TRP EVO Brakes Compared | DHR vs Trail vs Slate


Tektro’s performance line of products, TRP, has an impressive catalog of powerful brakes all under their “EVO” banner. Here at The Lost Co, we’re huge fans of big powerful brakes, and all of these brakes tick that box! The three models are the DHR, Trail, and Slate, and It can be a bit confusing as to what sets them apart from each other and which one you should buy, so we’ll put all the information together in one place here for you!

TRP Brakes

2.3mm Rotors

All three of TRP’s EVO brakes are designed around their thicker 2.3mm rotors, and made to provide maximum power for the discipline they were designed for. With those thicker rotors, the idea is providing more power and heat dissipation when compared to the standard 1.8mm rotors. TRP was the first to pioneer these modern thicker rotors, and while other companies like SRAM are following suite with bumping up to 2.0mm rotors, not many other companies are committing to the full 2.3mm thick rotors.

4-Piston Brakes

Besides the thicker rotors, all three of these brakes feature four piston calipers that are rated for both acoustic bikes and eMTBs. Inside of the 5mm hoses you’ll find mineral oil getting pushed back and forth to actuate the pistons. Controlling the action of all three models is their adjustable aluminum alloy lever blades that have little holes drilled out of them for increased grip and saving a bit of weight. Every milligram counts right? And the final similarity between them is that they all use the same brakes pads, sharing the same footprint as Shimano pads so its easy as could be to find spares no matter where you go.

DH-R EVO, Trail EVO, and Slate EVO

Well there sure are a lot of similarities between these three brakes, but don’t be fooled! Each of these brakes is built for a different genre of riding, and definitely shines when used in the right application. Just like the name suggests, the DH-R EVO is built for downhill riding, and is very commonly specced on Enduro bikes as well because it supplies the most power of all three options in the lineup. Second is the Trail EVO, which is also aptly named to suit the trail bikes that don’t demand quite as much power on the tamer trails they prefer. Lastly is the Slate EVO, which is a great option for aggressive XC riding.

TRP DHR EVO's in Black

TRP Trail EVO's

trp slate evo mtb brakes in black on white background

TRP Slate EVO's

What separates these brakes was surprising to me, and TRP is approaching their brake lineup differently to other manufacturers. Instead of designing lighter brakes for the more weight conscious bikes, the weight of these three is very uniform across the board, with just 3 grams separating the downhill specific DH-R EVO and the cross country focused Slate EVO. Instead, their biggest separator is their price and power when you pull that lever.

DH-R EVO, Trail EVO, and Slate EVO Compared

Initial Set Up and Adjustments

Sitting at the top of the pack in price and performance is the DH-R EVO, which starts at $269.99 per end for the black version, and if you want to increase your bling factor, you can pay $10 more for silver or $30 more for gold. No one ever said style was cheap!

At $224.99, the Trail EVO saves on cash but also on power, but it does use the exact same caliper as the DH-R EVOs. Interestingly enough, the Trail EVO lever uses a 10mm piston to push mineral oil through the lines, while the DH-R EVO lever uses a slightly smaller 9mm piston to do the same job, while still supplying more power at the end of the day. There must be a difference in the leverage ratio to account for the difference in power, but I have to say I don’t understand why the DH-R doesn’t bump up to that 10mm piston like the Trail EVO.

Last up is the Slate EVO, which their most affordable and lightest duty EVO brake that is predominantly used for aggressive cross country or light trail riding. The Slate EVO uses a different caliper that still uses the same brake pads as the other two options. While the other two brakes are right at home in steeper terrain, the Slate EVO is more suited to lower grade trails that don’t demand quite as much performance. But that’s not to say they can’t handle it on occasion! They’re still powerful four piston brakes, but the Slate EVOs are happiest on rolling hill terrain rather than the steepest pitches you can find.


Considering the weight of all three brakes is nearly identical, our recommendation to everyone is to get the most powerful of the three brakes that is within your budget! They all have very similar features, and there’s no reason not to get the more powerful brakes if you’re worried about weight. Lots of us here at The Lost Co have ridden the DH-R EVOs a whole bunch and it’s definitely one of our favorite brakes on the market!

Shop TRP Brakes


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Trail EVO

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Got questions? Feel free to shoot us an email or give us a call!

(360) 306-8827



Tor Weiland



Bellingham, WA

Current Bikes: Transition Spire Custom Build

Bike Size: Medium

Favorite Trails: Oriental Express, Galbraith

About Me: Hailing from the sunny landscape of California, Tor headed north and landed here in the cloudy town of Bellingham, WA. His riding style is "PINNED" and he loves to scope out those seemingly impossible triples. He loves riding and also loves sharing his experiences with others. You can catch Tor in front of the camera or behind the keyboard, but best of luck catching him on the trail!