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  1. #1
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    HMX-1: Has anyone made them work?

    Ok, almost no one who's posted in the message boards about them likes these, but have some people made them work well? Anyone happy with them? Several of the reviews say they work well when set up right, but others seem to have messed with them a lot and they don't work.
    Last edited by dusty; 07-07-2004 at 11:49 PM.

  2. #2
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    Hey there...

    After a year of farting around with them, this year after doing a lot of reading here, experimenting in the garage and riding, I have got them to work well and am happy with them (except for the stuck rear adjuster knob -- front is ok still).

    I find the key thing is to keep the pads very clean, never ever get grease, lube, etc near them. If you do, clean the rotor well with iso alcohol, pads too, then sand the pads with very fine sandpaper and they are good to go.

    I experience no squealing now, maybe a bit of squeaking, but squeaking is different that SQUEALING. Let me know if you have issues, I have been able to solve most things that have been thrown at me with these brakes and I got a lot of good ideas here and on my own.

    Apparently the newer ones have an allen key adjuster which helps the seizing issue I have.

    Much easier is someone can tell you.

    Currently, I like them. Last year, I was gonna sell my bike because of them and get a ride with V-brakes because I was so absolutely FED UP with the irritating noises coming from them.

  3. #3
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    Chomp, I don't mean to sound like an @$$ here, but have you ridden any other brake other than the HMX-1?

    I thought they were ok myself, till I tried a Tectro disc brake. A ^&^&$*%^$ TEcTRO disc brake!!! Now Tectros are complete trash, and they made the HMX-1's I had seem to be severely lacking.

    And in case anyone was wondering, I too tried many things.

    Clean the rotors? Yep. Pads? burnt them, got them sloshed. Make sure no drag in the moving parts? Check. Add steel overclamp to caliper? Did that. Weld additional bracing across the arch to make them a tiny bit more rigid? Yep, didn't miss that one. Reverse the bolts (ala Deore) as the newest HMX brakes are? Affirmative.

    Maybe I should have taken some pictures, but I was waaaay offline, no digicam (or computer even) and they really looked good sitting in the recycling bin.

    Hint, they are die cast ally and are a major PITA to weld. The steel overclamp worked best, but still unwieldy, makes them stupid heavy and even then they STILL weren't a match for anything other than a Wally World spec canti brake.

    So yeah, I tried EVERYTHING. No cash, some tools and lotsa free time are my excuses. Once I had the cash, the HMX-1's got binned.

    Hows that?

  4. #4
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    Nope...I don't wanna try anything cause then I'll know what I am missing...

    Hey! That's me...lots of time, no cash and a few tools...

    Funny...just noticed last night, I have a Giant AC. When I am sitting on the bike, there is some flex which ends up putting the rotor in the perfect spot. With no load (me not on the bike...just holding the back end up spinning rear tire) the rotor rubs the inner pad...but as long as the bloody harmonic vibrating noise does not come back ever again...I'll be satisfied.

    If I had the cash...oh yeah, they'd be long gone...like last year...actually the bike would been too.

  5. #5
    "El Whatever"
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    Are they really that bad???

    I was just inches away from buying a Scott bike with them on.

    I've tried the deore mechs and Avíd Mechs... and they are easy to set up and maintain... great brakes for the price. I cannot conceive how a mech brake can be that difficult to set-up.

    I mean, you can have some rubbing... but on a disc is by far less noticeable while riding than on a vee. In fact.. I noticed my front tire to be slowing me down so I pulled the wheel out and guess what.... the brake was rubbing indeed but the slowing stuff came from the hub being too tight!!. Vees were annoying when riding!!

    Are Hayez that bad to set-up and use??? All I've read in mags is they're good. I was thinking 'bout getting some Hayez hydros....
    Check my Site

  6. #6
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    thanks for the replies

    I tried Avid's on test-ride bikes and the Hayes seemed almost as good, but not quite as grippy. I keep my v-brakes tuned just right (also Avids, on hardtail), so I'm used to a medium pull locking the wheels (but I ride in S. CA where the trails are covered with a fine loose powder 10 months a year...). I don't doubt for a second that the Avid mechs are easier to set up and maintain, but there are a few posts in the HMX-1 review section from people who had tried both and thought they were comparable (that's what made me want to post this question). I got such an unbelievably good deal on the bike that I won't mind upgrading at all, but so far all I've got is a little rubbing on the front (like chomp: less when I'm in the saddle) and an interesting sound like a bee in a jar on fast downhills (not loud, though, just buzzy). I wanted to hear from people to know what to expect, but probably won't fix it 'till it's broken. Since the bike is brand new I just took it to the shop today to let them adjust it (and true my wheels). Like most people, though, my plastic pad adjuster knobs are stuck.

