2008 Hayes Stroker Review

Oct 10, 2007 at 2:30
Oct 10, 2007
by Tyler Maine  
 
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In the most simple of terms, brakes make you stop. However, somewhere between coasting and skidding is a midrange that most of us ride – that is, if we’re riding with any sanity and skill – employing varying pressure on our front and back brakes in unison, in what is aptly called “modulation.”

Modulation, or “a regulating according to measure or proportion,” as defined by Websters Dictionary, is what keeps us from loosing it on a loose downhill line, skidding out in a dusty corner or sliding around a tight switchback. The varying pressure transfers weight and thus grip to the front or back of the bike, enabling the tire’s tread to hook up with the dirt and maintain delicate friction with rock or wood. When brakes work well, they have the “feel” that allows you to modulate through any nasty section, keeping your rubber side down and, in turn, allowing you to ride better. Simply put, good breaks make you faster.

I have had the opportunity to try some of the finest new brakes on the market over the last couple years, and it’s no surprise that many, myself included, thought Hayes was loosing its once-strong foothold in the market. This was due in part to Hayes’ most recent incarnation, The El Camino, which pretty much sucked, and a list of remarkable new products from Avid, Shimano and Formula, just to name a few. It’s no surprise that Hayes (www.hayesdiscbrake.com)decided to scrap all their previous models, go back to the drawing board, and what they’ve come up with looks good both on paper and on the trail, but the question remains, how will they perform?

Old reliable brake set

Old reliable brake set



New Hayes Stroker offerings

New Hayes Stroker offerings



I received a pair of “striking pearl white” Stroker Trails, the middle in a three-model range, with carbon fiber levers being the top dog. The Stroker Trail is likely the model you’ll see on most freeride and downhill bikes. I mounted them on my trusted and true SX Trail, taking off an older set of Hayes Mags that I’d ridden for the past couple years largely due to reliability and ease of maintenance. The new Strokers certainly looked the part:

Stroker Trail Master Cylinder and Lever

Stroker Trail Master Cylinder and Lever

Stroker Trail Caliper

Stroker Trail Caliper


Design wise, the all-new Stroker is significantly different than it’s earlier siblings. Most notably, the new Stroker features:

•A radial master cylinder that can be mounted on either side of the handle bar for those who like to ride moto-style (front brake on the right)
•Small handlebar footprint allows trigger shifters to be mounted on either side of the master cylinder
•Two-piece calipers
•A long master cylinder, resulting in a lever placement that provides better leverage with less effort
•Ergonomically optimized lever blade
•A master cylinder that contains 33% more fluid to help with fading due to high heat and, they claim, minimizes wear
•The slickest tool-free lever reach adjustment ever (can be dialed as you ride, carefully)
•Larger pads (largest Hayes ever) with tool-free placement
•Same standard Hayes post-mount so it can be used with 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 inch rotors
•Claimed weight of 14 ounces








Out of the box there was no bleeding necessary and the new ergonomics were clearly an improvement. Typically, new brakes feel a little strange until you get used to them, but not Strokers. A few turns of the blue lever reach adjuster (light years beyond the small allen key screw of yore), even as I set them while pedaling from the lift at the top of my first descent at Whistler, had them engaging precisely where I wanted.

After a few runs on the mainstays of A-Line and Dirt Merchant, the brakes began to seed in nicely. I decided a prolonged DH run was in order and I headed to the top of Garbanzo. Nothing can get a pair of brakes more red hot than a non-stop charge of Original Sin, and I was amazed these brakes held the same supple yet powerful feel from top to bottom.


And that brings me back to my original comment – these are the finest modulating brakes I’ve ever felt. If there could be a fault to some of Hayes’ competitors it's that they’re too all-or-nothing. They have tons of power, but in that mid-range they seem to lack feel, which is what I had in spades with the Strokers. Simply put, the confidence and feel of these brakes allowed me to – or at least made me feel like I could – charge harder thanks to the modulation that keep the knobbies that much closer to the brink of cutting loose, which, ultimately, means faster.


