Opening Note – Sorry about the terrible layout of this review. I suck at any technical computer stuff and I’m forced to use WordPress to run the competition site template. So this is all we have, for now, I know most of my followers aren’t here for pretty pictures and websites, just for the down-to-earth information. I’m trying to find a better solution for the future.


Braking Brakes INCAS 2.0 Review

Price: Around €700 depending on options

Weight: If you care about the weight of a bicycle brake, AstonMTB is not for you. There are plenty of sites that give you weight breakdowns for XC and road bike parts.


Let’s start with the name. This causes a lot of confusion:

“What are these brakes mate?”

“Braking Brakes”

“Yeah, but what are they called?”

“Braking Brakes”

“But what is the brand”

“Braking Brakes”

“Are you taking the piss mate?”


The Braking brakes are made in Italy by Braking which also makes brakes called Braking in the MX scene. I don’t know much about MX, but they seem to be quite popular and support some top supercross riders. This particular Braking brake in question is the INCAS 2.0. As the name is so confusing to type I will just refer to them as INCAS from now on.

With retail prices around 700 in GBP or EUR, more depending on extras, the INCAS are at the upper echelons of bicycle brake systems and we should be expecting perfection in every area at this price point. The only brakes more expensive are Trickstuff, but they don’t really count as they have a lead time of at least one year and cost >€1000.

There is also another Italian brand called BCA Brakes which makes suspiciously similar brakes which confused me when looking for parts, I messaged them on the ‘gram to see if they were the same brand but they replied with Hi Paul.. 😅😅😅we are not allowed to explain too much 😅😅 .. but I guarantee you they are not the same .. however, how do you feel with your brakes? if you need we can help you on those too😁😁😅”

The INCAS are very intricately machined and are great for getting attention in lift queues. They come in gold/grey anodized finish only and the laser etched logos and technical information sign off the product.

A mere two pistons, but a few exciting options include the opportunity to swap out the main INCAS (INterchangeable CArtridge System) piston in the lever between 9mm or 10mm and Braking also offer 3mm thick rotors. 

The Braking INCAS are real beauties in the flesh

The first difficulty to note is that their website is useless and is very hard to find information about the product. I’m in the same boat, I couldn’t build a decent website if my life depended on it, you probably noticed already.

The paper manual included in the box is also hard to read, the English translation is bad and can be confusing.

It’s also been really hard to find shops with suitable stock for various spare parts. I bought these back in April, so I’ll guess the parts shortage was mainly due to the bike boom of the last couple of years and hopefully, stocks have been replenished by now.




Braking only offers stainless steel braided hoses, which you may have heard me praising in the past. There’s nothing wrong with normal plastic hoses, except they are fragile: I have experienced them splitting in the past and have seen it happen to other riders either from crashing, pinching them behind dual crown forks or being cut by flying rocks. If you damage a hose you will lose all brake pressure and could easily get into a serious accident, especially in more extreme terrains near cliffs.

Personally, I think we should remove that risk for everybody forever and use tougher stainless steel braided hoses as standard – I’ve never seen plastic hoses on a motorcycle.

There seem to be 5.7mm and 5mm hose options in online stores. The latter should be simpler to route through any internal frames and bungs where 5.7mm may to too big. There could also be a change in performance if the ID (internal diameter) is different but I cannot find any information on their site if this differs. I discovered this when I needed to buy a longer replacement hose, mine are 5.7mm but I could only find 5mm replacements.

In the words of Steve McQueen "Braided is life, anything before or after is just waiting... [for a massive accident]"

Rotors and Pads

There are multiple pad and rotor options from Braking including the 3mm thick Wave rotors. Most brands seem to be quickly giving up on >2mm thick for any >200mm rotor applications with good reason as they spend most of their life being warped. I’ve spent way too much of my life straightening rotors in the workshop so that they spin perfectly, only to pull them hard a couple of times to hear them rubbing against the pads. Not a huge issue, but considering the MTB world’s addiction to light weight, stiffness and efficiency, then having a bent rotor continuously scrubbing off your hard-earned speed is not ideal.

I’ve also had larger rotors in the past, for example, some 223mm X 2.0mm from Galfer around 4 years ago, that would warp so much under heavy braking they would hit the caliper body and push the pistons back into the caliper. This leaves you with a very soft brake feel that needs pumping back up while riding and has a changing bite point. I was working at PB when I was sent these and Galfer told me I had installed them incorrectly…?

2.3mm thick rotors seem to be gaining popularity with a few brands and I’ve had no issues with the new Hope HD 2.3mm rotors and heard good reports about TRP. 2.3mm seems to offer the best compromise of weight and staying straight.

