The Pro Series mountain bike disc brake is the ultimate
evolution of our hydraulic stoppers. Using the feedback
given to us by our World Cup riders, we honed the Pro
Series Disc brake to previously unimaginable levels of
perfection. These brakes can handle the worst braking
conditions imaginable, from rain, to mud, to snow, to the
hopelessly outrun carcasses of your competition.
a Weekend Warrior
from Arlington, MA
Date Reviewed: February 19, 2002
Quick update to my previous review:
The leakage I mentioned turned out to be a worn seal in the lever. It took about a week for my shop to get a new set of seals, not too bad. The seal package came with two sets.
Changing the seals was very easy except for getting the circlip that holds the piston assembly together removed. I didn't have a tool for that and used a pair of needle-nose pliers and some jeweler's screwdrivers; that took awhile. It took about a half hour to do the change (excluding the trips to the hardware store to pick up tubing for the bleed and needle nose pliers for the circlip) but now that I've done it once I could probably do it again in 10 to 15 minutes, no big deal. I'm getting pretty good at doing a full bleed, too.
It would be convenient if Hope provided step-by-step servicing instructions rather than just an exploded parts diagram (available on their website) but considering that only the occasional fork manufacturer has ever supplied me with even that much detail I probably shouldn't complain :-).
Regarding the bleed kit I mentioned before: You'll actually do better if you just get some vinyl tubing from your local hardware store since it's clear so you can see the bubbles. I spent 42 cents on the tubing versus $5 for the auto bleed kit and the tubing was easier to use. You can get a one-man bleed valve (about $11) to make it really easy, just pump the lever rather than open valve/pump/close valve/release (which is a little tedious).
Despite having to replace the seal, I still maintain my high rating due to low service requirements. One seal and a bleed in two years beats the tar out of my experience with cable brakes. You do want to get a circlip tool, though, it's rough to disassemble some of that stuff with needle nose pliers.
Lastly, after I posted my last review a Hope representative sent me a note indicating that for easy parts availability you can just call their 800 number or 909.769.1654 and order them yourself. Never had a vendor respond to me directly before, another plus.
a Weekend Warrior
from Arlington, MA
Date Reviewed: January 17, 2002
Strengths: Superb modulation, very consistent across a wide range of conditions, very reliable, easy to maintain
Weaknesses: Expensive, parts hard to come by in the US
This is a re-review after about two years of ownership. At this point I've run a maintenance cycle as well as putting the brakes through all conditions I typically ride, and a few serious workouts.
Basic comments: These brakes have superb modulation, better by far than Hayes or Avid. Ample power for all but extreme DH or trials work although it did take awhile for them to break in to take full advantage of it. I'd probably rate Hayes as having slightly more peak power but it's hard to tell because the character of the brakes is so different. The Avid mechanicals aren't even close (although I do prefer them to Vs).
Long-term issues: I've found that these brakes withstand the test of time very well. Rotors are still in superb shape after two years of riding through whatever mother nature threw at me. They've developed small amounts of rust near the hub, but not enough to be concerned about. I can't see or feel any warping. The front brake recently got to the point where it was almost bottoming with the adjuster all the way in. It just needed a fluid top-off. The rear still doesn't need it. I'm not sure why it needed more fluid, there was no apparent leak in the system, although the bleed valve bolt did need some teflon tape to prevent leakage during bleeding so perhaps the loss was in that area. Rear brake return got weak from dirt in the piston area (though never to the point of inducing rub). Removing the pads and cleaning the pistons up restored performance. I lost the front bleed valve cover at some point.
Bad conditions: I experienced no deterioration beyond a single rotation even when very wet or dirty, and it has to be really wet or dirty (think "hurricane" and "mudfest") to notice any deterioration at all. I never had any problems with icing. In poor conditions these are so much better than rim brakes (even ceramic sidewalls) that there is no fair comparison.
Heat issues: It's true that pump-up occurs with these brakes, but it turned out to be much less of a problem than I anticipated. Doing 3-5,000 foot descents down Brian Head I found the need to rotate the adjusters by about 1/4 turn to adjust for heat-up. I was never in danger of lock-up. The rotors get plenty hot and can burn to the touch. The stock brake pads develop a squeal when hot. I experience more variation in cold conditions than while doing DH; if it's below freezing the trip to the trails on top of my car results in noticable fluid contraction. In any case adjustment is no more than a 2 second affair and can easily be done while riding.
Maintenance pluses: DOT 5.1 fluid is cheap and easy to get. Since the bleed valve is compatible with automotive and motorcycling valves your typical "one man" auto bleed kit, available all over the place for a few bucks, works like a charm. Tools needed for typical maintenance are an 8mm spanner for the bleed valve, a mid-size adjustable wrench for the fluid reservoir, and needle nose pliers for the pad cotter pins. Pad changes are a matter of a couple of minutes: Just remove the cotter pins, slide out the old pads, slide in new ones, and replace the pins. Dreamy; even easier than cartridge Vs and so easy that rotating between different pad types as conditions change is no problem. Aside from the cotter pins wearing out from too much bending you could do it intra-ride on a regular basis if you wanted to. Rotor and pad cleaning is a snap with rubbing alcohol. The whole system is terrifically simple, elegantly designed, very easy to work on.
