Shimano Tiagra 4600 Brakes (2012)


Shimano Tiagra kit underwent reinvention last year. The manufacturing company decided that the higher entry-level set should, like its older “brothers”, benefit from 10 speeds, double, triple or compact crankset and versions for use on city bikes. It’s precisely the Tiagra brakes we’ll approach and discuss in the following.

The main advantage of these brakes is versatility. That is, you may well use them on a straight handlebar bike, whether it’s one for touring, trekking or city, or on road bike handlebars. Shimano levers improved ergonomics for the straight handlebar, with the possibility to adjust them so that even those with smaller hands might be able to brake freely. Adjustment is made by using a small screw that pushes the lever to the handlebar or bring it to its original position. Screw can be driven by a 4 Allen key.

Lever is designed to be operated with three fingers, but you can use two fingers as well, grip being satisfactory. Brake levers are well prepared for the segment to which they belong, but we already got used to the idea that Shimano wants to make great progress in terms of bicycle braking systems, whether we refer to the rotor or the pads. However, these levers are compatible with other brakes from Shimano road range.

As is the custom for the Japanese company, the Tiagra brakes enjoy SLR (Shimano Linear Reaction). This technology provides a faster response when you press the brake lever and lets you choose with what intensity you brake. In other words, if you want to stop suddenly, strongly push levers and there you are! (at least in theory). If you just want to slow down, pull the lever so that it moves only part of its travel. We should mention that although Tiagra is a superior entry-level set, this does not mean that the parts, brakes included, are very powerful. In addition to efficiency and design, the remaining features are not forte. For example, this pair of brakes weighs 375 grams, more than other brakes, similar in point of construction and price, but lighter than many V-Brakes (except for Shimano XT, XTR). In terms of braking, they provide decently but not impressively.  The Tiagra collets work better, but shoe quality is not brilliant, upgrade is recommended. Also, in humid conditions, their efficiency drops significantly, which is not so striking with superior range models.

In terms of braking power, Tiagra brakes are sufficient for city rides and braking at lower speeds. However, those looking for performance must look to models like the 105 or Ultegra or even V-Brakes on condition fork and frame allow the installation of such a braking system.

Another thing we recommend to check is the compatibility of brake pads with the wheel rims the bike is equipped with. To avoid unpleasant surprises, pads must be adherent on the respective rim.

In conclusion, we recommend the new Shimano Tiagra 4600 together with the same range levers, for optimal performance. You can buy them if you have not too high demands on braking performance, claims related of course with daily needs and routes traveled. For urban areas they are ideal because their price is very decent. They are also a good budget solution for all those who don’t have V-Brake mounts on their bikes.

Weight: 375 grams/pair

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