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  1. #1
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    real world durability - hydraulic vs mechanical discs

    For a long time it has seemed to be the common wisdom in long distance austere conditions touring that mechanical brakes and their simplicity would trump hydraulics from a durability/repairability standpoint. I know that i benefitted by substituting a motorcycle clutch cable for a brake cable in rural greece where there was no bike shop. In that case though would the hose have failed? Probably not. Performance of mechanicals has not exactly been stellar for me and currently i've gone to a hybrid for my main bike packing ride.

    I know i have found hydros to be reliable on mountain bikes so is there really any advantage to mechanicals?

  2. #2
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    Hydro brake pads last a lot longer, probably due to more even wear
    It is easier to find a motorcycle shop than a bicycle shop, and third world motorcycle mechanics can jury rig your hydro brakes if you need a bleed or repair
    Remote bike shops are most likely to have Shimano XT brake pads than mechanical disc pads
    Hydros are far better for salt water, whether from the ocean or road salt.
    Even a Shimano V parallelogram brake is more powerful than a mechanical disc brake.
    Hydro brakes don't need constant fiddling for pad wear and can go for 1000s of miles with only replacing pads and no other maintenance.

    So yes, there are no advantages to mechanical discs, other than you can get anodized colours on mechanical disc brakes (so better for bench racing/posing rather than actual use when no one else is watching)
    Last edited by ccm; 07-27-2020 at 12:13 PM.

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    Back in the “old days” hydraulics were not reliable. I had a few Avids with stuck pistons and I had a friend whose Hayes brakes sprayed all the fluid all over the trail. But I think modern hydraulics, at least the ones I have, have been very reliable. I guess the only pluses are they are cheaper and you could carry housing and a cable pretty easily. You could carry a hose, fittings, fluid and a bleed kit but that’s a lot of stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccm View Post
    Hydro brakes don't need constant fiddling for pad wear and can go for 1000s of miles with only replacing pads and no other maintenance.
    This has been my experience. I would prefer something that never requires fiddling, as opposed to something that is easy to fiddle with when it constantly requires it. I also find that my hydraulic brakes are so much more powerful than the mechanical brakes they replaced that even if one went entirely, I'd have plenty of stopping power, acknowledging a bit less control, with the remaining brake.

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  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies

    definitely not arguing on the power side of the equation.That is 1 reason i have gone toward a cable pull hydraulic.
    I have found that most of the mechanicals use the same pads as the more common hydros for example the 4-pot juintechs i currently use have xt pads.

    Interesting thought on a motor cycle shop being able to make something work on a hydraulic - i guess that's true.

    Most of the really remote " bike shops" i have been to would not have had any disc pads for a bicycle - that is why you always carry extras.

    I wonder too if transport enters into the equation- on top of a bus etc.

    Would be interesting to ask this on crazy guy or a similar forum.

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    I would set out for a ride across the state tomorrow with my hydro braked bikes tomorrow without even looking at them they are that good. To me and the brands that I use they are a set and forget. Just bring the pads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by threepin View Post
    For a long time it has seemed to be the common wisdom in long distance austere conditions touring that mechanical brakes and their simplicity would trump hydraulics from a durability/repairability standpoint. I know that i benefitted by substituting a motorcycle clutch cable for a brake cable in rural greece where there was no bike shop. In that case though would the hose have failed? Probably not. Performance of mechanicals has not exactly been stellar for me and currently i've gone to a hybrid for my main bike packing ride.

    I know i have found hydros to be reliable on mountain bikes so is there really any advantage to mechanicals?
    Yeah, that's the conventional wisdom, but I've used hope brakes for so long on all my bikes that I've become comfortable enough with how they can be neglected nearly forever without consequence that I don't worry about them anymore. Ended up using a set of tech 3 x2+e4 on my bikepacking rig for a se-asia tour this year. Ended up riding about 1500km across Java by the time the corona hit here, when I stopped touring and weathered the lockdown, and now the new-normal here and just doing day rides in the surrounding mountains. Anyway, I just brought an extra set of pads, a seal kit, and that's it I think. Hopes can be bled w/o any special tools, and there's little motorbike shops everywhere here that could help me with a bleed if I needed it, but you can pretty much just ride them til the wheels fall off and they don't complain. I use dot 5.1 in them at home, but they can also use dot 4 which I think is common enough that I don't bother to carry any.

