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Good brakes in 2022

norbar

KESSLER PROBLEM. Just cause
Jun 7, 2007
10,863
1,200
Warsaw :/
So my Code R stock pads glazed over and killed my trip but even with better pads I hate them. Tried friends bike with them and they suck dick. Require waaay too much force and will tire my hands.

So what are good brakes in 2022? I see a lot of complaints not a lot of recomendations. My fingers work properly and I think the whole "well this brake doesn't have power but has modulation" were made for guys with sad girlfriends. I'm looking for something that requires as little force as possible to lock the wheel. My first brake was a 2001 Magura Gustav. Had no isssue modulating that one. Doubt anything will be harder.

So what has power and is reliable?

Saints/Zee - I hear some incosistent bite. I can live with it if you can "pump them" to work.

Magura - I hear weird lever and people use shimano lever? What's the end feeling?

Sram - the company name translates to "I shit" in Polish. Nuff said. I hated every brake they have ever produced. I hate their spongylines

Hope - Expensive but is it worth it? I hear the lever throw is long? Liked old Tech 2 E4s even though they lacked power. V2s were nice. are they reliable?

TRP - I know nothing

Trickstuff - no way I can afford those and supposedly no one has them in stock. Still curious to hear about them.

Anything else? I have bad memories with formulas and horrible bleeding and no one wanting to serivce them.
 

canadmos

Cake Tease
May 29, 2011
17,183
15,402
Canaderp
From the crowd here, you have 3 pretty well-defined set of brakes that are liked.

  • Trickstuff
  • TRP
  • Hayes Dominion
There was some love for recent Formula Cura 4, but I think some didn't like how temperamental they were with disk rub? Not as much mention as those others.
 

Carraig042

me 1st
Apr 5, 2011
675
317
East Tennessee
I like my Hope tech3 E4's quite a bit, but they are no means on/off like you seem to want. Their new tech 4 sound like they have a bit more bite off the top. All the Hope brakes I have had are very reliable and require minimal maintenance.

If I were to try anything different, I would look further into Magura or Trp's nicer stuff.
 

norbar

KESSLER PROBLEM. Just cause
Jun 7, 2007
10,863
1,200
Warsaw :/
From the crowd here, you have 3 pretty well-defined set of brakes that are liked.

  • Trickstuff
  • TRP
  • Hayes Dominion
There was some love for recent Formula Cura 4, but I think some didn't like how temperamental they were with disk rub? Not as much mention as those others.
I've seen some reviews claiming TRP's lack power. Those same reviews also liked Codes for "modulation" so I dont trust them but can anyone with experience on them chime in?

As for Hayes? I remember there was a highes brake everyone recommended in the mid 2010s but it had reliability problems after a while so Im a bit wary.
 

norbar

KESSLER PROBLEM. Just cause
Jun 7, 2007
10,863
1,200
Warsaw :/
I like my Hope tech3 E4's quite a bit, but they are no means on/off like you seem to want. Their new tech 4 sound like they have a bit more bite off the top. All the Hope brakes I have had are very reliable and require minimal maintenance.

If I were to try anything different, I would look further into Magura or Trp's nicer stuff.
I'd probably go for V4 over E4 even if that's for an Enduro bike. I'd rather spend less since I may be well off by Polish standards but my currency conversion rate is the worst it has been in 30 years so I am a bit screwed.
 

Nick

My name is Nick
Sep 21, 2001
22,424
11,224
behind you, don't wait up.
TRP - I know nothing
I've seen some reviews claiming TRP's lack power
As a decades-long Shimano user, finally cracking after a few years of bite point scares, I've converted both bikes over to the DHR-Evo and love them. Unless you have tiny fingers and/or like your levers super close to the bar, they're great. Tons of power, great feel, super easy to setup and to date virtually zero maintenance. I think they could be the best bang for your buck these days.

I owned Cura 2 and 4 pistons. I preferred the 2 pistons.

