Love 'em or hate 'em, e-bikes have inspired the development of products that are also well suited to downhill or enduro applications. Heavy-duty tires, burly forks, brakes with oversized rotors – there's a growing list of items built with durability in mind that work just as well with or without a motor.
TRP's new four-piston DH-R EVO brakes are a prime example. Back in 2018, Neko Mullaly began experimenting with TRP's e-bike brakes on his downhill bike, which lead to the development of the first generation of DH-R brakes.
The EVO brakes are an updated version of that model, with several changes intended to give them more power, consistency, and improved lever feel. They're not just for DH bikes, though; the range of rotor sizes (from 180mm all the way to 223mm) allows them to be adapted to everything from trail bikes to big-wheeled downhill sleds.
TRP DH-R EVO Details
• Tool-free lever reach adjust
• 4-piston caliper
• Mineral oil
• 180, 200, 220, and 223mm rotor options
• 2.3mm thick rotors
• Weight: 311 grams (actual, front caliper w/pads, hose, and lever)
• MSRP: $229.99 USD per wheel w/o rotor
The DH-R EVO brakes weigh in at 311-grams for the front lever, caliper with pads, and brake line. Price? $229.99 per brake without a rotor – those go for $34.99 - $54.99 depending on the size. Details
The DH-R EVO brakes use mineral oil to push its four stainless steel / composite pistons. The caliper is specifically designed for use with 2.3mm thick rotors; according to TRP that extra width creates a 47% increase in torsional stiffness and an 8% better cooling capacity compared to the usual 1.8mm rotor. Of course, more material does come with a slight weight penalty – for comparison, TRP's 203mm rotor weighs 244-grams versus 186-grams for a SRAM 200mm rotor.
Updates from the previous version include a 9mm lever body piston, which changes the leverage ratio to increase the amount of power available at each finger. The hydraulic line diameter has been reduced from 5.5mm down to 5mm in order to make it compatible with internally routed frames, and it's said to be stiffer, too, for improved hydraulic pressure.
Other details include a trimmed down lever blade shape, complete with dimples and holes for a little extra traction, a tool-free reach adjust, and TRP's new 'Performance Resin' pads that are claimed to have a relatively short bed-in time and increased heat stability. TRP also offer metallic pads, and the shape is identical to what Shimano uses for their four-piston brakes, which increases the chances that a shop will have replacement options available in a pinch.
Even the mineral oil received an update – the new oil is less viscous and has a higher boiling point for better performance during sustained, heavy braking. Installation
Getting the DH-R EVO brakes up and running was no trouble at all. The fact that they use mineral oil is appreciated – in a world full of gloves and face masks, it's nice to know you're not getting a toxic chemical on your hands or bike frame.
The bleed procedure is extremely simple, and in most cases installing the brakes will only need a quick lever bleed. A full system bleed doesn't take much longer – it's as easy as pushing fluid from the caliper out of the lever body, closing the port on the caliper, pulling the lever a few times to get rid of any stubborn bubbles, and then removing the thread-in funnel from the lever. Performance
I've spent the last two months with the DH-R EVO brakes mounted on a Norco Optic. No, that's not a downhill bike, but the fact that I don't need a chairlift or shuttle truck to get me to the top means that I've been able to get in a bunch of miles on these brakes, including plenty of steep, rotor-toasting sections of trail.
How do they feel? Well, there's no shortage of easily accessible power, and the good news is that it's easy to control. That ramp-up from when the pads first hit the rotors to full lock-up happens more quickly than it does with SRAM's Code brakes, although it's not quite as immediate as Shimano's Saint stoppers. The modulation medal still goes to those Codes, but I didn't have any trouble staying on the right side of the line between slowing down and unwanted skidding on slippery trails with the TRP's.
In previous reviews of TRP's brakes, the amount of sheer power tended to be a little less than expected – that's no longer the case, and these new stoppers can easily go head-to-head with the strongest brakes out there.
One trail that I often use for testing equipment drops 2,000 vertical feet in 1.5 miles, and includes plenty of sustained sections where fully letting off the brakes simply isn't an option. It's the type of run where a bad bleed or underpowered brakes are immediately noticeable. The DH-R EVO's passed that test with flying colors – the feel at the lever remained unchanged from top to bottom, and even on the steepest sections there was still power in reserve. I was running a 200mm front and a 180mm rear rotor and there was more than enough power to slow the Optic down, no matter the speed or steepness.