Maintenance minuses: DOT 5.1 fluid is mildly corrosive and it's likely you'll do some dripping or a little spraying, particularly when you remove the drain tube. It didn't seem to do anything to the paint on my fork, despite warnings that it could, but YMMV. I'd wear eye protection but I had no problems with the stuff on bare hands, I just washed them afterward. Fluid contact with brake pads destroys them so remove the pads and place them well out of the way. Clean everything with alcohol prior to replacing the pads.
In my previous review I knocked a chili off for the parts being a little hard to get. In this long-term review I give it back because you need parts so seldom and maintenance is so easy. I literally rode these things two years straight before I did anything to them beyond swabbing the rotors with alcohol after particularly muddy rides. Admittedly it was mostly weekend riding, plus a week of long descents in the Rockies, but I do lots of wet conditions riding that burns up V pads and rims and clogs cables. Going two years without needing any maintenance is an astounding accomplishment matched previously only by my Marzocchi Z.2 forks.
Summary: Superb function and reliability, remarkably infrequent and easy maintenance. Strongly recommended.
Similar Products Used: Hayes hydraulic, Avid mechanical
Bike Setup: Seven Sola (http://www.frostbytes.com/jimf/biking/seven)
from bristol. england
Date Reviewed: December 29, 2001
Strengths: PARTS AVAILABILITY IS THE BEST OF ANY KNOWN DISC BRAKE. PERIOD. THINK SHIMANO, THINK HOPE PART AVAILABILTY IN THE U.K. LOOK NEARLY AS BEAUTIFUL AS PAGE 3 MODELS.
Weaknesses: NONE. I PROMISE!
HAVE U HEARD OF BREMBO BREAKS. THE ARE IN FORMULA 1.IF HOPE ENTERED FORMULA 1, SCHMACHER WOULD DEMAND TO USE HOPES INSTEAD, THAT IS HOW GOOD THEY R. THE R SIMPLY BREATH TAKING. THE WAY THEY SLOW U DOWN FROM VELOCITY IS A LESSON IN LINEARITY. I REMEMBER DOING 35MPH / 48KMP ON DRY TARMAC. I MANAGED 2 LIFT THE REAR WHEEL FROM 30 MPH, AND KEEP IT IN THE AIR, YET SLOWING DOWN AT THE SAME TIME. THIS WAS IN THE FIRST 2 DAYS. THIS TELLS 2 THINGS 1) HOW POWERFUL THESE R 2) THAT THEY R RELLY CONTROLABLE. IF A ABSOLUTE NOVICE CAN BALANCE THE REAR WHEELS THEN WAT CAN A INTERMIDIATE RIDER DO. THIS WAS ON STANDARD PADS. AS FAR AS HEAT BUILD UP, WAT THE CRAP. IT IS HARDLY ANY. U ADJUST THEM BEFORE UR RIDE, AND FORGET.IF I COULD GIVE 10 CHILIS I WOOD.
Similar Products Used: NONE. DID NOT FEEL THE NEED 2. THE HYPE SURROUNDING THESE BABIES WAS ENOUGH. PEOPLE RAVE ON ABOUT THESE. HAYES HAVE A VERY BAD REP ON PARTS AND SET UP. THEY R A NITEMARE 2 SET UP.
Bike Setup: ORANGE EVO 2 2001 MODEL. HOPE 195 DISC AT FRONT. AND 165 AT REAR. MY FORKS REQUIRE 195 ROTOR. NOTE NOT 185.
a Cross Country Rider
from smoke'm if ya gott'm
Date Reviewed: December 28, 2001
Strengths: smooth lever feel.
Weaknesses: they don't stop you. they leak. they pretty much suck.
these brakes were on a dh bike a borrowed from my local shop to go urban ridding the other night. they are an xc brake, so i guess they shouldn't have been as good at haouling the 55lb dh bike down, as say, hayes dh brakes, but here's the thing, they didn't work at all. the way the system is designed, if any air gets in the hose, the brakes are done. this happened while attempting a 30 mph manual over a large down hill. it ended up sucking. bottom line hope brakes = "hope you stop"
Similar Products Used: Hayes, avid mech. lots o' v-brakes
Bike Setup: Sacarcen Team DH (UK) Stratos fork, xtr shifter/deraillur, other dh stuff
Date Reviewed: December 4, 2001
Strengths: power consistency ease of setup everything
superb power and performance. The guy below who couldn't brake in the wet must have a problem, what pads are you using? halfords own or something? I used these brakes at the dragon race at metabeif, that was so wet i was marshalled off the course and racing was postponed for a few hours. The brakes worked perfectly.
If mine can work in race conditions, down a world cup standard DH course in that weather (and the pads were a season old), and yours can't cope down the trails, i think your units may have some problems or you need to learn how to break properly.
a Cross Country Rider
from Dayton Oh
Date Reviewed: July 16, 2001
Strengths: Very powerful. butter smooth. all around beautiful
Weaknesses: not acessable locally for me
i ordered them online and had a little trouble with the company getting my order right, but when i called Hope they were scarily friendly and helpful. Outstanding customer care, which speaks well for the whole product. I've finally found a brand that i will hold onto for my mt. biking career. highly recomended.