I'd still love to try Trickstuff Dirtmeisters one day.
I'd also like to ride the new Dominions, as those get near perfect reviews from about everyone.
 

norbar

KESSLER PROBLEM. Just cause
Jun 7, 2007
10,863
1,200
Warsaw :/
As a decades-long Shimano user, finally cracking after a few years of bite point scares, I've converted both bikes over to the DHR-Evo and love them. Unless you have tiny fingers and/or like your levers super close to the bar, they're great. Tons of power, great feel, super easy to setup and to date virtually zero maintenance. I think they could be the best bang for your buck these days.

I owned Cura 2 and 4 pistons. I preferred the 2 pistons.

I'd still love to try Trickstuff Dirtmeisters one day.
I'd also like to ride the new Dominions, as those get near perfect reviews from about everyone.
Well nothing because I don't trust the reviews of the TRP's I've seen.

TRP's catching far away from the bars are good. I have long fingers so not a problem for me. I prefer the lever to bite far away from the bar. Catching to close causes fatigue unless you have short fingers.

How long have you had yours? They use pads shared with other brakes or they have their own? Easy to buy?
 

two-one

Chimp
Dec 15, 2013
59
59
Eindhoven, the Netherlands
I went the shigura road... bought some Magura MT5's from a german webshop for 150 euros, some Shimano BL-m7100 levers, shimano olive and magura pin. bled them with shimano mineral oil. Have been working fantastic for me with magura 203mm storm-hc rotors, although they tend to 'whistle' a bit because of the hole pattern.
The bite point feel is typical shimano, although the free stroke is larger than normal 2-pots shimanos. The increased leverage ratio simply needs to move more oil around.

I went this route mostly for the low-cost / high-power ratio. I saw a lot of German park-rats were running this combo for the same reason. I also really wanted a bigger caliper for heat dissipation, and really like the monoblock design, it's gorgeous.

Never liked those plastic magura levers. Sold the mt5 levers to people that broke them and couldnt repair them, for more $ than the shimano levers actually cost.
The magura pads wear pretty fast, but because of the magnetic pistons, you can wear them down all the way to the backplate without hearing mangled pad spreaders in your rotor.
 

Fool

Turbo Monkey
Sep 10, 2001
2,381
975
Brooklyn
Magura - I hear weird lever and people use shimano lever? What's the end feeling?
I want to know more about this. I am pleased with my Magura MTs except the levers are made of bendium, just put a nice j-curve in my month-old replacement lever.
 

Nick

My name is Nick
Sep 21, 2001
22,424
11,224
behind you, don't wait up.
Well nothing because I don't trust the reviews of the TRP's I've seen.

TRP's catching far away from the bars are good. I have long fingers so not a problem for me. I prefer the lever to bite far away from the bar. Catching to close causes fatigue unless you have short fingers.

How long have you had yours? They use pads shared with other brakes or they have their own? Easy to buy?
about 15 months. I think they can use the typical Saint / EBC 4-piston pads, but I've only used the TRP pads so far.
HERE is my original post talking about the lever setup /throw.
 

norbar

KESSLER PROBLEM. Just cause
Jun 7, 2007
10,863
1,200
Warsaw :/
I want to know more about this. I am pleased with my Magura MTs except the levers are made of bendium, just put a nice j-curve in my month-old replacement lever.
Google Shigura. All of Poland uses the mix. Hell I think Udi or someone here even used to mix previous pre MT5 gen magura with shimano levers. So they always worked together.
 

jonKranked

Detective Dookie
Nov 10, 2005
80,427
19,772
media blackout
As for Hayes? I remember there was a highes brake everyone recommended in the mid 2010s but it had reliability problems after a while so Im a bit wary.
their current gen stuff is rock solid. only consistent gripe about the A4's i've heard is weight. i put a set on my DH bike this year and have been very pleased with them.
 
Feb 21, 2020
445
653
SoCo Western Slope
TRP DHR-Evos w/ 220 rotors, good power without any drama.

I swapped them on for some Saints on the DH bike this year.
20+ days of riding (mostly lift, some shuttle) this summer and it was wet almost every day. No issues at all, no noise, not even a hiccup. Burned through one set of rear pads. Same pads as Shimano 4 pot, I ran MTX red after the stock ones died.