Of course, the Strokers must stand the test of time, but judging from my early impressions, I’d have to say that Hayes has pulled out all the stops to make some damn good stoppers.

-Ryan Kuhn


*Hayes Notice*

Some Strokers (Ryde and Trail, not Carbon) went out with inadequately greased master cylinder o-rings. In some cases, this causes a slow lever retraction. We've created a service kit that consists of a small dish of DOT-4 compatible grease and a lint-free applicator swab. All you need to do is to remove the pushrod from the master cylinder, apply grease to the top of the master cylinder (with the piston pushed into the cylinder), allow the piston to rise and apply grease to the o-ring. If done correctly (it's a piece of cake), there's no need to re-bleed the brake. From start to finish, it takes about ten minutes, tops. And one kit contains enough grease to service about five sets of brakes. Owners of affected brakes should take them to an authorized Hayes dealer to have the service performed.
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100 Comments

  • + 25
 People who just post that they look ugly should at least justify why or else their comment is pointless. I am tired of those individuals who insist on keep doing that. Plus in the end if they are ugly based on appearance then that is a matter of individual preference. With that said I do fancy how you're able to adjust them easily even while still on your bike. Time will tell how the public will welcome Hayes Stroker.
  • + 6
 I agree...
  • + 3
 true dat
  • + 13
 uhhhhhh oh watch out avid!
  • - 8
flag z-man (Oct 10, 2007 at 12:34) (Below Threshold)
 everyone knows that avid still kicks the strokers ass, the stroker doesn't have pad contact adjust, lust leaver reach adjust, magura is the way to go
  • - 8
flag giant0rider (Oct 11, 2007 at 17:31) (Below Threshold)
 second that
  • + 6
 Ok Z-man how does everyone know that? your being an idiot which do i prefer on my bike right now oviously codes. But at the same time who knows how the new strokers feel I have heard people have actually tried them. All I am saying is that people better watch out becuase I have heard reports of these things being way better than anything else on the market. So only time will tell
  • + 8
 Initial usage sounds good. But I have a couple of questions:
How many days do you have on them so far? Can you update after a couple months?

Have you bleed the brakes or investigated how it will be on these brakes? You listed the Mags were a choice to do ease of maintenance how do the stokers compare?

Tool free pad removal, got a pic? The older mags only required pliers to grab the tabs and slide them out, how are these different?
  • + 6
 I've been riding the Strokers since late August and get out on my DH bike 3-4 times per week. I have the early demo model which suffered the master cylinder 0-ring stiction problem mentioned at the end of the story. However, once lubed they have been issue-free. I haven't needed to bleed them yet so can't comment on the ease, but the fact that I haven't had to bleed them also says something about set up out of the box. As for brake pad removal, the tab on the new pads is larger, making it easier to grasp with fingers rather than needlenose pliers. -Ryan
  • + 10
 man they are some good looking brakes im glad haynes have made a decent set of brakes now
  • - 38
flag tanner7799 (Oct 10, 2007 at 6:55) (Below Threshold)
 learn to spell the word was through out the news thing................its hayes not haynes its brakes not underwear
  • + 5
 Kinda reminds me of some of the magura stuff or Echo Brakes.
http://www.tartybikes.co.uk/images/large_ebrakeon3.jpg
  • + 5
 I swear people here just want to not like them. Bleeding brakes is not rocket science and in my opinion hayes brakes are a testament to that. Read the instructions point for point like any system and you should be fine. Its not like anyone bleeds there brakes post ride every ride. Lets just wait and try them out instead of passing judgement on such trivial crap thats in a photo.
  • + 4
 And magura louise or martas look any better? It seems that everyone is simply basing their opinion SOLELY on looks and has ZERO experience with the brake or any other brakes for the most part.

Sure, you may think they look like ass, but if they perform better than any other brake you've owned, then whats the big deal?

