At £40 per end, Tektro’s HD-M285 comes in as one of the cheapest brakes on the market, but is it a false economy or an absolute steal?
Well, for the money you can’t expect too many fancy features, and at the lever end, things are certainly pretty basic.
The lever hugs the bar with a non-split, non-hinged clamp that tightens around the bar with a 5mm Allen key.
The inner diameter of the lever’s clamp fitted fairly tight around the bar of my bike, so took a bit of wriggling to get over it and I had to remove the grips and shifter first.
The lever blade has a fairly neutral shape and caused me no issues with finger comfort, and while the tip isn’t as finger hugging as some, I didn’t find my fingers wanted to migrate over the end of the lever when pulling my hardest.
Lever blade reach is adjustable, via a 2mm Allen bolt on the inside of the lever blade’s pivot, but it’s not the easiest position to access, although it’s still nice to have.
The caliper holds a pair of pistons, which push on an organic set of brake pads – metallic pads are also available as are a number of third-party pad options.
Hose length is reasonable at 800mm for the front and 1,900mm for the rear, and the caliper is a two-piece aluminium unit with the hose exiting at a fixed point.
Bleeding the brakes was reasonably easy using a universal bleed kit and required a pushing process with a syringe into the caliper and a pot or syringe to collect excess fluid from the lever. Be aware that you’ll need a T15 Torx key to release the bleed port screw.
Tektro HD-M285 disc brakes performance
With two pistons pushing the pad, and a price point that’s not far off that of a pair of pads on some pricier brakes on the market, it’s not surprising that the Tektro HD-M285s aren’t the most powerful out there.
However, all this considered, I was reasonably impressed with their performance.
In normal use, with a single finger, there’s reasonable power and it’s delivered in a very linear manner – there are no fancy linkages in this lever body to help regulate power delivery.
They have a positive feel with a hint of bite when the pads contact the disc, which gives confidence, and so long as you’re not expecting their power to ramp up dramatically the more you pull the lever, you should be able to comfortably control your speed.
To get the absolute maximum stopping power out of the brakes you might need to squeeze both index and middle finger on the long-ish lever to get a little extra pressure running through the pads.
Given their lack of all-out power, I found myself dragging the brakes on longer, steeper descents. I was unable to rely on a real punch of power when trails got steep, so instead regulated speed in advance of the steepest or most technical sections.
Tektro HD-M285 disc brakes bottom line
Following a good bleed, the HD-M285 brakes had a positive feel at the lever. Power levels don’t compete with the bigger brakes I had on test, but these make for a decent pocket-friendly option.
The non-split bar clamp is a frustration, but not a surprise at this price.
|Weight||594g (calliper, hose and lever - for front and rear)|
Fluid: Mineral oil
Weight: 288g (front) 306g (rear)
Details: Single piece lever clamp; No shifter options
|Adjustment||Lever reach (tool driven)|
|Brake type||Hydraulic disc|