Doug Burton's blog

Disc Brakes on the Silvio 2.0

Submitted by Doug Burton on Mon, 26/08/2013 - 19:19
So the first edition of the Silvio 2.0 assembly manual doesn't cover installation of disc brakes.

We'll probably issue an addendum to cover this, but I wanted to get some info out about what's involved and what I've found will and won't work so far.

Silvio 2.0 is principally a road bike. We had a lot of requests around installing discs on Vendetta and Silvio in their previous versions, frequently from randonneurs and folks concerned about braking with a fast bike on steep downhills and in poor weather. So John added disc tabs to the design. We didn't add lots of extra cable stops because the majority of riders will use road calipers, and then have unused cable stops flying in the wind and cluttering up a very clean design.

To install disc brakes, you need disc hubs, and Silvio 2.0 is designed for 130mm road hubs on the drive wheel. As has been pointed out, there aren't many of those out there.

I like disc brakes, and it was my intention from the beginning to install a set and see how well it worked. So I shoved a 29'r wheelset with 135mm drive hub spacing in there, and it works fine for me. The chainstay dropouts may not seem to align with the fork dropouts perfectly, but in practice everything works fine.

So the "Groupset" I built looks like this: 

  • Mavic A317 Disc-only rims on Shimano M525 hubs. A long quick release, like used on the Silvio 1.5, is needed.
  • 160mm front disc, 140mm rear disc (Quest 2.0/3.0 spec) (A 160mm rear *might* fit, but it will be close to the seat stay)
  • Avid BB5 Road calipers (Quest 2.0/3.0 spec)
  • Ultegra 10-speed brifters, 3x10, Ultegra FD
  • Ultegra Triple, 165mm cranks, modified granny ring to remove chain suck tabs.
  • Deore M591 Rear Derailleur (I could have used the Ultegra derailleur, but wanted extra cage length for a wider cassette later)
What I found out in installing the parts:

Front cable stop is unnecessary. When the cable length is right and tensioned, the cable lays 
exactly where it belongs and stays there without hitting my leg or rattling around.

Rear cable routing was with continuous housing (I find it makes cable maintenance easier), to run 

the continuous housing I punched the internal cable stops out with a punch and hammer.

Rear cable housing was routed from the frame exit across the rear seat stays, between the brake bridge and the elastomer spring support, and secured to one side with a discrete black wire tie.

You have to look for it to see it.

How does it work?

It performs acceptably. The Ultegra brake cable pull distance is unique to Ultegra, and could be better, but 
when I sqeeze 'em, they stop. BB7 calipers, or SRAM road hydraulics would work better.

But in riding this bike at the beach, and picking up sand, I realized I'd much rather replace brake discs than scored wheel rims.

And I like the way the bike looks a lot.

"I like disc brakes and I cannot lie..."

Doug Burton's blog
Robert Holler's picture

I will be building up a

I will be building up a Silvio here this next week with BB7's Glad to read this to see I need a smaller rotor for the "rear" of the bike...

I am having my wheels built up with DT Swiss 350's that are 130mm spacing and use centerlock rotors... should be a nice setup!


Aggieray74's picture

Doug, I am interested in your

Doug, I am interested in your post. I just ordered a Silvio and would like to put disc brakes on it.
You mentioned that BB7 calipers, or SRAM road hydraulics would work better. If I go that route, would the other instructions you give be the same?
I am new to the recumbent game and know nothing. I am starting a list of what else to order to complete my bike. Should I talk to a bike shop that will assemble my bike before I order the parts?

counterpoint's picture

I just put together my new

I just put together my new Silvio 2.1 and highly recommend TRP Hy/Rd or TRP Spyre disk brakes. The Hy/Rd have a hydraulic cylinder but are cable activated = mechanical, the Spyre are just mechanical.
I also wanted to save weight and found a 160mm disk rotor from Taiwan on Ebay for $20 which weighs about 60g vs 110g.
My mechanic loves the brakes (even though he didn't sell them to me): better, lighter and substantially cheaper than the Avid (which also just had a recall).
Got mine from for $183 (Hy/Rd front, Spyre back as I need more stopping power and modulation in front).

BentAero's picture

TRP Recall Counterpoint: I

TRP Recall

Counterpoint: I really like those TRP brakes, but check to see if your rear caliper is effected by their recent recall.


I had to disconnect the url to defeat the spam filter. Just backspace at the .com to reconnect it.


Paruig's picture

Hi Doug, Have you tried a

Hi Doug,

Have you tried a Rohloff disk hub in the Silvio?

The twist grip might be a problem on curved bars.
I did see an English made ratchet changer for Rohloff hubs at Spezi that might work though.