Hope Tech M4 Brake Review
Arguably, one of the most bad-ass looking brakes to grace a mountain bike also delivers a big punch. In a world of space-age, light-weight materials (for trail bikes), where manufacturers scramble to produce the lightest, ultra-modulating and powerful brakes, Hope makes a statement by sticking with its precision CNC guns.
Crafted from solid hunks of “Al-lu-min-num” (as the Brits would say), the M4s are MONEY! Burly in appearance with its almost smoothed over CNC markings — raw in appearance and resembling more like an aircraft part. They are truly distinctive.
– CNC machined in Barnoldswick, England
– Externally adjustable Tech lever
– 9.74 caliper with all mount options
– 2014 T6 aluminium alloy
– Wide angel hose connector mount
– Top entry pad fitting
– Floating rotor
– Braided hose
– 183 + 203mm rotor sizes in 6 bolt
– Weight: from 448g
While not being the lightest stops on the market, Hope delivers in just about every category you can think of.
The levers are designed to be ambidextrous or “flip flop” and can be installed US or EURO style (front brake lever on the right). What’s great about this design is the ability to access the fluid reservoir lid on either side, this is handy when the brakes need bleeding. The lever is made up of the piston, lever and pivot assembly with 2 external adjustment dials. One for reach and the other for pad contact point adjustment. The lever linkage is well constructed, giving a smooth, consistent and reliable feel to the brake.
The M4 caliper has two 16mm pistons on either side of the caliper that provide an abundance of power to the brake. Installation is easy like many brakes, the M4 has markings at the top to line up with the rotors. Once secured, the brake pads self center through use. The hose is positioned in a good place where it can be adjusted to and ideal angle and tucks away neatly. Changing the pads is a snap. Remove a small safety clip, unscrew the allen screw and they slide up and out! It’s that easy.
A blingly option… the Hopes can be paired with stainless steel braided hoses (from the same factory as Goodridge). The hose has a Teflon central core, encased in a stainless steel braid. The braiding also has a plastic outer coating to protect your frame and fork. According to Hope’s literature, “The hose allows no expansion, even in the most extreme situations, transferring all braking power from the lever to the caliper. It’s also extremely tough as well as being more flexible than standard hoses.” I’ll have to say I can vouch for that. I’ve ridden many brakes and there is a solid feel to these that aren’t like the others. Most of that can be attributed to these hoses.
The most recognizable thing with this brakeset are the rotors. It is constructed of a stainless steel braking surface (rotor) riveted to an aluminium central carrier. Compared to some rotors, this design offers weight saving as well as allowing the rotors to expand or contract with changes in temperature. What’s surprising is that even with moisture, they are less prone to howling than standard 1-piece rotors.
GOOD: Excellent design and build quality. Lever comfort, feel and power. Easy installation and maintenance. Recommended for Trail and AM style riding but can handle light duty DH.
BAD: High buy in price. On prolonged brake usage they do develop a bit of fade. Parts are not readily available in shops as they are not your everyday purchase.
Reviewed by Qwan Pham