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    FWIW I have ridden shimano hydraulic discs on very, very remote routes with no issue across Lapland, the Western USA and throughout the Middle East. I had no issues, but will also say the proper preperation is important. Things I pay attention to:

    - I always install enough hose that the bars can twist all the way around, (in a crash for example) without pulling on the hoses.
    -I always thouroughly consider the hose routing and re-route when there may be threat of a pinch or unwanted abrasion.
    -Brakes are checked, re-checked, then checked again before any remote route.
    -I always bring spare pads, pins and olives. pins and olives weigh mere grams, but can save the day in case of a hose pull out
    - During transport levers are shielded and padded and everything is zip tied in place in side the box or bike bag. Transport damage is a real threat and such a downer....can easily ruin a trip before it starts.

    Finally, when in a remote or far away place i am absolutely neurotic about how I park my bike, how I lay it donw, who touches it, etc...protect the one thing that allows your trip to continue and you will probably be fine.

  9. #9
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    I've ridden with both hydro and mechanical on single speeds for the last ~11 years and don't really have much to say about either- both work quite well.

    My old BB7's are now gathering dust (sold the Rig frame they were on).

    My Soma Wolverine (geared) gravel bike has a set of Hayes CX-Pro's that came with it. They have plenty of feathering capability and all out stopping power on very rare occasions when needed. I've bombed down rough gravel descents faster than most of my friends who have fancy sub-20 lb carbon framed gravel bikes (and skinny tires).

    My setup is 2.2 tubeless Thunder Burt MTB tires running at lower psi which tend to provide a bit more cushion/room for error and quicker recovery over some bumps/obstacles I guess.

    The hydro brakes currently on my SS's both work well too:

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  10. #10
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    After fighting with mechanical disc brakes for years because some yahoo said "HyDrOs ArE bAd FoR tOuRiNg!" I'm done.

    Once in a godawful slush fest gravel race in VT I had to pull over 3 times in 40 miles to tighten my BB7s to account for wear, and eventually just lost all braking power and had to finish without brakes. My wife was using some terrible Shimano non-series mechanical disc calipers that took some 3 separate hex keys to adjust. When hers wore out she couldn't figure out how to fix them so had to bail on the race entirely.

    Meanwhile on my mountain bike, the first time I even thought about my brakes was 1500 miles in when I figured it was probably about time to check, and sure enough, they were entirely gone and needed to be replaced. Zero fiddling for their entire service life. At that point one of the two was getting a little soft and so I had it bled, but honestly it could have gone another 1000 miles and been fine.

    As others have mentioned, yes, if I broke the hydro brakes I wouldn't have been able to fix them, but that's why you have 2 brakes.




    Lastly, I too went to the 4 pot Juin Tech brakes for both of our CX bikes. I'm absolutely in love with them. Mechanical cable simplicity and almost hydro performance. Seems like a good middle ground. And if the hydro portion really dies, you can always replace it with a basic BB7 or something.

  11. #11
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    I have nothing to add, but amazing timing on this comment considering I just bled my neglected Hope M4s a few days ago.

    You can seriously bleed Hopes simply by attaching a piece of hose to the bleeder port and pointing it upward. ...Or with a turkey baster or large eye dropper on the bleeder port, if you want to get sophisticated.
    Quote Originally Posted by GT87 View Post
    Yeah, that's the conventional wisdom, but I've used hope brakes for so long on all my bikes that I've become comfortable enough with how they can be neglected nearly forever without consequence that I don't worry about them anymore. ... Hopes can be bled w/o any special tools, and there's little motorbike shops everywhere here that could help me with a bleed if I needed it, but you can pretty much just ride them til the wheels fall off and they don't complain. I use dot 5.1 in them at home, but they can also use dot 4 which I think is common enough that I don't bother to carry any.