Try the product out before flat out flaming on it. You come across looking like an uneducated idiot. When you have the knowledge and first hand, real-world experience of this brake and others in its same category, then come back and state your opinions. Until then, keep the flaming out.
  • + 4
 bullshit, their price is just like of the others Hayes brakes, or very similar and that's not a lot if u'd be attempting to buy some hydraulic disc brakes. the only disadvantage is that they haven't been tested for a longer period of time and the testing and opinions itself are what a lot of people looks at. to me in the begining, the lever was weird and rather ugly but with a closer look I found it modernly designed and cool. I'm glad Hayes brought out the new line of a that cool brakes and I'd consider putting em on my bike if I didn't have my Avids already
  • + 3
 Radial brakes have been around for some time now and I believe that performance wise, they have proven themselves to be better... no matter what brand ur using. I myself have been using Hayes nines for a long time and I have a set of Magura's Marta SL (radial master cylinder) on my XC bike. Modulation is indeed 100 times better with radial brakes. I don't know how the strokers feel is compared to the maguras or even shimano's XTR but I'm sure they should be above par compared to other traditional system simply for the fact that they use a radial master cylinder. Only thing is, AVID/SRAM do have the advantage in terms of product compatibility, but with the smaller handlebar grip......it should work fine anyways... let's see how it will hold on a long term basis
  • + 3
 Ill be rocking them next season for sure, despite the "non biased" visual reviews from you fine gentlemen.
Regards to the levers durability, its too soon for anyone to come to conclusions. Just dont ride like a retard, or ride a product against its designed purpose.
  • + 6
 they're nice, but they are a weird shape people arent used to so thats why people are going to say they are ugly.
  • - 1
 arnt they prety much the same as the magura (sorry about my spelling on this word lol ) louis
  • + 2
 Who give flying f*ck what they look like. i have not tried them as of yet but i do ride hayes nines on both my bikes and really like them. these brakes must be better than the hayes nines or else they wouldnt have even made them, let alone spent months testing them. so next time your flyin down a knarly mountain-side..i hope you arent thinking "damn, these brakes look so cool" but instead. "damn these brakes work good". i know what ill be thinkin.. 'COOL' brakes dont stop you from hitting a tree if your on a hill, or a car door if on a street..good brakes do.
  • + 3
 i love this brake so much just got mine today and the modulation is the best ive ever felt for a brake and ive ridden alot of other brakes from juicys to shimano. i would recomend this brake to every one
  • + 1
 i have the stroker carbon on my glory dh spec and oh boy they are good. iv had nearly every brake worth having and i guarentee u buy these brakes and u wont want to change ever again!! superb response and control backed up by strong stopping power, levers are as new with over 8 months hard dh riding easy to bleed, and service, buy the best pads u can afford when time to upgrade for an improved feel during long dh sections. also fitted the trail version to my identiti aka which i use for trail/xc and over a 15mile plus ride they feel fresh as new. hope this helps those who arnt sure which brakes to buy, if you have the extra cash get the carbon they rule!! oh and for the code lovers out there, they are a superb set of brakes but when u want an upgrade get the strokers, after a trip to glentress after 2 hours solid dh my front code blew a seal from over heating, the following month after a full service the master cylinder sprung a leak, not happened as yet with the strokers, built to outperform and outlast and proven well so far!!
  • + 1
 i have theese on my cowan so does my friend on his five-o but 09. anywho somehow we both lost pressure in both of our brakes..turns out air got in..so we bled em till there was none. still no pressure anyone knows what going on?? that would be nice
  • + 1
 They are garbage have them on my 08 Giant Reign 1 and the back brake will not return to full lever position after being applied its like the caliper is sticking. I will try the O-ring grease and see if that works as I already bled the brakes twice. If that does not work---Hopes or Avids are going to be the replacement. They feel good when they work but I have had more problems than the old hayes.
  • + 1
 I got a pair of the un-lubed brakes. It is not as easy as they say to re-lube them and the oil kit still hasnt come after 2 weeks. If you take some dot 4 brake fluid and put that in there it works but you have to compress the lever many a time before the oil reaches the inner o ring. Serious pain in the ass.
