Review: Hayes Dominion T2 Brakes

Dec 9, 2022 at 16:25
by Dario DiGiulio  
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Since returning to the high-end brake market in 2018, Hayes has slowly returned to their former glory, winning people over with the impressive performance and smart design of the Dominion A4.

They didn't stop with the one model, though, with more iterations trickling out over the years since the initial release. As the resident lightweight, the seemingly XC-oriented T2 is Hayes' take on the gram-conscious end of the spectrum, but there's more to these 2-piston stoppers than you might expect.
Hayes Dominion T2 Brakes
• Intended use: trail/all-mountain
• Two piston caliper
• Tooled reach adjust
• Reynolds carbon levers
• Kevlar hoses
• DOT 5.1 or 4 fluid
• 254g per brake
• MSRP: $289.99
www.hayesbicycle.com

In pursuit of shaving every last gram, Hayes has tricked out the T2 with a Reynolds-made carbon lever, titanium hardware, a composite reservoir cover, aluminum-backed pads, and a good deal of machining to take off excess material. The resulting form is sleek and function-driven, giving you the sense that only the critical elements have been left behind. Luckily, when it comes to on-trail performance, things aren't quite as minimalistic.

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Simple and utilitarian, with titanium jewelry.
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Hayes does make a Peacemaker clamp, if this bothers you.


Setup

When it comes to getting things dialed in, the Dominions are easy and consistent to work with. Having swapped them around on a few bikes at this point, I've had to go through the line-cut and bleed procedure more than once, and have never had it give me any trouble. Thanks to the dual bleed ports on the caliper, you can always be sure the system is free of any hidden bubbles. With the ingenious Crosshair Alignment screws, pad spacing is much easier than just about every other brake design out there. Simply snug the caliper bolts most of the way, then use the 2mm grub screws to push the outboard pad away from the rotor until you have even clearance. As far as I see it, this should be a requisite design element on all high-end brakesets from here out.

The only negative in the setup process - and with the brakes in general - are the delicate little screws used to adjust the pad contact. The reach screw has just enough material to it to allow for safe adjustment with the 2mm hex, but the pad contact screw is very easy to strip while also requiring a good deal of force to move. Luckily you shouldn't be messing with the latter all that much, and it stays put over long periods of use without shifting position. Compared to the very well-integrated reach adjust on the A4/A2 models (which don't use a carbon lever), this mode of adjustment feels much less robust, and less convenient. That said, handle with care, and all should be well.

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This little bugger gave me some trouble.

Performance

A lot of folks will automatically default to using a 4-piston brake, regardless of the purview of the bike, but I'm here to say I think the humble 2-piston counterparts have their place. What you give up in pad modulation, you gain in initial bite, which might suit certain riders and applications. I'm thinking of folks who like to quickly stab the brakes on and off, ride areas that don't have seriously long descents, and those who fastidiously weigh their bike parts.

What has impressed me again and again about the Dominion T2s was just how consistent they've been across long runs and extended periods of use. I've used the 4-piston A4 quite a bit as well, and don't find these lacking in comparison when it comes to fade performance. The primary feel difference between the two is the overall power, which seems to have no ceiling with the A4. The T2 has plenty of power for many situations, but doesn't keep giving you more as you reef on the lever. For some, this snappier bite point could seem like a turnoff, but the Dominions have a trick up their sleeve: the impressively light action at the lever. This allows you to actuate the brake with much less force, making the contact point all the more distinct and easy to feather. I've found that with both the A4 and the T2, this ultra-light lever feel leads to less arm pump over the course of a long run, and allows you to be more precise with your braking points.

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Bites right there, every time.

Ultimately, the A4 (or newly released T4) are going to be the choice for folks looking for all-out stopping power balanced with easy and consistent modulation. The smaller 2-piston options will serve many very well though, as the crisp bite point and lower overall power can suit certain bikes quite well. I'm torn as to whether I believe in the all-the-brake-all-the-time mantra, or whether XC / light trail bikes warrant a less massive anchor.

It's worth noting that although Hayes strongly encourages the use of their D-series rotors, I've had great luck with plenty of other options out there. Magura Storm HCs, SRAM Centerlines, and SRAM HS2 rotors were my typical choices, primarily because they're what I had hanging on that nail on the wall. While the thicker options did seem to have better feel, the Centerlines didn't fall short.

My one setup suggestion is to skip the semi-metallic pads, and go straight for the sintered option. Thanks to the relatively small mass of the caliper, the pads heat up rather quickly, which is a boon to the performance of the sintered options, but causes the semi-metallics to struggle. The semi-metallics have a tendency to overheat, where I never really faced that issue with the sintered pads.

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Plenty of life left on these sintered pads after 600+ miles.
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Don't be afraid to run what you brung.

Durability

To further assuage any concerns you might have about an ultralight brake, I present my long-term abuse test: years of use on a trail bike, followed by a full through-ride of the Colorado Trail this past summer. They were reliably slowing me down for months on Bellingham's steep trails, so I figured the T2s would be a good choice on my bikepacking rig. After 550 miles of unrelenting ups and downs on a roughly 70lb bike, the sporty little Dominions were unfazed and still working the same as day one.

