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By: Tim Donaldson

Total Control Braking [TCB]

Product Review – Lifesaver TCB
Total Control Braking

TCB Braking Valve Video
TCB Braking Valve Video
File Size: 1.5 megs, Format: .WMV

Imagine.  It’s a beautiful day, and you’re out jockeying the trails on your ATV.  Things couldn’t be any better as you and your buddies stumble upon a large, sick hill that begs your attention.  Grabbing for dirt and giving your machine everything it has to ascend the hill, you crest only to find that the lone route to return is the way you just came. The descent proves to be a difficult course. Filled with rocks, roots, and loose debris, you begin the decline. Suddenly, the downward momentum forces the tires free from the gravity-defying traction and holding power of the engine brake. Panicked, you slam the brakes. As the tires slide through the loose stone, the tires bite on some solid foundation – throwing the rear of the bike into the air and you over the handlebars…

It’s something for which we never wish or hope to happen, but it is certainly an event that can happen. For me, the most intimidating part of ATV riding is traveling down steep grades. Too many times, the sharp-angled slopes create excess momentum, and applying the front brakes invokes an ever scary situation. Now, there’s a product on the market that will help take the fear out of those sudden, front-end stops.  It’s called the Lifesaver TCB (Total Control Braking).

Described as a hydraulic control valve, the TCB Valve will accommodate almost any Powersports Vehicle. According to Lifesaver TCB’s website, the problem with traditional braking systems occurs when the application of brakes creates a pressure spike that locks onto the high and low spots of a rotor, resulting in premature braking or wheel lock up. The TCB Valve evens out the pressure spike, allowing equal, consistent force to the entire rotor--giving greater rider control during braking.

Banjo bolt compared to the TCB valve
Banjo bolt compared to the TCB valve

Unlike antilock braking systems, the valve does not require any sophisticated electronics where braking pressure is applied intermittently to each wheel in a slip condition. After installing the TCB Valve to the master cylinder, there was an immediate noticeable difference in the operation of the front brakes. My first impression, after installation, was that there was more travel in the brake lever. At risk of sounding too much like the promotional flier for the TCB Valve, I have to say that’s, in fact, what I really had. Before installing the TCB Valve, pulling the lever resulted in an almost instantaneous locking of the wheels. Now, with more travel available in the brake lever, I could apply a full range of pressure to the brakes–even locking the wheels, as before, with the brake lever more fully compressed.

Designed for use on the front or rear brakes, the valve replaces the existing banjo bolt on the calipers or master cylinder and is extremely easy to install. Installation was simply accomplished by removing the banjo bolt, inserting the TCB Valve, replacing lost brake fluid, and bleeding excess air from the lines. If the brake system has an individual caliper for each wheel, riders can choose a TCB valve for each or place a single TCB Valve on the master cylinder. Riders are, also, given the option of four classifications of TCB Valves with varying compression zones to prevent premature wheel lock up. Each is specially designated for the front or rear brakes with varying amounts of slippage.

Initially designed for use on RV’s about three years ago and sized as large as a football, the TCB Valve has expanded its design and offering range to the Powersports market. As the only product of its kind, ATV riders will appreciate the added control they receive after installing the TCB Valve onto their machine. With quick installation, an affordable price, and a variety of pressure classifications to suit individual rider preferences, the Lifesaver TCB Valve is a valuable ATV component add-on for riders who want to improve their braking feel.

Please visit for additional product, pricing, and ordering information.

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