PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling : PEZ Tests: Negative G Brakes

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PEZ Tests: Negative G Brakes
Less than zero? – Standard stuff on lots of high rollers are Zero Gravity brakes. PEZ lands the first test set of the newest product from the sultans of stop, the new Negative G’s…


Pretty much everyone’s seen a set of Zero Gravity Brakes. A few versions of the 0G’s are sitting on several bikes in the Pez Stable. Their claim to fame is a combination of very low weight and very high range of modulation that allowed users more range to scrub speed before full lock up. After a few years, Ted Ciamillo (designer, founder, u-boat captain) listened to folks asking for a different version that would still give low weight, but would also perform with a more traditional, heavier handed, quicker biting brake. So he made one.

Click the tiny shot above for a big bike…



For those that recognize the look, a quickie pick might have you thinking they’re the same as old ones, but for anyone owning a set, the extra beef is easier to spot on the new Negative G than on Brittney Spears…

But typical of what you might expect from a guy who’s designing a human powered submarine, There’s more to the new stoppers than extra material. For starters, the Negative G’s actually lose a little frontal area.



But a side by side-front view is a good place to start with the new stoppers and front to front shows more detail…



A few things here are immediately obvious… 1 shows a slightly wider faced and more beefed up solid arm. 2 shows more support going into the “leg” and 3 shows the same on the far side… All of this is to substantially reduce flex when the brakes are applied.

A look at the back gives you a bit more detail…



Here you see:
1. a substantially shorter and more solid arm.
2. a more substantial and slightly angled cable stop.
3 a more substantial swing arm that places the action closer to the center of the brake.
And 4 gives a better view of the more substantial legs of the brake.
I’m not certain if the spring is a little bit stiffer here, but it seems slightly larger and performs better at holding the brakes both straight and open than the Zero G.

A view of the arms more close up gives you a better impression…



All of this shows you the side load enhancements, but there is more depth to the new Negative G as well and that helps with front to back flex and combines with the profiles above to fight any twisting (where pads hit the rim and want to rotate a bit, causing chatter when your pad and rim combo’s are not the best…).

Pretty clear here which one’s the new beef…


One major flaw in our test set was that they were not custom etched for PEZ… But nobody’s perfect…

The better view is from the top down where changes in several locations are pretty easy to spot…



The added width in all three areas combines with the enhanced thickness to add overall flex resistance…

Here’s a little closer view that gives better perspective on the more is more…




How Much Added To The Negative?
What’s a tad nuts here is this all adds only 28 grams per pair. So the stainless model is 214 grams and the Ti set up will come in at 196.

What it gets you in better stopping power is just plain strange… Ciamillo designed the power cam mech to give you a ramped power, actually increasing in mechanical help, the harder you squeeze…

The new brakes start at a higher mechanical advantage (more leverage at initial pull / more initial “bite”) and then ramp higher and quicker than the old brakes, all the way up to a 2.85 times mechanical advantage that, according to their tests is higher than Dura Ace at max pull. (Not that one brake locking up and crashing is better than another…)


Ride Em
One of those pucker factor things to test on a high dollar bike like the Crumpton SL is brakes…

Beefy but still looking good


For our test, I did the ultimate in gut check testing and used the standard Zero G as well as new Campy and Dura Ace on the Parlee Z1SL… Screw it. If your gonna go, go big…

We used same pads on same wheels (proper type for each) on both bikes side by side and ran em up to 25 and braked hard… Ran em up and braked on down hill corners… And we used both metal clincher and carbon tubular.

Simply put, these apply more force, earlier in the squeeze than their older brothers. The Negative G allow Dura Ace comparable braking, giving slightly less initial bite but ramping up quickly… The Negative G give a bit more squeeze than the new lightened up Campy and are an easy pick for folks wanting more power than the Zero G’s.

One of the “largest” groups of naysayer of Zero G brakes were always bigger guys… You meaty-men rolling round at 185, 195, 200 plus and put more down force on the tires meaning your wheels didn’t lock up and skid as easily as lighter folks. Bigger guys not only notice but have a genuine need for a stronger brake set. These definitely are light gear that is suited better than their brothers for bigger guys.

In fairness to the Zero G’s, I personally like more range between no squeeze and a fully locked up wheel. It’s that play range that I find a happy stop with when higher speeds just need scrubbing. But the new dogs will suite guys that simply want more power more quickly (and I don’t mean to imply that guys who like more bite are not also high performance). You can decide for your self what you might like…

Something else I noticed was that, when using a few different pad compounds, the new Negative G’s ran a couple more pads a bit more smoothly than the Zero G’s on light carbon rims. Pads that could be a bit “snatchy” or chattery on the Zero’s ran smooth with the Negatives. I had no problems with cork and relatively few with Swisstop carbon pads, but these were comfortable with Koolstop Carbs and Zipp’s house pads too.

The one area where I would change the new design is in its cable stop arm…

You can see it in this overlay shot, where the cable stop now sits at a bit of an angle… 1



This kicks the rear cable out and can, for some riders, move it in the way of your leg… And they do this because the cable stop bolt is now in tighter (2).

The thing to switch (and I am in no way an expert…) would seem to be change the cable from pinching to the inside (3) and allowing it to sit on the outside … (4)

They can do this as machining the arm to receive it is simple, and they’ve already improved their bolt and pinching washer set up…



Putting the flange to pinch the cable on the outside rather than inside lets them change the cable stop angle at the top arm. That will let the brake cables stay closer to the frame…

Another detail worth mention (light was cast on it by an Alien[ator]) is that the brake shoes have a little better adjustment range and the securing bolts have been updated from some earlier Zero G’s. Little things, but nice.

And lastly, the throw open (for Shimano guys) throws things open a bit further, but you may still need to set your cable in combination with this to allow for easy wheel removal for bigger tire sizes.

My hopes for a big dip in price (they’re heavier so they gotta be less) were not high, as they are also an exceptionally expensive to manufacture, CNC machined part and they’re still rolled out here in the USA the old fashioned and very expensive, but also very well functioning way…



That said its $399 for the Ti version and the stainless will cost you $329. That’s 20 bucks less, and as these are less than Zero’s, the price gets my vote as to the product name.

You can get a peak at them at ZeroGravityBike.com and I’m sure that you’ll see more on these in the next few weeks.

I also hear that the OEM orders are already rolling in so you should see them on some North American builds pretty soon as well.


Have Fun,
Charles Manantan




Note: if you have other experiences with gear, or something to add, drop us a line. We don’t claim to know everything (we just imply it at times). Give us a pat on the back if you like the reviews or a slap in the head if you feel the need!

PezCycling News and the author ask that you contact the manufacturers before using any products we test here. Only the manufacturer can provide accurate and complete information on proper use and or installation of products as well as any conditional information or product limitations.

Send your comments to: manager@pezcyclingnews.com

 

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