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The Birzman Razor Clam disc brake alignment tool does a good job of providing even spacing between brake pads and getting rid of the dreaded brake rub. It's small, functional, and durable, with the handle making it much easier to use than some.
If you're happy to have a go at bike fettling, check out our beginner's guide to bike tools – get all the vital gear for basic bike maintenance.
The Razor Clam is made from stainless steel and 6061 aluminium and is a folding design, with the 'prongs' that slide between the pads and rotor folding back over the handle. The handle is a very useful addition to the design, making it far easier to access the calliper and slide the tool in than simple one-piece designs folded in the middle, such as Birzman's non-Razor Clam. The Razor Clam's folding design also helps to protect the thinner 'prong' material from becoming misshapen.
Another positive is the Razor Clam's length, which means it can be used for aligning both two- and four-piston calliper designs.
Using the tool is very straightforward: loosen the calliper bolts to allow the calliper some movement, open up the Razor Clam and slot it between the brake pads and rotor, then, simply pull the brake lever, tighten up the bolts, and the pads will be spaced evenly. Birzman has a very exciting video showing it in action.
Mostly, I found it worked very well and consistently, with the pads always coming out evenly spaced.
The only issue I ran into was when trying to use the tool with my SRAM Rival brakes; with these, the pads sit so close to the rotor that the tool wouldn't slot in.
With so many different calliper designs, I guess there are bound to be some that the tool doesn't work so well with, and it'd be handy if Birzman had a compatibility chart, but it only states that the maximum disc thickness is 2.3mm.
We asked Birzman about this issue, who told us it had tested the Razor Clam on SRAM Rival callipers and rotors, and advised that we would have to 'pinch the front part of the Razor Clam a little so that the sides stay close to the rotor when sliding into the caliper'.
I tried that, and it worked on certain brakes, but I still couldn't get it to fit in my Rival callipers; the pads just sit too close to the rotor.
At £8.99, the tool is reasonably priced – a similar offering from Lifeline, the Pro Disc Brake Calliper Alignment Tool, is £11.99 (though currently discounted to £6.99). When testing the Lifeline tool, Liam found it quite difficult to push into the tiny gaps either side of the rotor (though he didn't say which brakes he was testing it on). The Birzman has a far sturdier looking design, making it easier to navigate between the pads.
You can get cheaper alignment tools without a handle – Birzman's non-Razor Clam I mentioned earlier is £7.99 for a pack of three – but they're harder to get the tool in and out, in my experience.
The materials used mean the Razor Clam is robust and hardwearing – after using it many times it has held its shape and works as new. Overall, it's a great addition to your tool kit.
Nifty tool perfect for eliminating that pesky brake rub
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Birzman Razor Clam
Size tested: 82 x 26 mm
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
From Birzman: Disc brake calliper alignment tool that creates an equal space between brake pads and rotor for calliper adjustments.
Features a folding handle which enables better accessiblity when in use, and provides a buffer in storage.
Elongated body accommodates both two- and four-piston callipers.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Material: Aluminium 6061 / Stainless Steel
Size: 82 x 26 mm
High quality build using good materials.
Aside from my SRAM Rival brakes, the tool worked well and effectively.
The tool continues to work just as new after a month of heavy use.
Not noticeable in a pocket, easy to carry.
It is a little cheaper than some similarly designed tools on the market, such as the Lifeline Pro.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed well, the only issue being it not fitting in certain SRAM brakes.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I like how small yet useful the tool is. It is something you don't think you need until you try it.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
My only issue was when trying to use it with brakes with very closely spaced pads, but Birzman isn't really to blame there.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's cheaper than the similar Lifeline Pro alignment tool (at rrp). The Birzman is £3 less and a better product overall.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's great! A very usable and useful tool to have, removing the frustration of brake rub with its simple and sleek design. The only issue is that it isn't compatible with all disc brakes, but that's not really Birzman's fault.
About the tester
I usually ride: Windover Bostal My best bike is: Windover Bostal
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb, Gravel and ultra-endurance racing