Some of the descents along the trail rack up as much as 7000' of elevation loss in one go, and even after burning down that entire run, they still had strong bite and a relatively firm feel at the lever. Part of this sensation might be the fact that the brakes seem to feel the same as each other no matter how far you are down a run, where others tend to get softer or weaker in the rear before the front. This sensation is typically due to the additional fluid line length, which can create sponginess. When both brakes are functioning and degrading (as all naturally do with use) at the same rate, you get less of the unsureness felt in other "less reliable" systems. The way I see it, consistency is key, and the T2s have proven to be just that.

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Encrusted with salt, but working just as well as day one.

Comparisons

It can be hard to draw direct comparisons between different brake brands, as they depend so much on one's individual setup and ride style, but here goes. The Dominion T2 is more aligned with the digital feel of brakes like the Shimano 4-piston series, but with a crisper feel at the bite point. Not more digital, but the relative difference between the very free stroke of the lever and the bite point makes it a brighter line that you cross.

Compared to the SRAM G2, which is a closer competitor than the Code, I prefer the feel and performance of the Dominion, as you need much less force at the lever to get full power out of the brake. The G2s require you to white-knuckle pretty hard to feel like you're really closing them down, where the full-power point on the Dominions comes much sooner.

Magura MT7s feel fully different, unless you're running the Loic Bruni lever. The power is incomparable, hands down going to the MT7s, but the bite point is similarly sharp and easy to find.

Ultimately it comes down to preference, and the unfortunate reality is you're going to have to commit to something without fully understanding the system. I've found over the course of testing multiple brake systems that you adapt pretty quickly to whatever you're running, even if they occupy polar opposite ends of the spectrum. Just spend the time to set them up right, learn the feel, and you'll have a great ride.



Pros
+ Very reliable performance
+ Easy bleed procedure
+ Strong, consistent bite point
+ Remarkably light lever action
Cons
- Fiddly and delicate pad contact adjust screws
- Relatively expensive
- Full-power T4 is only 3g heavier




Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesUltimately, if I were buying brakes for an enduro or all-mountain bike, the easy choice would be the more powerful and purpose-built Dominion A4 or T4. But for general trail bike use, cross country, or anything where snappy and precise braking is valued over all-out power, I think the T2s are a strong contender. Don't forget about the A2 version either - they're not as light, but they offer the same level of performance with tool-free adjustments and a lower price. Dario DiGiulio


Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
173 articles

181 Comments
  • 155 1
 More people need to try out the new generation of Hayes brakes... I get scoffed at nearly everytime I tell someone I run Hayes. But seriously the A4s are the best feeling 4-piston brake out there - unlimited power (insert darth sidius voice), great modulation, and extremely light lever actuation.
  • 32 0
 I was a bit suspicious at the beginning, but build a bike a year after covid was hard. Prices were crazy, and found the A4 with a very good price compare to the shimano. Best brakes I never had. People who try my bike generaly agree with it.
  • 36 8
 ... scoff ...
  • 8 0
 Had the same experience here. Tons of power and great lever feel. I said this on another article, but if you have big hands go for the big levers, the small levers felt awkward to me.
  • 13 0
 Same experience, was hesitant and ran Deore 6120s, TRP Quadiums, but my A4s have been the most consistent and powerful, and the lever action is so light it's really easy to modulate. Only complaint is on mine is that the initial lever throw to the bite point seems a bit too far.
  • 7 13
flag nickfranko (Dec 15, 2022 at 9:16) (Below Threshold)
 Genuinely curious, have you tried Magura? Because I’d be impressed if the T4 was even better than that.
  • 4 0
 @generalistgrant: Really? I find the adjustments all work quite well, I like my brakes to pull almost to the bar but have a very solid grab point, between the lever adjust and the contact adjust I can get them set up exactly how I want with very little lever throw (have small hands so don't like to reach way out far, and get less arm pump when the lever engagement is closer)
  • 9 0
 @nickfranko: I have tried Maguras, they're not bad. I just love the feel of dominions more. What actually made me go all in with them is their insanely light lever actuation. Ive worked at a shop for the last 10 years and have tried many different brakes on demo bikes etc... I will always choose dominions on my personal bikes.
  • 2 0
 @qman11: I mean the adjustments work fine, but I like my lever further out and to not have to pull it very far to initial bite. I have heard of people bleeding them with the pistons pushed out slightly, with a sanded down bleed block or similar to help with this but I haven't tried it yet.
  • 8 0
 I have a set of A4's that sat for over a year because I had slx 7120's on both bikes (previously had codes and guides) and despite wandering bite point I was too lazy to swap sets over (thanks internal routing).

This fall I switched over to the A4's again and wow, so consistent, way more modulation, and now I notice the wandering bitepoint on my other bikes 7120s way more. In terms of power, I would say that the 7120's may actually have more absolute power (galfer pads), but that power is not always usable with the much worse modulation.

