TRP Slate Evo Disc Brake review

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The TRP Slate Evo brakes are superlative, wallet-happy anchors. Not be as elegant as pricier brakes but they’re superb, reliable stoppers.

  • Brand: TRP
  • Product: Slate Evo Disc Brake
  • Price: £105 per end
  • From:
  • Tested by: Barney for 6 months


  • Straighforward to set up 
  • Terrific performance
  • Stealthy black looks


  • No bleed valves included
  • Not bite point adjustment, only throw (if that’s a problem for you)
  • Erm… 

There is a case for saying that brakes are the most important components on a mountain bike, full stop. Sure, the frame, fork, wheels and drivetrain all have vital parts to play, but they’re all involved in bringing you up to speed. If they’re all working perfectly, they will excel at it. But none of them, working perfectly, will bring you to a standstill again unless you point them towards the nearest wall. Only brakes will do that. Or, if you’re really desperate, a shoe jammed in the back wheel. But, if you’ve got that far, I suspect you’re looking around for a wall to ride into.

Brakes, in short, can save you from the certain imperilment that the rest of the bike can get you into. Important, see?

Evo = SLX?

These Slate Evo brakes, then, are TRPs ‘budget trail’ offering – less swanky than the more machined Trail brakes (which fall into a sort of XT range bracket), these might be said to be the SLX brakes of TRP’s lineup.

All of these Shimano comparisons aren’t coincidental either – the Slate Evo brakes definitely have a whiff of The Big S about them, and it’s not all cosmetic, as we shall see. In case you’re wondering, this is emphatically not a bad thing.


In the box, the brakes come in two parts – the lever, and the caliper and hose. Each part already has fluid installed, with some neat plastic plugs keeping it all in, the idea being that you can thread your hose through whatever internal shenanigans your bike frame demands, and then whip the plugs off and install the brakes with the minimum of faffage, and hopefully minimal bleeding required.

Of course, when it came to installing the calipers on my bike, the hose was far too long, which of course necessitated a substantial trim and subsequent rebleed. The front brake also needed trimming. All the ferrules and olives you require to effect the bleed are present and correct in the box, and cutting the brakes down and rebleeding them was extremely straightforward.

Bleed ‘n’ pads

Well, apart from the caliper bleed valve. On most brakes (in fact, every other brake I’ve used) this comes already fitted to the caliper, and there it remains. Here, though, it seems it’s part of the TRP bleed kit and not the caliper itself. Not having a proprietary TRP bleed kit to hand, I pinched a couple of bleed valves from some dead Shimano brakes, which were (surprise surprise) a perfect fit on the calliper, and there, if I’m honest, they have remained. Bleeding was therefore a cinch. I used a Shimano bleed kit. And Shimano mineral oil.

The TRP pads are, I’m informed, resin ones made by Galfer. Thanks to a substantial cockup by yours truly, I managed to liberally spray one pair of mine with brake fluid before they’d even been used. No matter; I had some sintered TRP ones standing by, so I popped those in instead. Yes, you can also use Shimano pads (but the TRP/Galfer ones are better, in my opinion).

No 2.3mm rotors were supplied – the extra width is purportedly better for heat distribution and preventing warping – so I sourced some from those brilliant bike-bit-builders from Barnoldswick, Hope. Rumour has it, though, that 1.8mm rotors will work too, but don’t quote me – I’ve not tried it, and it any case I’d happily trade better performance and longevity for a few extra grams.

The thick rotors, while adding a paltry amount of extra mass, are impressively immune to ham-fisted bike-care regimes and heavy-handed braking, even if it’s been frankly too epically soggy to test any heat-buildup or warping claims.

In use

After a short bedding in period, the brakes have been extremely impressive.

The single adjustment on the lever is for throw – while the adjustment knob can get in the way a little if you run your shifters somewhat inboard, it wasn’t a problem for me. The alloy levers are comfy and seem pretty durned rugged, shrugging off all of the shrubbery and most of the dry stone wall-type abrasions that West Yorkshire has to offer.

There isn’t much lever movement before the brakes start to bite – in fact, substantially less than other brakes I‘ve recently used, both Shimano and SRAM – but this was in no way a problem: the caliper clears the rotor well, and engagement is consistent and smooth.

There’s no yowling with either the sintered or the resin pads, even in the outstanding clart we’ve been subjected to recently, and there’s plenty of modulation and more than enough power at both ends at the 203/180mm sizes I’m running, even for a hefty fellow like me.


No, these TRP Slate Evo disc brakes might not be as elegantly machined as their pricier brethren, but they’re superb, reliable stoppers, with loads of handy cross compatibility with Shimano, and I really, really like’em. Recommended.

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Review Info

Brand: TRP
Product: Slate Evo Disc Brake
From: Upgrade BIkes
Price: £105.00
Tested: by Barney Marsh for 6 months

Barney Marsh takes the word ‘career’ literally, veering wildly across the road of his life, as thoroughly in control as a goldfish on the dashboard of a motorhome. He’s been, with varying degrees of success, a scientist, teacher, shop assistant, binman and, for one memorable day, a hospital laundry worker. These days, he’s a dad, husband, guitarist, and writer, also with varying degrees of success. He sometimes takes photographs. Some of them are acceptable. Occasionally he rides bikes to cast the rest of his life into sharp relief. Or just to ride through puddles. Sometimes he writes about them. Bikes, not puddles. He is a writer of rongs, a stealer of souls and a polisher of turds. He isn’t nearly as clever or as funny as he thinks he is.

