Mountain Bike Gear reviews by Alpine Bike Guides at The White Room Gear Review Page

We ride bikes every day, all summer long. Along the way, we use a wide variety of gear. Bikes and parts of course but also clothing, packs, nav gear, nutrition and all sorts of other stuff. We thought we'd start a page to review some of the kit we use. You can trust our reviews because you know we've really worked the kit hard. If it lasts the season with us, it'll probably last years of more normal use!

Hope Tech V2 Disc Brakes

Review date: July 2011
Used for: 6 weeks
Reviewer: Stevo

My favourite bit of bling for this year. A set of Hope Tech V2 brakes. They come with braided hoses as standard and I specced them with 203mm floating rotors (in shiny gold) front and rear.

On first fitting, they're great to set-up. Top-quality, wobble-free rotors combined with a decent amount of clearance between the pads meant that it was very easy to get them installed without any rub (a first for me in a long time!). The tool-free reach and bite-point adjusters also make getting the lever feel right very easy. This is often an issue for me as I have short fingers and can struggle to get the levers in just the right place. I did find that the 2 adjustments available were a bit inter-dependent, but it wasn't hard to find the right balance. The only niggle with set-up was that the Tech lever, with its chunky flip-flop fluid reservoir, was a little bulky to get close to the shifter pods. I've had to compromise my setup slightly to allow for this, but it's no big deal. There are "matchmaker" clamps available to solve this problem if you really can't get it sorted.

In use, I've been really impressed. I've used Hayes brakes for years and been very used to the somewhat abrupt lever feel - once you're used to it, everything else just feels mushy! However, the new Hopes are definitely much better. Gently squeeze the lever and you get instant braking power. Squeeze harder and you just get more and more power. So, all the braking power you want and lovely, controllable feel. Can't ask for more. So far, I've had no problems with heat of any description. No fade, no pump-up and I haven't even been close to boiling them. This confirms for me that it was the right decision not to bother with the vented rotors. I'm pretty heavy and I'm riding big Alpine descents so I can't see what harder use you could put them to - maybe racing the Megavalanche or something?

One of the biggest plus-points for me has been the pad life. It is nothing short of phenomenal. I'm using the stock Hope organic pads and I've just replaced them for the first time after over 5 weeks of Alpine riding. This is unheard of for me, double the life that I've had out of even sintered pads from any other manufacturer. I did finally annihilate both sets of pads the other day (taking them both to the metal and well beyond!) but this was undoubtedly the wettest day's guiding I've had in the last four years, and we still managed well over 2,000m of descending in pretty horrendous wet/gritty conditions. Everyone who rode that day had to replace their pads in the morning!

Back to the adjustability, I've never been a big fan of tool-free adjusters on brakes or any other bike gear. I usually find that you set things up the way you like them once, then the adjusters just become redundant weight and complexity, but in this case I do like them. They let you just tweak the lever to take account of minor changes due to heat, new pads, whatever so that the brake feels exactly how you like it all the time.

I haven't had to bleed them yet (came well-bled from the factory) so no idea if that's really faffy or not - will add a note when the time comes.

PLUSES: Great looks, easy set-up, awesome power & feel, phenomenal pad-life.
MINUSES: Slightly bulky lever