Overall the Dominions are a fantastic set of brakes
  • 2 0
 @generalistgrant: gotcha, so you run them the complete opposite of me haha. Im familiar with the "over-bleeding" process for other brakes (mostly guides), but have never heard of people doing it with dominions. The pads already sit with an extremely minimal space to the rotor, so I could see adjusting them to not rub being an extreme PITA.
  • 2 0
 @qman11: yeah, thats also why I haven't tried it yet, I hate rotor rub
  • 10 1
 Nothing comes close to my old Avid V-Brakes with rollamajig :-)
  • 6 3
 All kidding aside A4's are the Bugatti of brakes but the fact that they don't have a clamp that bolts the dropper lever to the brake and only for the sifter sucks; + that the pads are installed from the bottom of the caliper is ridiculous
  • 17 1
 @nickfranko: maguras are amazing brakes. One time I stopped in the air and turned around
  • 7 1
 @ppp9911: it's amazing what you can get used to with brakes. hopped on my buddy's bike with XT 4 pistons, could not stand the wandering. you just have to guess where the power would hit. he rode my trp quads, and immediately noticed how much more consistent they were.
  • 2 1
 @TheRamma: I swapped mine out for maguras for that reason. It’s scary when you flying downhill and don’t know where the bite point is
  • 11 0
 @likeittacky: Don't need a Hayes specific ones. Go buy a set of the SRAM/Avid matchmakers (the two bolt clamp style for their cheaper brakes) and then sand down the clamping faces a few millimeters on them. Work perfectly, Ive ran them this way on my Dominions for the last 4 seasons and theyre also cheap af.
  • 3 0
 @qman11: S#!t Been nice to know this a week ago; ha! Still kinda crappy Hayes doesn't just make it left side as well!
  • 3 0
 @likeittacky: I do agree they should. I remember when the dominions first came out I was told by a Hayes rep that a dropper side matchmaker was going to come out... but thats like 4 years ago or so now lol. I had a set of the Avid ones in a drawer and just had the thought to see if the clamp bolts were the same distance apart and sure enough they were... The bolt side of the lever body on the dominions must be a few millimeters longer, cuz yah you do have to sand down the Avid ones a bit, otherwise they won't tighten enough.
  • 2 0
 @qman11: Genius! you should patent your design ! A4 sales just spiked after PBers read this LMAO
  • 3 0
 @likeittacky: just order some old avid split clamps and file down 1mm on each side on the flat part. I had them before I filed them down and couldn't quite get them tight, I assume it's because the Avid clamps "wrapped" too far around the bar. A quick hit with a file and I can get the exact torque I need. I now have hayes levers compatible with every sram compatible piece out there. I'm assuming you could do something similar with Magura or Hope if you run ahimano.
  • 3 0
 @generalistgrant:

You can adjust the bitepoint...turn the screw all the way in to bleed and then all the way out with your preferred lever position.
But I'd advise you to run 2.0-2.3mm wide rotors. The ones from Trickstuff are 2.1 which is perfect, TRP 2.3mm Rotors rub in the beginning and the SRAM 2.0 Rotors don't bring the difference you are looking for since the Hayes one are 1.95.
  • 2 0
 @Trudeez: @qman already pointed this out. He will be in court with you for patent infringement lol
  • 2 1
 @jmard24: yes, I’m currently running MT7s. That’s why I was curious if they had experience with them compared to the A4, because I would be surprised if these were actually better.
If they are, I’ll have to try them out at some point.
  • 2 0
 @likeittacky: Hayes designed their SRAM Peacemaker to work with any SRAM shifter and you can use the Peacemaker on the left for any dropper lever that has a SRAM style mounting. The Manitou dropper lever was designed specifically to match up with the SRAM shifter Peacemaker just mounted on the left with a dropper lever.
  • 3 0
 @DorianKane: my understanding is they are already wound full in for closest bite point, the other direction increases distance, but I will double check next time I mess with them. I currently run magura storm rotors which are 2.0, I'll have look for those trickstuff ones.
  • 2 2
 @Swangarten: But Who wants to run a Manitou dropper lever lol
  • 1 0
 @DorianKane: Huh with new pads I could barely get a 2.0mm magura rotor into the hayes caliper (yes with fully reset pistons), I don't see any room at all left for a 2.3 trp. Have you ran that combo with new pads? Also have seen several comments on forum that 2.3s wouldn't fit in hayes caliper. I'd love to run the thicker rotors if they did fit though so curious how you got it to work.
  • 6 0
 Hayes is currently offering on their site Two free rotors with a complete Brake purchase! If anyone is interested
  • 3 0
 @Swangarten: you dont need ot run the manitou lever specifically... damn near every single dropper manufacturer makes a SRAM matchmaker compatible lever.
  • 2 0
 @TheRamma: yep exactly, we are pretty good at adapting our riding even when something isnt working optimally
  • 2 0
 @TheRamma: XTs must be the biggest pile pf crap ever made. the problem is so many bikes come with them as they cost peanuts as OEM.
  • 2 0
 @Wormfarmer: I run that combo and it works if you take the time to push the pistons all the way out and bleed them well.
  • 1 1
 @nickfranko: I have A4s on my full suspension bike and MT5s on my hardtail. I have no complaints about the MT5s, but I certainly prefer the smooth actuation and lever feel of the A4s. The MT5s are a dang good brake for price, though.
  • 3 0
 @qman11: You're correct, it's just hard to get past the utter sh!te that was the stroker and rydes.
  • 1 0
 @zmums: then you're fine for a while until they wander again. Usually on the big day in the Alps (pressure gradients and all that). A decent pair of brakes is not that expensive after all.
  • 2 2
 Other peoples opinions about brakes are too subjective. so here's my opinion haha;
For example, I heard the MT7's were the bomb from a couple of my bros. So, I got some for my latest build. Nothing but problems and poor performance. Pads run too close to the rotor and the lever is absolute plastic-flexy-leaky-squeeky shit. Something must of been lost in translation with their warranty dept because they never got back to me. Never had a problem running Shimanos, so I'm back on those.

