For those of you who are weight weenies, (you know who you are) here’s something for you.
Using titanium bolts, aluminum-backed brake pads, and carbon levers, Hayes has the perfect brake for gram counters everywhere. Hayes stripped away all the unnecessary fat from the levers and calipers using finite element analysis – basically high powered computers that can simulate forces – to see where the redundant material could be removed from their workhorse brake system, the Hayes Stroker.
I have used the Stroker Trails for quite some time and was curious how well these new Stroker Grams would perform and if they are worth the extra coin for the weight reduction (nearly 100 grams). Let’s face it – if you’re racing and every gram counts then cost isn’t a big issue. At an MSRP of $273 each these are not cheap by any means but they look oh so good.
These kits come with everything you need minus the adapter for your axle type, so remember to order the adapter at the same time. In the kit you get the caliper, hose and lever all ready to go and you also get the rotor and all the hardware in titanium. The kits are available in 5″(rear only), 6″, 7″, and 8″ with 900mm and 1500mm hoses (front and rear, respectively).
Out of the box it took about 30 minutes per wheel to install these brakes. Just make sure you follow the installation instructions on these brakes – titanium does not like to be over torqued, nor do the carbon bars that you may have (after all they look so nice together). Be sure that you set the brake calipers so that the pads are parallel with the rotor (I have seen people mess this up one too many times) to prevent any possible vibration and noise.
Barreling down the trails with the Stroker Grams you will instantly feel the brakes working for you, with great modulation and instant “on” torque, as well as a quick release of torque without any residual drag. I did notice that the pads do generate a touch more noise that the Stroker Trails, but nowhere near the amount that the Stroker Aces that I reviewed last month. The Stroker Grams get good initial bite with no real growth of torque, and they do not fade until you release the lever again. Overall these brakes performed very nearly as well as the Stroker Trail brakes – but with 3/4 the weight.
I did notice there is a bit more flex in the brake levers themselves, perhaps due to the lightweight design of the carbon lever. I don’t think the flex will pose to much of an issue – most likely the levers will snap in a big fall rather than bend like the aluminum levers do. Of course that’s total speculation since I haven’t fallen on them … yet.
Final verdict on the Hayes Stroker Grams: If you can afford them and are looking to loose some fat off your bike, these brakes are a great choice – they will not let you down. The Stroker Grams will be right at home on any XC racer or long legged trail bike and you won’t have to worry that they’ll fail to deliver the power. These are not the lightest nor the prettiest of the lightweights but overall a very good buy with no worries of finding replacement parts.