They do have a similar feel to Saints, but more power (rotor?) and never a lever wander or anything like that. Set and forget.

Even did a *gasp* DH race!
94077728-Purg+GSR+22-35.JPG
 
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SylentK

Turbo Monkey
Feb 25, 2004
1,797
588
coloRADo
I still say Shimano. My fav is 4 pot XTR. 200mm rotors.

I do have XT on my other bike (happens to be an ebike) it's 4 pot too. 200mm rotors. Works great.

Just keep up on the lever bleeds with the cup. All is good.

I have learned to not use expensive rotors, once they glaze up it's just easier to toss on a new set. The pads are usually fine.
 

Andeh

Customer Title
Mar 3, 2020
706
703
I have been really, really impressed with the Hayes Dominion A4, so much so that I already bought a second set for the next bike that I probably won't even get for another 3 months. Everyone I've let try them has loved the light feel. The contact point hasn't moved on me at all through a lot of use, unlike the Code RSCs where I was re-adjusting it so that left/right felt balanced every couple weeks.

As a former Magura MT7 user, I would no longer recommend them for anyone who isn't a pro athlete with an on-call mechanic, or just doesn't care about constant pad rub. Every set I've owned or used on friend's bikes (~6+ sets total) constantly gets pad rub. They also tend to develop sticky pistons more often than any other brake I've used, and they don't offer replacement pistons. Their solution is to replace the whole caliper. They also have a lot more seal drag (force required to move lever before they engage the rotor) than Dominions or Codes.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
19,888
4,028
borcester rhymes
Happy on my mt5s and mt5 trail sport fabio coolguy edition. Consistent lever throw and great power with race level pads. Mediocre power otherwise. I agree with the pad rub- it's super hard to get these to run cleanly, but it's livable. Certainly on a DH bike and pretty reasonably on a trail bike.

Good 'merican brakes seem to be Hayes or TRP. I think Hope is relegated to fancy bois and trickstuff for trustfund bros. I have two sets of maguras and like them OK, but I'm not a hardcore park rat either.
 

Cerberus75

Monkey
Feb 18, 2017
515
191
I've been on the Hayes Dominion for a year. No issues. The lever feel is effortless. YOU just bring the lever closer to the bars, never really squeezing the brakes to slow/stop, I've ridden Trickstuff and they're nicer but not much nicer for the price.
 

boostindoubles

Nacho Libre
Mar 16, 2004
6,736
4,610
Yakistan
My fatty friends that also go fast are running TRP these days. Another chunky friend of mine went the Shigura route and they feel amazing. I may go Shigura myself.
 

mykel

closer to Periwinkle
Apr 19, 2013
4,219
2,825
sw ontario canada
Currently running 3 different 4 pot brakes.

Old Avid XO trail that don't really matter for this discussion - Decent feel, decent power, bit soft bite, absolute bastard to bleed. Needed to be bled a couple times a year. 203/180 On my sons 140mm 26r trail bike.

Hope T3V4 - Great feel, better power than the XO Trail, not as much as the Dominions, Occasionally need to be bled in the spring. Seem to have a problem with sticky pistons as at least one needs to be freed up every spring. On my 275/26 DH bike 203/180 upgraded to 2.3mm 223/203 but not ridden. Faded them out at Thunder, so gonna try more rotor.

Hayes Dominion A4 - Great feel,(Hope may be a little better?) awesome power, more bite than the Hopes, really light feel. Overall easily the best of the bunch. So far has been set and forget. Several years on the same bleed. 135mm 29r trailbike 203/180. Had no problem slowing my brake dragging, fat hack ass down while park riding in Quebec. Would bang again.
 