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    Once in TN, on a long downhill in the rain, the mica dust/sand on that trail (The Thunder Rock Express DH) ate my BB7 brake pads to the cores before I was 1/2 way down. I cranked my barrel adjusters as I descended, but eventually I was done for the day. That sold me on using hydros (for their superior self-adjusting).
    Quote Originally Posted by lentamentalisk View Post
    ...
    Once in a godawful slush fest gravel race in VT I had to pull over 3 times in 40 miles to tighten my BB7s to account for wear, and eventually just lost all braking power and had to finish without brakes. ...
    -F
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    I have nothing to add, but amazing timing on this comment considering I just bled my neglected Hope M4s a few days ago.

    You can seriously bleed Hopes simply by attaching a piece of hose to the bleeder port and pointing it upward. ...Or with a turkey baster or large eye dropper on the bleeder port, if you want to get sophisticated.


    Once in TN, on a long downhill in the rain, the mica dust/sand on that trail (The Thunder Rock Express DH) ate my BB7 brake pads to the cores before I was 1/2 way down. I cranked my barrel adjusters as I descended, but eventually I was done for the day. That sold me on using hydros (for their superior self-adjusting).


    -F
    You don't even need hose. You can bleed them with nothing more than a ziploc (or similar disposable) bag and a bottle of dot fluid, and basic tools. Add a napkin to the Ziploc to absorb the fluid if you want to get fancy:

    Poke a small hole through one layer of the Ziploc near the opening of the bag. A spoke, 2mm hex, or similar will work well for this. Put the box end of your wrench (8mm I think?) on the caliper bleed nipple. Put your napkin/paper towel in the Ziploc. Stretch the hole of the baggy over the bleed nipple until it is fully seated onto the nipple. With x2, e4, v4 calipers, you can now reinstall the rubber grommet portion of the nipple cover onto the nipple to retain the baggy. Now perform the automotive style gravity bleed as normal:
    top off dot fluid in MC > open caliper bleed nipple > squeeze brake lever > close bleed nipple > release brake lever > repeat. No special bleed tools, hoses, syringes, etc, necessary.



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  13. #13
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    great comments

    Alias,
    that's the type of touring i was talking about, but with transport a lot of times you don't get to protect much on your bike or control its loading, handling etc. _ I. E. a baggage car on an 2nd or 3rd world train or the tied to the pile on top of a bus for many hours. Too, a bike falling over can happen in weird ways, i have learned to be very very careful about how and where one is left. Thanks for the info on hopes in austere locations.

    I also am annoyed about having to adjust mechanicals, more so when its frequent or hard to do as is often the case. One advantage however is it keeps pad wear in the front of your mind, a good thing as losing pads in the wrong place could be an issue. I'm not sure i agree with an earlier poster who said they would be ok with 1 functioning brake if it worked really well- if it was the rear that worked there are a lot of places that would be even hard to walk a loaded bike down. My current set-up would allow me to quickly and easily swap front and rear if needed. The juintech are so small and light that i could see setting my wife's bike up with a set and then if we had a long trip just actually taking a spare.

    This past weekend on a 4 day bike pack i needed to snug up my cable somewhat, which caused me to pull the pads to examine/ replace and i discovered that i really was not getting the pad wear i was thinking i was. The adjustment, installation, cable adjustment, pad replacement, weight and power of the juintechs is all so good that probably had they been introduced earlier they would have a big market presence.


    I'm not really sure that mechs eat pads quicker, just that certain mechanicals make you really aware of its occurrence and require attention. IMHO i think pad wear remains a largely function of weather, material flung into the caliper area, pad composition, and the disc itself.

  14. #14
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    If I were traveling on trains, etc. definitely would stick with mechanical brakes as they are far less likely to get damaged by rough handlers.

    I've never installed organic pads and find hydro and mechanical pads wear at roughly the same rate. I've clicked off >4,100 miles on my (used) Soma Wolverine. The (Hayes CX) original pads were adjusted twice and the front and rear pads have been replaced one time each at different intervals. That was the same with the BB-7's on one of my single speed 29er's.
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    Quote Originally Posted by threepin View Post
    I know i have found hydros to be reliable on mountain bikes so is there really any advantage to mechanicals?
    You didn't change the hydraulic brakes of your motorcycle to a mechanical system, right?

    The same logic applies here.

    On bicycles, the most delicate part of the brakes are the rotors - and the rotors are identical on all systems, regardless of the actuation method.

