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  1. #1
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    Which Hope M4? Or Formula after all?

    Now that CRC has published the prices for the new Hope Tech M4 I'm really totally torn... I want to replace my current 2006 Magura Louise FRs with M4s, but now I don't know if I should go with the 2007 edition or the new ones. The price of the entry version of the new Tech edition M4 (no floating disc and no braided hoses) looks to be equal to the price of the old M4 with both floating disc and braided hoses. I really don't want to keep stretching my budget. Adding to this is the concern that the new M4 might have less modulation due to equal piston size.

    I don't downhill, I normally XC with some steep but relatively short descents (the Maggies do fine). However in summer we did our first Trans Alp trip and this is where I got my Maggies (180/160 with a little less than 85 kg/185 lbs packed-up rider weight) to falter. On two occasions they faded beyond my comfort zone. I'm pretty sure it was pad induced fade and there lies the problem with Maggies; they don't recommend full-metal pads as that might boil the fluid (mineral with a boiling point of about 190 C / 375 F). I don't want to take the risk, so I think I have found a convincing reason to upgrade Was considering Formula Megas or The Ones, but am leaning to M4s due to generally better user feedback in UK and Germany (similar riding conditions to what I am faced with) and the reputation of the M4 for super modulation.

    My prios are:
    1) modulation (winter is full of mud, summer with sand, and some tech stuff awaits in the Alps)
    2) resistance to fade, especially to fluid induced fade (pad compound can be changed)
    3) reliability
    4) ample power (no racing here, so no need for slam the brakes at latest possible point).

    Anyone with wise words? Any recommendations on disc size (now ride 180/160)?

    Oh, yeah they mount on an Mountain Cycle Zen (100mm rear sus) with a Reba SL @ 115mm up front.

  2. #2
    wuss
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    I just ordered a set of M4's from Merlincycles (cheapest price I could find in Europe all week, and they have great service). Cheaper prices then CRC, I think I got braided hoses for less then the price then the basic setup from crc. Did not receive them yet, but I ordered with 183/160.

    If I did not need brakes now I might have waited to see how the new tech series brakes are, but I don't think I would want to go that expensive with my brakes anyway. I'm pretty sure the M4 will be sufficiently powerfull for me...

    But in your question, I would try to find more information on brake fade between the M4 and Louise. I think the Louise is a really nice set of brakes, at least the 07 which I used to have. I am expecting better modulation from the Hopes, but brake fade might be worse for Hope then Magura given equal rotor sizes (just guessing).

  3. #3
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    Thanks dropadrop. I scoured around for information about brakes quite some time. The german BIKE magazin tested the Formula The One as a super brake, so that was my first thought (or the cheaper Mega that seems to have similar performance). However reading around I got the impression that under less than ideal conditions (read rain and mud) Formula brakes have their set of issues, amongst which very rapid pad wear. I read somewhere that The Ones have less clearance than Oros between pad and disc, which is really not ideal under such circumstances. So I started looking further and the M4 seemed a very nice brake; seemed to have had a bit of a QC problem in the past, but when set-up properly with the right pads they get rave reviews with few complaints about fade.

    Adding to this, I did some research on fade and some automotive racing sites were very helpful in explaining the different kinds of fade that can happen. One of them being the brake fluid overheating, the others are related to pads and disc overheating. Now, I very much like my Louises, but I don't like to try sintered pads on those in fear of fluid overheating as Magura explicitly prohibits their use (steep high speed Alpine conditions are not the place to experiment with safety items). The problems I had with the Louises were very likely related to the pads and Magura unfortunately offers very few options that they consider safe. With DOT 5.1 there is a significantly wider margin of safety related to fluid overheating (fresh DOT and proper brake design presumed) and thus better suitability for sintered pads. Please correct me if I'm wrong, I'm going more on theory than practice here.

    Any hands-on experience with the M4s on long and/or very steep descents (gravel road with lots of bends is where the Louises started to fade) is of course much appreciated.

  4. #4
    wuss
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    I noticed Hope brakes seem to be very popular in places where it tends to be wet and slippery... The Formula Mega's where going for a pretty good price in CRC btw (250€/pair), I almost ordered them.

    I called a fairly big hope dealer in the UK and talked about all these problems. He said they where still having a lot of troubles close to two years ago, but that they have not heard of any problems lately. Personally he preferred Formula though, as he wanted something with more stopping power.

  5. #5
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    I used to run M4s on my Yeti ARC before some nob swiped them. I found the power reasonable when stopping my 90kg arse using a 180/180 setup. Modulation was lovely.