  • + 0
 So far I've tried the El Camino and Nine models. El Camino isn't worth extra monet, and I didn't really like the performance(I agree with the feedback of the author of the article), nine was ok(pretty cheep and smooth). I find Strokers preety well built, I havn't seen them in the stores though. I guess they really are nice, it's been proved with the info about the largest brake pads ever of all Hayes Models. The design reminds me of Echo and Magura and the 2008 Shimano LX/XT/XTR midels. I'm looking forward to trying them
  • + 1
 i've got some stroker rydes on my bike and to be honest, they are BAD! for the first 2 months, they were sweet. after that, they started to leak on trails and all over the place. i got it fixed..
  • + 0
 I personally own a set of Codes. No doubt some of the best out there. But the Strokers have a good reach adjustment setup and split perch make’s them easy to change. Levers get broken for sure, anybody know how much $$ for one? Codes have a better lever design so IMO Srokers are best suited for AM and XC use.
  • + 2
 AVID CODES ALL THE WAY... I RIDE THEM ON MY 07 BIGFOOT AND THEY ARE AWESOEM FOR DH AND FREE RIDE DOTN BUY HAYSE GO WITH AVIDS
  • + 0
 hey, thanks for the informative article on the strokers...I've seen a few of them (the rydes) on some of the new 08 and some 07 specialized stuff in the shop I work for, but I didn't know they were hayes? would you compare the ride to the purples of 'yore'? or are they similar to the mags?
  • + 0
 I really like hayes and there new strocker design my other hayes have treated me well and from what i hear these are sweet braks, i like avids to but looks like some new copmpitision,and shimano is pissin me off becaus all there products i got have broke on me. good work hayes
  • - 1
 those are nice brakes, but how do they compare to the old nine line, which is what i'm currently running. in your opinion how is the fade of the brakes, lever pump, and overall feel, compared to the old nines, i thinkin about upgradein but i'm still not sure? are these worth buyin or no? thanks.
  • + 1
 y dont they make those folding levers like ASV have for motocross i hav them on my d-bike and i think theyed be awsome for my mtn bike
  • + 1
 I can't wait until they release the 09 strokers that have 4 pistons, those might be competition for avid and formula. but overall I think I'll stick with my codes
  • + 1
 Some people totally got lost. They just say their own shit before they try it. You're an iditot if you compare it to a Code... This is a cheaper stuff!
  • + 3
 i like them... but I already know they are way too expensive for me.. Frown
  • + 0
 Whats gona hapen wen the lever turn the otter side. ther notting to stop it. I wonder how mutch damedge it gonna cause beacause the noting that stop the lever from going to far.
  • + 2
 These brakes are sweet. My friend has a pair, they feel soo good, and have good power to.
  • - 1
 I think they look nice, but having the brake lever's pivot so exposed looks like they'll be more delicate and may mean more technical problems. I think they may not hold up too well in crashing, but hey, what do I know, I've never ragged them into the dirt. I'd be tempted, but with solid offerings from Avid, which you know are hardy as you like and very reliable, I'm not too sure.
  • - 1
 ok one they look brital is this what it seems can someone help me? lol and can someone send me the pics of other brakes and the names so i can compare for myself. (and when it comes to those brakes i dont care ones that are similar to the strokers or whatever u prefure/like) well i have to go now so someone send me a msg. Thanks.
  • + 2
 Reminds me of dirt bike brakes. At least the way the lever pushes down on the hydraulic cylinder.
  • + 3
 Those are sexy and everyone should give hayes another chance
  • - 2
 Haven't tried these and so im not gonna bash them, but.... Brule states that many other brakes lack the feeling between on and off. Obviously he hasnt used Magura Gustav's yet. I have owned avid juicy 5's, hope mono 6, and older hayes. I have ridden just about everything and am back to Magura.
  • + 0
 Ryan Kuhn: You said that they have better midrange modulation, but how would you compare the overall "power" of these Stroker Trails to your old Mags and/or Avid Codes ?
  • + 2
 I would say they are more powerful than the Mags and on par with some of the other top models out today in terms of brute one-finger skidding. This is likely due to several changes including the larger master cylinder, pads and the new ergonomics provide better leverage. Avids may feel "sharper" but that comes at the cost of feel, in my opinion.