    Mechanical disk brakes exist only because of ancient fears. They are inferior to hydraulics on every parameter.

    If you want to cross Mongolia, carry a spare hose, pin, olive and the two plastic parts that help you push the pin to the hose.

    You'll need to carry a spare rotor anyway, because, as I mentioned, that's the part which will most likely be damaged.

  16. #16
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    i don't have a motorcycle. i repaired mechanical discs at a motorcycle shop- which are more numerous than bike shops in many places.
    apparently those ancient fears had a base in reality, all i was asking in the OP was whether those are now groundless

  17. #17
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    I went back to bb7 mechanicals. With hydros if a brake shoe starts rubbing you can't adjust it, a frequent occurrence while bikepacking for me, especially if bushwacking is involved. I don't notice any difference in braking power, also find them to require less/easier servicing overall. I use the softer pads.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    I went back to bb7 mechanicals. With hydros if a brake shoe starts rubbing you can't adjust it, a frequent occurrence while bikepacking for me, especially if bushwacking is involved. I don't notice any difference in braking power, also find them to require less/easier servicing overall. I use the softer pads.
    Well that’s pretty much contrary to my experiences.

    Mechanicals are weak, they are more likely to rub and require fiddling, and the pads tend to wear faster because they only provide a modicum of stopping power if you run the softer organic pads.

    Even trials riders run hydraulics.

    A good set of hydraulics is all you need, just don’t get Guides and you’re golden.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by threepin View Post
    I know i have found hydros to be reliable on mountain bikes so is there really any advantage to mechanicals?
    I've been using hydros for many years now for day rides and on tour. No issues at all. Braking performance is so much better it's worth whatever slight risk that I end up with a problem that I could fix on a mechanical disc brake.

    I just sold my last bike with Avid BB7's [gravel bike] and I have no plans to ever get another set of mechanical disc brakes.
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  20. #20
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    There was a guy that at least one year, only ran one brake on the Iditarod. Whether you run cable or hyrdos isn't a big deal, past McGrath you should probably not have mineral oil hydros, but the bigger issue to me is brake failure due to unforeseen situations. Mechanicals have more moving parts and they are exposed parts, which makes them a little more susceptible to water splashing up and freezing on them, which can render them useless. Hydros can be "frozen" in the same way, but it's a little less likely. I've seen mechanical cables break (not due to cold, just crazy one offs where something fatigued it or yanked it) and moisture in the cable housing can also freeze them, although again, pretty rare. Of course, hydros could give out, I had shimanos fail in cold weather and subsequently about -20F or a few degrees colder is my limit with them and at that temp, they suck pretty bad, but you don't need a lot of brake either.

    The two brake thing though is because, if one brake fails, then I still have a brake and while not optimal, I do just fine with one. For touring and extended endurance events, you typically aren't setting any speed records on DHs, but going with one brake to save weight puts you into that more dangerous situation where if that one fails, you are going to be in a bad way.

    So I'm on DOT fluid brakes for the ultra-cold endurance stuff like Iditarod. I'd have no problem taking mechanicals. I prefer hydro, but mechanicals would work just fine and possibly better in a few ultra-cold situations, but IMO, it's more about having two brakes because neither hydro nor mechanical is totally free from issues and both are good enough that you can generally rule out frequent issues. The only other thing I have to add is if you are really into maint and making sure your bike is ready for such an event, such as making sure your hub, BB, headset bearings are new/fresh, you'd also want to replace lever and caliper seals on multi-year old brake sets before a big tour.
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  21. #21
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    I realize this is the bikepacking forum, and I have little overnight mtb experience, but just from my trail riding experience, I would go with mechs if I were in a remote location.

    Over the past 20 years I have about 3 or 4 times as many miles on mechs as on hydros.

    Nonetheless, I have on two occasions finished a ride with only one functional hydro brake and several others with one fairly compromised. None of these issues could be fixed on the trail.

    I have never, even once, had an issue with mechs I could not fix on the trail.

