You brake, you lose! But if you brake later, you’ll ride faster for longer. Either way, a mountain bike without good brakes is a death trap. The fact is: with bikes becoming increasingly capable, we’re encouraged to push our boundaries and look for tougher trails. As a result, we inevitably get faster, and the brakes have to keep up with that! We pitted 14 of the hottest (no pun intended) brakes against each other to find out which one does the job best.

Our candidates – The 14 MTB brake models we tested

Our test field includes both budget brakes and fancy boutique stoppers, from some of the most popular and affordable OEM models, to the finest bling money can buy. But what do all our competitors have in common? They’re all hydraulic and have four pistons, with retail prices ranging between a very humble € 240, right the way to an eye-watering € 1,300, with the majority of our competitors costing between € 400 and € 700. These are RRP prices for a brake set without rotors. However, some of the brakes in this test are also available as a complete set, with some shops undercutting retail prices rather significantly in some cases. Shimano brakes, for example, which have been around for a long time, are available online for nearly half the RRP.

For the full group test, follow the link tou our sister magazine ENDURO

Brand Model Brake Liquid Brake Pad Weight Set Price Set
Formula Cura 4 Mineral Oil organic 544 g 422 €
Hayes Dominion T4 DOT organic 530 g 720 €
Hope Tech 4 V4 DOT organic 592 g 580 €
MAGURA MT5 Pro Mineral Oil organic 538 g 300 €
MAGURA MT7 Mineral Oil organic 542 g 440 €
Shimano SLX Mineral Oil organic 600 g 350 €
Shimano XT Mineral Oil organic 588 g 420 €
Shimano XTR Mineral Oil organic 552 g 630 €
SRAM CODE Bronze Stealth DOT metallic 628 g 440 €
SRAM CODE Ultimate Stealth DOT metallic 594 g 640 €
SRAM MAVEN Ultimate Mineral Oil organic 710 g 720 €
Trickstuff MAXIMA Mineral Oil organic 548 g 1300 €
TRP DH-R EVO Mineral Oil organic 638 g 500 €
TRP Trail EVO Mineral Oil organic 638 g 400 €

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Words: Julian Schwede, Peter Walker Photos: Peter Walker, Simon Kohler