Let’s start with the tough stuff: If you’re already balking at the price tag, these brakes weren’t built with you in mind. You can get equal braking performance at a fraction of the price, that much is true.
But, these brakes are for the boutique cyclist who wants the lightest bike out there no matter the cost. They’re for the weight weenies who still want to stop before the intersection, not after it. And in that pursuit, you simply cannot find a better brake than Cane Creek’s eeBrakes.
Would I buy them for my bike? No. (Did you see that price tag?) I’m not going to be climbing any podium steps anytime soon, so they’re not for me. But that doesn’t mean no one should buy these.
Here’s why: It’s easy to build up a light bike these days, but you make trade-offs. Lightest frame often translates into flexy noodle. Lightest wheels often mean no durability. In this case, however, lightest brakes (the eeBrakes weigh in at a paltry 164 grams for both front and rear brakes with no pads) seem to equal stellar braking power. There are no performance trade-offs.
Each brake is made in the USA from a combination of forged aluminum, titanium, and stainless steel. There’s no doubt they’re rugged. And they’re made to accommodate rim widths from 18 to 28 millimeters. That’s a huge, adaptable range that opens up a lot of set-up possibilities.
We tested the regular-mount version with SRAM eTap levers, but there is a direct mount version available as well, and they’re compatible with Shimano and Campagnolo levers too. The small details, which affect how the brakes function, are truly striking. You’ll start to notice those touches during installation, which definitely takes a bit more time than your standard brake install. That’s because you can adjust, then micro-adjust, the position of the pads, requiring some tinkering.
After my first ride, I did need to do some readjusting. The cable slipped, but since I haven’t experienced that again, I’m willing to bet that was the result of my own carelessness during initial install. I got some pad rub on the rim, too, but a few quick turns of the fine adjuster took care of it. The cable path is actually kind of neat: It comes down from the brake lever more centered, which means it doesn’t stick out to the side of your head tube as much, which in turn reduces some drag. A Quick Strut release makes it easy to release the brake when you’re changing wheels, too. All clever details that make these brakes super functional.
I’m less sold on the Link Pad Travel Proportioning System, which is essentially a small adjuster knob that micro-adjusts your pads for centering. It works well, and it’s easy to get your pads centered perfectly, but I found after a couple of rides the knob tends to back out slightly, making readjustment necessary. It’s a minor inconvenience, and the creep was only slight, but I wonder if it would worsen over time.
I recently changed the front brakes on my truck for less money than it would cost to put the eeBrakes on my bike, but as is the case with all high-end purchases, the worth of any product depends entirely on the needs of the user. If you absolutely need the lightest brakes out there, but you also want to stop reliably, look no further.