Hope Tech RX4+ Brake Caliper review

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The Hope Tech RX4+ caliper is a great solution to the road and gravel rider looking for more braking power, better lever feel and beautiful machined caliper aesthetics.

hope tech rx4+ caliper

Pros:

  • Seriously high performance
  • They look ace and come in the usual Hope Tech colours

Cons:

  • Bleeding process is not simple, you’ll need to be patient
  • They tweet like all my other Hope brakes

First things first; the Hope Tech RX4+ calipers are designed as an upgrade set of brake calipers to replace the many OE drop bar calipers from Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo. Hope don’t offer any sort of drop bar lever to go with them. They mate to your existing drop bar brake lever/shifter setup. 

Hope have covered all bases and carefully engineered the various models available with the optimum piston sizes and seal materials to ensure your lever reach and feel is optimal (read – vastly improved) as well as compatible with DOT and Mineral brake fluids. Make sure you check the compatibility chart and get the right versions. Hope has helped fool proof any future swapping by marking the mineral oil calipers with an ‘M’ and the DOT calipers with a ‘D’.

hope rx4+ brakes

The addition of a 4-piston braking option for those that ride long and/or steep descents and have found the limits of the somewhat flaccid twin piston offerings from the major brands is a welcome one. It’s as if nobody has considered that a long alpine descent is actually a huge load on road-oriented brakes. The sheer heat build-up and sustained duration of some of these downhills can put huge loads on the brakes. Add bikepacking luggage into the equation and you can see why wafer-thin discs burnt out and incinerated pads aren’t all that uncommon.

Fundamentally Hope has added significant power to the braking system with the use of four pistons. They’ve kept lever reach under control by running tight pad-disc clearances – there’s no massive pad retraction so keeping things aligned can be tricky but the result is pure braking performance.

The use of four pistons mean Hope can use its pretty much universal four-pot brake pad. Useful for those also running Hope mountain bike brakes. The bigger pad provides incredible bite and modulation whilst also heating up slower than a small pad – this all results in more sustainable braking performance as things heat up. 

The machined monoblock caliper is a thing of beauty and has stiffness that shames most of the big brands’ split caliper designs. There is almost zero lever squish after the pads bite and this provides a super confident brake feel at all times. Not something I was used to after suffering with inconsistent feel on my previous GRX calipers.

Installation

The installation is tricky. More specifically, the bleed procedure is very tricky. To get from a bone dry fresh caliper to one with no air in whatsoever takes some time, patience and some logical thinking to work the air bubbles out of the system.

Some people are logically thinking and good at this, others get frustrated and impatiently fail to achieve the magical lever feel required to get the best from these brakes. Remember to think calm, logical and methodical thoughts when bleeding. You’ll get there and the result is frankly a mega lever feel.

In fact, I often catch Rhys fondling my brake lever in sheer envy of the sharp bite point and consistent lever throw.

Overall

In terms of value, the calipers retail for £110 each which is in the region of £30-40 more than a SRAM or Shimano caliper and in my experience it is a night and day difference for performance and confidence. I’ve had a couple of scares on the road (think high speed, side road approaching, abscent-minded driver…) and I have no concerns about being able to stop in time. They’re consistent, there’s no fading, and they’re plenty powerful enough.

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Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Hope Tech RX4+ Brake Caliper review
  • tomhoward
    Full Member

    Can confirm good looks.

    Can also confirm excellent stopping power, tested yesterday morning when a driver failed to notice me approaching at close to 40mph before pulling out of a side road.

    joebristol
    Full Member

    I’m mixed on these at the moment. I picked up a rear RX4+ when my Shimano caliper started micro leaking. Got it to the point it could lock the wheel if needed / decent braking power but the lever always bit slightly later biting then the front Shimano one left. I think it’s harder to get a good bleed on the Hope rear than the front. But overall happy with it.

    Changed frame and picked up a front to get it all matching (plus front moved from post to flat mount with the change). Did the faffing about to get it all bled and working. For 4 rides they were utterly awesome – could stoppie the bike whilst sitting down – the front had so much power.

