Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review! The (updated) Tririg Omega X

In 2013 I reviewed the Omega (here) and said it was one of the best aero brakes ever. That was after having the thing for a couple of days.

Fast forward to 2015, I now own 5 Omega's (including the X I'm reviewing here) The original two I reviewed (now on my P3 after I retired my Planet X) impressed me so much I ended up buying two more when I updated my Zipp 2001. So when I wanted to get my Felt back on the road, there wasn't much of a choice to make as to what brake I'd be using.

So, in case you didn't see this coming, spoiler... I like this brake, a lot. With that out of the way, we can get down to business. How much better is the "X" than the old Omega. First, let's have a look at what has changed.

What comes in your box. Plenty of included adjustments

Overall Shape

Tririg touts this as a completely new offering, not just an update... and while I feel like that might be a bit of a stretch, I'll roll with it. It feels more like a "re-boot" than a true sequel, but as there wasn't a lot not to like about the original, why ruin the recipe. The brake is a little taller and a little chunkier than the original (by small amounts) but is clearly more refined. The extra space for vertical movement in the brake pads is a welcome addition, and the "stress crack free" (I'm sure Tririg has replaced their fair share of the original face plates due to over-tightening) magnetic face plate is both a much cleaner shape for the wind and more practical for home wrenching.

Front Plate Fairing

Speaking of the front plate... it's a huge improvement. The magnets are strong, and there is just enough other material sliding into place that I am confident that it will stay intact through even some of the most jarring roads.  Having no bolt holes does a huge amount of work for the eyeball aerodynamics of this thing as well... I remember people taping over some of the old TRP front brakes bolt holes back in the day, and while it's possible it didn't help at all, I always thought those people did a good job covering all the bases. (even the small ones) Being an quasi aero nerd myself, the cleanness of this setup will no doubt start to erode my sanity every time I look at the bolts on the front of my old Omegas.

The front profile on my Felt

The Improved "Wedge" and levers (how you stop)

I'll preface this with the following... 1.) I've only had it installed for a short amount of time, enough for a ride or two, and 2.) I never experienced anything but excellent braking performance from the original. (Which I use one set with a 3T Ventus and i-link cables, which has no return spring. Some people seem to take issue with that)

So it stopped all 160lbs of me. Pretty effortlessly really. It's no Hydraulic, disc, or even dura-ace level of stopping power, but it's damn good, plenty powerful enough to cause you to endo if you locked it up. I often question how many people really experienced poor braking performance with the Omega's and how many didn't properly set it up. Anyways, the Omega is far and clear one of the best stopping aero brakes ever made, and this one is said to be an improvement. (I can't tell... it stops well enough to make me happy, that's what I know) The setup certainly "looks" more efficient with the redesign.

From the side, fitting before the install.

Easier Compatibility 

No doubt about it, this thing is well situated to fit on a wide variety of bikes, regardless of what kind of mounting system they use. All of the major "standards" of mounting have been covered, and while it's (at least currently) a useless luxury for me personally, I can appreciate the extra hardware that came with this brake, especially on the off chance I buy a bike using one of these mounting systems in the future. It makes life infinitely easier (and I suppose cheaper to swap) for people who have multiple bikes that DO have different mounting hardware, as opposed to having to choose between the original design and the SV, now you just add an extra piece and go.

One thing I've always thought was genius about the Omega (and now the X) is that there is no need to specify front or rear. With the (included) different bolt lengths you can easily change your mind on the go as to which point you want each of your brakes, which isn't just nice from a design standpoint, (say you upgrade bikes and your new bike has an integrated brake/fork on the front... just change bolt length and throw it on the back) but also a great thing for the re-sale market (where rear only brakes usually sell for a good bit less) if you ever decide to unload your Omega.

The brake will also fit pretty much any wheel/tire you could imagine running. at 32mm max spread you can fit any aero fat wheel you want in there.

The bad

Unfortunately, unlike the original Omega, the X has a non-removable hanger/cable stop. To get the full "center pull" setup you now need to buy the separate "no hanger" back plate. That's not the end of the world, but adding $50 to an already near $200 brake is starting to sting the wallet of even the big spenders. It's the one stumble backwards in an otherwise good step forward from Tririg in my opinion. Perhaps if the original hadn't included a way to change it up I wouldn't be bemoaning it, but it did, and I am.

The X is also a small bit heavier from all accounts. Now being civilized and educated modern folk, we don't care so much about weight on our tri/tt bikes any more, but I suppose there is always going to be the weight weenie out there outraged at the gram change.

Those things aside, it's hard to argue against this as the king of the aero brakes. Good power, easier installation, (possibly) improved aerodynamics... a winning combination from Tririg. It will continue to be the brake I choose on my tri/tt bikes, and I don't know a better recommendation a person can give than that.

Tririg's Omega X page

Thanks so much for reading! I really appreciate it.

- Christopher Morelock


  1. Thank you for your review.

    I am considering this brake only because my direct mount Shimano brake BR-6810 prevents my pedal arm with the Stages power meter from rotating.

