AASQ: What’s the Greatest Bike Improve for the Least Quantity of Cash?


The tinkerers and weight weenies that scour the web for the most recent tech to shave off a couple of grams or preserve a few watts know that there isn’t a scarcity of upgrades that may deliver marginal features to their journey.

Hayes Dominion A4 brake system sitting on a box.
A brand new set of brakes is an reasonably priced improve possibility that may pay dividends; (Picture/Hayes Bicycle Parts)

Weight-saving upgrades come at a value, and that value will increase exponentially as cyclists refine their gear to make their bikes as quick, mild, and environment friendly as attainable. Saving simply a few grams can price a whole bunch and a whole bunch of {dollars} – have you ever checked out any Titanium, high-end carbon, or digital elements these days? They’re not precisely low-cost.

On this economic system, extra riders might discover themselves pinching pennies whereas nonetheless hoping to seek out an reasonably priced improve that can take their driving to the following stage.

In keeping with Hayes Bicycle Parts, greenback for greenback, that improve is brakes.

Why do you have to improve brakes?

Certain, a shiny-new digital drivetrain will make a motorbike extra environment friendly and carbon wheels will change the texture of the highway or path significantly, however new brakes could make riders really feel extremely nicely linked to a motorbike and assured to push themselves to the following stage.

Hayes Dominion A4 brake system on white background.
Good brakes could make riders really feel extra assured and safe on their bikes; (Picture/Hayes Bicycle Parts)

It’s tough to journey confidently if you happen to don’t belief your stopping energy. Sadly, many brakes that come on new bikes, particularly on the entry-level aspect of issues, are typically a bit underpowered. Now, that doesn’t imply they don’t work, however they’re typically not as responsive as a few of the different choices on the market.

Brakes are an improve that all ranges of riders can admire. Whereas sure creature comforts and applied sciences could also be extra valued by high-level riders, dependable and highly effective brakes present actual advantages to riders of all ranges – from the newer untrained riders all the way in which as much as World Cup champions. Poorly functioning brakes aren’t only a security threat; they may also be an enormous nuisance. Fixed bleeding, unreliable efficiency, and low energy are a couple of pitfalls that may fully destroy the driving expertise for the novice and the professional alike. Higher brakes can fully change the expertise within the saddle.

As an alternative of racking up a couple of thousand {dollars} in carbon or digital upgrades, most brake techniques will solely set a rider again a couple of hundred bucks, so if you happen to’re searching for the perfect dollar-for-dollar improve to your journey, look no additional.

What makes a superb brake system?

Stopping energy is crucial side of brakes, and there’s loads that goes into it. Since most riders weigh between 100 – 250 kilos, there’s a large quantity of pressure required to gradual that momentum down.

Hayes Dominion A4 caliper.
Brakes could be a extra reasonably priced improve in comparison with costly elements like drivetrains and wheels; (Picture/Hayes Bicycle Parts)

Hayes Bicycle Parts has been manufacturing high-end brake techniques for the reason that late Nineteen Nineties, slowly refining its designs over greater than twenty years to create a product that does precisely what it’s alleged to do: cease.

Hayes’ newest vary of the Dominion household of brakes, together with the A4, T4, T2, and A2, supplies an amazing snapshot of the influence new brakes can have on a journey. The Dominion A4, which has lengthy been a staple of the model, makes use of a motorsports-inspired two-stroke dual-port bleed system, together with a hydraulic system that works constantly in all kinds of temperatures and situations. Whether or not you’re within the warmth of the desert or the chilly of the mountains, your brakes will operate as anticipated.

The T4 and T2 fashions embody titanium {hardware} and carbon-fiber levers to maintain weight at a naked minimal. The A2, the latest providing within the lineup, additionally features a compact two-piston caliper designed for XC and path riders.

The Dominion line incorporates a grasp cylinder that’s fine-tuned to get rid of the lifeless house riders can really feel from once they first squeeze the brake lever to when the brake pads really clamp down on the caliper. This implies riders will really feel a right away response, a strong chunk with out hesitation, and modulation all by means of the way in which by means of the stroke.

Match and really feel

Whereas the stopping energy is probably the most crucial aspect of any brake system, it’s vital to keep in mind that brakes are additionally an important contact and interface level on the bike. The ergonomic qualities and handlebar place of brake levers and the way a rider engages them can result in fatigue, ache, and even damage. In addition they can forestall it.

Hayes Dominion A4 on a handlebar.
The power to regulate and dial the match of brakes can considerably cut back fatigue and ache; (Picture/Hayes Bicycle Parts)

For brakes with much less energy, riders typically have to make use of a number of fingers, or all of them, to squeeze as laborious as they’ll to come back to a cease. That is very true on downhill programs. The Hayes Dominion line comes with an ergonomic finger lever that doesn’t require excessive ranges of pressure. It additionally comes with an optionally available Brief Attain Lever that brings the lever nearer to the bar for straightforward single-finger braking for riders with smaller palms. Its design additionally permits riders to regulate the attain of the lever with no instruments for fast, no-hassle tuning even whereas on the path.

Contemplating the period of time of us spend interacting with their brake levers, they actually must be well-designed to make sure they continue to be comfy and simple to make use of, even throughout lengthy rides.


Other than the aforementioned efficiency enhancements a brand new set of brakes can deliver to a motorbike, additionally they can deliver a contact of flare that may take a motorbike from one thing that appears prefer it got here off of a shelf to a customized construct. The Dominion A4 brake is available in a handful of colours together with Bronze, Stealth Black / Gray, and an eye-popping restricted version Purple Hayes.

Hayes Dominion A4 lever on handlebar.
Brakes typically provide snappy colours that give bikes a extra customized look; (Picture/Hayes Bicycle Parts)

Hayes Brakes are a part that checks the entire packing containers of efficiency, match, and elegance multi function bundle.

The Hayes Dominion line sells for an MSRP starting from $250 to $350, making it one of many locations to search for riders aiming to get probably the most bang for his or her buck when upgrading their journey. Even after including new rotors, a whole set may nonetheless are available in nicely underneath $1,000 and fully revamp the sensation of any bike.