-Ryan
  • + 0
 Thank you for your opinion.
Would you say that the lack of a "pad contact adjustment" affects this brake's abilities, function and/or ergonomics to any degree ?
Thanks again...
  • + 1
 I don't think that would affect the brake's abilities, unless for some odd reason like not putting the adaptor/caliper on properly or a bent rotor etc and you're experiencing uneven wear or drag. Hasn't been an issue for me with the Strokers.
  • + 0
 well i hope i enjoy them i just put the set that my bike shop had on hold ill post in here how they feel and wat there like since alot of ppl are dying to know
  • + 0
 i have the same brakes i have a problem with it the bolts in the brake lever often come out i dunno how to tighten it because there is no thread or something
  • + 0
 wow why does everyone give minus props to people who have there own opinions. i personally like avids better so minus that
  • + 0
 Got too burned with the El Caminos. Will never buy Hayes again! Their customer service used too be great...not anymore.
  • - 3
 Why in the world of one piece calipers has gone back to a two piece one? So they feel great, don't you think they would feel better, be stiffer and lighter with a one piece casting? They will probably make it one piece next year so people have a reason to upgrade.
  • - 2
 actually with the two-piece casting the steel bolts that hold it together can make it stronger than aluminum one-piece castings. look at the codes. they have four stainless bolts to hold the caliper together, most likely for rigidity. they really only need two to hold it together.
  • - 3
 Owned probably 4 sets of hayes brakes before getting some Shimano's a few years ago, between shimano xt's on my xc bike and avid juicy carbons on my dh bike I will never own a hayes product again, their stuff was shit compared to any other brake I have tried since. Won't give them another chance.
  • + 0
 thay look like crap and there xc. hayes nine pride
  • + 0
 MY HAYES MAG ARE REBORN!!!!!
  • + 0
 fav brake since the day i saw them
  • - 2
 I don't Trust Ryan Khun further then I can throw him, He's a dirty little snake in the ground..... haha.... Shimano for LIFE. Hows Rossland Bro?
  • - 1
 For those not in love with the white, we also make a gray version. I posted some shots on my profile page.
  • + 0
 these breaks are boss
  • - 1
 bit hard to bleed! well done hayes make them sideways! stupid
  • + 1
 Think about it before posting stupidity. You don't bleed them sideways. What do you think the "screw" at the top of the lever near the handlebar is for?
  • + 1
 Sorry, I meant master cylinder, not lever.
  • + 0
 They do look sick.......
  • - 2
 The new Formula "the one" brakes are way sicker. The strokers are pretty rad too though.
  • - 3
 They're nice...but so are the 08 whitey silver Codes[/B
  • - 3
 the avid codes are still the best brakes out there
  • - 2
 looks so good!!
  • - 2
 Hope V2 Bitches.....strokers not worth the extra $$$
  • + 1
 because Hope sells a $170 brake.....
  • + 3
 the strokers with a 8" Rotor are like only $183 American (which basically is the as Canadian now)on pricepoint.

http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/16668-115_HAYS87-43-Brands-188-Hayes-Disc-Brakes/Hayes-Stroker-Trail-V8-Disc-Brake.htm
  • + 2
 listen pal canadian dollar is better than the states now
  • - 1
 codes are the way to go
  • - 2
 I'd get them, but they'd totally clash with my full SRAM kit. Wink
  • + 4
 go shimano
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