  7. #7
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    Yes, they really are that bad.

    The pads are good, the rotors are good. I have no fault with those two parts. In fact, those two parts make the whole brake far better than it has any rights to be.

    The caliper is absolute garbage. Simple as that.

    Look at an A vid disc brake, and the caliper is a single piece casting, which is nice and rigid. The Deore is a two piece affair, but there is quite a bit of material around the split point of the caliper halves. Take a look at a HMX-1 and the caliper is not only two piece, but there is little support material around the join, which means the caliper opens up under medium-heavy braking applications. That's something the A vid does to a small extent (but doesn't really suffer for it) and the Deore does very little of (which is why it's as good as it is).

    And that is the key to ANY mechanical disc brake, it's how rigid the caliper is and how resistant it is to opening up under heavy braking. The less flex, the better the brake.

    Pads and cleaning are kinda like washing a wound and applying band-aids when the limb has been cut off and there are sticks stuck in the lopped off bit. Sure, it might help a little, but some serious repair is what is really needed.

    So, that's it. Yes they are garbage. And the newest version is finally starting to address the flexxy caliper. But it's all a little bit late for that. Pity because these brakes could have been really good if someone hadn't tried to cut a few extra little corners...

  8. #8
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    Update

    For anyone interested, most of the problems with my Hayes mechanical HMX-1 brakes on my Hollowpoint have been worked out, but I'm still tweaking them. The rear wasn't gripping so the shop put a whole new caliper on (2nd time, ist time one caliper was replaced because the adjustment knob was frozen), and the service manager filed the mounts to square them w/ the rotor. Still wasn't quite right so shop replaced all four pads and there was enough immediate improvement that I figured they'd probably be OK after break-in. In the last couple of weeks I've put about 30 miles on the new pads, all rides with lots of downhill. They started to squeak but sanding the rotors lightly to scuff them has helped. Now they're working pretty well: decent modulation, good stopping power. The only remaining complaint is that compared to Avid mechs (and the Avid single digits on my other bike) these take a fair amount of squeezing. I've readjusted both the pads and the levers (Avid SD 5) and it seems like they should still be lighter action. Any ideas anyone? It could be that the new pads need a little more break-in time. Interesting though, all pads replaced, caliper replaced twice, rotors cleaned and sanded 3 times, all to get it working like you'd think it should have worked right off the showroom floor. Makes me wonder if the issue with Hayes mechs is more quality control than design.

    PS: mine are '03s so I'm not sure whether Schtoojp's experience is with the same brakes. I've read elsewhere that the '03s were "improved" over the earlier models, although they look about the same in pictures. The '04's look different.

  9. #9
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    That "extra squeeze"? That's HMX-?'s for you.

    Improved? About the only improvement for these fishing sinkers would be to take a production run of the sorry POS's fresh and hot out of the mold and jam them up the fundamental orifices (orifii?) of the marketing clowns, design nutters and anyone else linked directly or indirectly with the 'new and improved' version. They pull more vacuum than space ever could (translation, they suck, in a very large way) and nothing short of scrapping the existing design and starting from scratch will fix them.

    When they first came out, they were reasonable. Simply because there was nothing else worth considering. Now, they are sooo bad (in comparison to nearly any other caliper on or off the market) that nothing can possibly fix them aside from a ground up rehash, rather than the re-heated gruel they continue to inflict on their hapless victims... err... customers.

    Sorry. Just wanted to make sure no-one got the wrong impression there.

    BTW, I wouldn't use a Haydes product if they paid me a million dollars a mile. Absolutely zero confidence in them. And I personally don't think their hydros are that good either.
    Last edited by Schtoojp; 08-03-2004 at 08:42 AM. Reason: I'm dyslax...dislecks...dixlac... can't speel.

