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.
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.