I'm usually not a fan of organic pads – in my experience they tend to fade quickly and perform poorly in wet conditions – but TRP's new compound has been working well, and I haven't been tempted to swap them out for a set of metallic pads. They didn't take long to bed in, and they have a strong initial bite without being too
Personally, I prefer the wider lever blade shape found on SRAM's brakes, but I'm well aware that there are lots of riders out there who'd choose the thinner lever profile that Shimano uses. TRP's lever shape falls somewhere in between the two; if anything, the feel is closer to a Shimano lever than SRAM. I did notice that the levers don't snap back to position quite as quickly as they do on a set of Shimano or SRAM brakes – there's a little less resistance at the beginning of the stroke before pad contact occurs. It's a tiny difference, and I rarely found myself thinking about it out on the trail, but it's worth a mention.
Very consistent lever feel+
Lots of controllable power+
Powered by mineral oil
Lever ergonomics are decent, but not the best-
No pad contact adjustment
|If you're in the market for a fresh set of brakes, the DH-R EVO's are worth serious consideration. With an extremely consistent lever feel, easy setup, and plenty of manageable power, TRP's new brakes hit the mark.— Mike Kazimer|
But if you ask me, I prefer Sram. Shimano is some scary sht. One day it’s ok, another the bite is all over the place, you bleed it it’s great and then in the middle of a rock garden in wet it grabs instantly. I just bled XT that I put on commuter, the fluid that came out was almost completely black. And Last time I bled it was january. With News of latest XT and XTR still suffering from this issue I have zero wish to buy any brake from them. Also got my first Hope lately and power is a joke. So Sram for me thank you. I wish they made it easier to bleed their brakes.
7th season of downhill use on my MT7. So far only done a few quick bleeds, not even a full bleed. Lever is still going strong without play. They are of course not on the same level as some levers with ball bearings, even when new. If you pull hard enough in the wrong direction, they flex and give a little of course. Nothing you notice during riding though. Just my experience and others mileage may vary, but I'm certainly very happy with mine.
Go on, you're funny.
And if you have children, please keep one for me.
For hunting, you know.
Joe Barnes just drags his brakes all the way to the bottom so that he never picks up enough speed for it to matter. One time he tried going fast but his brakes were too weak so he crashed like @noeserd.
Nico Vink never uses his brakes, they're just there for show.
Yep, too weak. The pinkbike commenters have spoken. Case closed.
Also the plastic on the lever body is complete bullshit for the price, especially the plastic bleed screw which screws into plastic. Yes, stripping that is user error, but it takes such a minimal torque to strip it, it just feels like bad engineering.
Also, the lever distance adjusters are crap, either they are too lose and screw out during riding or they are too tight and the plastic part which you turn is just slipping on the screw and the screw itself is not moving.
Overall, the breaks are great, lots of power, great modulation and consistency, but for the price the plastic feels and behaves super cheap and the lever should not get loose after a year of riding.
Wtf is wrong with you?
You couldn't stop?
I'm on my 3rd set of Hope brakes, and they all easily enough lock up under any conditions with one finger.
You either have the world's lowest grip strength, or you haven't bedded your brakes.
How detached from reality do you have to be to just keep repeating the same shit over and over when you have no idea what you're talking about? There's a lot of good brakes out there. If you like codes, that's good for you.
Have a good day
It's just a joke, mate. "if you have (make) children (together), keep me one for hunting" i.e. as a hunting dog.
That's what we said to people arguing with too much intensity/lame arguments in my place.
Mate, would YOU threaten a child on a forum about bike parts ?
So why do you think someone else would ?
All the fast boys, and I mean all of them, round here ride Hopes - what does that tell you?
There are possibly more powerful brakes, but for reliability, serviceability, tunability, rideability and support then there is no equal.
The annoying thing about Waki is he makes some good points, is clearly a very intelligent guy and like the rest of us loves bikes. However it seems some posts are purely inflammatory and incredibly self righteous - I wonder what he's like in real life? I try not to respond now cos he'll always have a better reply than me which he will to this soon. But yeah Hopes are on fast rider bikes everywhere, the types that ride steep sketchy off-piste stuff and rarely comment on forums (if ever!)
"Get a stronger finger" - this is not even childish. This is R.E.T.A.R.D.E.D.