Anyway. Having experience installing numerous Dominion brakes, I will say set-up is pretty good. Once dialed in you wont have to touch them for years, (just like the Hayes old stuff). Sucks they use DOT fluid. The caustic stuff gets into your bloodstream and absorbs water like crazy (in your brake fluid. not in your body). Not sure if the lever blade shape is the same as the aluminum versions, but that was a deal breaker for me on Hayes...Too square edged profile and large for my hands. In conclusion, Hayes makes some of the better brakes out there. It would not be a bad choice to purchase them.
  • 5 0
 Agreed the new dominion is so much better than sram its incredible. I went from Codes to Hayes and its night and day better.
  • 2 1
 @qman11: the new Hope Tech4's are cheaper and better....always get the braded steel lines though, as it is needed to make the rear feel as good as the front(the aforementioned line induced sponginess of the rear).

the added benefit is that the pads for Hope are abundant and cheap as chips
  • 7 0
 @mojopedaler: oof, nothing you've typed about DOT fluid is remotely correct. please stop mindlessly parroting nonsense on the internet.
  • 1 3
 @TheRamma: i respect your opinion, but I wont stop sharing mine. trying to help the humans ride as much as possible!
  • 1 0
 @BobbyHillbomb: good to know, I hope to try some in the future.
  • 2 1
 @mojopedaler: try this email for warranty:
kent.king@magurausa.com
  • 15 0
 @mojopedaler: it's not an opinion. you said DOT fluid will get in your blood stream, which it won't from normal use. then you claim it will absorb water while in your brake system. that's also not true, since the system is sealed. if you do get water in your brake system, DOT fluid is far superior to mineral oil, which does not absorb water, and will tank your booking point to that of water.

the untrue things you said about DOT fluid are cool common misconceptions spread by fake internet experts. there's a reason your car uses DOT fluid and not mineral oil.
  • 4 0
 i tried TRP DH EVO and A4's and I much prefer the A4. The DH EVO arent bad at all but i suspect they have a lot more "trail creds" than the A4 for no real reason
  • 1 0
 @p1nkbike: what do you like better about the A4's? haven't ridden them yet.
  • 3 0
 @TheRamma:

Not to jump in here but I’ve ridden both a fair amount and the TRPs feel a little more “squishy” while the dominions are really on/off. I really like the power of both and the lever feel of both, but they do feel different. I currently run dominions.

The dominions feel like really well bled shimanos for that click on feel. There’s not so much initial bite to the TRPs but there’s plenty of power. Plus I really dig the TRP levers themselves. Idk for me it’s sixes, I would run either with no complaints. It’s easier to find pads/parts for TRPs tho.
  • 3 0
 @likeittacky: I wish they made a dropper adapter.
  • 1 0
 Ordered a set last week and im.getting hypes
  • 1 0
 @Wormfarmer:
Built it for a customer. The Rub in the beginning is way to much but the customer wanted it like this and after a while they stopped, he says it's the most powerful setup he ever had.
I run them with Trickstuff 2.1 and that's the best solution in my opinion. Especially preferred over Magura rotors that bend/warp if you cough at them
SRAM HS2 seem a bit tougher than the ones from Magura but with both you only get .05 more material then with the original Hayes rotors
  • 25 4
 These brakes seem very expensive for their aesthetic and function compared to the competition.

Also, we the "upsides" of a 2-piston versus a 4-piston seem like mental gymnastics - especially when you are talking about saving 3 grams! I struggle to imagine a circumstance where I'd give up the extended power, consistency and modulation (reviewers words!) of a 4-piston to save 3 grams.
  • 13 5
 The “upside” to 2 piston brakes is they have 1/2 the opportunity for a piston to get sticky or seize, which is probably the #1 failure mode of brakes.

Unless you’re riding descents from the top of literal mountains, there’s no reason to need 4 piston.
  • 7 0
 @Steadite: my 6'4", 260lb body would beg to differ. I never found a 2 piston brake that felt like it had the stopping power I wanted, even on cross country trails. No matter what bike I'm riding they are getting a pair of 4 piston Hope brakes.
  • 3 1
 @Nimasterj: Tried Magura Gustav?
  • 18 1
 @Steadite: Descending from the top of mountains always seemed like an integral part of the whole "mountain bike" thing...
  • 5 4
 @Nimasterj: There’s no difference in power between a 2 piston brake and a 4 piston brake. Just a different feel. With a four piston calliper the pistons don’t move as fast and the pistons near the hose hit the rotor slightly before the other two which gives you a similar effect to toeing in rim brake pads for better modulation where a two piston calliper would be similar to running a rim brake parallel with the rim as in a lot of initial power / grab with a more on off feel.
  • 1 0
 @Steadite: Need? no. Want? YES. GIVE ME 4-POTS. and i'm not big (160lb)

I can enjoy some pretty stupid trails on cheap 2-pot brakes - even have plenty of miles on shimano mt-200's (wander less than servo-wave!) and SLX 2-pot.

