Tektro) Donny Robinson signature brakes that I had replaced and they had a Titanium bolt kit!
Available in the following colours:
The Speedline Linear brakes look great and the colours are quite vibrant, they will be a pain in the butt to clean but are about the lightest BMX brake you will find.
|Value for money:||5/5|
- If you are looking for a longer reach brake that’s super light weight and has a lot of colour options then the Speedline Linear brakes will be money well spent
- You will be hard pressed to find anything lighter
- They work very very well and I like the adjusters, very simple and easy to access
- Great colours, great style
Australia specific information
Speedline Parts are distributed in Australia by www.bmxcompound.com.au
Reviewed by Shane Jenkins/bmxultra.com May 25 2012