Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
Almost four years ago now, my friend Bruce L. Ross, who lives just down the street from me, contributed a 2-part story about converting his Colnago to a hybrid brake setup with a disc up front and the stock rim brake in the rear.
As I said introducing Bruce at the time, I love a great upgrade story. If you do, too, here’s part 1: https://www.roadbikerider.com/converting-your-bike-to-a-hybrid-disc-rim-brake-setup-part-1-d2/.
Bruce’s Latest Discovery
Last week Bruce reached out to me again and this time he told me about an interesting new disc brake – at least new to me. It’s Yokozuna’s Ultimo. How it differs is that it’s a cable-actuated hydraulic disc brake. This means it can be used with standard levers, no hydraulic hose compatibility or hoses required.
I know Yokozuna’s reputation for making exceptional cables and housing. So it makes sense to me that they designed these brakes around their cables. One of their Reaction Compressionless cable sets (cable and housing) is included with the brakes, plus a 160mm stainless-steel rotor.
I haven’t seen or tried the Ultimos. But because Bruce spoke highly of them, I wanted to share them with you. They might be perfect if you’re building a flat-mount disc bike around cable-only levers because your old parts are working fine.
And, the hydraulics are integral to the caliper (mineral oil is used), so no hose sizing or setup is needed. And even better, they’re good to go, no bleeding is necessary. For even easier setup, there’s an adjustment knob for fine-tuning the brake pads.
The Ultimo brake is a four-piston design with larger pads than on their Motoko brakes for excellent stopping power and modulation. To help, the rotor is also equipped with removable aluminum heat sinks.
Ultimo product page:
Price: $279.99 each
Colors: Black and Silver
Lever Compatibility: Compatible with cable-actuated road brake levers (short-pull)
Frame Mount: Flat Mount
Hydraulic System: closed system with mineral oil
Pistons: 4 coated pistons
Brake pads: Shimano D-type pads (Saint/Zee)
Adjustability: Simple one knob pad adjustment
Caliper weight (per): 139 grams
Included in kit: Yokozuna Reaction Compressionless brake cable set for superb response,
160mm, 6-bolt stainless-steel rotor, adapter (rear caliper designed to fit 160mm rotors without an adapter)
If you’ve used the Ultimos it would be great to hear what you think of them in the comments. Ditto, if like Bruce you upgrade to a set. Or if you’re using another brand and model of cable-actuated hydraulic discs, it would be helpful to hear about those stoppers, too. Thanks!
10,256 Daily Rides in a Row
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s cycling streak ended in February 2022 with a total of 10,269 consecutive daily rides (28 years, 1 month and 11 days of never missing a ride). Click to read Jim’s full bio.