    Then suddenly I had a leak from where the hose goes into the caliper adapter (olive and Barb connection) for no apparently reason. Everything was still tight and when I took it apart it looked like it had all gone together correctly.

    Pads and dura ace rotors all contaminated – I’ve tried cleaning the rotor and sanding / blow torching the pads but although some power has come back there’s less bite and a bit of a howl. Going to clean the rotors and caliper again and put in new pads as I guess mine are written off (blue ones – but have the spare red ones that also came with the caliper).

    I then found the back lost a load of power – had a look and the backing of one pad at one end was wet. I’ve blow torched / sanded / cleaned at that end and seems to be working fine now so keeping an eye on it to see if there is a leak. Fingers crossed there isn’t – otherwise it’s coming off again and I’ll have to work out how to fit new piston seals etc as there is no sign of a leak from any connectors.

    Daffy
    Full Member

    I’ve got 4 sets of them (2 RX4 and 2 RX4+ – all Shimano)  and am very happy with all of them.  The set on my commuter have been utterly abused and are still working well after 30000km in all weathers.

    It is difficult to bleed them, especially with internal routing and short exit hoses near the calliper.  I’m almost tempted to fill the calliper first, then block it and do the reservoir and hose separately and connect them.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    In fact, I often catch Rhys fondling my brake lever in sheer envy of the sharp bite point and consistent lever throw.

    *giggles*

    MrPottatoHead
    Full Member

    Anyone using this with a SRAM setup who can comment on improvements?

    I have Apex on my CX bike. I’m the wrong side of 90kg and have been underwhelmed by the stopping power.

    It’s the ease of setup that’s put me off these so far-do I have the patience for a good bleed and alignment?

    zilog6128
    Full Member

    It’s the ease of setup that’s put me off these so far-do I have the patience for a good bleed and alignment?

    I have the original RX4s and didn’t find the setup difficult at all bar the fact that my frame was ancient & I had to bodge together a suitable mount for the front from my spares box! (reading the tech notes on the Hope site sounds like they have a much bigger variety of mounts/adapters now so hopefully wouldn’t be a problem these days!)

    Although my frame isn’t internally routed, but I didn’t find the bleeding process difficult at all 🤷‍♂️ (in fact had to do it twice as I made the hose way too long the first time 🤦‍♂️)

    trail_rat
    Free Member

    i have rx4+ on my cutthroat – been great brakes , faff to bleed but no more than doing a good job on the ultegras on my road bike tbh.

    tomhoward
    Full Member

    SRAM Force here, RX4+ calipers. Noticeably better both feel and power than the 105 levers and calipers they replaced.

    I’m informed that the rear was a PITA to bleed, but nothing my LBS couldn’t deal with 😊.

    llama
    Full Member

    Anyone using this with a SRAM setup who can comment on improvements?

    I have Apex on my CX bike

    I’ve got bikes with apex, rival, force, and force/rx4+

    Apex is terrible

    Rival/force work well enough, not much between them, bit more power with force maybe

    Force/rx4+ more power, more control

    The bleed is faffy but not much more so than anything else. Replacing the hoses. That is faffy. Try not to need to do that.

    albaninbred
    Full Member

    Tim them on both my gravelbikes, one with rx 800 and one on reds and other than the noise have been faultless.  Brake feel is definitely better on the grx, but the sram levers are older and covered lots more mileage

     

    IsaacClarke
    Free Member

    I’ve run 160mm RX4+ (SRAM APEX) @ ~80KG and have been more than happy.

    Recently swapped levers to SRAM RED, yes the bleed can be fairly involved, but I’d suggest that it’s nothing inherently troublesome, and that folks affinity for these kinds of tasks can vary wildly!

    stevious
    Full Member

    Agree that the bleed is more involved than shimano, but I actually found it more satisfying in a way. I find with Shimano it’s hard to tell if it’s bled properly until the process is done, but if you just stick with each step of the hope bleed until there’s no bubbles then it’s a done job.

    I’ve found the feel of the brakes is a wee bit better, but the main thing is that these calipers are much less likelt to randomly start leaking and if they do there’s likely to be spares to fix it.

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