Author: Guy Kesteven, What Mountain Bike & MBUK

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The Diatech Anchor Sport will give you years of reliable use

Diatech Anchor Sport
£74.99 4

The cheap and cheerful looks hide impressively heat-resistant performance. It's not the most powerful unit - max torque with a 180mm rotor is similar to most 160mm rotor brakes - but the feel is consistent and controllable.

Jonathan Gawler    Santa Cruz Superlight

Santa Cruz Superlight
£2550 4.5

The original Heckler Superlight celebrated its tenth birthday last year. But while it looks very similar and still weighs suitably little, the Superlight for the next decade is a whole new beast.

The aluminium version of the Louise is the best value choice

Magura Louise Carbon
£179.95 4

Magura's new Louise is a striking brake with love/hate responses from our testers. The deep U-section carbon lever blade and big body give a very solid feel with easy bite point adjustment via a dial.

The HFX 9 is an excellent brake for the money

Hayes HFX-9 HD
£106 4.5

Gravity lunatics swear by the basic Hayes brake and it's obvious why. The long lever and big 203mm rotor means stonking stopping power, although the blunt, abrupt feel means control is learnt not guaranteed.

Gary Fisher Race Day Pro Caliber

Gary Fisher Race Day Pro Caliber
£2500 4

The Race Day Pro Caliber from Gary Fisher is as uncompromisingly race orientated as its name suggests, with Fisher making huge efforts to reduce mass wherever possible.

The LX is a reasonable weight  but you will need bigger rotors

Shimano LX Disc Brake
£74.95 3.5

LX is Shimano's workhorse brake. The two-piece calliper means the lever feel is softer than Saint/XT and others, but it's consistent and controllable. The brake comes as a ready-to-ride front and rear lever and calliperset for £120.

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Avid Juicy Five
£89.99 4

The distinctive Power Reserve Geometry lever angle gives a massive power assist and control advantage. The 185mm rotor feels more like 200mm and begs you to leave stopping till the last second.

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Clarks Clim8
£104.99 3.5

This is the cheapest multi-pot brake. Sequential contact of the six cylinders means smooth delivery of power, and the big lever and braided hose let you really haul the brake on to compensate for average torque.

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Hope Moto V2
£209 4.5

Hope's new monster Moto copes with the most extreme demands. Power on the trail is huge and it recorded the largest torque on the dyno. Feel is rock solid too, with subtle, consistent control that's a real boost in sketchy conditions.

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Hope Mono Mini Works
£154 4.5

This is a tricked version of Hope's standard £120 Mini Mono that drops the low weight even further. Power is good rather than outstanding with the 160mm rotor, but the firm lever feel gives very accurate feedback and control.

On One 2006 80mm Stem

On-One 2006 80mm Stem
£25 5

You can spend a lot of money on a fancy CNC machined stem, or you can buy a really well designed, really cheap one like this. The thin four bolt clamp and super light (126g) weight of this tiller might cause doubts considering the price.

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