Review: Tektro Novela Mechanical Disc Brakes (2014)


Whenever we get asked about a potent set of mechanical disc brakes, the first name to pop up in our minds is Avid. This doesn’t happen only because of the fame of the brand, but for the simple fact that the BB5/7 series were actually capable of convincing me that efficient mechanicals do exist. On the other hand, Tektro included in its range several brakes like this, and the Novela is among the most successful of these, featuring on the spec charts of entry-level bikes.

So, naturally, we’re dealing with an entry-level model of brakes, therefore adjusting our expectations according to the component’s capabilities is a necessary step. In the form of Tektro Novela you’ll get decent stoppers, but no more than that, the distance between them and the likes of Avid remaining rather big. There’s no room here for words like „modulation”, mostly due to the mechanical system, which means all you’ll get is an „on/off” functioning, seasoned with reduced braking power. You’ll have to give more time for braking if you don’t want to end up in the scenery around the trail, and you won’t get any help in your endeavour from the 160mm rotors.

During this test, the brakes were connected to a pair of Shimano levers, which weren’t among the best we’ve used. That’s wahy it is useful to remind everyone that a pair of decent levers, with a bigger amount of leverage, can improve braking up to a point. However, this won’t solve the noise problem, and neither will it expand the short lifetime of the pads. Furthermore, even if adjusting is done relatively easy, doing it several times will increase the need for repeating this operation, so be prepared. The Novela manage to pull a neat stunt in the end, tipping the scale at 260 grams w/o rotor.

If we were to recommend these brakes, price would be the main reason, but we wouldn’t take them anywhere outside the city limits, urban usage being the most for which we could trust them. Or, how the saying goes, “not for actual mountainbiking”.

Weight: 260 grams (w/o rotor)