More posts from Barney

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)
  • TRP Slate Evo Disc Brake review
  • a11y
    Full Member

    Well that’s good to know. I’m partway through fitting a set to my trail FSer, replacing SLX 2-pots that I occasionally cooked on longer descents even with 2.0mm Magura rotors. Pairing these with the 2.3mm TRP 203/180 rotors and hoping for improved resistance to heat.

    I’m sure a few folk on here got them when Merlin were doign them at £90 a pair a couple of months ago.

    Free Member

    I’m running two sets and wholly agree with the review.  I have used SRAM olive/inserts when cutting down and seem to work fine.

    My only annoyance is the ridiculously positioned bar clamp bolt.  It protrudes out the opposite side of the clamp to the leaver and whilst it isn’t uncomfortable (no sharp edges), I find it a bit annoying as it’s  totally avoidable.   It’s the only bit that makes it feel budget brake.

    Full Member

    Have TRP firmed up lever feel then? I had some Quadiems, which were brilliantly consistent and reliable but they were a step too far in modulation for me. Always felt like I needed to pull miles past the bite point to get power. Changed the levers to Shimanos which really helped, but would be interested in TRP again if they’ve firmed up a bit now (sure I’ve heard DHR Evos are good too)

    Free Member

    Don’t know about previous TRP brakes, @mashr, but these ones feel pretty good to me. Some of the best brakes I’ve used TBH.

    Full Member

    I put some of the non EVO ones (they were £70 a pair from Merlin) on my Cascade rigid mtb, probably a bit over kill but I’m heavy so need good brakes. They’re freakin awesome. I was so impressed with them I was thinking of getting some of the EVO’s and replacing the shimano brakes on my Reactor. Don’t think I will now as new kids bikes means I can’t afford stuff for me atm, but if they’re still £100 a pair at Merlin (they are atm) in a few weeks I will!

    Full Member

    Are the Merlin ones the same brake as the review? It might just be the photo, but the lever assembly looks quite different to me (level blade looks longer, reservoir looks shorter)

    Full Member

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure they’re the same – the Merlins look identical to the latest version on TRP’s site EVO3 going by the page URL:

    Full Member

    One thing I’d add about those brakes from Merlin is check what front hose length you need. It was only just long enough for mine, no trimming necessary: 140mm 29er Pike, 140mm headtube (zero stack bearings) and 780mm wide / 40mm rise bar. No issues with the rear even with a near-1300mm wheelbase and chainstay/downtube routing.

    Full Member

    Great brakes. Had them on the hardtail for around 6 months now and they’ve been spot on (apart from my front brake hose being too short)

    Full Member

    No 2.3mm rotors were supplied

    So they don’t come with rotors of any description?

    Full Member

    Not off Merlin, no.

    Full Member

    I’m trying to picture the ‘bleed valve’ bit that’s missing and how that’s different to sram or shimano – for both those you need a specific part that screws into the brake that you have to buy (whether brakes are OEM or retail).

    Full Member

    It’s just a grub screw (well, slightly posher grub screw) that plugs the bleed hole. You can either swap them out for bleed nipples as above, or get a bleed kit that has an adapter to screw the hose into the hole.

    If you ever want to do quick n dirty bleeds with the brake still fully installed, then the bleed nipple approach is the one

    Free Member

    @b33k34 – it’s the caliper part with a nipple that you unscrew a little with a spanner to allow the fluid to exit the caliper when bleeding. You attach a plastic hose to it. The photos up there show the caliper with the Shimano valve installed, as mentioned in the text. When you get the brakes they come with a cap, not a valve. Shimano and SRAM brakes come with the valve installed; you don’t need to buy it.

    Full Member

    That’s not really right though;

    Shimano – bleed nipple installed. All good
    Sram (new) – Requires you to buy the Bleeding Edge tool
    Sram (older) – same setup as TRP with a screw covering the bleed port. Needs a screw in adapter for the hose/syringe

    Full Member

    I bought one of those aftermarket bleed kits (Total Bleed Solutions IIRC) – had the correct adapter for the bleed port.

    Free Member

    @mashr – OK, my mistake, SRAM ones don’t have a nipple either. The point of this review, though,  is that the TRP ones don’t, and this is not a positive.

    Full Member

    And my mistake on Shimano – I’ve not run them for years.  It’s the ‘pot’ for the top that you need to buy rather than a caliper attachment.

    Full Member

    Sounds like basically the same system as Formula, where you screw a syringe into the caliper instead of pushing a hose over a nipple? I prefer that way tbh, it’s completely sealed and less prone to leaks/hoses falling off nipples, really useful for pressure bleeding up from the bottom.

    Full Member

    Great brakes, especially at the £90 that Merlin were knocking them out at.

    I also bought some Tektro Gemini SLs from Merlin for £60. They are a cheaper version of these – 2.3mm rotors, 4-pots, bit more basic looking – but they DO come with 2 x 203mm 2.3mm rotors (F&R brakes + rotors for under £60!)

    I’ve fitted the Tektro rotors with the TRP brakes, and am running the Tektros with 1.8mm rotors on my rigid runaround bike.

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)

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