Once the extra spacer/fin has been added it's much harder to see in to the caliper to align it perfectly.

To use the Braking 3mm Wave rotor you need to add a spacer which has cute little cooling fins. You need to split the caliper and then re-bleed the whole system.

With the 3mm rotors, it was harder to get the calipers nicely aligned and not dragging because you cannot see into the top of the caliper to line them up with the rotor. The rotors stayed nice and straight for the test duration without any problems. The thicker rotor with more metal should also keep the brake temps more consistent.

These extra thick rotors give great peace of mind, when the bike is being loaded in and out of vans, chairlifts, or in small crashes, but I didn’t really feel they were necessary – but I’m happy to have tried them – a good 2.3mm rotor seems to be suitable for most uses.

Braking only recommends using the 3mm rotors for the rear brake. But me being me, I thought, “if there is an advantage on the rear then why not have it on both?” I think the main reason could be interface issues on some fork brake mounts. But they were right, as I did experience problems when pedalling the bike: the front rotor would reverberate and build up a vibrating noise however we aligned them. This never happened on the rear or when descending, though. 

The rotors’ shape also claims to allow them to expand vertically and outwards as heat builds up and affects braking performance less. I have no idea if this is true or not, but it makes sense to allow the rotors to expand outwards if they need to.

The rotors design is said to allow them to expand outwards with the increase in heat.

Trying out the 3mm rotors wasn’t a budget addition costing €64.90 each, plus €36.90 for each spacer. Some shops have stock of pairs of INCAS with one 3mm spacer installed and ready to ride on the rear.

Pad options include “carbo metallic,” “organic” and “sintered racing.” Carbo metallic are fitted as standard and seem to offer the best power + durability. There is little information I could find on the Braking site about power, function, noise, durability etc. There’s no comparison chart offered to find the differences between them.

The pad bite was always great on the standard carbo metallic and I could only get the rear to fade right at the end of the steepest test tracks. Brake performance under heat can be measured in two ways. The first is the system heating up and causing the levers’ bite point change or pump up. As mentioned in the bleed section, no bite point changes at all even on my favourite brake test track: at BikePark St Gree in Italy, the red ‘freeride’ track is about 7mins long with 600mm of vertical drop. The track gets progressively steeper which gets the brake warmed up and arms tired out.

The final 100m of the track is the steepest continuous section. Any brake that can get to here without any problems is doing very well (Sram Code’s couldn’t even get to the start of steep section for me on a full run. The last time on Code’s I had to go full 2-finger on the levers with the standard pads melting and the bite point going all over the place due to the caliper body expanding with heat).

The second heat factor is brake fade, this is when the brake-pad-to-rotor interface gets too hot, the pads melt, and you lose the bite – I think this is the bigger problem as when the pads fade, you need to brake more, which creates more heat and exacerbates the problem – many people will have experienced this feeling on long alpine descents.

The INCAS would last all the way down this section with no bite point or change or lever pump every time. About half of the time during the last 100m the pads would start to fade/melt which is a bloody good effort on this track. Unfortunately, I never got to test these out in wet conditions, as even Mor[wet]zine and the Alps had the driest summer I can remember.


It also turns out that Braking INCAS and INCAS 2.0 have slightly different pad sizes, which I found out when going to swap out for the spare pads I’d bought. That mistake ended a days riding a little early.

Watch out - INCAS and INCAS 2.0 have different pads shape/fitment


Definitely the old-school method. The brakes come with a little bleed connector for the caliper, but nothing else. Of course, this connector didn’t fit any of our other bleed syringes/tubes (even though we have kits for Sram, Formula, Hope and Magura). We couldn’t find any Braking bleed kits online, so I messaged Braking to see if they have a kit, they said they would send one for free: great! But when it turned up it was simply the same bleed connector as the one provided in the box.

So we had to leak dot fluid from the badly fitting syringe tube everywhere to get them bled (bear in mind I live in the middle of BF-nowhere so popping out to get syringes and tubes in the camper van isn’t super easy), but once they were bled we had no problems. We used the old-school method of opening the nipple, pumping oil in and closing it. Trying to push up any air and fill, but not overflow the reservoir at the open lever.

When we had a good bleed, these were the most consistent brakes I ever had. The bite point was exactly the same all of the time regardless of tipping the bike to hang on the wall, on chairlifts and under extreme heat. The INCAS had a perfect bite point all the time. Double thumbs up!

The complete Braking bleed kit - somehow didn't fit any of the 4x other bleed syringes we have.

When we had a good bleed, these were the most consistent brakes I ever had. The bite point was exactly the same all of the time regardless of tipping the bike to hang on the wall, on chairlifts and under extreme heat. The INCAS had a perfect bite point all the time. Double thumbs up!

