Pinkbike Awards: Component of the Year Winner

Dec 18, 2018
by Daniel Sapp  

This year's contenders for Component of the Year covers a wide range of products, and there were plenty of others that narrowly missed the cut. Some of those nominated for Value Product of the Year could have ended up in the running here as well, but they have their own category, which left four to choose from.

We had Hayes' new Dominion A4 brake, the Maxxis Assegai tire, the eeWings titanium cranks from Cane Creek, and also the whole new Shimano XTR groupset in the running. Only one can take the top honors, however, and 2018's Component of the Year is...

Hayes has been in the business of making hydraulic brakes for mountain bikes longer than I would suspect most people here have been riding mountain bikes, and surely longer than many have even been alive. Back in the day, they were one of the two big brake brands, and if you had a set of purple Mags, whether they worked or not, you had status. After going through a number of years with sub-par products, the brand took a step back and re-imagined what riders needed.

Starting from the drawing board, Hayes' engineers didn't work to improve anything they already had or "re-make" something that had a flaw. Instead, they gathered new data and designed an entirely new system. It's a system that has small little things, like their crosshair alignment that helps get the caliper centered on the rotor, which makes it stand out from the rest.

RC tested the brakes and wrote, "As promised, the feel and action of Dominion brakes are enviable. Lever feel is comfortable with or without gloves and its action is smoother than Shimano's or SRAM's best... The Dominion brake is a winner in every sense, and it had to be if Hayes was going to get another chance at redemption. Throwing out convention and starting from scratch must have been a tough choice for a brake maker that has been in the game longer than anyone else, but it proved to be the right decision. If you are in search of a good brake, start with this one."

Modulation, consistency, and reliability are key when it comes to brakes. Speed, safety, and the enjoyment a rider gets out of their day depends on it. We've seen several brands make big improvements on their brakes and take great steps to rectify issues that their brakes may have had, but it's commendable that Hayes decided to throw everything out and start fresh to come out with a product that simply works, and works really well, at that. It will be interesting to see what else we see from Hayes in the coming years. Congratulations Hayes on winning the 2018 Pinkbike Component of the Year award.


  • 102 43
 This was the vote count from yesterday:

Hayes Dominion brakes: 613
Maxxis Assegai tire: 2153
XTR 12-speed drivetrain: 3350
Cane Creek eeWing cranks: 1165

Did Hayes hire a bunch of Russian bots to vote overnight? WTF Pinkbike?
  • 156 1
 This isn't the "readers choice awards" section, this is PB's choice.
  • 8 21
flag travieso429 (Dec 18, 2018 at 8:23) (Below Threshold)
 @motosinko805: yeah but they should post both simultaneously
  • 95 9
 The XTR shouldn't even be part of this, as it doesn't exist in the wild yet.
  • 6 26
flag Rucker10 (Dec 18, 2018 at 8:32) (Below Threshold)
 I guess you’re right but why would I listen to a handful of corporate shills who so painfully only care about their bottom line when literally thousands of folks with no vested interest in this say otherwise?
  • 17 5
 For good reason too. XTR wins? It's not even readily available. EEwings? How many own them? Tires from Maxxis; WTFever.
  • 11 6