That said, I can ride harder/brake later/have less armpump & fatigue with 4-pot/big rotors
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Isn't it also about the hydraulic leverage? If you've got the same master, you've got more power and a later bite the larger the area of the slave pistons is. I suppose those four pot calipers have a larger total area than the two pot calipers so with same master, the same amount of oil being shifted, the two-pot calipers have the pads touching the rotor sooner than the four pot calipers. But then because of the leverage, with the same amount of hand force you're pushing harder against the rotor hence get more brake force.
  • 5 0
 @vinay: Hayes Dominion A4 has hydraulic leverage of 7.011, Hayes Dominion A2 has hydraulic leverage of 6.986.
So, technically yes. A4 has a tiny bit more leverage ratio than A2. But not much at all.

On Shimano camp, we are looking at the leverage ratio of 4.8 vs 5.1 for 2 and 4 piston respectively. Which is more noticeable than difference between Hayes 2 and 4 calipers.

I'd say the offset pair of piston @thenotoriousmic mention is the bigger differentiator between 2 and 4 piston than difference in leverage ratio for Hayes.
  • 5 1
 @thenotoriousmic: There is absolutely a difference in 2 piston and 4 piston brakes - both in terms of modulation and overall performance, and principally in terms of the size of the brake pads that can be used (which ultimately dissipate kinetic energy in the form of heat energy via friction with the rotor).

Enduro MTB did a fantastic, rather scientific write up/comparison of about 20 brakes back in 2018. They confirmed both the average braking torque in a bench test AND did timed slowdown testing from 30-15 kmh and 45-0 kmh. The main takeaway: the most powerful brake on the test (Trickstuff) handily provided the best deceleration performance. The other take aways: 4-piston generally performed better than 2-piston, larger rotors dramatically improved deceleration (about 18% for jumping from 180 to 200), and that pads/pad size really, really matter.
  • 1 0
 They are pricey, but the upside of the T versions being introduced is that the A versions, which are better (in terms of having tool-less reach adjust), but heavier, can be found on super sale. Got a pair of A4s for like $230 a few months ago.
  • 1 0
 Back when I started riding mountainbikes, I was riding V-brakes front and rear. I once did a contest on a descend with a friend. Who could ride that slippery rooty descend slowest. He was on hydraulic rim brakes (Magura HS33 Firm Tech, which was exclusive to WP/Rond forks at the time). He won, big time and consistently. After a few runs, we swapped bikes. I consistently won. I realized modulation isn't just about power and the way it engages, but also how quickly and smoothly it disengages. If you're riding tech slippery descends, you need to be able not only release the brake instantly when the tire starts to slide. But also to modulate it as you partially release it. I didn't want a hydraulic rim brake mounted to canti studs as the brake booster was a big mud catcher and unfortunately those Rond forks were way too expensive for me at the time. When I later did get Magura forks with the Firm Tech mount, I was already running disc brakes so have never actually ridden those hydraulic rim brakes on a mountainbike since. But I do recall this, the way the brake disengages is super important for controlling it on slippery tech descends.
  • 2 1
 @thenotoriousmic: I disagree that there is not difference in power. A 4-piston brake pad is going to have more surface area and will supply more friction to the rotor than a 2-piston pad.
  • 2 0
 @KJP1230: I just said there’s no difference in power and went on to describe in detail how the biggest difference is feel.
  • 1 0
 @nastee-nate: doesn’t make any difference except a bigger pad will cope with heat better and last longer. Power is determined by a few things mainly length of lever blade, lever blade pivot, master cylinder diameter etc but once that value is set it’s just a case of dividing it between 1,2,4 or more pistons and the same with pads the value is the same just spread across the surface area of a bigger pad.
  • 17 0
 I've standardized on the A4's for both my trail and park bikes. Whatever weight penalty may come with these it's worth it for the performance, lever feel, and reliability. The only challenge I've had with them is that the pistons don't retract as far as some other brakes, so your rotors need to be pretty straight.
  • 6 3
 do you know Formula brakes? Smile
  • 4 0
 @bemix: I've got both and both perform really well. The extremely minimal pad retraction of the Formula Cura 2 is my only frustration between those and the Hayes Dominion A4 because they end up dragging a lot unless the rotors are absolutely perfectly wobble-free.
  • 3 0
 Weird - I had rollback problems with Maguras which is why I moved to Hayes which have always maintained good clearance. Shimano seems to be the best for that though despite their other issues.
  • 3 2
 @notenduro: i am using formula so was just sarcastic., Got new cura4, best modulation ever but that is personal opinion, they are strong too cause they can stop my 230 ass. I am happy for hayes having good product, only thing i dont like is how they look cause ace strokers are miss universe for dominion.
#learnfromhistory
  • 10 0
 I have both a set of Trickstuff Direttissimas and a set of Hayes A4s, and I can confidently say the A4 is the only brake (I've the big guns from Sram, Shimano, and Magura) that comes close to the Trickstuffs in feel and power. Very much worth it. Would love a set of the new T4s for my trail bike!
  • 9 0
 I've had mine for 2 seasons now. One thing I've loved about my T2's is my bike can sit in the garage for a month or two and when I pull the brakes the first time they're grabbing just as perfectly the last ride. The Saint and 2 XT equipped bikes suffer contamination more than half the time and require brake pad and rotor, cleaning and sanding, to get them right again. Also, agree on replacing the AL backed semi's and get the sintered pads.
  • 6 2
 Interesting to hear about that issue with your Shimano brakes. I realize its dangerous to sing praises for Sram brakes on Pinkbike comments - but I've had Code RSCs on my current enduro rig for 3 seasons. They've been zero maintenance until their first bleed halfway through their 3rd season of use - and I've never noticed an issue with initial performance after they were garage-stored during the coldest months of winter. I can't say that I've ever even concerned myself with any performance change from a brake sitting during the winter months.
  • 1 0
 I have never seen this issue. Are you sure you’ve finally bled your brakes?
My girlfriend barely rides and her XT brakes will still grab the same 6 months later,
  • 4 0
 @KJP1230: don't worry, you'll get plenty of down votes any time you say something bad about Shimano or something good about SRAM.