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Loki87

Monkey
Aug 24, 2008
176
141
Salzburg, Austria
Been on MT7 for about 6 years. No issues at all. No squealing, no pad rub, no inconsistencies.
One thing i found is that the aftermarket levers make a big difference in how the brake feels.
Blew up the membrane cause i´m dumb and didn´t focus during a quick and dirty parking lot pad replacement on a slightly overfilled brake.
Went with some SLX levers and so far, after a season, i couldn´t be happier. Great ergos, rock hard bitepoint, super short lever throw. At first i thought modulation might be terrible, but it´s actually really good on trail. Wheel lockupbarely takes any effort.
 

toodles

ridiculously corgi proportioned
Aug 24, 2004
4,665
3,562
Australia
Hope E4s and V4s are allright with the green pads. Never a problem with those, unlike the Shimano lottery.
The green Galfer Pros are my fav pads for both of those brakes. I haven't tried the new Hope green pads though - I thought they were Galfer Pros but apparently they're not.

I'd probably go for V4 over E4 even if that's for an Enduro bike.
There's no point buying E4s unless you're mega pedantic about lever firmness at the expense of power. The V4s weigh like 9g more and are much better brakes. I have E4s on my trail bike and V4s on my NP Mega and am about to upgrade the Mega to Dominions, put the V4s on the trail bike and move the E4s to my DJ or sell them.

Of all the brakes I've tried in the past couple years - Shiguras work great but lack modulation a little bit and are expensive to build. Magura levers are a joke. TRP apparently work if you change the pads but the stock ones aren't spectacular. Trickstuffs and Dominion A4s are brilliant. Hope (T3 levers) are consistent but a bit behind in power - haven't tried the T4 properly.
 

djjohnr

Turbo Monkey
Apr 21, 2002
2,806
1,505
Northern California
Been running multiple sets Magura MT5s for the past few years, and currently have them on my enduro and DH bikes. Tried Hayes A4s on my trail bike this summer. Also ran current gen XTs for a brief amount of time. The Hayes have a strong initial bite point more similar to Shimanos, while the Maguras have better modulation. Power on both is excellent, however I ran into brake fade once on the Hayes while I never have on the Maguras in the past 5+ years.
 

jezso

Chimp
Dec 31, 2010
77
58
Dubai, UAE
Glad this topic came up. I'm also looking to upgrade and have XTR and Dominions on my radar. I really like the Shimano lever feel, my wife's bike has the SLX, and it's really nice, my only gripe with it so far are the resin pads, as they are not adequate for the alpine terrain that is around me. My main ride has the codes, which are not too bad, but the lever has considerable resistence vs. the SLX, and somehow it feels weak now. Might be I'm misled by my perceptions, but the braking feel of my Guide RE's on the other bike feel also like the codes, which kind of confirms my theory. The only thing that speak agains the Dominion is the DOT fluid, as with shimano I could standardize all the bikes in the family on one brake fluid material. I just might toss a coin... :)
 

Electric_City

Torture wrench
Apr 14, 2007
1,863
609
My 2 cents.

I can't commit to shimano brakes cause I know people who literally carry a bleed kit in their car or backpack. And to me, that's absurd to put my safety on the line like that. Cause I don't have to and neither do they.

I like my Hope Tech3 V4's.

I'm not sure why Hope makes the E4's. They're just a bit smaller, but noticeably weaker.

With the V4's, something like that you might not like is that the lever is generally closer to the bar and there is a "decent" amount of lever throw. Otoh, the lever throw I believe is what their brakes don't drag. Ie. I've pushed out the old pads and put in brand new ones and the pads don't touch. I have to pump the lever to get the pads in far enough to contact. This is opposite of sram stuff where I'd spread the old pads, put the new ones in and have to force the disc between the pads. With that said, with the Hopes, the rotors don't drag.

I'm not light and I've yet to say "I wish I had more brake". 200mm f/r on the DH bike and 200/180mm on the enduro and HT.

They're lever is firm, where I've always felt the sram lever was flexy. When you apply the brake, it's there. Unlike sram felt to me. The one time that the brakes didn't work cause the lever came into the bar was because the pads were wore down to the metal. FUCK THAT. I headed to the truck and put in the new pads and no issues from there.

