The Tech 3 V4 brake from Hope is its downhill spec four-piston stopper, designed to give as much power as possible.
The chunky CNC’d V4 caliper pushes long pads on to rotors between 180mm and 220mm, while the Tech 3 lever body is one of the most adjustable and premium feeling levers on the market.
Hope Tech 3 V4 disc brakes details
The Tech 3 lever attaches to the bar with a split clamp and uses 4mm Allen bolts to release the back panel for easy installation.
Shimano’s I Spec A shifters can bolt directly to the lever body, while there are adaptors available for Shimano’s other I Spec mounts and SRAM MatchMaker shifters – this means a clean cockpit is achievable with both companies’ shifters and a whole host of dropper posts too.
At 80mm from pivot to end, the levers are mid-length. The end of the lever has a little nub to stop your fingers from wandering off the end when you’re hauling on them, and it’s also textured with dimples for extra confidence. There’s a good range of lever reach adjustment as well as bite point adjustment.
The adjusters are tool-free and easy to access – there’s a bit of resistance to screwing in and out of the lever blade, and if I were being picky I’d like the edges of the knurled pattern to be a little softer because, without gloves, they dig in a little when adjusting.
The lever has a spring to help return it to its neutral position, and it feels stiffer than those found on the other brakes I had on test.
The CNC’d construction has a particularly industrial look, which many like. It feels stout and I detected no undue lever flex. Build quality is excellent, too, with a well-finished feel and high-quality hardware. Hope offers the brakes in six different colours.
At the caliper end, the CNC machining continues with a single-piece caliper. The hose exits via an adjustable banjo that rotates horizontally rather than vertically, as we see on other brakes.
Hoses measure 925mm for the front and 1,700mm at the rear – this rear hose length might be a bit tight for the latest generation of super-long bikes, especially in a DH context.
The pads are retained via a pin secured by a small paper-clip-like spring that’s a touch fiddly to remove.
Due to the large nature of Hope’s most powerful caliper, it isn’t compatible with some PM (post-mount) 180mm-rotor fork mounts or PM160 to PM180 adaptors (more relevant at the rear). Some adaptors will squeeze around the piston, but Hope recommends upping the rotor size to 200mm where possible.
The official bleed procedure, using Hope’s bleed kit (£26.50), is fairly easy to complete and not too fiddly, and Hope’s video tutorial is comprehensive.
It uses a bleed port at the lever and is gravity fed. The bleed nipple at the caliper end comes with a rubber dust guard, though mine fell off pretty quickly (as they do on other brakes with one).
Hope uses DOT5.1 fluid, which has a theoretical high boiling point, but is corrosive – so be sure to follow appropriate precautions when bleeding any brake.
Despite being aimed at the DH crowd (Hope’s E4 caliper is more trail/enduro-focused), the 267g/283g weight for my set is very competitive.
Hope Tech 3 V4 disc brakes performance
With the large lever and caliper, I was expecting a lot of power and on the majority of trails there’s ample available using the stock pads.
The initial feed-in of power is smooth rather than full of bite, so scrubbing speed is easy to do. There’s a fairly linear progression in the brake’s power as you squeeze the lever but this feels like it tails off as you approach the top end of what’s available.
As such, it’s comparatively hard to achieve full eye-popping stopping power, unless you really haul on the levers. While some brakes have this early stroke modulation before a late stroke firm grab of the rotor, I didn’t feel this with the Hopes.
While the levers are some of the most adjustable out there, smaller handed testers found they needed to pull the levers all the way to the bar to achieve full power.
All our testers found getting the balance between lever reach and bite point tricky, especially when trying to match left- and right-hand brake feel.
The sprung lever means they’re a touch stiffer to pull than other brakes and have a heavier feel. On long descents, this meant I was a touch more prone to arm pump because the lever is actively pushing against the finger under braking.
Hope Tech 3 V4 disc brakes bottom line
Hope’s brakes have a lot of fans and I can see their appeal – the craftsmanship is excellent, as is product backup.
As with all brakes, some people will like the modulation rather than sharp braking feel, and it’s easy to control the power on offer via the very adjustable lever.
That said, I struggled to get a consistent feel between the brakes and the bite point/lever reach, and felt that compared to some of the other high-powered brakes out there, the Tech 3 V4 didn’t quite live up to expectations in the power stakes.
How we tested
We rounded up 12 powerful hydraulic brakes to find out which are the ultimate speed-scrubbers.
To get to know what it’s like to live with these brakes, we asked the brands to send us their official bleed kit, then trimmed the hoses to our ideal length.
As such, we’ve cut and bled every set we tested to see just how easy they are to maintain. Then we saddled up to see how they performed on the trails.
Overall braking power is important, but so too is the ease with which you’re able to access that power – if you have to squeeze the lever really hard, that’s likely to lead to arm pump. Brake ‘feel’ is another key aspect – it’s subjective, but some people like a really grabby feel, while others prefer the power to progressively build as you squeeze the lever. We also needed to work out just how powerful the brakes are, and how resistant to heat build-up.
So, with the help of both leg power and some electrical assistance, we took them to the top of some of the South West’s steepest slopes and pointed our bikes downhill to see how these 12 stoppers coped.
Note: Weights and prices are for a single brake (caliper, hose and lever, but no rotor or adaptor, unless otherwise stated).
Also on test
- Clarks M2 Disc Brake
- Formula Cura disc brakes
- Magura MT Trail SL disc brakes
- Magura MT5 disc brakes
- Shimano BL-MT501/MT520 disc brakes
- Shimano SLX M7120 disc brakes
- Shimano XTR Trail disc brakes
- SRAM Code RSC disc brakes
- SRAM G2 Ultimate disc brakes
- Tektro HD-M285 disc brakes
- TRP Slate T4 Evo disc brakes
|Price||EUR €250.00GBP £200.00USD $250.00|
|Weight||550g – calliper, hose and lever - for front and rear|
Fluid: DOT 5.1
Weight: 267g (f) 283g (r)
Details: Split lever clamp; Shimano I Spec A/EV/2, SRAM MatchMaker
|Adjustment||Reach (tool free), bite point (TF)|
|Brake type||Hydraulic disc|