Hope RX4 Road/CX disc brakes - review

Well they had to be red didn't they - just so they match!

A quick update as it's been a long while since I posted anything about the CX bike - it's been almost as long since I rode it as well!

First up, I finally got around to putting some larger volume tyres on (WTB Resolute, 43mm) which have been great and, after a fairly disastrous ride along the Oxdrive way turned into a long run in the rain (carrying the bike) thanks to more punctures (from recently topped hawthorn hedges) that I had spare tubes, I spent an evening converting the Hope 20Five wheels to tubeless - this was a bit of a pain but a combination of Gorilla tape (to seal the off-set spoke holes), WTB rim tape and Muc-Off tubeless valves saw me right, and what an amazing difference it makes!

A note on the valves - the Muc-Off valves have a rubber o-ring that sits between the wheel rim and lock ring on the valve stem which helps to seal the valve hole properly - they also have an ingenious valve cap that doubles as a tool to remove the core from the valve for re-filling with tubeless sealant - genius!

So, why the brakes after stating in my last "upgrade post" that I didn't think I'd be considering this.....  Well, there are three main reasons; 
  • Power, 
  • bite, & 
  • modulation 
Or more importantly the lack of with the stock SRAM brakes that were on the Boardman and a ride on the South Downs way from Old Winchester hill in atrocious weather had me looking around for options that would be more confidence inspiring.  Now I have no issues with SRAM brakes, the Guide RSC's on my Orange Crush are probably the best MTB brakes that I've ridden - and I've ridden a fair few pairs over the years - but the SRAM road/CX options leave a fair bit to be desired.

The only real option that comes up for aftermarket calipers, without the need to replace the shifters as well, is the Hope RX4 - a 4 piston caliper machined from a single piece of metal and made in Barnoldswick, England.  Full specs on Hope's site here

I'd looked at the Hope brakes when I was in the process of changing the drivetrain from 2x10 to 1x11 but was convinced not to by my very "knowledgable" bike shop who had concerns about the level of clearance they offered on the rotor - I can confirm after fitting them that this was proven to be utter rubbish!

The brakes are supplied with everything you need to fit them and there are Shimano and SRAM specific options so pay attention to this when buying!

Fitting was pretty simple and the bleed process is explained clearly via a video on Hope's website (also available on YouTube) - for SRAM brakes you will need the SRAM bleed kit but hopefully you'll have this already for routine maintenance.

After bleeding and setting the pads/rotors up I took the bike for a quick road test and the power felt noticeably better and there was definitely more modulation than I felt with the SRAM brakes - I'll report back after a decent off-road ride but for now I'm glad I made the change, now to put my Hope rotors back on to complete the trio!


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