In fact a couple of things
a) I do not dislike you at all, well until the point you called me retarded for a comment I did not say.
b) I find that massively offensive, how do you know I don't have a son or daughter who is R.E.T.A.R.D.E.D?
I'm fuming to be honest but what the point replying.
To quote: For those who love smooth modulation, then the TRP Quadiem, Hope and SRAM Guide offer the most linear deceleration.
The hopes both got a 4 star overall and a 5 star for modulation; also I repeat serviceability, tuneability and backup.
Oh and I was lucky enough to be at Fort Bill in 2005 when Peaty won on his 224 with hopes, they seemed to be able to slow down at the time the fastest WC racer who must have been what > 180lbs. But still not good for some hey...
Maybe they're the way to go if you don't want Saints, but also want to be able to use mineral oil.
Also, having owned two sets of hope brakes, I can’t believe I’m saying it, but I have to agree with Waki. They are very overrated brakes. They look frickin amazing which is what made me hold on to them for so long, but in the end they had to go. It’s not so much that they lacked power it’s that they heat up instantly on any sort of downhill and turn into blocks of wood. They would go from the most amazing feeling brakes with unreal modulation to almost unusable within fifteen minutes in the mountains. I was riding a trail in Nelson B.C. called the paper bag which is a technical downhill with a lot braking and like I said fifteen minutes in and the levers had completely pumped up and the brakes were on fire. Those were my moto 6 brakes too which have a huge master cylinder reservoir and massive six pot calipers. All that brake and they were literally sh*t, even had the braided lines. I rode that trail again with a set of older shimano deore’s and never had a single issue. I also had a set of x2’s and they did exactly the same thing. Maybe the new ones are better, but I doubt it and I definitely wouldn’t bother wasting my money to try another set.
@overflow: how would it feel for you if you yourself threw me out of here? You'll be famous! You, know, an a*shole always deserves the last word!
There was a time when a number of pro's rode Avid XX World Cup brakes. We can hopefully agree those are whimpy crappy excuses for a brake. It didn't stop those riders from winning races. Not to say that Hope brakes are crappy (because they are not), but just to prevent people from putting too much value on the components that pro's use (unless your riding is at the same level of course).
"No one is saying that they're terrible."
actually, a lot of people here are saying that they're terrible.
I come to the comments for @wakidesigns trolling - and this is how it should be vetting through dialogue.
I have always touted all of the shimano brakes from the perpendicular lever reservoir era as the best....
cartridge bearings are heavier, more expensive, many more moving parts to fail.
"Superb power delivery with lovely modulation"
Mind you that's the race e4, so 2 steps down from the tech v4.
Sorry, but despite how strongly some people here feel about the weak hope brakes, I'll take it with a grain of salt. Here's pinkbikes most outspoken hope brake detractor, demonstrating why only the most powerful brakes are up to the task, because apparently he uses his brakes a lot:
This is also the guy that needs DH tires on his trailbike. Cuz he f*cking shreds.
I can't imagine why! I'll reiterate, that maybe, just maybe, it was a setup issue. You guys are priceless. Buncha experts.
without sounding daft whats the biggest difference between e4 and v4 calipers, is it piston size
V4 has more mass in the caliper, 2x18mm pistons + 2x16mm (e4 is 4x16), and more rotor clearance to accommodate the thicker optional vented rotor.
Look at the desceleration times. Deore beats zee and code r. There's a bunch of other anomolies in that data. Yoi really think it's some sort of flawless test? Why is it so important to you people to try and prove that hope brakes are weak?
Also hope lightweight X series brakes were always shit. But V2's and V4's I've ridden were the most consistent brakes not named Gustav I've tried
I had them for a month and have ridden some really rocky terrain and are still in place. They are build of aluminum and truly feel robust. I have not read or heard the HC3 coming loose or breaking. I got them here which is the cheapest, they have 20% coupons sometimes:
Leverage, ie lever throw vs piston movement
Thats pretty much it. Heat shedding comes into it but is a slightly separate issue.
Leverage is pretty similar between the brands. Piston sizes are all near as dammit identical, as are lever lengths and pivot points. Pad compound can be changed depending on what pads you buy. Stiffness is pretty similar too. There are slight variations, but barely anything. I own Hope v4s, Shimano Saints and Sram codes. They all work fine. The Saints are a little more grabby due to servo wave action. But once you get used to them they are perfectly easy to modulate and seriously powerful. The codes are fine, I haven't owned them long enough to comment on reliability, but it is a known weak point for sram. To be expected when they pump out millions of the things.
