New Brakes- Paul Mini Moto, Mini V Brakes

Rear mount

Paul Components are manufactured in Chico, California and made out of some of the highest quality materials available. Bike nerds all over the world sing their praises and lust after their pricey products.

I took the leap and decided to try out the Mini Moto V brakes for my Surly. My decision to go with these brakes was not only that they came highly recommended, but because when towing my bike trailer or a heavy duty load, my old brakes just weren’t cutting it.

The bike not only received new brakes, but also a new seat post collar, new headset, and a new Surly fork. More on those items in another post.

My initial thought when I received the brakes was that they were BEAUTIFUL! It was really exciting to think of having an awesome new set of brakes that would actually stop when I pulled the lever. After having them on my bike for a few days I have some mixed feelings.

The brakes themselves aren’t too difficult to install, but tweaking them to get a good amount of breaking power with out a lot of lever slop has been pretty difficult.

Paul’s installation instructions are pretty straight forward…paulinstructionsI actually had an acquaintance at one of our local shops work on my bike and install the brakes. They seemed to be working out fine up until I decided to re-install my front and rear racks. I then ran into some major issues. The front rack wasn’t allowing the wheel to sit square in my fork and caused some interference with the brakes. I decided to nix the front rack idea until I got a better mounting solution figured out.(I’ve been told using locking skewers with flat heads will fix this. Looks like I’ll have to do a review on those!)

It took an extra hand from a co-worker (ex-shop wrench) to get the front brake back to functioning properly, but neither of us could really get a nice pull from the brake lever without it either being too tight and seizing up the brake or too loose with a lot of slop. Messing around with the barrel adjuster helped some, but it’s still not as nice feeling as my old FSA cross canti’s felt. (Pull wise that is, the actual stopping power of the canti brakes weren’t as good as the Paul’s.)

I ran into the same issue with my rear rack. The rear brake was actually set up quite nicely up until I installed the rack. It then caused the brakes to be entirely too tight. I had to loosen up the pinch bolt and adjust the cable tension as there was not even play in the barrel adjuster to get it to loosen up each side of the brake. That seemed to help and I now have enough play in the barrel adjust to help get rid of some of the slop in the lever, but it’s still not as nice as I’d like it to be. One of the major differences with these V brakes is that they don’t have the standard limit screw that say a Shimano, Tektro, etc. style has.

Feature: A nice place to tuck excess cable.
Feature: A nice place to tuck excess cable.

I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t have the best of luck when setting up new brakes. The brakes themselves have excellent stopping power still, so I may just have to keep experimenting to get things just right. There are a few write ups online about similar pull slack issues when setting up the Mini Motos. Some folks seem to not mind as the brakes themselves work fine. Others hate the way the pull feels and have since decided to go a different route.

For the time being I will continue to ride with them. I don’t see any reason for spending as much $$$ as I did and deciding after a week that they aren’t for me. As with anything new, they will just take some getting used to and some experimentation.

There will definitely be a follow up review after I’ve had to chance to ride with them a few months. I love the overall design and aesthetic of the brakes. I’m really hoping that some tweaking will do the trick.

I hope to try out some other Paul products in the future as they are all very beautifully crafted and designed. Oh and that whole made in the USA thing is pretty awesome too!