    After the theft I purchased some Formula Biancos in a 180/160 setup. I was initially a Hope fan but now prefer the Biancos hands-down. The stopping power from the Formulas is on par if not greater than the Hope M4, and modulation is sublime. I ride in the UK and so these brakes have encountered alot of poor weather yet they fill me with a sense of reliability at all times.

    I realize my info is based on older products, but hopefully it'll be of some brand help (if nothing else!).

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cascades
    Any hands-on experience with the M4s on long and/or very steep descents (gravel road with lots of bends is where the Louises started to fade) is of course much appreciated.
    Myself, as well as several others, will tell you how you can't go wrong with the M4. Check my recent thread about riding in Italy to see what I put mine through. I run an m4 on the rear (V2 up front with the vented rotor) and my gf runs an M4 on the front. I don't mess around with brakes. If they didn't work, they wouldn't be on our bikes, period. I have not yet come even close to fading my M4's, even in Italy, where we had to stay on our brakes to some extent the entire way down due to the sharp switchbacks.

    Steep descents are where they are great, like near vertical ones where you have to keep pulsing the brakes as well, or just hold most of the braking in the back, but on the edge of lockup. THe modulation of the M4 is why I put it on the back. With some brakes, it's too easy to pull a bit and get a lockup, and down these descents, a lockup and skid means I'm going straight down as if I have no brakes at all. Keeping that tire turning at those speeds is imperative and easy with the M4 on the back.

  7. #7
    narCOTIC
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    I much prefer the mini levers to the net tech levers, so i just recently bought some M4's before the levers are replaced. I have always liked the bite point on Hopes, and really can't see any point in the adjust dials on the new levers, there is reach adjust on the Mini levers already anyway. Add the fact that you can swap out the alloy levers for the sweet Hope carbon ones (which i have), and the current M4, in my opinion, is the brake to beat!!

  8. #8
    wuss
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    What's the weight savings for the carbon levers?

  9. #9
    narCOTIC
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    I'm not too sure of the actual weight savings, but the difference can be felt when held in your hands. I do know the new tech levers are quite a bit heavier than the current mini levers, thats why they are leaving the mini levers on the X2 pro

  10. #10
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    Thanks all! Jerk_Chicken, that's exactly what I wanted to hear, looks like some M4s coming my way. I love the looks, easy bleed procedure and ability to be rebuilt; if they indeed work like you say on those downhills I have no doubt anymore. Our guide on the Trans Alp this summer also had M4s, so that's another confidence builder (he was the kind of guy that chose a spring Pike instead of air Pike, for reliability and maintenance reasons). Probably can't go wrong either way with Formulas or M4s, but the relative exclusiveness and beautiful CNCing, which goes well with my Deus cranks, seals the deal. I think I'm going to see if I can make a nice deal on the old M4s, lets have a look at Merlin Cycles (thanks for the tip).

  11. #11
    wuss
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    BTW, Merlin send the brakes with the front brake on the wrong side by default (unless your British). They will order in continental setup if you request.

  12. #12
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    Well, I like the Mini levers...the Tech ones look nice, but haven't had a chance to wrap my fingers around 'em yet.

    I've got '06 M4's (203 front, 180 rear) on my long travel trail / light AM bike to slow my 110kg butt back down. Even on long decents and doing some park stuff, I haven't faded my M4's (though I have heard the floating rotors pinging as they cooled). I personally like the modulation and power....I'm set for 1 finger, powerful and controllable braking all year (mud, snow and dry).

    Even this spring with a late snow storm that had wet snow and muck up to the bottom of the carrier (I'm in western Canada), I had not issues at all with stopping power or durability.
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dropadrop
    BTW, Merlin send the brakes with the front brake on the wrong side by default (unless your British). They will order in continental setup if you request.
    UK rides moto-style by default? Didn't know that, but why doesn't this surprise me Thanks for the warning (not that it would have been a disaster since the brake line will likely need to be shortened anyhow).

  14. #14
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    I've got two sets of Mono M4's, and love them, fantastic brakes as others have said.

    I'm sure the new ones are nice, but mine are staying on my bikes. (although that new lever is tempting...)
    If jackasses could fly this place would be an airport.

  15. #15
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    Thanks again for all the provided information, you really helped to nail my decision. I've now placed an order on the old M4s, I don't want to pay extra for a feature which I doubt I will benefit much from (i.e. bite point adjust, which I don't have now and am not missing). The new Tech lever looks very nice (so do the old ones b.t.w.), but these external adjustment knobs are also an extra point of possible failure. I do transport my bike and that of my gf in the back of the car on top of each other, which is not an ideal thing for small parts that stick out. So in the end money talks and I'm opting for the old ones now that they are still available. And thanks to you all I know that they are already very good indeed with loads of modulation and plenty strong (If it is enough for the stuff Jerk_Chicken posted on his Italy trip, it is enough for me).

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