Bontrager Speed Limit Brake Review

I’ve been getting in enough miles on the Madone to feel comfortable giving some impressions on components.  I’ve weighed in on the 2013 SRAM Red, and I’ll weigh in on the Bontrager Speed Limit brakes.

At the outset, let me acknowledge that, because of the Madone’s design, not all brakes will fit it.  The seatstays are brakeless.

And beautiful.

So the rear brake needs to be capable of being mounted under the BB.  (More on that below).  Moreover, because the bike has an aero design, the front brake is designed to be aero and to integrate into the profile of the headtube.

I’m using ENVE’s required pads with my ENVE rims.  The two little screw holes at the top right of the brake are used to adjust the action of the brake.  They do require a little learning to understand exactly how they operate…but once you’ve got it, they’re easy to adjust.  The lever on the left side of the picture is the quick release for the brakes…although with ENVE SES 3.4 Carbon Clinchers and Bontrager R4 23c tires, as you can see, the tire/rim profile is straight, and there is no need to use the quick release for the brakes…the wheels pop in and out without adjustment.

The whole brake is supposed to be optimized for aero…you can see how the brake pad bolts are recessed, and how the cable stop is hidden behind the quick release.  In the above pic, you can also see how the front brake melds up nicely into the extended nose on the headtube.

The rear brake, as mentioned above, is mounted under the BB, like such:

And here’s the detail on the cable routing at the rear.  Note that it has housing running up to the brake, terminating at the brake itself, pointed to the rear.  This SHOULD help keep rain/grit/grime out of the housing.

The housing enters the downtube through a nifty integrated grommet…

And likewise comes out of the top of the downtube similarly.

The brakes have required zero adjustment since installation…which is what you’d hope for in brakes with only a few hundred miles on them.

As far as function goes, I live in Illinois, so there are no mountains to try them on.  That said, I came from Dura-Ace brakes with ENVE pads and ENVE SES rims, which is a pretty hard combination to beat.  Even so, I’ve been impressed with the function of the Speed Limit brakes.

Illinois does not challenge the stopping capacity of road brakes, nor does it create conditions that will overheat your rims.  So yes, the Bontragers do have adequate stopping capacity.  They will easily lock up the rear tire (duh), and will easily clamp down on the front tire as hard as you’d care to.  So if overall braking force isn’t the issue, what would I measure them by?

Linearity.  (Is that a word?)

The Dura Ace brakes I used to have, in traditional mounting positions on the Ridley, were 100% linear.  More force = more braking, with no surprise change in actuation ratio or effect.  The Speed Limits work the very same…braking force is 100% linear, and they work perfectly.  I’m quite pleased thus far.

I would note that if you order Dura Ace on your Project One, you get Shimano Dura Ace brakes, in an integrated design.  I have not seen those yet and cannot comment on them…but while I love bike upgrades, I cannot see any reason to upgrade or change from the Bontrager Speed Limits that came on the Madone.  They work perfectly, and look perfectly at home on the bike.



2 thoughts on “Bontrager Speed Limit Brake Review

    • In the future, please consider both: 1) phrases such as “is that even a word”; and, 2) any typos, misspellings or grammatical errors to be examples of the exercise of my artistic license.


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