Review Hayes Dominion 4 pot brakes

khorn

E*POWAH Master
Patreon
Jul 19, 2018
673
487
193
Denmark
Ride
Specialized
#1
Product Image:
0533-jpg.12460

0534-jpg.12461

0543-jpg.12462

0537-kopi-jpg.12463

0624-jpg.12464

0541-jpg.12465

0542-jpg.12466

0621-kopi-jpg.12468

0622-kopi-jpg.12470

0623-jpg.12471

0545-jpg.12472


Product name: Hayes Dominion 4 pot brakes
Price paid: €425 including Hayes Typd-D 203 mm brake disks
Score (out of 10): Braking characteristics 11/10 - Installation 5/10 - Support -1/10

Review: This is a initial Review including a brief installation guide of the highly praised Hayes Dominion 4 pot brakes that have been chosen as MTB brakes of the year(2018) by some of the biggest online MTB blogs. Let me just state right away that I have never ridden a bike with as powerful brakes as the Dominion and compared to the Guide RE's I took off my Levo, they are so much better. Basically there are no dead stroke in the lever and just a warning, I did a ride where I was holding 1 finger on the front brake lever while hitting a small bump a bit unconsentrated and squesed my finger as a reflex. I got instant payback and the next thing I found myself flying over the bar head first........... Stupid me but they ARE powerfull! As I do not ride that much gravity type of trails(Denmark is flat as a pancake) I was interested in a consistent set of brakes that are easily set up without rubbing and good modulation/stopping power. I was initially looking at the new 4 pot XTR's(expensive) as well as the proven Saint's(less modulation) but in my search I came around a test on "Pinkbike"(Hayes Dominion) and got curious. When I found out that @Al Boneta also liked the brakes I decided to give it a go.

Initial installation:
As seen in the top picture they come assembled together with a few bits and pieces and most importantly, a kit to shorten the brake lines. That you will all need unless you ride a tandem or have a XXXL frame, anyway most rear brakes are internally routed so you will have to cut it anyway to feed the brake line inside the frame. Installation itself is like any other brakes and not that complicated at all. Here is a few random pictures from my 2018 Turbo Levo FSR

Routing the brake line for the rear brake is quite easy but you will have to cut both old and new brake line to get it through the holes in the frame - Taking the non-drive side motor cover off is a must in order to route the line over the motor:

0534-jpg.12461


Another challenge was the rear adapter for the calliper, based on another thread here I found a Shimano part number for the Levo but it did not fit perfectly as calliper was sitting 1.5 mm too low. Also, The Dominion calliper is very big so I had to modify the adapter with a Dremel in order to avoid contact. this will do for now but I will try to find a Hayes specific adapter:

0543-jpg.12462


This is the front adapter I used and it fits perfectly on a 2018 Pike fork:

0537-kopi-jpg.12463


0624-jpg.12464



Bleeding:
Now to the bleeding part and that is a bit different to most of the other brakes that I have had, Hayes have a good video here and I strongly recommend to follow it closely or you will not get all air out - Compared to Shimano and SRAM it is a bit more complicated. Regarding bleeding tools you can either use the Hayes bleeding kit that cost €45 or buy a cheep Avid bleeding kit from Ebay. The fitting you will need is a metric 5 mm and that is the same as the older SRAM/Avid.

Here is the Hayes Bleeding guide: Hayes Bleeding guide

The front brake is not that difficult as you can do it away from the bike but the rear brake is different if you have internal routing - Here is a few random pictures from my bleeding process and it is not very smart to design a bleed port on the master that demands a dual 45 degrees angle and I found out the hard way during the initial bleed, that it is indeed necessary:

0541-jpg.12465


0542-jpg.12466


0545-jpg.12472


After a couple of bleeds I got a very good firm feel in the levers and off to the final task of centering the calliper over the disk and now it got ugly.........No matter what I did the pads would not clear the disks and it was rubbing a LOT, furthermore the disks I got were quite warped out of the box too. Did a few more bleeds but still the same, absolutely no clearance between pad and disk. by studying the pistons in the calliper they did basically not retract when I let go of the lever and the best I could get was as in this video:

Youtube vid rubbing brake pads

I decided to take the bike out for a few shorter rides to see if I could free the pistons a bit but about 80 km later and 1 more bleed, the exact same issue was still there. One of the very reasons I bought them in the first place was their small adjustment screws in order to set them up rub free and they were about the worst I have ever tried - Bullocks :mad:

Next step was to try and contact Hayes support and you can either do it via Facebook or a support form on the homepage. I tried their homepage first and it took them 8 days to respond..... In the meantime I asked the same question on Facebook and here I got a very quick response as it only took 4 days..... A guy came forward and asked a few technical questions just to disappear for another couple of days. Finally last Thursday i was connected to a Danish service support that suggested that I should send it all in to him so he could repair them. No way I first pay €425 and send stuff out of the box for repair, I kindly asked him to send me 2 new callipers and then I would return the defective ones. No way that was possible and he basically said that I could take his offer or return everything to where I bought them(Bike24).

Just home from work last night I today decided to give it a last try as I got an Idea that the callipers could have been assembled dry and lying for a long time before they were made into a kit with brake lines etc.

Sure enough, the pistons were sticking so much in the calliper housing that I had to apply 8 bars with my compressor in order to get them out, after some cleaning and some special brake piston pasta I now have a new brake set that works perfectly:

0621-kopi-jpg.12468


0622-kopi-jpg.12470


0623-jpg.12471


Bottom line, fantastic brake performance - A bit bitchy to bleed - Hayes Support is shitty - Hayes quality control is shitty

Happy braking :cool:
 

Al Boneta

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Patreon
Founding Member
Jan 18, 2018
848
973
373
California
#2
Product Image: View attachment 12460
View attachment 12461
View attachment 12462
View attachment 12463
View attachment 12464
View attachment 12465
View attachment 12466
View attachment 12468
View attachment 12470
View attachment 12471
View attachment 12472

Product name: Hayes Dominion 4 pot brakes
Price paid: €425 including Hayes Typd-D 203 mm brake disks
Score (out of 10): Braking characteristics 11/10 - Installation 5/10 - Support -1/10

Review: This is a initial Review including a brief installation guide of the highly praised Hayes Dominion 4 pot brakes that have been chosen as MTB brakes of the year(2018) by some of the biggest online MTB blogs. Let me just state right away that I have never ridden a bike with as powerful brakes as the Dominion and compared to the Guide RE's I took off my Levo, they are so much better. Basically there are no dead stroke in the lever and just a warning, I did a ride where I was holding 1 finger on the front brake lever while hitting a small bump a bit unconsentrated and squesed my finger as a reflex. I got instant payback and the next thing I found myself flying over the bar head first........... Stupid me but they ARE powerfull! As I do not ride that much gravity type of trails(Denmark is flat as a pancake) I was interested in a consistent set of brakes that are easily set up without rubbing and good modulation/stopping power. I was initially looking at the new 4 pot XTR's(expensive) as well as the proven Saint's(less modulation) but in my search I came around a test on "Pinkbike"(Hayes Dominion) and got curious. When I found out that @Al Boneta also liked the brakes I decided to give it a go.

Initial installation:
As seen in the top picture they come assembled together with a few bits and pieces and most importantly, a kit to shorten the brake lines. That you will all need unless you ride a tandem or have a XXXL frame, anyway most rear brakes are internally routed so you will have to cut it anyway to feed the brake line inside the frame. Installation itself is like any other brakes and not that complicated at all. Here is a few random pictures from my 2018 Turbo Levo FSR

Routing the brake line for the rear brake is quite easy but you will have to cut both old and new brake line to get it through the holes in the frame - Taking the non-drive side motor cover off is a must in order to route the line over the motor:

View attachment 12461

Another challenge was the rear adapter for the calliper, based on another thread here I found a Shimano part number for the Levo but it did not fit perfectly as calliper was sitting 1.5 mm too low. Also, The Dominion calliper is very big so I had to modify the adapter with a Dremel in order to avoid contact. this will do for now but I will try to find a Hayes specific adapter:

View attachment 12462

This is the front adapter I used and it fits perfectly on a 2018 Pike fork:

View attachment 12463

View attachment 12464


Bleeding:
Now to the bleeding part and that is a bit different to most of the other brakes that I have had, Hayes have a good video here and I strongly recommend to follow it closely or you will not get all air out - Compared to Shimano and SRAM it is a bit more complicated. Regarding bleeding tools you can either use the Hayes bleeding kit that cost €45 or buy a cheep Avid bleeding kit from Ebay. The fitting you will need is a metric 5 mm and that is the same as the older SRAM/Avid.

Here is the Hayes Bleeding guide: Hayes Bleeding guide

The front brake is not that difficult as you can do it away from the bike but the rear brake is different if you have internal routing - Here is a few random pictures from my bleeding process and it is not very smart to design a bleed port on the master that demands a dual 45 degrees angle and I found out the hard way during the initial bleed, that it is indeed necessary:

View attachment 12465

View attachment 12466

View attachment 12472

After a couple of bleeds I got a very good firm feel in the levers and off to the final task of centering the calliper over the disk and now it got ugly.........No matter what I did the pads would not clear the disks and it was rubbing a LOT, furthermore the disks I got were quite warped out of the box too. Did a few more bleeds but still the same, absolutely no clearance between pad and disk. by studying the pistons in the calliper they did basically not retract when I let go of the lever and the best I could get was as in this video:

Youtube vid rubbing brake pads

I decided to take the bike out for a few shorter rides to see if I could free the pistons a bit but about 80 km later and 1 more bleed, the exact same issue was still there. One of the very reasons I bought them in the first place was their small adjustment screws in order to set them up rub free and they were about the worst I have ever tried - Bullocks :mad:

Next step was to try and contact Hayes support and you can either do it via Facebook or a support form on the homepage. I tried their homepage first and it took them 8 days to respond..... In the meantime I asked the same question on Facebook and here I got a very quick response as it only took 4 days..... A guy came forward and asked a few technical questions just to disappear for another couple of days. Finally last Thursday i was connected to a Danish service support that suggested that I should send it all in to him so he could repair them. No way I first pay €425 and send stuff out of the box for repair, I kindly asked him to send me 2 new callipers and then I would return the defective ones. No way that was possible and he basically said that I could take his offer or return everything to where I bought them(Bike24).

Just home from work last night I today decided to give it a last try as I got an Idea that the callipers could have been assembled dry and lying for a long time before they were made into a kit with brake lines etc.

Sure enough, the pistons were sticking so much in the calliper housing that I had to apply 8 bars with my compressor in order to get them out, after some cleaning and some special brake piston pasta I now have a new brake set that works perfectly:

View attachment 12468

View attachment 12470

View attachment 12471

Bottom line, fantastic brake performance - A bit bitchy to bleed - Hayes Support is shitty - Hayes quality control is shitty

Happy braking :cool:
Holy Shit.
What an ordeal. I didn’t run into any of those issues when I installed mine, although bleeding the brakes wasn’t as easy as I would have liked.
 

khorn

E*POWAH Master
Patreon
Jul 19, 2018
673
487
193
Denmark
Ride
Specialized
#3
Holy Shit.
What an ordeal. I didn’t run into any of those issues when I installed mine, although bleeding the brakes wasn’t as easy as I would have liked.
Sad thing is that the brakes are brilliant when they are working but the worst thing is the missing quality control/Lack of customer support department. By using Google I have found a few other people with the same issue as me so it not only me having issues. My concern is now when/if the pistons will stick again, I guess only time will help building confidence.

Yesterday Evening the Facebook support connected me to the US headquarters and they also got a link to this review but to be honest I do not expect much from them based on initial experience.

Fact is that the product was obviously defective out of the box brand new and I had to tear everything apart to make it work. For me that means that the brand new brakeset is not so new any more.