    You refer to the "Omega X No-Hanger Back Plate" when you : "To get the full "center pull" setup you now need to buy the separate "no hanger" back plate."

    What is the function of this back plate other than cosmetic? Does it actually influence breaking performance?

    Rgrds, Harald

    1. Hi Harald,

      When considering which back plate you want what you need to do is figure out where you want the cable housing stop to be. The most practical/common time you would want the No hanger plate is in situations where you had your own stop higher up (like if you had a stem mounted stopper, like a cyclocross bike with cantilevers would have... (or if you use the Tririg Sigma stem) you can google image search the specialized transition and see exactly what I'm talking about.) This allows you to run bare cable straight down from the stem into the top of the brake.

      For most people (and bikes) you would want the back plate with the hanger. *considering proper installation* the back plate you choose should not dramatically effect braking performance.


    2. Thanks for answering.

      I ordered the Tririg Omega X and installed it behind the Bottom Bracket to allow for a Stages power meter. Breaking power and modulation is decent, but not as effective as the Shimano BR-6810.

      Unfortunately during my second ride, the front plate has fallen off. It was supposed to be kept in place with the strong magnets. Now, I am afraid dirt will accumulate inside the brake and affect breaking power. I have written to Tririg for a replacing plate.

    3. Hi Harald,
      I'm sorry to hear the plate has been lost. In my experience it has been very strong, but ymmv. (and obviously have) Hopefully Tririg will respond.

      I never noticed braking power suffer. Mine have sufficient power to send me over the bars if I gripped too hard... that's more power than anyone needs. Is it possible more adjustment is necessary to dial it in? (I have no idea how good of a wrench you are) Also, most braking should be done with the front and not the rear brake... really just scrubbing speed.

      Gunk will indeed build up without the cover. It is unlikely to affect performance much so long as you don't leave it for extended periods... I've worked on some BB mounted brakes that have likely never been cleaned that still performed well.

      Hopefully you get everything sorted! Ride fast!

    4. I had the same experience with my BB mounted rear brake. The cover fell off on the fourth ride. Did you get a replacement from tririg or are you continuing to ride without the cover?

    5. Hi Tim,

      Sorry to hear it, I'll try to reach out to Tririg and see if there is an update.
      I wouldn't recommend riding without the cover at the BB mounted area for extended periods. You will throw a lot of road gunk up there, eventually having the possibility of gumming up the brake return, which will not be a good time. If you must, avoid bad weather. Maybe Nick will chime in.

  2. Hey, You should definitely not go without front plate too long. When I did this in wet Denmark, dirt accumulated rather quickly and affected the brake performance badly.

    When I wrote Tririg and I got the reply that it was "likely that the Front Plate was not properly seated in place", and was redirected to to order a new one. After receiving the new plate, I examined how well it stuck to the brake and discovered there was a bit of play. In an attempt to check if both magnets were levelled perfectly, I broke one magnet holder and had to place another order! The tiny magnet holders are fragile.

    Since then, I have managed to adjust so that braking is excellent - on par with the original Shimano BR-6810. As rear brake mounted directly behind the Bottom Bracket (BB), it is not optimal for the wet conditions in DK as the front plate is not near 100% tight. Having sad that all BB-mounted rear brakes require extra maintenance. Finally with 700x25C tires, removing/inserting the back wheel is difficult due to the brake pads, so I risk bumping and misplacing the front plate. I actually nearly lost the second plate after changing a tube and not double-checking the front plate.

    To my knowledge though, this is still the best solution for the combination of a Stages powermeter with a BB-mounted rear brake.

    I hope you find a good solution!

    1. Harald and Chris - thanks for the input. I discovered the cover was missing the other day after I got caught in a rain shower. Got home and started cleaning my bike - that's when I saw the cover was missing on the rear brake. I am hesitant to purchase a new cover for $40 and then lose it again on the next railroad track or pothole. Do you have any ideas on how to fix a cover to the brake with something more permanent that two magnets? Obviously this issue was not see in the older version of the Tririg brake that used screws to hold the cover in place.

    2. Hej, I would purchase a new plate. The best thing might be to mail Tririg. I had to pay 25$ for the front plate incl. postage to DK which I found reasonable. Maybe Tririg even has come up with some workaround to fix the plate better. If so, please post here.

      It is not ideal, but I check the plate regularly before each ride, and each time when I have had the back wheel out. Apparently, this is what it requires to ride with a Stages with BB-mounted rear brake. Harald

    3. Tim,

      also a thought, you could always sell/trade the X and buy an older Omega with the screws. I know that isn't ideal, but it would solve your problem with it's security. Another option if you have a direct mount rear brake is to see if you can get ahold of an FSA non-series direct mount. Not sure if it has been released yet, but it looks like a possible alternative. Also of course a Magura might be an option if you wanted to go that route, but that's a very expensive swap.

      I agree probably a new plate and being more meticulous about making sure it's secured before a ride will *likely* solve the issue. I've checked mine before after a ride and seen it was not perfectly secured (although on the front, not at the BB) and I'd guess it was from me getting in a hurry and just assuming it was in place.