Been available in the uk for a few weeks now, Chain reaction cycles have it in stock too.
  • 39 2
 @Rucker10: It isn't supposed to be a popularity contest. People are excited about XTR 12 speed but nobody has it yet so the votes for it are meaningless. PB staff have ridden and rated all of these products and judged the Hayes brakes to be most worthy. Whether you agree with that is up to you but it has more merit than the votes of people who are very unlikely to have tested all four therefore have nothing to back up their choice other than brand loyalty in a lot of cases.
  • 10 16
flag dontfeedthetrolls (Dec 18, 2018 at 8:47) (Below Threshold)
 @motosinko805: its who pays the most to play the best actually.
  • 11 6
 Anything with a ".com" after it is a paid advertisement used for marketing. Fact.
  • 3 0
 @ikickbadgers: not the chainrings. theyre AWOL.
  • 8 0
 @wheelburnin: Seen much of these Dominion brakes ?
  • 6 3
 @travieso429: I agree, why ask us to vote and then it means nothing! Should have Pinkbike Choice vs the people's choice.
  • 5 0
 @Rucker10: Maybe because they've actually used the stuff?
  • 6 5
 @wheelburnin: It does. There is a world behind USA and if something is not available in US, it doesnt mean its not available elswhere.
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 @wheelburnin: false. I've seen it on a non sponsored racer's bike as of last week
  • 2 0
 The reason for Hayes’ win is simple. Everybody want to ride fast.
  • 2 0
 @Patrick9-32: I agree with the premise, but then maybe they shouldn't ask us to vote in the first place as if it's gonna mean something and then it doesn't.
  • 1 0
 @landscapeben: makes sense to me other wise what's the point? They hold a people's choice vote but then don't show the winner. I see the difference between the two I do but I don't see anything thing wrong with showcasing both.
  • 1 0
 @travieso429: agreed, they should show both... But they don't.
  • 2 0
 @Whipperman: Have not seen many of them yet, but they need time to establish te brake. I run them on my downhill race bike and they are working superb! Last year i was racing on Magura`s MT7, but i`d say the Hayes work better. Great modultaion, very powerful, whilst you don`t really need a lot of power in your fingers to move the lever. All in all, i am very happy with these, so i think you`ll see more of them over the next season.
  • 1 2
 @wheelburnin: yes it does. I sold a bike with it 3 weeks ago.
  • 1 1
 @b1k35c13nt15t: Funny that I have been riding my XTR 12 speed for some weeks already.
  • 2 0
 Clicks, hits, $
  • 35 6
 Excellent choice!! It is so good to have a viable brake option that doesn't start with an S
  • 58 4
  • 47 2
  • 48 2
  • 22 5
  • 52 5
  • 28 2
 STrick SStuff
  • 18 3
  • 7 54
flag dookiehill (Dec 18, 2018 at 9:07) (Below Threshold)
  • 3 0
 @Davec85: especially yes
  • 14 0
 @theloosewheel: SNo
  • 15 0
 @ZappBrannigan: that sounds like a really bad STD.
  • 4 0
 @DrPete: So it's your professional opinion I should speak with a doctor about my brake clap?
  • 1 0
 @DrPete: better than just a TD..
  • 7 0
  • 23 0
 Maybe the Hayes should have better gotten the comeback of the year award?
  • 4 0
 You've heard of gripshift? I want gripbrake. Hayes missed the boat. . .
  • 10 1
 This & the Mattoc, two of Hayes best products at the moment yet you still hardly see any Hayes, Manitou, or Sunringle stuff on the trails
  • 5 0
 mcleod shock is excellent
  • 2 0
 You don’t ride the trails I ride then.. kuz I friggen love mine!
  • 3 2
 It's hard to change public perception. Their products were crap for so long that they have an uphill battle to earn their way back into customers' good graces.
  • 2 0
 @scofflaw23: their products weren't really crap at all, just had some shitty OEM stuff floating around out there, poor qa/qc, went cheapo on the manufacturing/assembly side.
  • 1 0
 @mattsavage: So, basically everything? Soles, Stroker anything, even the HFX 9’s were the wrong direction from the relative awesomeness of the Mags.
  • 2 0
 @vtracer "Hey mate, your fork is on backwards" - re my Manitou fork

The biggest issue is that the overwhelming majority buy bikes with no interest in upgrading/modding, and when OEM suspension is almost exclusively SRAM and Fox it's an uphill battle for Manitou to become more visible (and desirable)
  • 2 0
 Sun ringle Most common brand of rim at whistler on any given day
  • 1 0
 @vtracer Sunringle? When it comes to donuts with lots of cheese... I take donuts made with lots of cheese.
  • 8 0
 Anybody ever use this Hayes brake????
  • 3 1
 i had no idea they were still around?? amazing?
  • 15 14
 Hayes brakes are like the chicken pox, every now and then some adult will get one and the results are more severe than if they got them early on some old crappy bike and developed immunity. No I haven't tried the latest ones, if I did it wouldn't be funny. It definitely would not be funny.
  • 1 0
 Last Hayes product I bought was the Nines that came on my 2004 A-Line
  • 5 8
 Not personally no. I also do not believe RC is a a great reviewer for the PinkBike demographic. I respect his intelligence and who he is, a lot, however his riding style is very smooth and relaxed. Not at all a good parallel to how most people here ride, or the demands they put on their gear.
  • 4 0
 @WAKIdesigns: They are greatly powerful as any Saints or Codes I’ve tried.. wouldn’t talk down on Mine after owning them for a few months already! Super nice feeling levers too
  • 6 0
 @patrickbatemanworldtour89: I don't think that's accurate at all, how does the "pinkbike demographic" ride, specifically? and I doubt this is his choice, but more like a consensus with input from all the pinkbike product reviewers out there. He's an editor, he compiles shit together and puts stuff out there.
  • 4 0
 Yes, I’ve had Dominions since early October and they are they best brakes I’ve ever used.
  • 9 0
 @patrickbatemanworldtour89: " Not personally no. I also do not believe RC is a a great reviewer for the PinkBike demographic ....however his riding style is very smooth and relaxed. Not at all a good parallel to how most people here ride, or the demands they put on their gear"