Seriously, if you buy a 4 pot brake from any of the well known manufacturers and it feels noticably underpowered, then you set it up wrong. It's a simple as that.
My Hope v4s are on my downhill bike. My downhill bike which I will happily throw down the steepest gradients out there. Why the v4s? The power is on a par with the saints and codes. They don't overheat. They rarely ever need bleeding. And in the four years I've owned them they've never given me a single reason to doubt they will perform exactly how I want them to exactly when I need them to. They are the best brakes I own.
Ride on brother.
I'm sure Adams got a good mechanic. You apparently don't though.
On the tech3 E4 page:
"E4 caliper uses 4x16mm phenolic pistons"
The v4 product page doesn't list the piston sizes for some reason, but here's a link to a document that pretty clearly states that it's 2x16 and 2x18:
Your caliper adapter spacers was definitely an amateur-hour bodge. I was just pointing that out because maybe you aren't the most credible source on whether the brakes have a problem with squealing. I've always used proper adapters, not a stack of washers and spacers, and i've never had a problem with them squealing when dry.
There's a lot of good brakes out there these days. Hopes aren't the most powerful, but they're more than adequate, and they have other advantages. We all have our preferences of course, and for good reasons, buy when you speak in hyperbole and try to puff your chest out and say that any of the top modern brakes from shimano, sram, magura, hope, trp or Hayes are seriously holding you back and affecting your ride, you just sound like someone that makes excuses and probably isn't that skilled. Any of the top brakes are powerful enough for the fastest riders in the world, and they're powerful enough for you. But please, pick a side and be a dick about it. V4 with 225 rotors are "gutless" and I'm "proper retarded"? Ok, I'll take your word for it.
The fastest guys I've ridden with are also on Hope brakes, so they clearly work.
I actually run a Hope Race Evo X2 on a 203 disc at the rear end of my enduro bike, and it's by far powerful enough for anything I've ever ridden.
The Race Evo pump is a bit more aggressive than the Tech 3 though.
Hope Tech 3 V4 won the heavy duty brake test over on VitalMTB too, and they gave them 9/10 for power, so you must clearly be doing something wrong, or MAYBE, just maybe, people have different preferences.
My Hope brakes have better modulation than any other brake I've tried, the bite point doesn't wander at all, and they don't fade due to heat like a lot of other brakes I've tried, and they lock up my wheels with one finger if I need them to.
I use uberbike race matrix pads, and there's no soft bite point on mine, if I want them to lock up immediately, they do just that, but I have full control over the modulation.
The benchmarking in that review also measured higher braking torque on the Hope brakes compared to your "strong" Code RSC brakes, and this was with the, in my opinion, sub-par Hope organic pads.
Appreciate the recognition of HTown. We have easily 50 foot of elevation.
So 14mm and 16mm pistons? Who is right here? Who isn´t? One thing is for sure, hopes are not known for their power.
Disclaimer: I do like Hope brakes and find this fanboyism for or against them childish (grabs a bag of popcorn and a fresh beer)
20% more power and still have terrific modulation.
Also, why does it even matter?
Hope E4’s with resin pads and 180 rotors on 27.5 wheels setup by a top-pro-mechanic are hopelessly weak in my experience (reminding me of original 1998 Hayes Mag brakes on 6” rotors) in terms of bite and outright power — not even locking the front or rear wheel when sitting on the bike and pedalling in low gear or coasting at parking lot speed. E4’s with 203 rotors and metallic pads on 26, 27.5, and 29 wheels are better, but are lower performance than I expect from 203’s and metallic pads in general over the last 20 years, especially the brakes available in the last 5 years.
Next, some Shimano 4-piston metallic pads fits in Hope brakes (like the M03 pads) and they provide MUCH more desirable friction characteristics for fast or average-to-heavy riders than Hope resin pads, and are in my opinion better than Hope’s metallic pads. Also, newer and older Hope M4’s seem to have more power and modulation than E4’s, even M4’s with the “Race” levers, but even more so with the Tech levers. V4’s are the strongest Hope brakes I’ve tried (well, aside from Mono6 Ti brakes that were a very different type of modulation and power delivery), but those new V4’s were 203 with metallic pads (Shimano M03’s I think) and Goodridge braided lines.
