POM: 57mm-reach calipers

POM stands for Part Of the Month – the the is silent. Each month – until I forget about this little feature – or maybe each week – I’ll highlight some piece of equipment we use here and try to provide a rationale for why it’s our choice. This month – July – our POM is the Grand Cru 57mm-reach caliper brakes from Velo-Orange which I have been speccing on recent Strada Bianca builds. But first, a little history:

Our initial Strade Bianca used the excellent BR600 caliper from Shimano which stuck around for quite a few years. It looked good, worked great, went with anything. Obviously it needed to be improved.

Shimano, in their wisdom, found it necessary to “modernize” the BR600 so we got the BR650 which worked just fine but wasn’t quite The Thing for our more expensive builds. Then Shimano dropped this model for the lower-end 105-ish BR450 and we took our custom elsewhere.

We’ve also used the Tektro version – R539 – and while it’s fine and reasonably priced we do feel the arms are a trifle flexible under hard braking. But if you’re on a budget we’d say this is fine.

So this brings us to the Grand Cru. While it’s not actually manufactured by Velo-Orange it does bear their logo and it’s a snazzy piece of work. Rather that being forged, as are the above-mentioned calipers, it’s CNC-machined from solid chunks of aluminium. It has an polished finish, beefy arms, nice brake pads, good stopping power and modulation, and a price we are happy to live with. Thanks, V-O!

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