From course to course, cross racers can expect different challenges and obstacles to overcome from sand and roots, to mud and uphill barriers. The right brake of choice is often a rider's own personal preference and often will depend on whether they race in a dry or wet climate. The most important feature a rider should look at is the stopping power. If you can't stop fast, you won't be able to maintain the overall speed needed to successfully navigate the course.
FSA SL-K Cyclocross Brakeset
The FSA SL-K offers many features for a moderate price. The adjustable spring tension, pad alignment and cable tension allow riders to get the feel they prefer. The quick release lever facilitates fast fine-tuning during your ride. The I-beam forging on the right arm increases power output. The one-bolt brake pad makes for easy instillation and cleaning. The overall construction and materials will last over time so you won't have to change your brakes out after one season. The FSA SL-K Cyclocross Brakeset retails for $109 as of 2010 and weighs 180 g.
TRP Euro X Mag
The TRP Euro X Mag brakes are the lightest and some of the best brakes for overall appearance. Used by the majority of European pro riders, these brakes give riders a high level of mud clearance. Quick firing action means riders can stop quickly. The adjustable toe-in on the pads reduces chatter. Their lightweight design of titanium mount bolts, alloy and magnesium arms is another great feature and adds only an additional 105 g per wheel. The retail price of TRP brakes is $329 as of 2010.
Avid Shorty 6
If you are looking for a stiff brake with great stopping power and at an economical price, the Avid Shorty 6 is a brake to check out. These 70 mm brake pads make for faster brake speeds.The easy to fine-tune arms, with a spring and screw adjuster, allow for quick adjustments. The Avid falls short in the area of mud clearance, but if you race in a dry state, such as Colorado, the mud clearance should be fine. The brakes weigh 176 g. The retail price of Avid Shorty 6 brakes is $48 as of 2010.