I’ve tried several Hope 2-piston brakes over the last decade and they’ve all exhibited unacceptably poor power — nowhere close to the type of power I get from newer Shimano 2-piston brakes or even older 2-piston brakes like Saint M800’s. Additionally, I’ve been disappointed with Hope’s “lever feel consistency” on all but their newest 2017+ brakes...I don’t know if there’s some issue with the master cylinder design and how quickly it compensates for fluid expansion between lever pulls or some issue like that.
Also, Hope brakes over the years have had more lever travel than other comparable brakes, and slightly less power. They tried to compensate for that on the E4’s by utilizing less slave cylinder (caliper piston) travel, resulting in less lever travel before pad contact — but that whole approach and their execution adversely affected power (less hydraulic “leverage”).
V4’s are the only Hopes I would run on a new bike — trail bike or DH bike...simply varying rotor size and maybe Shimano vs Hope metallic pads to adjust braking power. That said, I’m running year 2004 Hope M4’s with Shimano M03 metallic pads and braided Hope lines on Hope aluminum-carrier M4 200mm rotors on an era-correct Intense Uzzi SL...and they’re pretty darn great for the era, and they’re better than any new E4’s I’ve tried in terms of power, bite, and modulation.
So it seems Hope has had some hits and misses over the years. I say that they reintroduce a 6-piston brake for 200mm to 250mm rotors for DH bikes, discontinue the E4 and M4, and just sell the V4 with a range of different rotors sizes from 160mm to 250mm and a range of metallic pad compounds for different bike types and rider weights.
Right now I have Guide REs. Possibly the best bang for buck brake on the market.
It's just that on the couple of times I have tested them, both carpark tests admittedly, they were totally underwhelming on the bite and power fronts.
It's a shame. I would love to run Hope brakes. Maybe those ones I tried were on oily discs. Maybe there's more to it than you can determine in the carpark test. I don't know.
The Guide REs I have now that came stock on my bottom of the range Capra (£1999 complete) are spot on. Power, bite, modulation, consistency. The lever looks a bit shit. Paint is coming off. They look like they will be a bit of a shag to bleed and I'll have to buy some DOT fluid but that notwithstanding, they are the best brakes I've ever used and would buy them again in a second.
Guide? I mean... it goes against Pinkbike science! I just set up Guides RS on my daughters bike and can't fault them too much (changed the faulty master cylinders but kept the calipers), possibly best modulation in business, I just lack a bit of power for longer descents. Works wonders on wet slabs on my home trails though. But what can I do being CODE fanboi
However, it's as close to an objective answer as one can get. Downvotes me all you want, but the alternative is trusting wildly varying personal experiences. Seeing the ones in this thread, you can see that doesn't provide an answer.
I do think that perhaps their pad compounds have room for improvement. Someone earlier mentioned using shimano pads in a hope caliper which is interesting. I definitely want to try a trickstuff power pad... kinda set my self up for more period jokes with that one, eh?
Do you know which shimano pads are interchangeable with which hope calipers?
Regarding E4 vs. V4, sample variation still plays a role. My Shimano 785 XT brakes have more bite with the exact same piston sizes, pad type and disc type and circumference than my M8000 XT brakes. The measurements can therefore not be considered 100% transferable to each and every sample of the same brake type. Maybe the E4 pads were somehow more aggressive than the V4 pads? Maybe the bedding in, although standardized in the test, went slightly better with the E4? The overall picture does seem to reflect people's experiences though. Shimano and Magura 4-pots have more outright power than Hope models. The measured power is still more than enough for most though.
But enough with the sensible chat now, back to dirt throwing and unnecessary insults!
Some people just want to tell the internet about how certain parts can't withstand their radness. Hope brakes are weak af, double-down tires explode if I look at them funny, and pretty soon the fox 36 is gonna be a wet noodle. For truly exceptional circumstances, maybe. But good riders can make any of the good stuff work. For things like tire casings, it's one thing to know that you need a certain casing for your weight, speed, trails, style, whatever. It's a totally different thing to be all loud on the internet about how exo casings are total trash, plain and simple, because you tore the casing twelve times at the bike park. They're actually not shit. They have their place, and they work well for a lot of riders in the right conditions. But of course they're also not enough tire for other people and conditions.
