Hayes Disc Brakes - Worth Stopping For|
DirtWorld DH Race Team
Monday, September 11, 2000
Prior to the race season the downhill team began looking for brakes to equip the team bikes. There are several players for disc brakes but based on feedback from other teams, Hayes with 8" DH rotors were selected. After 6 months of racing, countless practice runs and bombing sessions at the local ski resort the verdict is in and here's what the team has to say.
Hayes is very good. Not perfect but we're not losing any sleep thinking about our brakes the night before a race. Familiarity breeds content and once familiar with the feel of Hayes hyrdrualic brakes you will be very content.
Initial set up was a bit trying at times. Setting up a hydraulic brake system is not for the mechanically challenged. While it's not rocket science there are nuances and considerations that greatly affect the ease of set-up. Luckily the DirtWorld team has a couple of certified wrench monkeys on board to take care of things.
Our lead wrench commented, "The initial set-up really is very straight-forward. Just make sure you read and follow the directions." Use of standard automotive DOT 3 or 4 brake fluid proved to be very convenient compared to other brands that use hard to find fluids.
Once set-up the brakes work very consistent with little or no maintenance. Recounting back, over the course of the season only one of seven systems on any of the team bikes had to be bled and set-up again. The one that needed resetting was due primarily to a hastey initial set-up. That's not a bad average.
The 2000 levers are interchangeable and can be used as front or rear levers by simply flipping the levers over. Additionally, you also have the choice of black or champagne for colors. The Purple Hayes version is designed for DH use with stronger brake levers made of zinc. Although the P-Hayes use stronger levers they still use last years bodies which eliminates the ability to switch between right and left.
So what about the stopping power you ask? It's all there. The Hayes system has no problem as all stopping a wheel from spinning. There is some rider adjustment needed coming from V-brakes. Hayes brakes are essentially ON or OFF. There's very little modulation though with experience one learns to feather the brakes as needed to trim speed. Coupled with quality DH tires the braking system have very little degradation regardless of how sloppy the conditions get.
Combined with their stainless steel discs and open-system brakes, Hayes uses sintered metal pads. The scoop on the pads is metallic pads, which operate at a much higher temperature, wear longer, and maintain performance better in sloppy conditions than pads from organic compounds. We don't disagree!
Hayes recently patented the rotor design. It relies on a combination of specific material selection and exact dimensional specifications to produce a disc that maintains shape integrity under intense heat.
Several of the team riders did have an issue with brake drag and the annoying squel that resulted. Different remedies were tried and suggested including filing down pad edges. Some mentioned that the squelling seemed to cease during runs which might indicate that as the rotor heats its placement within the housing improves. Sounds whacky but it's the best we could come up with.
Overall Hayes has put together a nice package for those opting for the power and performance of disc brakes. The price tag is not cheap but you are getting quality equipment. Outfitting a single wheel will run close to $300. Shop around and deals can be had. Be sure to inspect the Hayes web site and revue their technical information. It's definitely a must read for Hayes brake system owners.
The DirtWorld.com DH Squad said:
"What can I say about Hayes that hasn't been said? They work incredibly!" Mark L. (Expert DH 19-29)
"The brakes are reliable, trustworthy and in my opinion worth the money." Craig D. (Expert DH 19-29)
"I loved them. I would, however, like to see more adjustable lever feel options." Keith W. (Sport DH 30-39)
Who needs these...
Any DH speed freak serious about their bike who has the cash
Who should pass...
The infrequent DH'er with a thin wallet