Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review! The Tririg Omega

(Link here for the Omega X review)

I admit, I'm a bit behind the times on this one. The Omega has been out for some time now, and the only excuse I have is Apathy. That's unfortunate, because this brake is excellent.

First, let me say that I still like my Simkins Egg brake a lot. It's like an old friend, I'm used to it, comfortable with it's quirkiness, and that has led to some of my timidness in trying the Omega. I've had MANY center pull brakes (everything from Delta's and AX's to Zipp's to self made Cobb Hacks) and they all had a couple of things in common
- they were hard to adjust and center
- they were a pain when it came to switching between tires/wheels at times
- none of them stopped very well.

Simkins Egg brake was where I found myself. Good stopping power, only *some* annoyance installing and adjusting it, and tested well. I have ran it for two years on my Planet X (front only) and since I have had my Zipp 2001.

Finally, after a long time of lusting over the Tririg, I pulled the trigger on two (front and back) and this past week I finally got around to installing them and riding.

Lining up with the rear wheel was really simple, and it's fairly flush too.

You can see the way the Nokon cables run really tight to the frame. Go go expensive cable housing!

The installation on these things is the first thing that struck me as ingenious. Straight from the box I could tell this thing was well thought out and as practical (the bolts used are, for the most part, exactly what you can buy at home depot.) as a brake designed to one of the most unpractical demographics in history (triathletes) can be. The brake easily breaks apart so that you can install the right length screw for your fork / rear (I did have to go to Home Depot to buy a shorter bolt for the rear) and goes back together equally well. Not much room to mess it up, fairly idiot proof.

Picture stolen :) But this is what comes in your package.

The adjustment was the second thing that I quickly came to love. Once the brake is centered there is a set screw in each arm that allows for individual adjustment! That's huge!  I was really able to dial in the brake to what I felt like was the absolute optimum setup. Other aero brakes (especially center pulls) could be pretty tricky, especially if you were running a wheel that isn't 100% true (in my case my HED3) No problem with the Omega.

In the background... Softride, Zipp, work bench... tons of junk. Foreground... a clean front end!

Ok, ok... it slices, it dices... but does it stop?

When you go out of the garage at my house there is a fairly long hill that spills out into a 4 way stop. It's not super steep, but there have been times (mainly the first time I rode on my Zipp bike before I changed the front brake from the stock setup) when it was a harrowing (read: nearly life ending) experience. It's a good test as to whether the brakes would stop me or not. So, not without a little bit of anxiety (I mean... it is a center pull brake at it's core) I start down the descent. I test the brakes early, and speed is shaved. As I get towards the bottom I apply force to the front brake (Have I mentioned this thing comes with Salmon Pads! That's awesome, I refuse to use any other pads for my aluminum wheels.) and... low and behold... I stop.

Another picture of the front profile. This thing lines up great with my fork! Plus a shoutout to my Airborne Guardian.

Not dramatically. Not in any special way. Very unforgettably and unceremoniously. Which is exactly what I want my brake to do! Allow me to put it out of my mind.

So what are the negatives?

Well, at $175/each, they most certainly aren't cheap IF you just want to stop. A pair of race quality brakes are easily attainable for under $50 if that's your thing... but if you are considering this brake... it likely isn't. A quick check on the interweb has this for comparison.

Omega - $175
Simkins - $220
Hooker (ebay bin price) - $500 (set)
Weinmann Delta's (ebay bin) - $349 (set)
Campy Delta (ebay bin) - $300 (rear only)
Zipp 2001 Brake + Carbon Cover (ebay bin)  - $400 (rear only - wuuut... anyone want to buy one :D )
Random Side Pulls (Oval, TRP, Campy) - anywhere from $80 - $120

Dura Ace 7900 Calipers will set you back around $100 each. (I consider DA brakes the standard by which all brakes stopping power should be compared.)

Of the above listed brakes, only the Hooker is faster than the Omega. (source: Dr. Coggan's mini-wind tunnel brake test - on the Omega White Paper)

Of the above listed brakes, Only the Dura Ace and Simkins are on par with stopping power. The hooker I used to have also stopped fairly well (for how old it is especially) but has it's own limitations (the pads being a big one) All delta brakes I've owned I would consider downright dangerous.

Still the king of the mountain, but at what cost?

Other minor gripes include the fact that the set screws on each arm are 2m hex. This is a moderately obscure size for anything... making digging for the right wrench a pita.

Using a full on center pull setup also requires you to buy a hanger (like used on cross/mtn bikes) that fits as a spacer under your stem. Unfortunately, due to both the extreme angle of my stem and the fact that I don't use spacers under it, is an impossibility for me. On the plus side, my nokons and the exit from under my bars make the front brake cable pretty much invisible anyways. Overall, this one is a non-issue for most people, and the part needed only costs a couple of dollars if you want it.

So IF you want/need a new brake for your TT/Tri bike, there isn't a lot of reason to pass on the Omega. This thing gets the thumbs up from me.

I'm excited to ride my Time Trial tonight using them, hopefully my neck will forgive me for not riding my position since Augusta last year. Otherwise I'm going to look pretty funny tomorrow morning. :)

Oh, here's a picture of my crank cover, used to disguise my ancient Dura Ace 7400 crank. (I am using the old crank because of how narrow the Q-factor is. It's actually so narrow I had to shave a path into the crankarm to allow the front derailleur to move onto the big chainring without hitting.)

Yes... DA7400 crank... Record Carbon front derailleur... 7800 pedals.  Custom cover.

And, as I slowly work my way towards IMLou, I've also been messing with new hydration setups since the trip to the wind tunnel told me that my torpedo bottle mount sucked with my Praying Landis position. I haven't tested this guy out enough to be certain (more to come) but I'm fairly confident it's going to end up pretty nice. All you get is a teaser, although it shouldn't be too hard to figure out what's going on.

Front Profile with the bottle setup I'm testing.

As always, thank you all for spending a few moments sifting through my thoughts. Again, love the brake, go get one! DO IT.

-Christopher Morelock

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