InterChangeable Cartridge System.

The INCAS system means you can change the main piston in the lever from standard 9mm to 10mm. I believe changing to 10mm will give a more powerful and sharper brake with less modulation, but again, no comparative explanation on the website.

I couldn’t find these anywhere in stock for ages. Then I found some at a local shop and I reserved them over email. The day before I was going to collect them, they messaged me to say they had sold one of the pair. I decided not to bother picking the other one up and didn’t order any more. Trying to support your local bike shop is a great idea, but with so many thousands of options for everything in the bike world, I often find it is more hassle than its worth to track down the exact parts you need, especially if the shop actually has them, reserves them for you, but then sells them.

With a list price of €58.40 each on I couldn’t really justify any more expense on this test. Ideally, I think it would be better if the brakes came with all the options in one box from new.


The levers do have a great adjustment for lever reach and bite point. If you prefer a very short lever throw and a sharp brake these can definitely be a good option for you. You can set them up to have nearly no free lever movement. The downside of these adjusters is that they use tiny 2mm hex keys, and can sometimes start to rattle loose, you can nip them up easily, if you have a fiddly 2mm hex key with you which many multi-tools don’t have.

The lever blade shape and angle feels great and nicely in line with my index finger. The initial pull is light and smooth initially. But the lever can get crunchy and squeaky over time. There’s no cartridge bearing on the lever main pivot which could be added for a smoother action. 

The second tiny 2mm screw to adjust the bite point - this one is secured by another grub screw under the lever.


I had zero issues with the INCAS during testing. I read a few comments on my posts and via messages that their mate’s mum’s dog’s brother had had lots of warranty problems. But personally, nothing. I’ve called out on instagram a few times to see if anybody could explain specific problems they had, or had heard of, but no solid reports came back.

Ride and Conclusion

Overall these are a really, really good set of brakes that I would happily continue to use for any kind of DH/Enduro/eMTB situation.

The two-piston caliper offers instant and very sharp bite. Power is plentiful and I was never asking for more, easily as much as many four pistons on the market, but not compared to the new Hope T4 V4 monsters. Modulation is less than a 4-piston, but these brakes are very easy to feel and feather.

A two-piston caliper is easier to align than a longer four-piston caliper with the very small tolerances in a bike brake. There are also no problems with sticky pistons or misalignment which can be common on four-piston brakes.

They are the most consistent brake I have ever used (maybe Trickstuff Direttisima were similar – but I tested those 5x years ago) and with the 3mm thick rotors and carbo-metallic pads we had no major bite change or heat management problems regardless of tipping the bike on chairlifts and changes in altitude or heat.

The lever blade feels great, solid and flex-free. The ergonomics put the lever blade nicely inline with the index finger.

The overall construction is solid and offers something a bit different to the rest of the market. Although, I would prefer chunkier or tool-free lever adjustment.

Sourcing the correct parts was tough, but this will depend on your location and the quality of local dealers and hopefully, the supply chain is improved now. This also highlighted some of the difficulties of independent reviews: it’s hard to justify more and more expense to try all the options of pads and other options when buying everything at retail price, it was much easier working for classic review sites when a box turns up in the post with every possible option to try out for free.

If you want to buy a pair I would probably skip the 3mm rotors, using one on the rear is great, but if you need to replace it in quickly you will never find a spare in your local shop or at a bikepark.

‘Italian Style’ is definitely a good way to describe these brakes from the beautiful design to the lack of clear information.

Let’s #buildbikebetter

The whole goal of creating AstonMTB and trying to independently test things as a consumer would, is to get better products for everybody. After a lifetime of racing, riding, testing and working in the bike industry, these are my constructive comments to improve this very expensive and high-end product:

Simple improvements include:

1 – Get a proper translation of the website and instruction manual.

2 – Improve the website with simple comparisons and explanations of why riders would choose different setups and the advantages of each: INCAS, pad compounds, rotor thicknesses, hose diameters.

3- Reduce the different options for shops. At this price, I think there should be one set of brakes available to buy with all the possible options included, a bleed kit with syringes and plenty of spare olives, connectors, hose etc. I would have happily paid £900 for a big box with everything included, rather than having to make multiple orders from various shops and still not really getting what I wanted.

More difficult improvements would include a replacement reservoir cap for bleeding with a bleed cup, lever pivot bearing and tool-free adusters.


To fund this truly independent review, I’m giving away one BRAND NEW pair of INCAS, and also giving away these INCAS in a competition to raise money to fund my testing projects. I will work with the 1st lucky winner of the new pair to get exactly the setup they need. The used pair includes the 200mm x 3mm thick rotors. Both prizes include global shipping – you can check the competition page here!