Some people just want to tell the internet about how certain parts can't withstand their radness. Hope brakes are weak af, double-down tires explode if I look at them funny, and pretty soon the fox 36 is gonna be a wet noodle. For truly exceptional circumstances, maybe. But good riders can make any of the good stuff work. For things like tire casings, it's one thing to know that you need a certain casing for your weight, speed, trails, style, whatever. It's a totally different thing to be all loud on the internet about how exo casings are total trash because you tore the casing twelve times at the bike park. They're actually not shit. They have their place, and they work well for a lot of riders in the right conditions. But they're also not enough tire for other people and places.
I get that DOT is corrosive and can enter your blood stream if you’re not careful with it but it’s not like we’re drinking the stuff. Mineral Oil has a lower boiling point, requires more maintenance and is not equal for all brands so you always have to have a specific one for your system. DOT is cheap af, has a higher boiling point and requires less maintenance.So why do most people think mineral is better?I am genuinely interested.
If Sram adopts Shimano style funnel bleeding there would be much less dot brakes haters around.
Boiling point was never the issue..
How often the brakes are being bled on a car ? All using DOT brake fluid by the way.
A big misconception is to think Mineral oil is "friendly" because called Mineral, but it is just as hazardous on skin, you need gloves to handle it... but again why would you bleed youe brake so often and need the fluid !!!
My choise is DOT cause:
- no problem in winter
- i like my Code RSC
no any problems, easy as fap
What happens is that Sram worked great for 2yrs without bleed (except old guides with sticky piston problem) and when bled the oil was clear and looked good.
Shimano mineral brakes required bleeding more often and the oil was black every time.
On my Enduros i bleed the brakes more often.
So get mineral oil hot and you've got a mushy brake that needs bled again. DOT fluids don't do this. Which is why they're used on all transport and race applications worldwide.
DOT fluid can absorb any moisture in the system and maintain a much higher boiling point.
Energy needed to be dissipated by brakes is proportional to mass * velocity squared. A rider on a motorcycle traveling at 60 mph has about 10 times the kinetic energy than a mtb rider traveling at 30 mph, which is fast as shit. The brake systems in comparison are not 10 times smaller between a motorcycle and a mountain bike.
And then you are left with negative of it being corrosive, which is a big thing if you work on your bike inside your apartment.
Don't ever use DOT 5 in system that has previously had any other form of DOT fluid, only use it in new dry systems or systems used with only DOT 5.
DOT 5.1 is just more temperatur stable than 4, ah well.
I do believe 260 is higher than 230, no?
5.1 also works better than 4 at low temperatures.
I have noticed that most brake fluid for racing applications are dot 4, but never really gave it much thought as to why.
How do the DHR's feel compared to the Quadiems? It sounds like it might be saying that they are a bit less modulation, and a bit more power?
Curious how the new pads compares to other pads. At the least it sounds like they didn't immediately feel they needed to swap to metalic, which if memory serves they did for the Quadiems (which come with a semi-metalic pad).
I've got a pair of TRP Quadiems, and I have really been enjoying them over the course of the last year.
The defining characteristic of the Quadiems for me, has just been how nothing seems to phase them. I've not done anything crazy with them, with my biggest single descent being ~1300ft, and biggest single day with them has been ~12,000ft (bike park day, bunch of 800ft laps). But through all of it, they haven't squeaked, vibrated, faded, pumped up, or anything. Thats good in my book.
Its good to hear that the DHR seems to share that. I'd consider them for a future build (on sale of course).
Thanks for the tip.
Looks like they are saying the lever shape is about the same, but the lever blade itself is slimmer. This might be a good thing, as the original G spec lever blade is pretty wide, and maybe not great for smaller hands.
Also looks like the hose diameter, and lever blade will be a rolling change for their other models. Wonder if that means those of us with originals can change (ie, if I order new hose for a new build, will I get the smaller stuff, or the larger stuff, and will it matter).
Cool to see that other changes are being made though.
I am on Shigura MT7/SLX brakes right now, very, very nice but i still find they could improve. Those new TRPs look promising in my opinion.
Sometimes it feels like evolution on brakes has been going backwards, but we have to remember wheels grew larger in diameter, tires grew as well so obviously the same once powerful brakes got weaker. Then geometry and kinematics improved massively and while most people may not realise, most of us are riding faster because the bikes are way more capable. I hope more larger size rotors become available so we can get some of this lost leverage back.