Similar Products Used: hayes hydro, avid cable, o2, xc4, dh4, shimano xt deore cable, system 1 grimeca, lots of crappy cable systems on the bikes at work. Bikehut!
Bike Setup: bsx frame. psylo sl's, RF cranks and BB (isis). hope on d321. tioga, continental, fsa, xt/xtr and snafu (saddle and pedals)
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: March 11, 2001
Strengths: incredible stopping power,easy to adjust,no weather efects on the brakes, one finger touch
Weaknesses: could not finde
after one jear of xt-v brakes I changed to hope pro disc. in front 185mm and in the back 165mm. whole new world opened,now i have brakes when i need them they are always there . these brakes are worth every cent i paid,
Similar Products Used: these are myn first disc brakes
Bike Setup: vrx-400,pace rc37,xt ,xtr drive train,hope pro disc,chris king headset and disco tech hubs,race face parts,only the good thins in life.
from Surrey, UK
Date Reviewed: March 9, 2001
Strengths: Absolutley the best stopping power in the dry, watch them in the wet. they look supreme. The best disc brake in the world in terms of performance
Weaknesses: Mine have leaked twice, they are so easy to refill it wasnt a problem, stock pads arent the best, Watch out you dont round the bolts off on the hub.Braided hose can cause paint work damage if you dont know what you are doing. Hope are English!!!!
Similar Products Used: Avid v's were quite good, Shimano deore, Hayes hydraulic are so wooden and rubbish
Bike Setup: Top spec jumping hardtail ( as you may guess by the top notch brakes)
from Gosport England
Date Reviewed: January 29, 2001
Strengths: They work very well in the dry for trials and almost everything else, they r easy to maintain and install
Weaknesses: The pads dont last very long and stop working in the wet completly if used for more than 5 minutes when wet
These brakes are good stoppers, but forget them for trials in the wet, they just cant lock the wheel. They would still be good for XC and lite DH use in this condition, but personally I would purchase a DH4 or XC4 if I wanted to do XC or DH! If u only intend on riding in the dry then go for them they r excellent value for money. But if ur serious then get a specific competion standard braking system.
Bike Setup: DMR sidekick , tricked out and for sale :O)
from kuringen, Belgium
Date Reviewed: January 28, 2001
Strengths: great Looks, easy to mount, almost no problems !
Weaknesses: Heat build up on long technical downhills.
After using these brakes every day on every bike, I can only say this of these brakes : they are simply the best. The only problem I had with them was on Long Technical DH's were there was a lot of heat built up in the rear brake. I had to adjust the brake constantly. I now ordered a 185mm rear brake and special caliper. This may take care of the heat built up. But for the rest I had no problems at all.
Favorite Trail: erm, malvern hills, or anything that kicks ass
Duration Product Used: 3 months
Purchased At: Merlin Cycles
Similar Products Used: maguras, v's, feet, trees and arm
Bike Setup: gt lobo dh/trixxy'a, xtr, raceface, xlite etc
a Weekend Warrior
from Edmonton, AB, Canada
Date Reviewed: January 15, 2001
Strengths: Modulation, lever feel, power, asethetically gorgeous
Weaknesses: I personally have not experienced a weakness though the caliper is a bit wide for some wheel setup's.
This is a follow up review from the one I posted almost two years ago when I first got my Hope Pro's. After 2 years these brakes still amaze me. While the industry and even Hope is headed in a direction where all brakes will likely be open based I can not help but hope that these brakes or some version of them are still available. The design has been so perfected by Hope that I have NEVER experienced any of the negatives people sometimes associate with closed designs (brake fade to heat induced fluid expansion, etc..). This is likely due to the insulation of the caliper from the heat of the rotor, just an example of Hope's refinement of this brake. The ability to control the pad to rotor clearance and thus the feel of the brake is an entirely under-rated thing too, and only available on closed brake system. I love being able to tools free adjust my brakes within 2 seconds. Then there is the modulation. Allow me to state this as plainly as possible: THERE IS NO COMPETITION. Period. The modulation offered by these brakes are incredible. Add to it the power you need and you are given brake bliss; the ability to slow down super fast without endangering yourself by overpowering the brake (endo's are bad).
This brake is fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone getting disc's!
Similar Products Used: Hayes, Coda Experts, Magura Louise, Hope DH4
Bike Setup: Chuck CR-FS, Stratos FR-5, Hope C2 Pro's 185mm/165mm, RF, XTR, etc.. yadda yadda
from Southampton, England
Date Reviewed: December 12, 2000
Strengths: Best bloody disc brakes on the market Superb modulation Amazing control and power Nuf said
Weaknesses: None Oh get the braided cables, stronger + looks the dogs bolox
These brakes are amazing. I run a wavy disc on the front and the stopping power is definitely better than the standard disc. Hope-fully (geddit) the new pads won't wear out too quick. Only had to replace them once in the year. Easy to set up (unless you're a muppet or something) and they are unsurpassed in the braking world. Later...