Compact aluminum body and lever blade
All new design combines looks, functionand durability
All-weather pad compound
Reversible master cylinder mounts
Reservoir system compensates for fluid expansion
System weight 430 grams
Strengths: OK when working well, reasonable braking modulation
Weaknesses: master cylinder reservoir cap can come out,not quite a one finger braking system,
can be a PITA to centre caliper to pads,
long lever throw
I have a love hate relationship with these brakes. Stock off a Marin Nail trail I had a sticky rear piston. I ended up resolving it by blowing out the pistons from the caliper cleaning them up and putting them back in.
The bleed process takes a bit of getting used to but once you got it sussed its straight forward. 1. Remove air from caliper 1st. 2. Push new fluid through system. 3. Positive pressure bleed, to reduce the lever throw. This is a MUST without doing this the lever throw is just ridiculous!
Although I have personally had a master cylinder reservoir cap come out during a trail run, I have managed to pop one out when pushing the pistons back in. This is a design flaw and does make me nervous that a cap could come out one day whilst on a trail!
Use fully sintered pads. This improves braking performance significantly. At the cost of considerably noisier brakes - doesn't bother me that much.
I don't think I will be rebuilding these, will instead upgrade to a better brake when that time comes.
from Osijek, Croatia
Date Reviewed: March 31, 2012
Strengths: Level feel.
Weaknesses: Caliper lock, frequent adjustment and bleeding, low stopping power.
Pretty bad brakes, my avid bb5 mechanical is better all around.
probably the most powerfull brake i have used . when they are working right they rock ,but that in my case was seldom.they were great for a month then the rear wheel started draging got so bad the brakes would lock up at times. spent tons of money at shops trying to get it worked out .sqeuls constantly . finally figured out what the problem is and that the brakes tend to absorb moisture in humid climate and when the weather is hot the fluid exspands.it seems to be worse when the bike is stored for any lenght of time especialy if the bike is hung .who is these for someone who doesnt mind a lot of do it yourself maint. cause a shop gets too costly i could of bought 2 more replacements.who is it not for someone new to disc brakes these may totaly turn you off to them once they start acting up.
a Cross Country Rider
from PA< DC
Date Reviewed: April 4, 2010
Strengths: Absolutely bulletproof
The more time in the saddle the better off you are. Getting to know your equipment and how to maintain it takes time. Ideally these brakes need to be bled, with replaced rotors and OEM semi-metallic pads once a year. Lube all brake lever pivots often with Teflon oil. If you or the LBS tech know what your doing, these brakes have fantastic stopping power and are reliable 900.01% of the time. Better yet, don't bother bleeding yourself, pay a good tech who knows what their doing. Its worth it. Enough said. For the price, they are fantastic. Ride your bike often and maintain it well.
Bike Setup: 2006 Trek Fuel, Hayes HFX 9 XC Brakes, Deore XT all around, SRAM chain, MC 3.3 rear shock, Reba SL up front, Bontrager Race Lite Wheels with DT Swiss Hubs
a Cross Country Rider
from Sunnyvale, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: November 13, 2009
Strengths: They are just o.k.
Weaknesses: The calipers tend to jam, which feels like air in the brakes. It is a pain in the neck, taking off the tire, the pads, get both calipers aligned again, and reassemble, and not something you want to do on a trail, ESPECIALLY on a 30 degree downhill section.
Even freshly bled, the stopping power is under-impressive, compared to my Shimano XT V-brakes on my old hardtail.
Due to their unreliability on the trail, find a different set.
a Weekend Warrior
from New Hampshire
Date Reviewed: October 22, 2009
Strengths: They stop me when I need to stop and have plenty of modulation. Have used these for 4+ years, never bled, 6+ sets of pads. Low low cost.
Weaknesses: When pads get low, stopping power starts to go too. Screw in the piston / lever loosens if you don't put locktight on it.