    My experience is that hydros are much less maintenance and usually just as reliable... until they are not.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by GT87 View Post
    You don't even need hose. You can bleed them with nothing more than a ziploc (or similar disposable) bag and a bottle of dot fluid, and basic tools. Add a napkin to the Ziploc to absorb the fluid if you want to get fancy:

    Poke a small hole through one layer of the Ziploc near the opening of the bag. A spoke, 2mm hex, or similar will work well for this. Put the box end of your wrench (8mm I think?) on the caliper bleed nipple. Put your napkin/paper towel in the Ziploc. Stretch the hole of the baggy over the bleed nipple until it is fully seated onto the nipple. With x2, e4, v4 calipers, you can now reinstall the rubber grommet portion of the nipple cover onto the nipple to retain the baggy. Now perform the automotive style gravity bleed as normal:
    top off dot fluid in MC > open caliper bleed nipple > squeeze brake lever > close bleed nipple > release brake lever > repeat. No special bleed tools, hoses, syringes, etc, necessary.



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    As a retired auto mechanic I'm fully familiar with everything you type here. I have Shimano hydros on one of my bikes and I've had to bleed them before and they can be a pita to get every last drop of air out of for some reason. Why wouldn't the same procedures you just described for a Hope hydraulic brake work on any hydraulic brake? I mean what is different about say a Shimano hydro that it won't bleed the same as a Hope? I'm only asking because you're describing it as if Hopes are easier to bleed than other brands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iowamtb View Post
    As a retired auto mechanic I'm fully familiar with everything you type here. I have Shimano hydros on one of my bikes and I've had to bleed them before and they can be a pita to get every last drop of air out of for some reason. Why wouldn't the same procedures you just described for a Hope hydraulic brake work on any hydraulic brake? I mean what is different about say a Shimano hydro that it won't bleed the same as a Hope? I'm only asking because you're describing it as if Hopes are easier to bleed than other brands.
    Because modern shimano brakes don't have open master cylinder reservoirs so will require a syringe and hose to bleed. Not that big of a deal, but in the context of doing a bleed while touring or out in the sticks it's relevant.



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    Quote Originally Posted by iowamtb View Post
    As a retired auto mechanic I'm fully familiar with everything you type here. I have Shimano hydros on one of my bikes and I've had to bleed them before and they can be a pita to get every last drop of air out of for some reason. Why wouldn't the same procedures you just described for a Hope hydraulic brake work on any hydraulic brake? I mean what is different about say a Shimano hydro that it won't bleed the same as a Hope? I'm only asking because you're describing it as if Hopes are easier to bleed than other brands.
    While the hope method with hope brakes doesn't need many extra "tools", it's success rate is not great IME, the more pistons the hope brakes have, the worse. You are literally fighting gravity to make it work, vs. when bleeding shimanos, you are working with gravity, first to push new fluid in from the caliper, and lastly to suck the few air bubbles out near the lever. Trying to push the fluid down, like Hope tries to, is problamatic. The bleed nipple is on the opposite side of the caliper and at the top, hoping that it's going to catch bubbles and push them all the way down to the cross-tunnel and then up the other side of the caliper, but bubbles get caught around the piston edges and the hope method is just piss-poor comparatively. You see that with their "squeeze the pads together and then pry them apart" method to try and get rid of any bubbles. Before you go off, yes, I've tried it many times. Getting a good bleed out of it is challenging, not impossible, but challenging. Shimano, especially the "quick bleed" part, is pretty darn easy. Bubbles actually work up with gravity and out.

    I guess in the sticks you can probably get some brake action from the hopes doing their bleed with just an adjustable wrench and the small torx drivers to remove the reservoirs (hope you carry those with you), plus you can use DOT 3 oil in a pinch and it will be fine, DOT 3, 4 and 5.1 are all compatible, but that sure wouldn't be my main concern, unless you got several-year-old shimano brakes that are from their problem-years. Brakes should go several sets of pads before you need a bleed.
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    sorry, double post

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    While the hope method with hope brakes doesn't need many extra "tools", it's success rate is not great IME, the more pistons the hope brakes have, the worse. You are literally fighting gravity to make it work, vs. when bleeding shimanos, you are working with gravity, first to push new fluid in from the caliper, and lastly to suck the few air bubbles out near the lever. Trying to push the fluid down, like Hope tries to, is problamatic. The bleed nipple is on the opposite side of the caliper and at the top, hoping that it's going to catch bubbles and push them all the way down to the cross-tunnel and then up the other side of the caliper, but bubbles get caught around the piston edges and the hope method is just piss-poor comparatively. You see that with their "squeeze the pads together and then pry them apart" method to try and get rid of any bubbles. Before you go off, yes, I've tried it many times. Getting a good bleed out of it is challenging, not impossible, but challenging. Shimano, especially the "quick bleed" part, is pretty darn easy. Bubbles actually work up with gravity and out.

