Product Courtesy of Seng Chu Hin Trading SRP: SGD240 for Complete Set, both front and rear Availibility: Now
The first production disc brakes appeared on mountain bikes in 1989 with the advent of the Mountain Cycles ProStop brakes. Although it performed superbly and was beautifully made, the lack of disc mounts on frames, the lack of extreme forms of riding, and its weight meant that such a concept would not take off until much later. The advantages of disc brakes, however, became more and more of a necessity as the alternate sport of downhill racing evolved. Cantilevers and V-brakes could not provide the consistency of performance that disc brakes could offer. The rubber pads overheated easily and lost power suddenly. They performed miserably in the wet. When your brakes give up on you suddenly in the middle of a run when you’re going at 40kmh straight at a tree, you’d realize the true meaning of brain freeze? J Even in XC, the consistency of light weight disc brakes was recognized as a possible advantage. Forerunners Amp Research’s D1 disc brakes breached this elite segment.
By 1998, Magura, Formula, Rock Shox, Hope, Grimeca and a few other brands already had production disc brakes. All the pros on the DH circuit were using them. Enter Hayes with the Post-mount standard and Shimano with the International-mount standard ( IS mount). Suddenly, disc brakes took off in an unbelievable way.
Armor brakes are made by one of those background companies that make brake parts for other brands. Prototypes got rave reviews from Australian Bike magazine, and from our experience on them, we totally agree. Anyone up for excellent performing hydraulic disc brakes at the cost of cable disc brakes??
Out of the box:
The 2-finger alloy lever is comfortably rounded and bent. It feels a little like XT disc brake levers. Lever body’s forged and powder coated in black. It looks a little like DEORE hydraulic brake levers, except sleeker and tougher. The reservoir is set partly into the lever body mostly out of the way. That’s good cause the less it protrudes out, the less likely it’ll be damaged in any sort of crash. Also important to note would be no interference with rapidfires and gripshift.
These are 2 piston affairs. Also forged pieces and powder coated black. The stock pads are metal-sintered. Mounting to the frame is through a shimless bolt on design ala Deore disc brakes. In other words, it’s like a post mount on an IS adapter. Makes adjusting the calipers a breeze.
Connecting the levers and calipers are a pair of Kevlar-braided black hoses. Nothing special here except that they work well, are highly flexible and can be cut. Dot fluid runs through the system. The advantage is that it withstands high heat well and is not water absorbent. However, it is highly corrosive. (It dissolved a bit of the paint on the metal reservoir cover?)
The calipers clamp on 6 inch stainless steel discs. They have the standard 6-bolt pattern, with two rows of cross-drilled holes. These play a large part in how well the brakes performed. They vented the high levels of heat generated well and kept the pads scrubbed clean. Hex allen bolts secured the disc. These are supposedly better than standard allen bolts because they have a narrower profile head and can be torqued higher.
530g (bolts, adaptor, rotor, lever, hose, fluid and caliper). Porky. Very solid feel throughout.
When you do something like an Abubbacca or a pedal kick, the last thing that you’d want is for your brakes to let you down. The Armor brakes were surprisingly powerful! So much so that we didn’t have any qualms learning trialsy moves on them. And lever feel was very good – firm, yet not grabby. The contact point could be felt very definitely and remained consistent throughout the few weeks of testing. Braking power was pretty much linear with lever action, making modulation more reflex than thought. Even with the gobs of power at hand, we didn’t have any problems doing extended XC with them.
In fact, consistency and reliability seem to be these brakes’ second and third names. The brakes adjusted for pad wear, keeping the contact point the same throughout. The open system dealt superbly with fluid expansion to the point where there is no noticeable difference in performance and feel after hauling all the way down Faber. As mentioned before, the twin rows of vents on the discs probably kept the heat down at the caliper end. This is something that I noticed most after riding these brakes for a while. Whilst my XT brakes might occasionally fade a little (causing me to lose confidence) after extended periods of high speed manualing, these did not and gave me the confidence to commit more to a move.
Power out of the box was great, and it got better after the pads wore in. Brake setup? Piece of cake. Over in 5 minutes. There was no squealing in most conditions. Like most hydraulic levers pivoting on bushings, there was slight play in the lever arms, its no big deal really?
Another thing we noticed during testing was the disc rotors stayed perfectly true. There was no warping throughout the entire test period of racing and hard street riding.
In a nut shell, what you get with Armor hydraulic disc brakes is: Great value for money; lots of braking power; solid and durable brakes; good rotor; great lever feel that doesn’t flex much; long lasting pads; reliable performer in all conditions and types of riding from street to dh to xc. The only downer would be the slight weight and poor finishing.
They come with a 1 year warranty.