I recently started building a BMX from scratch, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I had some spare time and was in desperate need of a new bike so I thought why not? I used to be right into BMX when I was younger, I would ride my bike almost 15km to school just so that I could stop off at the skate park on the way home. I loved it, I watched all the videos on YouTube and would hurl my body off massive jumps or down flights of stairs just to chase the feeling. When I was about 15, after about 5 years of hunching over a bike that was way too small for me, I started to get really bad lower back pain and I was forced to stop pretty quickly and hadn’t touched a BMX since.
Fast forward 8 years and I’m much wiser than I was back then. I have also discovered that they make BMX parts for taller people. Yay! So my latest bike has a much bigger frame, higher rising stem and higher handlebars. Huzzah! No back pain! With my new-found and properly fitting BMX I set off on my attempt to build one from scratch. I won’t go into much detail about the bike itself (saving that for another article) but I will say that I’m using pretty much all Odyssey parts and that’s why I would like to talk about the Odyssey Springfield Brake Set. I had been tossing up between the Springfield and the EVO II’s for a while but finally decided to give the Springfield a go, purely because they were $55 for the brakes, pads, lever and cable. I also was curious about the single spring design and wanted to see how it went for myself.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much at all for under $60 for a full set of brakes. This made it even more surprising when they turned out to be excellent value for money!
I read a lot of reviews about these brakes before buying them, most of them said that they were rubbish and that the spring broke really easily. Now I don’t know exactly what conditions they were using these brakes under but so far I have had no problems at all. Installing them is as easy as two screws, adjusting the angle of the pads and running the brake cable to the lever.
Total install time: 15 minutes (if you stop for a 5 minute break to use the cable as a skipping rope like me)
I’ll admit that the brake arms and lever do feel a little bit flimsy compared to Odyssey’s other products, but that is mainly because they are die-cast rather than forged from aluminum. Does this effect the durability? I have not experienced any bends or warping so far and I have been mashing them for the last few weeks. In fact, I have not been gentle at all. I have this huge hill near my house that gets me up to about 60kph which I usually fly down and either lock up the back wheel or brake to a stop. Sometimes I just randomly hop on the back wheel with the brake locked up and so far, after all that abuse the brakes and Ghost Pads have held up very well, nor has the spring snapped.
I really can’t say whether these brakes are going to last longer than a set of EVO’s or any other brake for that matter. What I can say is that for $55 you really do get your money’s worth and without a doubt, a very good brake. I think they would be suitable for someone looking for a cheap brake set or perhaps someone who normally runs brake-less but would like an easy to install set of brakes to carry in their backpack should they need them.
Easy to install/uninstall
Ghost Pads (So good!)
Feel a little flimsy compared to others
Hinge-less lever clamp
Exposed spring could be the reason some people are reporting snapping, although I haven’t had any problems
In summary, the brakes are cheap as chips but are an extremely good set regardless. If you can afford the EVO brake set I would definitely say go for them because you know you are going to be happy with the tried and true brake set. But if they are a bit out of your price range or if you prefer to run brake-less sometimes or just need something cheap to tie you over til’ your next birthday or Christmas, then these babies are definitely for you. The Ghost Pads are very tacky and last very well while allowing you to lock up, bust a fufanu or slow down from high speeds as you please. The lever fits very well on my fingers and feels great to pull with smooth translation to the brakes. However, it does feel a bit flimsy and has a strange “hinge-less” (I guess that’s what it’s called?) clamping system which I personally didn’t like but seems to be doing the job perfectly fine so no real complaints there either. The brake arms themselves are very light and durable, while also crazy easy to install and the package comes with a spare spring should you break it, which I doubt you will but it’s there if you need it.
I think the Springfield Brake Set is a great attempt at something fresh and unique in the world of BMX and is without a doubt a good buy for any rider. With some minor tweaks (like adding a hinge to the lever) these brakes could be considered on par with some of the better and more expensive brake sets available today.
Have you tried these brakes? Any problems with them? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @pikalew with any questions.