    I guess in the sticks you can probably get some brake action from the hopes doing their bleed with just an adjustable wrench and the small torx drivers to remove the reservoirs (hope you carry those with you), plus you can use DOT 3 oil in a pinch and it will be fine, DOT 3, 4 and 5.1 are all compatible, but that sure wouldn't be my main concern, unless you got several-year-old shimano brakes that are from their problem-years. Brakes should go several sets of pads before you need a bleed.
    I've been using hopes for almost 20 years, since the first minis. I've currently got at least 5 pairs in service... including mono mini, x2, e4, and v4 calipers... with mini, race evo, tech evo, and tech 3 levers. They rarely need bled, and when they do, I get a perfect bleed every time using the method that I described. It's super easy. I'm not sure what you've been doing wrong, but you're making it sound way harder and less consistent/predictable than it actually is.

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    I have a set of race evo levers and e4 calipers. So easy to bleed and never need to be worked on unless new pads or refresh new fluid every 2 or 3 years. Fantastic brakes with good power.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GT87 View Post
    I've been using hopes for almost 20 years, since the first minis. I've currently got at least 5 pairs in service... including mono mini, x2, e4, and v4 calipers... with mini, race evo, tech evo, and tech 3 levers. They rarely need bled, and when they do, I get a perfect bleed every time using the method that I described. It's super easy. I'm not sure what you've been doing wrong, but you're making it sound way harder and less consistent/predictable than it actually is.
    DH4s, Mono M4s, X2s, E4s, V4s, I have my share of Hope brakes too, going back to 1999. Perfect bleed? If that method is perfect, why do they need to do the crazy squeeze the pistons, then pry them back apart and hopefully don't damage the pads (go look up Hope's factory procedures). It's hokey as hell. My guess is because the brakes with more pistons tend to trap bubbles easier at the caliper, which happens since you are fighting gravity to bleed them. And hope brakes are significantly down on power/stopping compared to other brands, don't believe me, check out any of the brake shoot-outs where braking torque and stopping distance are measured. I use them for other reasons obviously, but they are far from perfect. Very high quality.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    DH4s, Mono M4s, X2s, E4s, V4s, I have my share of Hope brakes too, going back to 1999. Perfect bleed? If that method is perfect, why do they need to do the crazy squeeze the pistons, then pry them back apart and hopefully don't damage the pads (go look up Hope's factory procedures). It's hokey as hell. My guess is because the brakes with more pistons tend to trap bubbles easier at the caliper, which happens since you are fighting gravity to bleed them. And hope brakes are significantly down on power/stopping compared to other brands, don't believe me, check out any of the brake shoot-outs where braking torque and stopping distance are measured. I use them for other reasons obviously, but they are far from perfect. Very high quality.
    I didn't say they were a perfect brake. I did say that it's easy to bleed them and eliminate any potentially problematic bubbles. Didn't say they were the most powerful either... although v4s are hardly lacking, and the lever feel and modulation is excellent, imo. But the brake power arms race is a fools errand at this point anyway. Saying they're significantly down in power is an exaggeration, but if you were struggling to bleed them then that might have something to do with it. They're also extremely reliable, serviceable, have great spare parts availability in the long run, and the lever reach and bite-point adjustments are exceptionally effective. They can also be bled very easily with zero specialty tools, which was why I even bothered to comment in this thread because I'd rather not pack a syringe, hose and mineral oil on a long trip, but I wouldn't expect to need to bleed a hope anyway.

