Hope Tech 3 E4 brake review£155.00

An adjustable, reliable, machine sculpted brake from the UK

BikeRadar score4/5

Hope’s super adjustable, super reliable, machine sculpted, multi option brake hasn’t changed for a while. It has bucked the wider industry trend and has actually dropped slightly in price which sounds like a win to us.

Hope is rightly proud of the fact that all its brakes are machined from forged billet, anodised in six different anodised colours (red, orange, blue, purple, silver and black), extensively laser etched and then hand assembled in its Barnoldswick, North England factory.

The levers are Shimano I Spec shifter compatible with SRAM combo mounts also available

The same anodised colours are available on the alloy centres of the optional £40 floating rotors, while single-piece steel rotors are £26.99. All rotors are machined, heat treated and aligned in house in Barnoldswick too.

Weight is approx 30g heavier than SRAM’s similarly priced Guide RSC, but competitive with Guide RE, Magura MT5 and TRP Slate T4 — although those are all cheaper.

As well as the distinctive machining contours and angular rather than flowing forms of lever and brake caliper, the design of the Tech 3 lever is unapologetically industrial too. Small metal adjuster dials for totally independent and very obvious bite point and reach adjustment protrude directly from the base of the blade for easy on the fly adjustment of feel.

Alternatively there’s a slimmed down Race Evo E4 lever version with titanium and alloy bolts, and only tooled reach adjustment that saves 40g. Either way, the lever blade is drilled for predictable grip even if you’ve hand planted a muddy puddle or slimey rock.

The levers are Shimano I Spec shifter compatible with SRAM combo mounts also available, and they sync fine with most shifters and remotes.

Pads are top loading for simple changes and while open reservoir bleeding is messier than a syringe or funnel system, it’s reasonably easy. The four piston caliper does need more care to line up though and the sintered pads can sometimes squeal and squeak when dirty.

The hose sits inboard on the four cylinder caliper for protection against crash or uplift damage and braided metal houses are available as an extra tough upgrade.

In terms of performance, brake feel is firm and slightly clinical rather than warm and rich in modulation like most modern brakes, so while lab tests show power parity with SRAM’s Guide and Shimano SLX it doesn’t feel as powerful deeper in the stroke. That means you’ll probably want a 200mm rotor on there for a competitively powerful feel on the trail.

The pads last well in all weathers though and it’s a very consistent and super reliable performer. Hope’s factory direct support is legendarily helpful and price is excellent for the quality of construction and long term after sales service.

• Weight: 469g (with 180mm rotor and adaptor)

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK 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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