The pros are that there's no wandering bite point. They're reliable. Adjustable bite point and reach on all of their brakes unlike sram and shimano. No bleed kit required. DOT 4 or 5.1 fluid. 8mm wrench, a T10 and a hose/bottle is all you need. And as insignificant as it may seem, a V4 is a V4. There's no difference in model year like Shimano.

The cons are the lever is closer to the bar, expensive compared to Shimano, and parts aren't as abundant as Shimano and sram. But I've never needed anything besides brake pads.
 

Jm_

sled dog's bollocks
Jan 14, 2002
16,658
7,596
AK
My 2 cents.

I can't commit to shimano brakes cause I know people who literally carry a bleed kit in their car or backpack. And to me, that's absurd to put my safety on the line like that. Cause I don't have to and neither do they.

I like my Hope Tech3 V4's.

I'm not sure why Hope makes the E4's. They're just a bit smaller, but noticeably weaker.

With the V4's, something like that you might not like is that the lever is generally closer to the bar and there is a "decent" amount of lever throw. Otoh, the lever throw I believe is what their brakes don't drag. Ie. I've pushed out the old pads and put in brand new ones and the pads don't touch. I have to pump the lever to get the pads in far enough to contact. This is opposite of sram stuff where I'd spread the old pads, put the new ones in and have to force the disc between the pads. With that said, with the Hopes, the rotors don't drag.

I'm not light and I've yet to say "I wish I had more brake". 200mm f/r on the DH bike and 200/180mm on the enduro and HT.

They're lever is firm, where I've always felt the sram lever was flexy. When you apply the brake, it's there. Unlike sram felt to me. The one time that the brakes didn't work cause the lever came into the bar was because the pads were wore down to the metal. FUCK THAT. I headed to the truck and put in the new pads and no issues from there.

The pros are that there's no wandering bite point. They're reliable. Adjustable bite point and reach on all of their brakes unlike sram and shimano. No bleed kit required. DOT 4 or 5.1 fluid. 8mm wrench, a T10 and a hose/bottle is all you need. And as insignificant as it may seem, a V4 is a V4. There's no difference in model year like Shimano.

The cons are the lever is closer to the bar, expensive compared to Shimano, and parts aren't as abundant as Shimano and sram. But I've never needed anything besides brake pads.
You using a 2.3 rotor in the T4V4s? I have to say the lever really feels pretty much exactly the same as the T3, a bit more leverage due to the geometry, but throw and feel are like a carbon copy. All I got is 2 other sets of T3 and some shimano to compare against.
 

chuffer

Turbo Monkey
Sep 2, 2004
1,140
470
McMinnville, OR
I run shiguras with MT7 calipers and some version of XT levers.

I run Shiguras bc the Magura levers both broke in a single season and I had some Shimano levers laying around…

When they work, I like them. As someone else said, in the shop they feel like modulation will suck -instant firm lever, but on the trail they have great modulation.

For me the big downside for Magura calipers is the sticky pistons. I have to loosen up a few pistons every couple of months.The pistons get so out of balance that the rotor will rub
on the housing! Granted there is slop on the trails here 10 months per year, but I never had this problem with Hayes, Shimano or my ancient set of Juicys.

It sounds like Dominions and Hopes are good options.

I just can’t get past my anti Tektro feelings to consider TRPs. Back in the day that outfit made some real garbage…
 

Electric_City

Torture wrench
Apr 14, 2007
1,863
609
You using a 2.3 rotor in the T4V4s? I have to say the lever really feels pretty much exactly the same as the T3, a bit more leverage due to the geometry, but throw and feel are like a carbon copy. All I got is 2 other sets of T3 and some shimano to compare against.
Mine are the T3V4. As for the rotor thickness, whatever their standard thickness is.

Do you feel an increase in power when comparing the T3 to the T4 lever?

Are there different thickness discs that hope sells? Advantages/disadvantages?






A heads up to anyone who googled this or is unfamiliar with the Hope lineup of brakes. E4 (enduro) and V4 (DH) are the calipers. Tech 3 refers to the levers. Tech 4 are the new levers. Mine are all Tech3 V4's, Fwiw.
 
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