    I didn't need to watch the video to figure out the process of pumping the pistons out and then prying the pads out with a screwdriver... it's kind of intuitive and the obvious way to flush and refill the backside of the caliper with fresh fluid. Hopefully you're opening the caliper bleed nipple when you press the pads back out. It takes like 10 seconds... not sure why you're trying to make it out to be some sort of wonky ordeal. And, while it's not necessary, it's not a bad idea to keep an old set of pads around to use when bleeding to eliminate any risk of contamination anyway, so damaging the pads by prying on them is a non-issue in that case. It's not hokey, it's just thorough.

    The 4-piston calipers are a little more finicky to align with the rotor than the 2-piston, but not sure I agree that they cause a problem with bubbles getting stuck. I am in the habit of tapping on the caliper with the plastic handle of my screwdriver when I do the wonky caliper flush step that you dislike. But, wouldn't that apply to any 4-piston caliper anyway? Or is that exclusively a hope problem?

    And, fighting gravity is not an issue. You're not relying on gravity, you're pumping fresh fluid down with the lever. A brake hose has such a small ID that capillary action is preventing any bubble from floating up anyway. There's no reason you can't rotate the bike in the repair stand if it makes you feel better, but it isn't necessary.

    Seriously man, you're intelligent and experienced... seems really weird to me that you're practically grasping at straws to make this out to be difficult. It's quick, easy, consistent, and intuitive. But to each their own. There's plenty of other brakes out there if you don't like them.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by GT87 View Post
    I didn't say they were a perfect brake. I did say that it's easy to bleed them and eliminate any potentially problematic bubbles. Didn't say they were the most powerful either... although v4s are hardly lacking,
    V4s ARE lacking, significantly, they are almost exactly the same as E4s, they use the same lever too, although 2 of the pistons are a different diameter, the hydraulic advantage is nearly the same and as a result, they provide nearly the same amount of power. They are actually worse than E4s. They do have a few more fins on them, but it's hardly a difference.

    https://enduro-mtb.com/en/best-mtb-disc-brake-can-buy/

    I'm not sure if you really understand the factors in play.

    I didn't need to watch the video to figure out the process of pumping the pistons out and then prying the pads out with a screwdriver... it's kind of intuitive and the obvious way to flush and refill the backside of the caliper with fresh fluid. Hopefully you're opening the caliper bleed nipple when you press the pads back out. It takes like 10 seconds... not sure why you're trying to make it out to be some sort of wonky ordeal. And, while it's not necessary, it's not a bad idea to keep an old set of pads around to use when bleeding to eliminate any risk of contamination anyway, so damaging the pads by prying on them is a non-issue in that case. It's not hokey, it's just thorough.
    When I did this with Hope 4 piston brakes, it sucked air back in during the process (yes, shutting off the nipple after purging the fluid). Elevating the brake up seemed to help, but hell, it was a pain in the a$$. Prying the pads back open with a screwdriver causes the pad material to scrape and shed off. This idea is just dumb, a poor procedure to make up for a generally poor bleeding procedure.


    The 4-piston calipers are a little more finicky to align with the rotor than the 2-piston, but not sure I agree that they cause a problem with bubbles getting stuck. I am in the habit of tapping on the caliper with the plastic handle of my screwdriver when I do the wonky caliper flush step that you dislike. But, wouldn't that apply to any 4-piston caliper anyway? Or is that exclusively a hope problem?
    The overall problem becomes you are fighting gravity to do it, so trying to push bubbles the opposite way that they want to go, according to gravity. I do believe they specifically said the "prying apart" procedure is for bubbles around/behind the pistons. IME, this is a poor overall bleeding procedure, besides, having to "open" and "close" the bleed nipple every time you pump the lever? It's just a poor procedure all around. While on the one hand it's great to advertise as "few tools!", it's a major PITA to do, constantly refilling the reservoir with a couple ML.

    Besides a better bleeding procedure, they need to re-design the lever for more hydraulic mechanical advantage, rather than use one lever for every caliper combination.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    V4s ARE lacking, significantly, they are almost exactly the same as E4s, they use the same lever too, although 2 of the pistons are a different diameter, the hydraulic advantage is nearly the same and as a result, they provide nearly the same amount of power. They are actually worse than E4s. They do have a few more fins on them, but it's hardly a difference.

    https://enduro-mtb.com/en/best-mtb-disc-brake-can-buy/

    I'm not sure if you really understand the factors in play.


