The latest Merida One-Twenty boosts the travel to 130mm and uses P-FLEX suspension system for simple…
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.
- Seriously high performance
- They look ace and come in the usual Hope Tech colours
- 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’.
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.
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.
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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