SRAM RIVAL caliper
Kurve CNC caliper
Not much more than a year ago I was sent a pair of Kurve CNC Alloy brake calipers to test. Very fine they looked and it didn’t take me too long to find a recipient machine. Trouble was, my aluminium Omega was already wearing a full SRAM RIVAL groupset, which meant removing a perfectly serviceable pair of calipers.
That, of course, is the reviewer’s lot in life and, if compounded by the necessity of fitting at least one new inner wire, is not exactly a hardship. Why one new wire? Since clamping deforms and work-hardens the wire, it’s very bad form to reuse one that needs clamping either at the same point as previously or further out from the nipple. So you might as well cut it short of the clamp, which leaves the rear long enough to go on the front and the existing front too short for the existing front outer casing unless that too can be shortened.
Done and dusted, the job looked a good ‘un if not necessarily an obvious visual improvement. A quick spin indicated that braking performance, while not quite as strong as that of the SRAM calipers, was, given a good squeeze, strong enough.
Before long the Omega found itself earmarked for leaving in west Wales to save taking a bike on every visit. There are lots of steep hills in that part of the world and, although I never felt unable to stop in good time, there are a couple of descents, such as the one down into Cwrtnewydd from Cwmsychpant, on which I found myself yearning for a bit of extra braking capacity.
Back on went the RIVAL calipers and with them a nice new inner wire. Bingo! The improvement over the Kurve calipers was far greated than might have been imagined given how effective the latter felt when first fitted. But, then, unless you use all the power available using the stronger brakes, the extra retardation potential they offer is not noticed and therefore won’t be missed. Until you are on that 1:4 descent. But if you don’t ever need to brake that hard, what’s the worry?