I have done literally nothing to my Code R's since I got my bike 3 years ago except change pads and eventually rotors (200/180 were getting too hot).
  • 4 0
 @KJP1230: Guide REs here that just work. No maintenance except bleed every couple of years because I think I ought to. I occasionally wish I had a bit more brake power, then get on my road bike with 140mm disks and realise it's just fine!
  • 2 1
 I have a very hard time believing that pad or rotor contamination is on any way dependant on brake manufacturer. There is just no conceivable way for this to happen.
  • 5 0
 @Ttimer: it could be if piston seals are bad, causing micro leakage. Or if the pad compound is affected by oxidation. I'm not sure what causes the Shimano brakes to squeel and lose power after sitting unused for a longer period of time (and not when being used constantly), but between me and some friends, we've got 3 sets of Zees and 2 sets of lower-end brakes and they all do it...
  • 2 0
 @Ttimer: My brother bought my neice a Ripley AF SLX build late this summer, and the second ride out the brakes were contaminated. Ride out of the parking lot and I hear that horrible howl when she pulled her brake. I jumped on her bike to confirm, yep, toast. Luckily my brother had alcohol and sandpaper in his car......all coincidence.
  • 2 1
 @Ttimer: Not to keep going on, but I will say I had the M785 XT's on my old fat bike that hung in the garage over half the year and they never had problem. M8000's and my M820's......issues.
  • 1 1
 @Ttimer: shimano piston seals fail. Had it on xt and Saint. Then the bite point wanders. Absolute garbage brakes. So many good brakes now that there’s no reason to use shimano anymore. From all the reviews on the new hope tech 4 where every person has said they’re the best brake they’ve ever used. That’ll be my next brake.
  • 1 0
 @tuskenraider: do you have ice tech rotors? I have one on the back of the road bike, and I think the pressed edges to the holes don't clean the pad the way that the sharper edges on normal discs do
  • 1 0
 perfect... Code Rsc ..I'm Happy
  • 5 0
 I’ve been riding the T2s for a year. I was worried about losing power going from 4 piston SRAM G2 ultimates with the power pads. Wasn’t an issue at all. If anything the T2 sintered has more power.

I hopped on my friends bike with 4 piston XTRs after a recent service and bleed. They felt fine, but obviously less power no doubt about it. And they weren’t even in the same league as the A4s.

There’s a lot more to brakes than just number of pistons. I have the A4s in my enduro bike, and the T2s on my Xc bike. Very happy.
  • 5 0
 Flashback to Purple Hayes. Back in the day had to tear down the entire caliper and replace that little reach adjustment screw multiple times. Still have the parts! Never thought I might need them again...
  • 8 0
 I wish Hayes would make a purple Dominion
  • 6 3
 Did anyone else find the A4's too powerful? Maybe I'm just a goon, but I had multiple instances where I was thrown off balance trying to brake through a technical section. Dario, do you think the lower power of these would be a good option for someone like me?
  • 38 0
 Too powerful? Is that a thing for some people?
  • 17 2
 Yes, there are plenty of bikes where you do not need 4 piston brakes and having them is a waste. If you are mostly XC style riding, why do you need 4 pistons? I am sure this will get the usual downvote.
  • 10 0
 The metallic pads were too much power for me, I was locking up the front wheel on steep and loose terrain. The organics feel perfect though, good modulation with a ton of power if needed with a good squeeze, the best brakes I've ever used.
  • 7 0
 This post really illustrates how much of a preference thing brakes really are - I'm 60kg and I've never thought the a4s on my bike were too powerful. My favourite thing about them is how light the lever is for all that power, but then I do have slightly messed up wrists. I think the only option with brakes is to try and find a friends bike with a set and to ride it to see if you get on with them.
  • 12 1
 I don’t think “too powerful MTB brakes” exist tbh
It’s just your finger that needs some trainint
  • 8 0
 *training


Bloody PB that doesn’t let you fix the comments
  • 15 0
 @NicolaZesty314: I did mention the fact that I may be a goon.
  • 8 0
 The good thing about finding a brake "too powerful" is the ability to use a smaller rotor (assuming heat management doesn't become an issue). In the case of these Hayes, you can save a lot more weight by reducing the size of the rotor - and maybe eliminating the caliper adapter - than reducing the number of pistons. Plus, smaller rotors almost always start straighter are stay straighter.
  • 2 0
 It's not necessarily an issue of "too powerful" with other brakes, but more that these are very easy to feather when you're already gripped on the bars. Could be good for your situation, as techy sections tend to be where you're over gripping while braking.
  • 3 0
 no, i installed galfer 223 rotors now they are perfect. if they are too strong for you just go 180
  • 1 0
 I haven't found these two powerful (possibly even less powerful than shimano 4pot) but the modulation I get from the A4's results in far more control.

