As Feather Brakes does, their brake naming scheme simply refers to the weight, meaning this upcoming 198 brakeset will come in at a claimed 198g. If they’re anything like the 199’s we reviewed, they’ll be a bit lighter than that.
Yes, they look like cheap stamped steel, but if they follow the 199’s footsteps, they’re machined from a solid block of aluminum and include ti-hardware…and the weight is likely with pads and carriers.
Despite having a face only a mother could love (especially when the only picture they had available for us as of this publishing is a grainy GIF), the 198’s serve a very specific purpose: Increase power and adjustability for time trial and triathlon bikes.
The design is intentionally narrow to fit behind fork crowns and under chainstays on bikes designed with such brake placements, and they stay out of the wind and, likely, out of plain view, so aesthetics are clearly secondary to performance.
UPDATED after the break…
They’re also designed to allow for power adjustment, which should give TT’ers and triathletes something they often lack: real braking power, particularly with the aero levers mounted on the end of bullhorn handlebars. The little roller ball between the upper arch and the lower provides an adjustable leverage ratio, which allows the rider to set up the brakes’ feel and power differently front and rear and overcome TT levers’ shortcomings. Heavier riders can add more power, too.
These were floating around Interbike in founder Bob’s briefcase, which we missed, but we’ve heard chatter about them for more than a year now…hopefully they’ll come out soon. Pricing TBD.
UPDATE: Bob just emailed us to say the project is getting started again…it was on hold while they moved some manufacturing back to the U.S. (yay!), but with motocross season rolling again and that being a major part of their business, it’ll be about a month before it’s in full R&D mode again. The good news, he says, is that he’s got some ideas for refinement and it’ll end up being even better than originally planned.