Hope Tech 4 E4 Enduro Brakes Balance Power and Modulation With Distinctive Appearance

Hope Tech 4 E4 brake master cylinder and lever

Between a bevy of gravity brake options from SRAM, Shimano, TRP, Magura, Hope and others, it takes a lot to truly make a brake stand out and often, it still comes down to personal preference. Are the brakes reliable? Do they have good bite? Do they fade? Handle heat well? The above mentioned brakes check all the boxes, so, how can any given set truly stand out?

Hope has a good idea with their Tech 4 E4 brakes. Can they look strikingly different from every other set? The muscular, machined lines are eye-grabbing compared to some of the sleek, subtle designs of some other master cylinders on the market. The lever is lanky, the reservoir is tall, and the adjustment knobs sit proudly in the foreground, rather than tucked out of sight.

The calipers are also easily identifiable as a Hope product with a sturdy, yet precise appearance and pops of color for a touch of potential personalization.

Hope Tech 4 E4 caliper assembly

There’s more than meets the eye on Hope’s new Tech 4s though. The new lineup, improved from the Tech 3, includes a new lever which can be paired with X2, E4, and V4 calipers, a revised lever design for more power and bite, a hinged clamp and improved shifter integration. Hope says the new brakes produce 30% more power than their previous version. The reservoir size has also been increased to reduce the height.

The power is said to be produced from additional leverage on the lever blade. They no doubt look long compared to some other lever blades on the market, but Hope says it gives the rider a better mechanical advantage. Hope used a smaller diameter master cylinder with the design too for a more linear feeling and better modulation, and the lever also uses a lighter return spring for less fatigue.

Before we get to the E4 caliper, it’s important to note that Hope uses the same lever/master for their lighter X2 trail bike brakes, the E4 enduro brakes, and the V4 downhill brakes, but uses different calipers on each model. The E4 now uses four stainless steel pistons with an insert for smoother movement and a new organic compound racing pad made for a short bed-in time and better power.

The price per brake isn’t cheap for a premium, powerful, machined enduro brake. MSRP is $245 per brake, or $490 for a set. They weigh 343g per brake.

Ride impressions

Hope Tech 4 E4 brake installed

With a Privateer frame, Hunt wheels, and Hope handlebars and brakes, I was one small Union Jack decal away from looking exceptionally British. But, just because I’d prefer to drive a Mustang doesn’t mean I would turn away a Jaguar. I didn’t let it get to me too much.

The Privateer’s externally routed cables made install much easier, although there was still some brake hose trimming in order, and this called for a bleed. Compared to Shimano, SRAM, and TRP, Hope’s bleed process is a little more fickle and took some time and patience. Because you have to take the cap off of the master cylinder to mount the bleed lid — a lid that mounts to the master but has a bleed port — you have to be doubly careful and make sure the bike is as level as possible during the bleed process.

I don’t totally understand why there isn’t a bleed port on the actual master cylinder lid instead of having to remove it and then mount it again during the bleed process, but I suppose it keeps the aesthetics a little cleaner. After running through the process twice on the brakes, I had a set of firm levers that were ready to slow me down. I hoped they were up for the task. The brake pads seemed to bed in pretty quickly and after a few runs up and down my neighborhood they were good and grabby.

The lever blades might look long, but they have plenty of adjustability to dial them in for smaller hands like mine, and the ergonomics feel great. Equally as important, there is a meaningful bite point adjustment on the levers. I tend to run my levers fairly close to the bar and like a precise throw, and I could feel that I’d get along with the Tech E4s right away. Unfortunately for me, the Tech 4s are only compatible with Shimano I-Spec EV and I happen to be running an 11-speed Shimano drivetrain on the bike so my controls remained separated. These brakes will mount with SRAM shifters too.

The lever throw feels very light on the Hope Tech 4 E4 brakes. Shimano often has one of the lightest feeling throws in the bunch and the Tech 4s feel even lighter and smoother. There is a linear feel to the Tech 4 levers and they have great modulation upon contact with the rotor without feeling spongey. The caveat here is that I don’t feel like they have the same outright power as a brake like the TRP DHR-Evo, but it does feel easier to go back and forth between light and medium braking and a solid, chompy bite with the Tech 4s. They feel like they have more power than Shimano’s 4-piston SLX, XT, and XTR brakes, and are on par with SRAM’s latest Code RSCs.

I set up these brakes with 200mm rotors front and rear and as you can see the 6-bolt discs have more venting than Swiss cheese. These are 1.8mm thick rotors too, whereas it seems a few more brands like TRP and even SRAM as of lately have moved to a 2.3mm rotor for better heat dissipation and a stiffer brake feel. I didn’t experience any brake fading, groaning, or loss of a bite on long downhill runs with the Tech 4 though. They handled never-ending descents with the best of ’em.

I was curious about using another brake set with DOT 5.1 fluid as the one other brake manufacturer that uses it over mineral oil tends to get a bad reputation because it’s often said the DOT fluid can attract moisture and lead to inconsistency and unreliability, and requires more frequent brake bleeds to maintain performance. The timing of this review isn’t far off from an interesting series about the science of mountain bike brakes by SRAM that seeks to dispel myths about hydraulic disc brakes.

While the Hope bleed process was trickier than I’d prefer and the Tech 4s use DOT 5.1 fluid, these brakes haven’t skipped a beat on me this summer. They are as solid and consistent as the day they were installed.

Lastly, the appearance stands out on these brakes, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Just about everyone has SRAM or Shimano specced to their bike and who wants something that looks ordinary when they drop $500 on a brake set? The masters are a solid piece of machined aluminum and with different colorways, you’re sure to get lots of “how do you like those Hopes?” while you’re paused at a trail intersection.

Bottom line: Hope’s latest enduro brake, the Tech 4 E4 is worthy of bar space on your long-travel bike. Their power rivals other premium stoppers and they have proved to be a reliable brake option with excellent modulation.

Party laps

  • Good stopping power and bite
  • Great modulation
  • Unique appearance

Pros and cons of the Hope Tech 4 E4 brake

Dirt naps

  • Tricky bleed process