I remember loving one finger braking on XTR VBrakes on Mavic crossMax's with ceramic coared rims. Talk about modulation.. Then I started doing downhill and had Magura Gustav M's (1999-2000). I recall those brakes as flawless (unless you turned the bike upside down or crashed them. Those 2 piston on rails brakes still probably have the largest pads I have seen on bike brakes up to now. I recall the rear brake was a bit grabby on dusty, slippery conditions but otherwise they felt perfect. My riding skills grew with those predictable and powerful brakes.
I may be a bit picky, but as I started riding again a few years ago, the first set of brakes I bought were shimano XT. I still remembered the M755 and 765 were so nice, so I got a set of 785s. Those were "mostly" OK, much better than the AVID alternatives for that time in my opinion (for leakage and noise, not the actual braking itself).
Rode 2013 codes, very nice braking but i couldn't leave the levers exposed to the sun as the contact point would change because of the fluid expansion.. This would also happen on longer descents.. Fast forward, and I rode some bikes with M8000's and I couldn't believe I was riding shimano brakes... lots of leak problems but the worse, this is where I first discovered the changing contact point issue.Never bought these.
M8100 came out and every website said the problem was fixed.. M8120 appeared and now all was fixed (cool I thought, I really need to buy some new brakes) and the 9120 were released, (wow, free of previous problems they say) so I made the investment. These were shimano's after all. Boy, was I disappointed..
The 9120's didin't make the impression the 785s had before. And after replacing both calipers for leaks I still couldn't shake the changing lever throw problem, despite having a rock solid lever feel so I sold them.Not only because of the problems but I was actually expecting more power out of them.
I did try mixing the new 9120 calipers with shimano old school 765 style levers but the lever throw issue remained (from the calipers???) The braking was nice though, powerful and very linear.
Had a set of Guides, properly bleeded, felt they lacked power and the lever is narrow, hurts if the power comes from finger strength (same with lever shape vs power on hopes btw)
Tested some codes, those have the power but i still find the lever too thin.
Hopes.. no hope (for me) after testing a set of E4s. I want my fingers to control the braking, not to do the braking.
Hayes dominions felt OK but I didn't have enough time on them.
TRPs, didn't find any to test but the lever shape looked promising.
Formulas.. I never had luck finding (affordable) spare parts with these
Trickstuff.. I wish i could try these, but out of my league.
So I ended up buying the Magura MT7's over the MT5s because of the lever throw ajustment and besides the horrible plastic stuff, I actually loved the brakes from the first parking lot test. More powerful than the 9120's, easy to modulate, fat lever doesn't hurt the fingers on 1 finger braking (maybe too fat ). At this stage I thought I loved the MT7's but then I tried a shigura set MT5 with M500 lever from a friend and I was instantly hooked. Very little lever throw and bucketloads of power.
My shiguras started life with (borrowed for testing ) M9000 levers but the carbon blade made them feel a bit dead so I bought a pair of 7100 SLX levers and so far, they are nice.
MT7s come with four pads per caliper (one pad per piston), which add initial bite (more edges) but the pads start wearing more at the front edge and they become a bit spongey over time. The MT5s (same caliper) come with two pads only so this should not be such a deal. I will probably buy trickstyff power+ pads as well.
The SLX lever is nice and has a decent price but i thing I may prefer a non servo lever. ( I am thinking "let the pad compound do the braking").
I may try those 765 levers on the MT7 calipers one of these days. Or one of these new TRL levers.. should be fun
Im just disgusted with shimano biting point. Have tried hope and don’r have power. Sram only makes good rsc codes and you still cab get a bad badge. Year 2020 and carbon blabla and brakes are still a big failure.
Had I know every brake since would be so terrible, I’d have sold the bike without them
My experience: Hayes burned up coming down Pikes Peak, Shimanos turned to mush mid run after a pro bleed, Srams made noise but couldn't even break the tire loose halfway down, and Hopes have done everything I ask.
Watch "THE SYNDICATE - Pit Tips - Brake Bleeding" on YouTube
That's what they say when you hit the gym! ROTFLMAO!!
Also you can add a couple washers to run 223 rotors with a 220 caliper bracket, but not the reverse.
IMHO, not a valid negative.
So yeah, you gotta pick your poison, personally, since I ride on loose soils, a grabby brake sucks arse, so modulation is great for me.
Kinda like what folks ride in Observed Trials vs Street, the Observed guys grind their rims and use a rim brake in back, whereas the guys riding street are running disc brakes.
Also @TheSlayer99 maguras have more power then shimano's and more modulation so your point doesn't really work...