We've used hundreds of sets of Hayes Nine brakes in our years of bike testing and these faithful speed eaters are still some of the best basic brakes around.
With a long lever and big pad area, the Nine has a fearsomely powerful bite (even with 160mm 'V6' rotors), while the larger 182mm 'V7' and 203mm 'V8' options make them proper eyeball-popping DH super sharp stoppers.
Application is immediate and brutal though, so they need a calm finger to keep stopping controlled, especially in low traction situations. They're super consistent at the highest Alpine temperatures too, and while we eventually warped the rotor on the dyno, the brake itself was absolutely fine.
Pad life is excellent too, and they bite well in all conditions - so it's no surprise that these brakes are the choice of heavy duty users such as Alpine and Canadian guides, then.
Fitting is equally simple, thanks to slotted post mounts (another Hayes original idea), and twopiece bar clamps and spare fluid is included. Despite visual bulk they're pretty light. Pricing has gradually crept down over the years too, making them also great value.