About a year and a half ago, the International Cycling Union - the organization that sets the rules for bicycle racing - announced that it would allow the use of disc brakes on cyclo-cross bikes. This was good news for off-road racers, who were willing to accept the slight weight penalty of disc systems in exchange for the performance advantages that they offer over traditional rim brakes. As a result, we're now seeing various disc-equipped competition-level cyclo-cross bikes entering the marketplace. However, what does this mean for all the perfectly-good bikes out there that were made before the announcement? Well, it turns out that they can be converted to hydraulic discs, thanks to something known as the Parabox system.
Made by bicycle brake manufacturer TRP, Parabox allows cyclists to use their existing cable-based brake levers. Its junction box master cylinder clamps onto the handlebar stem, just beneath the bars. This is linked to the levers via two hose-enclosed cables, which activate the cylinder mechanisms within the box, providing hydraulic braking power. The system also includes front- and rear-specific calipers along with pads, 160 mm rotors, and hydraulic lines.
Presumably, users will still need to purchase disc-friendly wheels, or get their existing wheels rebuilt with disc-ready hubs.
The complete Parabox system will add 451 grams (14.5 oz) to its user's bike - minus the weight of the system it's replacing - and will extract US$469.99 from their wallet. It's available via the TRP website.
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