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Product Review: Tektro R539 Road Brakeset

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The Tektro R539 brake set consists of both front and rear dual pivot calipers with longer reach than standard rim brake calipers. This then allowing more room for larger volume tyres and mudguards.

Long reach brake set – (47mm to 57mm) High quality dual pivot design road caliper. Will not interfere with frames fitted with mudguards. New quick release mechanism for larger tyres and adjustable angle cartridge pads.


  • System: Dual Pivot Caliper Brake
  • Material: Forged aluminium arms
  • Pads: P422 adjustable angle cartridge pads
  • Lever Compatibility: Designed to work with SRAM/TRP/Shimano/Tektro Dropbar levers
  • Tyre Clearance: Max 32c dependant on axle to crown measurement on fork.
  • Dimension: 47-57mm
  • Weight: 160 grams per caliper

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Tektro R539 Road Brakeset Review:

47mm (rear) and 54mm (front) reach of the braking surface, thus the potential for smaller rotors and more space for fenders.

Plenty of room inside for most fenders on the market and their corresponding mud flaps -I was able to run some pretty large SKS Raceblade Longboards with no trouble at all.

-I was able to run some pretty large SKS Raceblade Longboards with no trouble at all. Braking surface is wide enough and long enough to provide for good feel and great modulation.

is wide enough and long enough to provide for good feel and great modulation. Adjustable-pivot pads, allowing you to fine tune the braking to your rims for good modulation.

All in all, a great braking surface that will have nothing to complain when it comes to performance.

I think they do feel a little on the light side (160g) so if you’re into climbing and you like your brakes to be really supportive, this might not be your cup of tea as they did feel a little less supportive than the other calipers I’ve ridden.

That being said, who cares. These brakes are brilliant.

The P422 Disc Rotors

I’ve been using the CR220 3-puck stainless steel rotors from Avid which have been fairly good, with a little bit of pre-heat they perform well.

However, with the R539 I upgraded to the CR490 ‘Full-On’ rotors which are not just machined to a better finish, they are also drilled and pinned with stainless steel pins to increase the surface area against the brake pads for better heat dissipation. The result – even more pad bite and better modulation. Brilliant!

The P422 rotors are super light too which is always a nice bonus when you consider all the other weight loss options out there.

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Shimano M525 Mechanical Disc Brakes

To complement the top-notch braking performance of the R539’s I decided to go with Shimano M525 ‘mechanical’ rather than ‘hydraulic’ disc brakes. For those who are in the dark, hydraulic disc brakes offer more modulation but also suffer from more friction unlike their mechanical counterparts. It is true, however, that mechanical disc brakes are a little bit more technically challenging to set up, especially the cable tension. This is why they offer less modulation. However, with proper technique, they can achieve great braking power.

The M525 brakes are also a little bit heavier, however, the weight penalty is not that spectacular when you consider the weight of the rotors and the 6″ Spread option to compare side by side.

It should be noted that I run 130g all-around rather than 160g front-rear. I think it’s also worth mentioning that the Tektro R539 have adjustable angle pads which allows the user to set them at different angles.

After a couple of rides I decided to get my brakes perfectly set up for my riding style. This is how I did it.

1. Loosen the barrel adjusters for both the front and rear brakes so that there is no tension on the cables. 2. Set up the pad angle. This can be done by setting the preload, turning the nut to adjust the angle. A visual guide is on the nut itself with 15 different angles. The R539 pads should be set to ‘6’ and ‘4’. As a visual, I would recommend looking at the Tektro website for a small informational movie.

The final result, perfect set up and braking power. The caliper will rotate with ease with the pads pulling it in.

After setting up the brakes I then decided to test out the Tektro R539 and the M525 brakes by riding some of the most technical trails in South Africa and by doing a little bit of braking to the max and then accelerating hard out of the corners. The result, the brakes performed incredibly well and did not fade.

I must say, this is a great improvement when compared to the Shimano M315 brakes which I had to service every now and then because they occasionally would not disengage after use (cable stretch problem and also pads really needed to be replaced).

The Shimano M525’s were perfectly installed and performed great. There was little or no bite point and the modulation was good too. I did not have to work hard to get them braking.

Overall, if you’re looking for a new brake setup, forget about the pricey Shimano hydraulic brakes as you can get Tektro braking power at a fraction of the price.

Tektro R539 Brakeset Review:

I am really pleased with both the Tektro R539 brakes and the Shimano M525 brakes. The stopping power and the modulation is outstanding. If you are planning on upgrading and your budget allows you to, I would 100% recommend the Tektro R539. I would also recommend the Shimano M525. With an overall weight of around 340g for the R539 with pads compared to the hefty 464g for the Tektro M315, including pads. I’m sold, and I’m not looking back.

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Written by Mark Adams

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