So... I guess my experience is the opposite of yours.What brakeset were you coming off of before you bought the A4's?
  • 1 0
 You'll save more weight going to smaller rotors then you will with the A4 to A2 calliper. Brake too powerful, reduce the unsprung weight too.

Can't really say I've ever had an issue with a brake being too powerful apart from when I ran Saints with 203mm rotors F/R on a XC bike, the tyres couldn't handle it and the initial bite took off way too much speed only for me to have to pedal the speed on again
  • 2 0
 @R-M-R:Good point! Just did this very thing on my recent purchase with HS2 180 rotors and RSC's; installing em next week. Smile
  • 1 0
 @NicolaZesty314: run a different pad works. Organic pads on maguras feel like they can stop a train. Semi-metallic has great power but is a bit more controllable
  • 1 0
 @ppp9911: Thats crazy, I find my shimano XT four pistons to have waaaaayy less power. Like less than half of max power when pulling the levers as hard as I can.
  • 1 0
 I sort of had this issue when I switched my A4s pads to sintered. However once they broke in (took three runs at a bike park) then they were good.
  • 1 0
 @Ososmash: I got a 223 disc and semiorganic pads in the front, the modulation feels just better as with metallic pads. in the rear i got also 223 but with metallic pads as they cope way better with heat and short backwheelslip is no big deal.
  • 1 0
 @aks21: Probably had Juicys before the Dominions and has to recalibrate his senses.
  • 3 0
 Love these brakes. They have a unique look to them for sure. Like the brake levers on an SR-71 Blackbird kind of throw back look. Love the SFL Lever for kids (amazing ergos) as these just eliminate hand pain entirely for the little guys.

I like the 3 bleed ports too. Its an extra 5-10 mins to bleed but the bleed is ROCK solid every.single.time because of the extra air I can get out. Nice brakes. Real nice.
  • 2 0
 Hands down the most consistent set of brakes out there. I have the T2's on my XC bike and they have given me all the confidence I could ask for. I previously had XTR's on this bike, but I threw them to the wind after trying putting these bad boys on. Dominions = +10 horse power
  • 6 2
 I actually LOVE my Shimano MT201's downgrade. Got tired of spending $75 to replace a single brake lever every time my bike got dropped to the ground.....
  • 8 0
 No joke, those brakes are fantastic. All lever power, but they work surprisingly well. The BR420 might be the most reliable Shimano brake I've used to date.
  • 3 0
 I’ll give you a +1 on that. I don’t love 201’s but I get the cost of crash replacements. I’ve use the 400 series 4 pistons and they work good enough and are way cheaper than other stuff.
  • 1 0
 @dariodigiulio: interesting, I'll look into the 420s. I originally bought the 201's for my "other bike" but now use them exclusively.
  • 1 0
 I got for free a pair of MT200 brakes,the same lever but made of steel. I use 1 of the levers for a little experiment mixing a Hope Rx4+ 4 pot caliper with that lever for the rear brake of my dirt jump bike. It works great,very sweet combo. The lever is very solid. Got further and test the same caliper with a Saint lever and it is good to stop my near 70kg in my S.Enduro bike. Works way better than the Code R it replace and it is very light.
  • 1 0
 I've got some budget MT520 4 pots, so cheap but so good. Wouldn't mind trying the Hayes though
  • 1 0
 what brakes were you using that you broke levers dropping your bike to the ground? I can't even see how you could set your cockpit up that way.

had mt201s and mt410s, they both suffered from heat fade that made me miss my old guide RS's.
  • 2 0
 I don't know where you're buying brake levers but you can get Deore levers for $30 these days.
thundermountainbikes.com/products/shimano-deore-bl-m6100-disc-brake-lever
  • 2 0
 I don't know if it's my bleed but I found my T2 to have shorter lever pull than my A4.
One complain I've heard about A4 is that some people don't like its light but long lever pull action.
T2 lever pull is still light, but it bite stronger earlier with less lever movement.
Aside from minuscule weight difference between T2/A2 to T4/A4, I think the shorter lever pull plus more bite versus longer lever pull plus more maximum power is the difference between the 2 and 4 piston Hayes models. Having both, I know which one I prefer on my XC bike.
  • 2 0
 I actually really like Shimano brakes, across multiple generations and spec levels of MTB brakes, and have been pretty happy with my GRX brakes for almost 3 years, despite them needing more frequent bleeds than their MTB counterparts. I like them, and I've got a few pairs in the fleet so between brake pad spares and a big jug of mineral oil... I feel somewhat locked in. That said... new Hayes and Hope are very distracting. Going to need brakes for a project next spring...
  • 1 0
 Same experience here. Very happy with Shimano, but Hayes, Hope and TRP brakes are starting to interest me.
  • 4 0
 As a heavier dude saving weight on brakes is something I would never consider no matter what bike I'm on.
  • 1 0
 I have MT7s. - #1 Super powerful - #2 Can be noisy... Having their service kit allows you to dial them in a bit better. Proper bleeds and care centering the calipers goes a long way! I'm not a huge torx bit fan though, I like all my bolts to be hex Smile
  • 2 0
 Love my A4 brakes. The only downside, and it can be a significant one, the larger diameter hose will not fit some internal routing tubes. Specialized Stumpy Evo being one of them as I found out the hard way.
  • 2 0
 I ripped out the internal tubes on my Stumpy Evo to make the 5.5mm hose fit. No rattling. I'll worry about the lack of internal routing hose when it's time to sell haha
  • 2 1
 Bite point adjustments are just poor design. The master cylinder piston should be as close as possible to the reservoir hole at rest (smallest possible free stroke). This way you run your levers where you want them without a problem.

