State Bicycle Co. Cargo Cage & All-Road Disc Brake Calipers – Getting Rolling – by Guitar Ted
Note: I received the products mentioned in this review at no charge to me. State Bicycle Co. did not bribe me, nor are they paying me for this review. I always strive to give my honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
Hey, when you are a reviewer of products, you often times are subject to the whims and foibles of marketing folk. You hardly ever get to work with the same person for long, as the door seems to be a revolving one at those firms, and so it becomes a situation where the goal posts get moved all the time in terms of how, or even if, I will get stuff in to test/review.
A great example of this would be the current products featured in today’s post. The same firm I am dealing with here asked me if I wanted to review some shoes and I said “yes”, but it has been a month now, and….. This stuff here, the State Bicycle Co. stuff, I said yes to just last Wednesday and it arrived at my door on Saturday.
You just never know!
The point though is that I did receive the products so I needed to get on this pronto. That’s exactly what I’ve done.
Let’s take these one at a time…
State Cargo Cage & Silicone Molded Straps: The Cargo Cage is designed to reflect the desert home of State Bicycle Co. with its cactus and mountains motif. The “SBC” logo is also there to remind you where the cage came from. The cage is crafted from 5250 aluminum alloy and features a clever slotted and ovalized hole mounting pattern allowing the rider to utilize several mounting options. This cage has a claimed weight of 168 grams and is rated to 25lbs capacity for cargo weight. The Cargo Cage sells for $24.95 and is available direct from State Bicycle Co’s website here.
The Silicone Molded Cargo Straps are an optional accessory item which can be used with the Cargo Cage or with other bags and cages. The straps measure 22mm X 56cm and have a nice buckle and strap retention loop. You can add these at purchase of the Cargo Cage or State sells these separately for $9.99.
All-Road Disc Brake Calipers: The All-Road Disc Brake Calipers can be purchased separately or as a set. These calipers are hybrid type calipers which are actuated by a cable but are hydraulic at the caliper only.
There is not a ton of technical information on State’s site about these, but the instructions in the box give us more clues and information. The calipers are actuated by an arm that displaces mineral oil inside the sealed caliper. This forces both pistons to move and to cause braking action using Shimano compatible pads. (Easy replacement!) The manual says that these should never need bleeding, so they should be low maintenance.
The manual also lets us know that these brake calipers were produced by the Chinese firm IIIPro. Checking into this online I was able to ferret out that the calipers are CNC machined, (they look like they are as well) and that the anodizing is scratch resistant.
The calipers come with hardware to adapt the calipers to 140mm or 160mm rotors, which should accommodate most gravel bikes. The price from State for a pair of these is $99.99. You can check out the State Bicycle Co. site for more on these here.
Weights: Cargo Cage: 168 grams. All-Road Disc Brake Calipers: 356 grams / set. (As weighed on my digital table-top scale)
The products were well presented and they looked like premium components which should work well. I especially liked that the mounting options for the cage would allow for different use scenarios. The disc brake calipers were handsome and the CNC machining marks always look cool to me. The anodization of the aluminum parts looked great and I saw nothing odd or out of place there.
The Cargo Straps were a new thing on me. I see a lot of bikepackers using similar ones to these and now I can see why. They are about 100 times easier to use over the traditional Nylon strap and plastic buckle deals I had been using. Not to mention that these are a vast upgrade over toe-straps!
The installation of the flat mount calipers was pretty straight forward with the exception of one thing. The front caliper adapter came set in the 140mm position. What?! Okay, so I had to switch that around. I don’t know of many 140mm front applications, so I thought this was odd. Things got a bit more complicated when I found that IIIPro used a pretty aggressive thread locking compound on the adapter to caliper bolts which caused a moment or two of dread wondering if I might round out the 4mm hex bolt head due to the excessive amount of force needed to break the bolts free. But in the end, I got the deed done.
I chose my Singular Cycles Gryphon Mk3 as the test mule for these items as it uses flat mount brakes and the Old Man Mountain Elkhorn Rack is mounted to it which has Three-Pack bosses on its struts. The Cargo Cage’s mounting options allowed for a lower mounting of the cage, which in comparison to my other cargo cage, which does not allow for such an option, it is a better cage to use if you want a lower center of gravity for your cargo.
The molded straps were a breeze to use, as mentioned already. I should have gotten some of these a long time ago! The cage seems sturdy enough to carry most bikepacking type loads, and with those straps, I would not worry about losing anything.
The calipers are a very different feel in terms of braking. I have had both all-mechanical and fully hydraulic systems, but never a hybrid of the two. This bike had TRP Spyre calipers on it previously, which I have liked, but they do not have a lot of “power” to them. They will stop you, but they don’t have that “lock-em up” type of power that my fully hydraulic sets do. That’s really okay on a gravel bike because getting your tire to gain purchase on what amounts to stone marbles doesn’t require ultimate power. But in a bikepacking situation, where you have a lot of weight involved?
That’s when I’d want more than what the TRP Spyre’s are capable of giving me. I think the State Bicycle Co All-Road Calipers will be different. My initial impressions are that the calipers have a much more powerful bite on the rotors I am using. By the way, these brakes have been dead quiet so far as well.
I’ll have to reserve more comments on the brakes until I get them bedded in better and when I have had more time on them. But things look promising here. I like that the pads are Shimano compatible, because those are easier to find and there are more options available as well. The durability of the calipers is yet to be determined, but the build quality looks impressive to me.
Stay tuned for updates as I get them ready to share.