TriRig Omega, pt 2: Prototyping
Jan 1, 2012
article & images by Nick Salazar
So here it is, folks. It's a TriRig Omega brake, in the flesh. Sortof. This one is just an SLS prototype, made of plastic. It's sort of a proof-of-concept, used to validate that everything fits together, and functions mechanically without any problems. I'll get the big question out of the way right now: yes, it works, and yes, I'm proceeding to the next phase (creating a working prototype).
The brake has undergone a lot of changes since the first iteration I showed you earlier. The careful observer will immediately notice a couple major changes. First of all, the pad holders are now separate from the brake arms. The big benefit of doing it this way is that the brake will work as a front or rear brake! It also simplifies pad adjustment - you set your brake height via the back plate, and then just make micro adjustments via the pad bolt and the width adjust bolts on the side.
And on that note, let's talk about the pad holders. These are custom machined and specific to this brake, and they keep the overall width very narrow while still accommodating super wide rims. As pictured, the brake will hold a Firecrest rim, and yet it doesn't exceed the width of the fork legs. On page two, we'll compare that to the Tektro centerpull, which has to dramatically exceed the fork legs to hold a Firecrest rim, and in my opinion, looks quite ugly doing so.
This particular prototype is headed to a special wind tunnel designed by Dr. Andrew Coggan. It's a small-scale tunnel which he built specifically to explore questions relating to bicycle brakes. In this case, there are two specific questions I want to answer. One, how good is the Omega relative to other brakes, and two, which of my various prototype versions is the fastest? I have some alternate versions of the brake arms, some lighter but less aero, and I want to find out exactly what the gains are for one version versus another. Depending on what happens, I might still go ahead and produce both a standard and "SL" version for those who think the aero weenies need to lighten up just a bit.
Very soon, I'll have the first working prototype brakes in hand, and will get to test these babies out on the road. At that point, maybe you'll get to see a few more images. And then finally, with the knowledge I learn from the wind tunnel, and assuming everything is as I'm expecting, I'll greenlight the full production of these beauties. Keep checking back to see more - you can bookmark this link to stay up to date on Omega news.
Hit the jump for a discussion of the State of the Centerpull brake, some more details on the Omega itself, and why I think the Omega is going to be the most epic front brake ever.