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Resuscitating my brakes?

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,146
1,108
01776
I have a pair of Hope M4s (silver) on my brooklyn. They are nice brakes with adequate modulation and reasonable power. They are old, but I see little reason to "upgrade" to newer brakes that will have similar problems. I seem to have figured out their squeekiness, but the brakes don't have a huge amount of power. I do have the more modern lever/master cyllinder, not the cylindrical one from way back.

Will goodrich lines, a fresh bleed, and cleaned rotors breathe new life into my brakes? I run 50/50 organic and metallic pads, from hope. They started to fall apart last year but I still have a few sets. Should I invest in some new pads from EBC or hope? New rotors as well? Or suck it up and buy a new set of brakes?
 

JRogers

talks too much
Mar 19, 2002
3,791
1
Claremont, CA
Those are sweet brakes, even if a bit old. New brakes would be nice, but if you want to keep old ones, you might try new rotors and pads like EBC reds. If power is the problem, the red compound will wear faster, but willl wear faster, but will give a little power and grabbiness.

Also, if you're interested, I think I have an old 4 piston Hope and a few sets of pads somewhere, if you're interested. Has the old cylinder and lever. I probably have 6" and 7" rotors as well, if you have any interest...
 

davep

Turbo Monkey
Jan 7, 2005
3,279
0
seattle
In my opinion, the older 'pre-mono' years pads sucked. I always just tossed them in favor of something else. I usually use EBC reds as they are quite grippy and I dont really care about replacing them a little more often.

If your rotors are noticably worn (thin, dis-colored or cupped surface) I would suggest some new ones...if not, get some fine emory cloth (220 or so) and just lightly sand the brake track to get a dull smooth surface again.

On the older lines: I noticed a difference in lever feel on the rear when I ran goodridges, but not the front (longer line = larger volume expansion). The newer smaller lines feel a bit better to me.

Those claipers are very easy to rebuild as they are bolt together. If you have not bled them in a while or on a regular basis, it might be worth while to pull the calipers apart and clean all the junk out.

A good bleed (from an un-opened can) is always helpfull as brake fluid absorbs moisture out of the air..degrading performance.

What do you mean by 'power'? Do the levers feel spongy? or do the pads seem like they just wont grab no mater how hard you pull?
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,146
1,108
01776
No grab/lockup power. I get good modulation and I can stop my bike, but often at the end of the day my hands hurt. They were excellent when I first bought the bike, but after a season they just aren't doing the trick. If anything, my hands should have gotten stronger. It's kind of like, I can grab a fistful of front brake and not go over the handlebars at any speed, but up on the hill I can still slow down adequately. I do run a 7" rotor on the back, and an 8" on the front, but that's never been an issue, really.
 

davep

Turbo Monkey
Jan 7, 2005
3,279
0
seattle
No grab/lockup power. I get good modulation and I can stop my bike, but often at the end of the day my hands hurt. They were excellent when I first bought the bike, but after a season they just aren't doing the trick. If anything, my hands should have gotten stronger. It's kind of like, I can grab a fistful of front brake and not go over the handlebars at any speed, but up on the hill I can still slow down adequately. I do run a 7" rotor on the back, and an 8" on the front, but that's never been an issue, really.

Sounds more like a friction issue rather than a fluid force issue, (but bleeding never hurts if done correctly)...that means pads and or rotors. Pads get contaminated over time with things like chain lube, oil from the street, oils from your hands etc. They also can get glazed and loose a fair bit of friction.
Also check your rotors for stuff I mentioned above. Sometimes just a quick emory paper scuffing of the rotors, and pads (then re-bed) can help a bunch.
A couple of times a summer, I run some abrasive paper around my rotors (just pinch around the rotor and spin the wheel), take the glaze off my pads, and clean the both rotors and pads in alcohol (be careful, you will have NO brakes until all the alcohol evaproates).
 

RD3

Monkey
Nov 30, 2003
661
11
PA
I always thought the older M4 Hopes were very good brakes, I have several sets. To make them the best possible, I would get:
Goodridge pads, organic
Goodridge lines
Dangerboy levers
Give the system a good bled and clean / lightly sand rotors

You should be able to lock them up with one finger with that set up.