    When I did this with Hope 4 piston brakes, it sucked air back in during the process (yes, shutting off the nipple after purging the fluid). Elevating the brake up seemed to help, but hell, it was a pain in the a$$. Prying the pads back open with a screwdriver causes the pad material to scrape and shed off. This idea is just dumb, a poor procedure to make up for a generally poor bleeding procedure.




    The overall problem becomes you are fighting gravity to do it, so trying to push bubbles the opposite way that they want to go, according to gravity. I do believe they specifically said the "prying apart" procedure is for bubbles around/behind the pistons. IME, this is a poor overall bleeding procedure, besides, having to "open" and "close" the bleed nipple every time you pump the lever? It's just a poor procedure all around. While on the one hand it's great to advertise as "few tools!", it's a major PITA to do, constantly refilling the reservoir with a couple ML.

    Besides a better bleeding procedure, they need to re-design the lever for more hydraulic mechanical advantage, rather than use one lever for every caliper combination.
    "I'm not sure if you really understand the factors in play."

    ^^^this part's my favorite. I was beginning to think the same about you, but you just seem so darn confident. I would love it if you would explain these factors to me. That'd be really great.

    Not sure why you're vaguely explaining to me the difference between an e4 and a v4 caliper. I own both. V4 has 2x16mm and 2x18mm pistons, e4 has 4x16mm pistons. V4 has more material in the caliper, and a wider slot for the rotor, but it's the minor difference in total piston surface area that makes the v4 slightly more powerful. I've looked at that test you've linked before, and while it's interesting, if you look closely at the numbers it's clear that they weren't able to generate consistent results with their test. Just look at the zee vs deore results. The e4 vs v4 makes it obvious too if you've ever ridden both... they're not drastically different, but the v4 is definitely not weaker as they claim. And somehow the v4 generates more braking torque, but the e4 stops faster? Their numbers are all over the place. Some of it makes no sense.

    But again, i'm not claiming they're the most powerful brakes, and I don't need them to be. v4s are plenty for my big bike and the rest of them have a place on my lighter bikes. I could have used any of the hope calipers on my last long loaded tour on my 29+ hardtail and I chose 203 e4 front and 180 x2 rear with tech3 lever and wouldn't change it if I could do it over again. If you need more, then you do you. Since we're referencing media reviews that affirm our biases, this one's pretty good:

    https://www.vitalmtb.com/features/Vi...DH-Brakes,2152

    Doesn't shimano also use the same levers for their 2 and 4 piston calipers? Magura too, I believe. Why is hope the only company that's dropping the ball by not having different master cylinders for each caliper? I actually like that all my stuff is modular and interchangeable.

    And again, still really don't get why you struggle with the bleed. It's not difficult, but whatever.

    You've put a lot of effort into explaining why hopes are so terrible. Seriously, I'm not trying to convince you or anybody else, but it really sounds like you're grasping at straws trying to fabricate all these theoretical reasons why hopes suck that just don't play out in the real world in my experience. My experience with them is apparently very different from yours. I'm kinda done talking about it. People can make up their own mind.

    Back to the topic of this thread, since hopes suck, what would be your preference for an extended self-supported tour in places like southeast asia, south america, or africa? And why? Have you ever done an extended tour of more than a couple weeks? What brakes did you use and how'd that work out for you?
    Last edited by GT87; 4 Weeks Ago at 02:25 PM.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by GT87 View Post
    Doesn't shimano also use the same levers for their 2 and 4 piston calipers? Magura too, I believe. Why is hope the only company that's dropping the ball by not having different master cylinders for each caliper?
    Because their hydraulic mechanical advantage is so low to begin with.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Because their hydraulic mechanical advantage is so low to begin with.
    lol, brilliant contribution jayem. Well done.

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    Perfectly happy with my BB7's which I've spent much less time adjusting than my last set of V brakes (or I'd have never bothered upgrading)
    Way more powerful than my V-brakes too unlike one above posters experience.
    One reason I love my ageing Surly Ogre is I can choose which braking system to run, be it V, mechanical or hydraulic as I've mounts for them all.

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