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I want to get these in combination with new levers for my bike, but under the description it says:

"Use of these calipers with standard SLR enabled STI and brake levers results in a "mushy" brake response"

I've got a simple, single-speed bike, I'm not sure how this will be an issue? All of the reviews seem great, and they're the only reasonably priced shimano brake calipers that are black to match my gear.

Maybe I'm missing the mark completely and these brakes aren't even meant for a bike like mine, if that's the case can anyone recommend some affordable brake calipers that I can upgrade to?

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Don't have a specific answer, but do note the distinction between "standard SLR" and "Super SLR". No idea if the BL-R400s fall into either category. –  Daniel R Hicks Jun 5 '13 at 21:53
    
I can't find anything in regards to either. A few ebay results list them as "Super SLR." But that's not sound advice. –  ndimatteo Jun 6 '13 at 5:13
    
BITD, "Super SLR" was Shimano-speak for dual-pivot calipers. Nowadays, the term has re-emerged on many ads. I found this page while searching to see if Shimano has added new meaning, but there's no evidence that they have. –  user8780 Dec 16 '13 at 0:49
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3 Answers 3

It's counterintuitive but brakes with a mushy feel are actually going to have more power. This is due to the difference in cable pull ratio. It also means you'll have to run the pad a little closer to the rim, which can be an issue if your wheels are out of true. Overall, I think this would be a great setup. The new 105s are great brakes, and you'll have plenty of stopping power.

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The Shimano Tech Doc for the Shimano BR-5700 (SI-8JC0A-002-00) says "Use the ST-5700/5703, BL-TT79 with the BR-5700. Do not use the BR-5700 in combination with previous STI levers for road riding or with the BL-R770/BL-R550 brake levers for flat handlebars, otherwise the braking performance provided will be much too strong". You can try it, but I don't think it should be recommended -- since brakes are the most important safety equipment on your bike, its not really a place where you should be experimenting against the manufacturer too much (if you value your face) IMO. You may be able to adjust the cable pull of the levers appropriately with a travel agent though.

Some other things you can do are make sure your current brakes have good quality pads and are set up properly. Even a great brake will perform poorly if you don't do this. As for alternatives, try the SRAM Apex brakeset with the SRAM 500 brake levers. Alternatively, buy some silver calipers and (carefully) paint them black.

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Tektro road brakes will work just fine with those levers.

http://www.jensonusa.com/Road-Caliper-Brakes/Tektro-R539-Road-Caliper-Set

It's what I use on my road bike.

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