These brakes were a year old OEM take offs when I got them for cheap from a friend. I've worn one set of rotors and am well on the way to wearing out another set of rotors. I've worn out 6+ sets of pads. The sintered Hayes pads make a huge difference in stopping power over the regular Hayes pads or Coolstop pads. For a cheap hydro brake, these have been champions for me. They are a little squirley with brand new pads (rubbing), but are fine once the pads break in a bit. These have followed 3 frame builds for me and still don't have any issues... pretty impressive. I wish my forks were this reliable!
Bike Setup: Jamis XAM II frame, Rockshox Revelation fork, Hayes 9 brakes...
from Denver, CO USA
Date Reviewed: October 1, 2009
Strengths: Solid stopping power, good modulation, great in all weather
Weaknesses: Levers (or something) sticks when pads get low
They have been a solid XC/trail brake for me. When the pads get low, they start to get quirky, but otherwise, they are reliable and easy to maintain if you know what you are doing (and you really shouldn't be on the trail unless you have a rudimentary knowledge of bike maintenance) No unusual problems with noise, fade or rapid wear. And I'm 180 lbs at race weight, riding/racing in the Rocky Mountains. There's LOTs of extended descents...
I ran them on my DH bike for a year with 12" rotors, but replaced them with HFX Mags, which are much better. However, on my trail bike they are solid.
There's better options out there now (for more money) but I still run them and don't regret it.
Bike Setup: current: Kona Dawg Primo, 140MM Fox, XT
Previously on: DEAN hardtail (race bike)
a Cross Country Rider
from Calgary, Canada.
Date Reviewed: August 30, 2009
Strengths: Good modulation. Adjustable stroke length. Held fluid well - until first bleed and resultant instant breakup of thread sealant on bleedscrews.
Weaknesses: Crap bleed-screws. Will lose bleeder caps too. Crappy bleed kit for many reasons. Will squeak unless there's some lube on the back of the pads. Hayes pads not as good as they should be imo. Highly variable yet inexplicable changes in brake power (not bad bleed). First rear brake lost power. New pads fixed it. Now front has gone like the rear was. Pads like new in both cases, so probably slight fluid leaks contaminating pads. Cleaning pads/discs w alcohol doesn't fix it.
When you bleed these, make sure you have some teflon tape handy. The bleeder screws are a bad fit, so they come covered them in thread locker/sealant to stop fluid leaking out of the threads. If/when you bleed them, the sealant will break up and then, no matter what you do, the brakes will not work until you've put some tape on the threads and rebled. Don't hope for the best because you'll waste fluid and will have to go out and get the tape and more fluid. Just get the tape - which is also good for other things like holding lever stroke adjusters in place. Bleeding is relatively easy, no thanks to the bleed-kit.
The bleed kit itself deserves a special mention. Thanks to the bleeder screw issue, I spent a lot of time with this kit and noticed a lot of annoyances. If you buy the brakes you'll need the kit at some point, so here's the deal. They actually suggest you go and get a spoke and bend it to hang the overflow bottle from the bars rather than include a 5cent hanger in the $20 kit!!! - Which otherwise consists of a tiny bottle, a tiny length of tube (which they also want you to cut yourself), one single bleed adapter (for your particular brakes) and some multi-model instructions some of which apply to your brakes but they're mixed in with instructions for other models. They also fail to mention the bleed screw sealant, or what to do if it leaks after following the instructions to the letter. The contents of this kit must cost less than $1. They leave out even a tiny piece of teflon tape (which costs 69cents a ROLL and is essential - see above), bottle hanger, spare bleed-fitting. The bleed fitting itself is a tiny bit of metal, again worth ~15c max. They should include at least one spare. Instructions should def mention the thread sealant issue. Using a bleed kit absolutely correctly shouldn't result in no brakes and a need to go and get something else (teflon tape) to fix. Bleeding the brakes does get easy fast with practice and some tape handy. I've bled mine about 8 times each now and don't need the instructs. Some of which do not lead to the best results anyway. For example, rotating your lever up above the bar IS a good idea. Instructs say it should be parallel with the ground.
