The Hope range has a choice of levers and calipers that can be mixed and matched and I opted for the powerful and adjustable Tech 3 lever with the four-pot E4 caliper.
Hope Tech 3 E4 details
The Tech 3 lever is slightly heavier than the more pared back Race option (around 40g), but what it loses in weight and titanium hardware it gains in on-the-fly adjustment, with tool-free reach and bite-point adjustment available via large glove-friendly dials.
Shimano i-Spec A shifters are also directly compatible with the Tech 3 – other standards are available as optional extra adaptors. It is a thoroughly solid and industrial bit of kit that’s built to last a lifetime.
The E4 has a one-piece caliper that’s CNC-machined from forged 2014 T6 aluminium alloy, with four phenolic pistons pushing out some serious stopping power.
The pads are top loading for ease and the whole DOT fluid system is bled with the old-school open reservoir method – simple and easy to get right every time once you have the hang of it.
Hope Tech 3 E4 performance
Paired with the Tech 3 lever I found them nothing short of excellent, with oodles of power to call upon from superbly engineered and adjustable components.
The lever feel was firm with maybe slightly less feedback than the best of the rest also on test, but a consistent and smooth action more than made up for this.
The one thing they don’t do is grab as instantly as others, such as the Magura MT7, but I generally viewed this as a positive feature, letting me feed the braking power in with less unintentional wheel lockups in technical riding situations where a quick grab for some braking punch was a more controlled affair.
However, full power did require a bit more of a squeeze, so long and steep descents could prove harder on the forearms.
With a very impressive system weight of 256g, comparing well with the competition (304g for Shimano XT four-pots for example), the price felt very reasonable, and I found the Tech 3/E4 combination very hard to see beyond.
Hope Tech 3 E4 bottom line
Overall, everything from the rock solid, dimpled lever blade to the large, glove-friendly bite point and reach adjusting dials is well thought out and easy to tweak. Plus, fitting and bleeding was a breeze thanks to the comprehensive help and support on the Hope site.
Add to that the customising options such as shifter adaptors and variety of brake pad materials, and I had a winner on my hands.
Also, if some manufacturers are increasingly guilty of going down the ‘if it’s broke, throw it out’ path, then Hope is at the opposite end of the scale. Every single part, seal and bolt is replaceable, these have to be the most repairable and customisable brakes on the market, and I love that about them, and long may it continue.
So, all that remains is to choose between the black, purple, red, orange, blue and silver anodised finish, and buy a £45 to £50 floating rotor to match, if you really want to colour coordinate your steed.
How we tested
We bolted 10 sets of brakes to our test bikes, with a 200mm rotor up front and 180mm at the rear, and scraped our way down descents, checking for power, feel, fade, modulation and reliability.
Other brakes on test included:
- Hope Tech 3 X2
- Magura MT 7 Pro
- Shimano Deore BR-M6000
- Shimano Deore XT BR-M8020
- SRAM Code RSC
- Hayes Dominion A4
- Clarks Clout 1
- SRAM G2 Ultimate
- Formula Cura 4