If you're someone who doesn't like the smallest free stroke, please speak up, because I've never heard of anyone.
  • 5 0
 Freestroke (Bite point adjustment) is already set closest possible from the factory and it's just a tiny grub screw. So, just leave it alone and don't touch it.
Instead, use lever reach adjustment (another screw) to adjust lever position. Which, Hayes lever maintain leverage ratio no matter how close or far the lever is set.
  • 2 0
 Always used Saints on my DH bikes.
Building up my new DH bike with TRP DHR-Evo's. I'll see how they perform.

I have a Magura brakes (rear) on my DJ bike. Worst brakes I ever had.
  • 1 0
 Hayes Strokers were the last I've tried from the brand. The Strokers were an absolute misery to bleed, and I vowed never again to try anything Hayes.....wonder if they've made them Shimano-Easy to bleed, or if it's the 'WTF bleed??!!?" style bleed procedure....anyone?
  • 1 0
 @jokermtb They're super easy to bleed, step by step video is available on youtube also...
  • 4 0
 I like big resevviors an I cannot lie
  • 2 0
 Potential correction to that misleading photo caption: I haven't seen a Hayes Peacemaker clamp for dropper levers. There is a right side one for shifters though.
  • 2 0
 PS - The Dominion A4s are amazing strong brakes, and the lack of left side dropper clamp, and the poor ergos (for me) of the right side Shimano-compatible clamp wouldn't prevent me from buying another set.
  • 3 0
 Don't need a Hayes specific ones. Go buy a set of the SRAM/Avid ones (the two bolt clamp style for their cheaper brakes) and then sand down the clamping faces a few millimeters on them. Work perfectly, Ive ran them this way on my Dominions for the last 4 seasons.
  • 3 0
 I use that right side matchmaker one on my left lever. OneUp dropper remote bolt on it without any adapter in a great position.
  • 1 0
 Buy a SRAM Peacemaker and the Manitou dropper or just dropper lever and mount to the left. They designed the new Manitou dropper lever to work on the SRAM Peacemaker
  • 3 0
 Hope this helps somebody. I use Magura shiftmix clamps for my Dominion A4's both left and right levers, worked a treat...
  • 1 0
 @warmonger: that did help. Thank you!
  • 1 0
 I ran the A4s for a year and just recently went back to XTRs because of the lever feel and wanted to trim some weight. Realized I'm just a shimano guy but the A4s had amazing power. Might throw them on again in the future.
  • 1 1
 A friend of mine has a yeti, he would like for me to ask if they are compatible. He has no way of finding out on his own and is completely useless when it comes to turning the ol 1’s & 2’s. His digits have never seen anything but a keyboard or gold plated handle medical utensils.

Please respond back as quickly as possible as he has a strider race he has to make it to.

Also wanted to know WTF YETI WHERE IS HIS COOLER!
  • 2 1
 These brakes are exactly what the newer bikes of today, especially ebikes need. i love the adjustment option on the levers and the Reynolds carbon is an upgrade!
  • 1 0
 Why would an ebike need such light brakes? Wouldn't heavier and more powerful work better for their higher weight?
  • 3 0
 "..a composite reservoir cover"... AKA, Plastic
  • 2 0
 I have the A2s on my trail bike and they're great. I have the A4s on my park bike and they're better...
  • 3 0
 Strongly recommend these brakes for wet conditions!!
  • 2 1
 I really don't care what you think the best brake is out there unless you got a closet full of DH KOM's. Otherwise it's just another weekend warrior talking...
  • 1 0
 A4s are top of my list for the next bike. These seem overkill for the price and minimal weight savings.
  • 1 0
 I have yet to see a brake set that can compete with the magura mt5 in terms of performance and price point.
  • 1 0
 I wish there was more aftermarket brake pad options out there for them, especially considering the $39 per price...
  • 1 0
 @jlw314151 outside of Galfer and MTX who do you by aftermarket pads from?
  • 1 0
 @therealmancub: Well exactly, one of those 2, but neither brands makes them for a2/t2
  • 2 0
 Nice new Sram's like model!
  • 1 0
 Does anybody know if the calipers on these or the 4 piston version cleat the rivets on Hope rotors?
  • 1 1
 Clear, not cleat.
  • 1 0
 I dont recongnise those grips. I know this about the brakes but the grips look class
  • 1 0
 looks like a sensus swayze.
  • 1 0
 Great review. That last paragraph is spot on.
  • 1 0
 How are they only 3 grams lighter? That seems crazy...
  • 1 0
 I'd definitely consider them if I were looking to purchase some brakes.
  • 1 0
 msrp $289 but they're $320 at universal cycles ???
  • 1 0
 its a T10, not a 2mm Allen, use the right tool and no issues at all
  • 1 1
 Still no pad contact adjustments. Pad contact adjustment is definitely worthy.
  • 1 0
 Loved my Hayes Stroker Ryde back in the day!
  • 1 0
 What grips are those?
  • 2 0
 Looks like Sensus Lite V2.1
  • 3 6
 review give some pros but for an outright purchase I think the choice is a little Hayes-e.
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