  10. #10
    Formerly RyanC
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    Quote Originally Posted by dusty
    Ok, almost no one who's posted in the message boards about them likes these, but have some people made them work well? Anyone happy with them? Several of the reviews say they work well when set up right, but others seem to have messed with them a lot and they don't work.
    When I had them, they were just as powerful has my Avid mechanicals with the same levers. I spent some time filing my fork tabs to get the front brake aligned, but after that they worked great. The only problem I discovered with them was regarding pad wear. The caliper doesn't have enough adjustment to fully use a set of pads. I was running a set of half-worn pads on them and the caliper arm bottomed out. This was with the fixed pad adjusted almost all the way into the caliper as well. I don't know if Hayes does this to make you buy more pads or what, but its pretty lame. For that reason, I got rid of them.
    -Ryan

  11. #11
    bi-winning
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    Hmx-1

    They are bad. I do like that they are not affected by mud like V's are though. The reviews describe them very well.

  12. #12
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    The funny thing is, I messed around with them this morning, went for a 2.5 hr. ride (with lots of downhill) and they're OK: good modulation, great stopping power (as in locking up a little too much). I adjusted them fairly tight (just shy of rubbing), pad adjuster all the way out, and roughed up the rotor with 120 grit sandpaper. We'll see how long this lasts..... (and yes, I've switched bikes with riding buddies who run Avid mechs and Hayes hydros, so I know what other brakes feel like--the Hayes mechs are definitely not as light action as the hydros, but now close to the Avids). I did finally call Hayes and they've agreed to send out a new pair of '04 calipers and pads, supposedly redesigned. I'll post after I've tried them.

  13. #13
    I already rode that
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    My friend had them (earlier model) and out of the box they sucked! But when he changed pads to koolstops they worked alot better. But now they squeel like theres no tomorrow!

  14. #14
    keep the shiny side up!
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    i was running a front hmx-1 and it worked fine. they worked just as well as any avids i have tried. the only problem i had with them is that once the cables got dirty, they felt kinda lousy, but that is with all brakes that are cable actuated.

  15. #15
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    As noted above, there are a few things you can do to maximize HMX-1's - good adjustment, good pads and an Avid adjustable lever are your ticket. However, no matter how much you tweak them, they'll never be powerful enough for more than XC rides or, as I use them, as a back brake.

    I've gone to an Avid 8 inch mech up front. No comparison as far as power goes. And my HMX front brake was really quite good compared to my riding buddy's - he's never been able to get them to clamp decently in two years, despite experimenting with several sets of pads, proper alignment and bathing the rotors in more alcohol than a frat party.

  16. #16
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    you guys are all talking about hmx-1's but noone ahs talked about hmx-2's. My bike has hmx-2's and they work perfectly. I adjust them every week to make shure their as tight as I can get them and the rest of the time they work very well. I haven't had any problems with them at all. You guys should check out the hmx-2

  17. #17
    Get your freak on!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacques12345
    you guys are all talking about hmx-1's but noone ahs talked about hmx-2's. My bike has hmx-2's and they work perfectly. I adjust them every week to make shure their as tight as I can get them and the rest of the time they work very well. I haven't had any problems with them at all. You guys should check out the hmx-2
    Adjust them every week? Well no wonder they work well!

  18. #18
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    Every week huh?

    I was adjusting the HMX-1's every day.

    The A vid mechs on there now maybe get adjusted... uhh... when they need it? Couple times a year?

    BTW, checked out a set of the latest HMX-??? I think they have improved the caliper rigidity, but the adjustments are a joke and the latest incarnation feels clunkier/ less smooth than the original HMX-1 was. After taking the 8"/6" brakes for a test brake, I was glad to get back my own bike where the brakes are confidence inspiring, not question inspiring.

    So I admit the latest version is prolly ok, but still behind A vid mechs and Deore mechs.

  19. #19
    xc racer wannabe
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    seems like the hmx's get a really bad rap. mine have been nothing but pleasure. never once adjusted them. no drag, great power, no squealing. nothin'. the only difference to me between these bad boys and avid mechs and hydros is sheer power. i kinda like not locking up my wheels at first chance, though, so they're great for me. plus they're quite light for discs.

  20. #20
    it's....
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    For me, pad wear makes huge difference.
    My hmx-1's gradually lost power, even though I've been adjusting the cable free play occasionlly to compensate for pad wear.
    This past weekend, I tried to fix it by sanding the pads even and cleaning disks and pads with iso alcohol. That made the brakes much worse to the point of having 10% braking power.
    Ended up ordering replacement pads from Jenson with new cable, so we'll see if power is restored with new pads when they come in.

  21. #21
    it's....
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    New pads installed and I got brakes again!
    Only they sqeal kinda loud now, but gotta ride some first.

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