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The reason Dropbars brake levers require different mechanical calipers than mountain bikes goes back to the introduction of V-brakes in 1996. The amount of cable pull required to operate a V-brake is significantly more than the cantilever brakes that they replaced and mountain bike brake levers developed a different leverage ratio than road bike brake levers which up until then were very similar. Once mountain bikes began using mechanical disc brakes they used the existing mountain bike standard. If you mount a pair of mountain bike calipers on your Dropbar bike the levers will go to the bar before you generate any serious stoping power. It didn’t take long for manufacturers to change the cable pull requirements on their existing brake calipers and give all of us regardless of handlebar style the gift of all weather stopping power.
There are a multitude of disc brakes for road bike levers on the market today. While the performance of hydralic systems may be superior to mechanical brakes the reliability and repairablity of mechanical systems make them a good choice for touring where a damaged cable could spell disaster.
The TRP Spyre brakes have been reliable stoppers for riding, touring (which is hard on brakes) and through regular winter commuting (which is even harder). They set up easily, require almost no mantinence and can leave giant skid marks at will as you release your inner 8 year old.

At first I didn’t like the Spyres. I wanted instant engagement, firm feedback and some mean grab like someone who leaves giant skid marks would and the Spyres felt a little mushy, but within that mush that the designers would call “modulation” there was some real stopping power. In search of the instant “over the handlebars” kind of grabbiness that I desired I replaced the stock semi-metallic brake pads with some different semi-metallic pads and then after a winter of relentless commuting replaced those with a racier compound to no avail. The Spyres still had the same soft touch at the start of engagement, gradual grab through the lever’s pull stroke and there was even a little more give after the brakes had achieved complete lock up, but not so much that the brake lever hit the handlebar.
While I still desired brakes with instant lock-up capacity the Spyres eventually won me over with their extremely low maintenance. Besides changing out the pads I have turned the barrel adjuster a few times to make up for pad wear and that is the extent of their maintenance.
The Spyres are light, simple and reliable; and those three words are words of praise.

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