Please edit to say "Not at all a good parallel to how most people here think they ride, or the demands they think they put on their gear..
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: you might want to grab a set of Dominions in person. They are impressive, but not in pics.
  • 3 0
 I'm riding them on my trail bike and they're amazing. Phenomenal lever feel, instant pad contact with loads of modulation. Stronger than the Saint set they replaced, and so much quieter than the shimanis. I like em so much that I just ordered set #2 for the DH bike, which also used to be Saint equipped.
  • 7 0
 Awesome pick pinkbike! I just got a set for my new nomad build, and am super stoked with them.
  • 3 0
 For a Nomad build it was between these and Cura 4 brakes. I went with the Curas because they were less expensive, look far better, and had a fair amount of positive press for both power and modulation. Plus I have older Formula brakes on all my other bikes with zero issues. Nothing against Hayes group since I always build wheels with full Wheelsmith spokes and nips as well as Sun Ringle rims. I wish Manitou would come up with a viable rear shock just to see..
  • 5 0
 Honestly nothing else came even closed to Hayes this year
  • 3 0
 Hayes were my first hydraulic brakes. The Mag Plus - and they are still alive and well on my wife's bike. Those stoppers are likely older than half the PB posters.
  • 1 0
 Just installed a set on my new Bronson, the color is a perfect match to the frames gold(ish) lettering! Hayes use to be the only brake I used, went to the XTR's and then SRAM Ultimate's... Very excited to ride the Dominion's! Can't wait to compare....
  • 1 1
 I’m not opposed to Hayes brakes, I had a pair of Stroker Trails that were cheap and worked okay. I even hope they are successful. Just not sure what advantage the Dominions bring at the premium $220/wheel price point. Codes and XTs can be had for less and support and spares are pretty universal. One glowing long-term review from one reviewer is not going to sway many people. How much better are they than the current standards? Hayes needs to offer good value to attract new users, and keep them coming back by being reliably awesome. Not an easy trick.
  • 3 0
 Just go try a set. They're way nicer than in a pic. I promise.
  • 4 0
 You clearly haven't researched them one bit. Just about every review I have seen about them is "glowing." A full - two year ground up redesign and the amount of R&D and testing fully merits the price tag, again, all of this was highlighted in the multiple articles currently out about the brakes. And as @bizutch mentioned, once you try a set you'll get it.
  • 1 0
 I had a pair of Hayes brakes, they were awesome. They just blew through pads at an astronomical rate adn were too long hitting my top tube (back in 2013). So I bought some Saints, regretted it.
  • 1 0
 I had a Hayes Mag G1 on my bike around 2000 and that was a pretty sweet brake at that time! Especially liked that lever. Good to see Hayes back!
  • 2 0
 I have to agree with this! Great to see Hayes come back with a top quality brake that competes with the big guns.
  • 2 2
 I had Hayes H9 on my ‘07 Anthem, once
And only once.
I installed BR M666’s and was AMAZED at the improvement! Brakes come & go; I’ll stick with XTs from now on.
  • 2 2
 I don't get how the Eewings cranks didn't win this. What do these brakes do that all the other players don't do?
  • 3 0
 Once you actually lay hands on them Dominion's, you'll understand. They don't "look" like anything in pic, but I've had my hands on them and they are awesome.
  • 1 0
 So can we see the entire brake including the lever?
  • 3 3
 I'm still trying to get the air bubbles out of my Hayes Prime Pros
  • 1 1
 Hayes still makes brakes??
  • 3 4
 never going to buy into Hayes while Shimano is still alive and kicking.
  • 4 0
 yeah...until you've actually gotten your hands on the Dominion's you won't understand. They won for a really good reason. Find someone who has a set. You'll get it.
  • 1 2
 These brakes look like they could have come out 10yrs ago
  • 4 6
 See you serious? How much did they pay?
  • 2 2
  • 3 8
flag foggeloggliod (Dec 18, 2018 at 8:34) (Below Threshold)
 @zonaec: probably a lot of money. I puked in my mouth when I saw Hayes originally nominated
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