Hear the name Yokozuna and you might either visualize the highest-ranking champion sumo wrestlers, the late WWF heavyweight champ, or Japanese-made brake pads and housing that help wrestle your speed.
The Japanese manufacturer Yokozuna now wants cyclists to think brakes as well, and has its sights set on the brake heavyweights in Shimano, SRAM, and TRP. It’s jumping into the brake caliper ring with its latest product, the relatively lightweight Motoko cable-pull hydraulic disc brake.
If you’ve got a cyclocross, gravel or road disc bike with mechanical disc brakes and have been coveting an upgrade to hydraulic braking power and modulation, TRP’s Hy/Rd cable-pull disc brake has been the dominant option if you didn’t want to swap out your brake/shift levers. Now Yokozuna offers a different take on the same concept.
The Motoko disc brake caliper differs from the Hy/Rd in that it features a closed hydraulic system. What does that mean? Just as with Rotor’s UNO hydraulic shifting system, there isn’t a hydraulic fluid reservoir. Such a system offers advantages and disadvantages, and Yokozuna feels that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
Without the fluid reservoir, the caliper isn’t “self adjusting” for pad wear. Thus as pads wear over time, you’ll need to adjust the brake and push the pads in further for consistent braking. Yokozuna’s Motoko conveniently offers a bright red knurled adjustment knob that makes such adjustment easy.
This manual adjustment may come in handy during a muddy, gritty cyclocross or gravel race that typically eats through pads, and racers who have raced in such conditions likely have experienced the limitations of cable-pull hydraulic or full hydraulic brakes’ self adjustment, when much to their surprise, they’ve pulled their brake levers to the bars without much stopping power.
The main benefit of closed system is the need to bleed the brake (and lines) is largely eliminated, making for a low maintenance brake and precise actuation.
On paper, a closed system could be less tolerant to heat, but Yokozuna markets the brake for road, cyclocross and gravel and the brake is designed to handle long, high speed descents you might see on a road or gravel ride.
On the scale, the Yokozuna Motoko calipers are quite light, at 143 grams per caliper, without mounting bolts or adaptors. That’s about 60g lighter per wheel than the TRP Hy/Rd, and they’re a little lighter on the wallet too, listed at $124.99 per wheel. That’s the same retail price of the TRP Hy/Rd, but the Yokozuna Motoko comes with a one-piece stainless steel rotor and Yokozuna’s excellent but stiff Reaction compressionless brake housing (a $46 value for two wheels).
One Hy/Rd feature that we’ve come to love that’s missing on the Motoko is the knob to lock the pads in place when you’re transporting the bike without wheels. Instead, the Motoko comes with a plastic wedge, similar to the ones used by SRAM and Shimano.
Stay tuned as we put the Yokozuna Motoko cable-pull disc brake to the test in cyclocross races and gravel rides. See a full photo gallery below the specs below.
Yokozuna Motoko Cable-Pull Disc Brake Calipers Specs:
Fluid: Mineral Oil, closed system
Weight: 143g without mounting bolts, adaptors
Options: Black or Gray, Front or Rear
MSRP: $124.99 per wheel, includes stainless 160mm rotor, caliper, IS-mount adaptor, cable and Yokozuna Reaction compresionless housing
More info: yokozunausa.com
Yokozuna Motoko Cable-Pull Hydraulic Disc Brake Photo Gallery: