Hayes CX5 Expert cable disc brakes review£44.00

Solid budget disc option

BikeRadar score3/5Find prices on Bicycle Blue Book

Hayes' big barrel brake is one of the cheaper full feature cable disc options. It’s bulky though, and needs to be carefully set up to deliver consistent performance.

Related: Best road disc and caliper brakes

The high polish finish is good looking, but the super wide 59mm caliper can cause clearance issues with mudguards and rack mounts if you’re running a utility bike. The single sided moving pad mechanism also needs perfect alignment for prompt, quiet action.

The Expert doesn’t get the neat ‘CrossHair’ position adjuster screws of the Pro to help sideways positioning either. Finally, pad adjustment also needs an Allen key rather than just fingers to fettle so set up and regular fettling can be long winded.

You do get a barrel adjuster for easy cable tension changes though and the powerful spring gives a solid return and a quiet, rattle free lever. As long as the cam position is somewhere near the sweet spot when the pads connect, power is adequate enough with the default 160mm rotor that Hayes supplies too.

We’d definitely recommend using the money saved on the brake to get compressionless cable outer to offset the single sided rotor flex for a more positive feel under power, particularly on the rear. The solid performance is hard to fault for the price though, and it’s not as heavy as it looks either.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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