Mt. Haleakala descent

It’s no secret that disc brakes are coming – and coming fast. Not only are they on mountain bikes and cyclocross, but also a handful of new road bikes. I personally have used the cable-actuated Avid BB7 Road brakes for about five years on various bikes, and really enjoy them. Until recently, however, I had never tried any of the newest hydraulic road disc brakes.

For 2014, Shimano is selling a hydraulic system called R785. It features all of the goodies – Di2 shifting, 11 rear cogs, and high-tech finned rotors. The big part of the story is that their pad, caliper, and rotor technology allows the use of small 140mm rotors front and rear – with no rider weight limit (SRAM’s system requires larger 160mm rotors).

World’s Best Brake Test

In order to prove their new brakes, Shimano brought a group of journalists out to beautiful Maui, Hawaii. Not only does the location offer fantastic riding, it sits halfway between their Japanese headquarters, and their US facility in Irvine, CA.

We will publish a full report on the new brakes, along with the latest 11-speed Ultegra 6870 Di2. For now, we’d like to show you a video of our descent down the massive Mt. Haleakala. The ride takes over an hour (yes, just the descent), and we’re told it’s the longest paved descent in the US. We were encouraged to put the brakes through the gauntlet – fast stops, tight corners, and dragging the brakes for long periods of time. Grinning and giggling were optional… and I couldn’t help but partake. This one is worth adding to your lifetime bucket list.

All still images © Eric Wynn / Shimano