Karsten
 

dirt huffer

E*POWAH Master
Dec 3, 2018
289
178
123
Minneapolis
www.commencalusa.com
Ride
Commencal Meta Power
#4
Thanks for the thorough review. As a Shimano fanboy, it's nice to know there are other options out there. I use to rock Hayes Mags way back in the day and it's nice to know Hayes is still developing new brakes, hopefully they can get there QC together and improve things
 
Mar 26, 2019
7
4
13
North Georgia, US
Ride
2019 Kenevo Expert
#5
I had a bit of a time bleeding mine as well. I ended up letting the pads push together to get as much fluid in as I could. Ran the pad reach out and spaced them out. Works fine.
Jury is still out for me on just how great they are. They're good for sure but nothing about them blows my mind. That being said Saints do. I have ridden the same set of Saints for years with no issues. No bleed aside from the initial. I can ride Windrock of all place all day on my Wreckoning and they absolutely never fade. I'm 6'3" 225lbs (imperial :) ). Probably need to spend a bit more time on the Hayes. I have thought about putting them on the Kenevo and changing the Codes to the another bike but man, I just don't want to go through the reroute and bleed process right now. Recently rebuilt a Reverb to get rid of the WU post. I gotta say I hate dealing with all that fluid mess. Wolftooth delete kit on the way.
 

khorn

E*POWAH Master
Patreon
Jul 19, 2018
673
487
193
Denmark
Ride
Specialized
#7
Finally got around to fitting one of these as my rear brake - much easier doing it for the second one!

For reference I used a Hope brake mount and it handles the extra size of the caliper perfectly. It was type C from this PDF: https://www.hopetech.com/_repository/1/documents/Brakemounts2019.pdf
Thanks for the brake mount heads up, after my initial hassle my Dominions are working as intended. Only thing I’m yet to get fully used to is the lack of dead stroke, I’m used to ride with a finger always on the lever but one cannot do that here. The smallest bump and you will brake unintentionally. I tried to adjust the dead stroke but can’t feel any difference what so ever.

Karsten
 

mark.ai

E*POWAH Master
Patreon
Jul 10, 2018
419
201
163
50
Windermere
Ride
Lapierre
#8
It sure sounds like yours are finely tuned! I've been using the semi-metallic (softer) pads so far which seem equivalent braking to what I had with the Guide REs. I haven't tried the sintered metallic (stronger) pads yet, but might try one just on the rear after I'm used to the current setup. I don't know which pads you're using but I don't want to experience the same unexpected braking as you!

Another thing I remembered which might be useful for someone, I tried using one of the Rockshox barb connectors (below) to join my old rear cable to the new one (to help with threading through the frame). But the inner diameter of the Hayes brake cable is larger - too large for the barb connector to grip to. So I ended up using some Gorilla tape to join the cables instead.
untitled-picture-png.13091
 

highpeakrider

Well-known member
Aug 10, 2018
430
182
63
Peak District
#9
I screwed some small screws into the end of mine that kept the fluid in and I wired them together, still had to unfasten and lift the motor on my focus as is was tied onto the frame.
I got away with not bleeding the Hopes which was a real surprise.
 

khorn

E*POWAH Master
Patreon
Jul 19, 2018
673
487
193
Denmark
Ride
Specialized
#10
It sure sounds like yours are finely tuned! I've been using the semi-metallic (softer) pads so far which seem equivalent braking to what I had with the Guide REs. I haven't tried the sintered metallic (stronger) pads yet, but might try one just on the rear after I'm used to the current setup. I don't know which pads you're using but I don't want to experience the same unexpected braking as you!

Another thing I remembered which might be useful for someone, I tried using one of the Rockshox barb connectors (below) to join my old rear cable to the new one (to help with threading through the frame). But the inner diameter of the Hayes brake cable is larger - too large for the barb connector to grip to. So I ended up using some Gorilla tape to join the cables instead.
View attachment 13091
On my 2018 Levo it was an easy task to route the rear brake line with the battery and left side cover off, I simply cut the old line and pushed the new line forward. I’m using the sintered pads and the brake force is significantly stronger compared to my old REs and with the same good modulation.

Karsten
 

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