Brakes themselves are good when they work right. They have much better modulation than the MX-2 mechanicals on my Mrs' bike, but not as much power even with a perfect bleed. They don't lack power when the pads/discs are clean/new, but you don't expect them to be less powerful than a mechanical set.
Value is ok. But they lose one flaming turd for the bleed screw, one for the bleed-kit, and if I could, a half more for the power falloff. In fact, I should probably rate 2 overall. If you make something that needs bleeding, you should make the bleeding process/kit bombproof, cheap, and correct; rather than expensive, incomplete and with questionable direction. 3 flaming turds as they're decent when they work - if you forget about the bleeding and the kit.
a Cross Country Rider
from christchurch, New Zealand
Date Reviewed: August 21, 2009
Weaknesses: never functioned well, poor braking, always rubbed
Don't wast your money. I threw mine away. My avid cable actuated were far superior I took plenty of time bedding in and adjusting and checking and rechecking and taking back to dealer to adjust. In the end I gave up. they are rubbish. If you buy them on a bike expect them not to work is my advice and you'll have to get others.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 13, 2009
Strengths: Modulation, quiet, strong.
Weaknesses: Have yet to find any.
I use my bike daily so they get a good workout and I have been very happy with my nines. They are perfect for my setup and have been quiet and reliable. I like them better than my Juicy 3s. Plus the great deal I got a Pricepoint makes these a no brainer.
Weaknesses: does not include mounting brackets and pads are not adjustable like other brands I have used. From the start the my rear brake leaked fluid from the fluid cap on the brake lever. Maybe I just had a bad freak bad experience but I will stick to Avids for now on.
Buy Avid juicy 7s or better. I gave these brakes 2 chilis only because the front brake worked fine.
Bike Setup: Rocky Mountain Vertex 70 1x9, XT components, SID fork, and Cane Creek wheelset
a Cross Country Rider
from Silver Spring, MD
Date Reviewed: May 15, 2009
Strengths: Well, they stopped the bike and slowed it down when I squeezed the brake lever...
Weaknesses: Just didn't seem to be that powerful and responsive as you would expect from a hydro in this price range. I've had Juicy Sevens that seemed much more responsive and reliable and have tried Elixirs which seemed more powerful and reliable. The Hayes came stock on the Anthem 1 I bought last week, and after my first ride today I'm planning on switching out to Elixirs.
If the Hayes 9 is your first experience in hydro disc brakes you'll probably like them. If you've had your hands on other hydro systems you'll probably think you are riding mechanicals. Suit yourself.
Strengths: Very grabby, great stopping power, low maitanance, common, Good feel and adjustment, look cool, durable (strong)
Weaknesses: Expensive for parts, loose power when heated... ,not enough different adjustments, hard to self maitain (not recomended)
Don't be put off by these, you need a change of if you are!! Best brakes iv every owned or used, highly recomened. Best use would be on a downhill, freeride or a dirtjump bike. Not for your milazo supermarket bike or your grannies cruiser.
a Weekend Warrior
from Tilburg, The Netherlands
Date Reviewed: April 10, 2009
Strengths: Easy to bleed
Weaknesses: Sticky pistons
Like almost all Hayes Nine owners, my pistons got stuck in the caliper, causing the pads to drag. I got so fed up with replacing pads, that last night I decided to take the caliper apart. One piston came out quite easily, using compressed air, but the other would not budge at all. It took me 15 minutes to get the sticky one out. Then I pried the seal out and tried to fit the piston back into the bore without a seal. To my surprise, it would not fit for it was too big. Closer examination showed that the rim of the bore, the 1 millimeter section above the seal groove, had become too narrow, probably by the heat transferred from the pads. By grinding carefully I widened the entry of the bore, reftitted the seal and piston, rebuilt the caliper and bled the system. The result is an awesome and silent brake, with absolutely symetrical pad movement. Suddenly I really appreciate this brake. Nevertheless, I think the Hayes Nine suffer from a serious design flaw, for which I give it a low rating. But for all frustrated Hayes Nine owners out there (like I was): do not discard your set, it is easier to fix than you think.