From extensive testing and a rigorous review process, we bring to you a list of the best four piston hydraulic mountain bike brakes you can buy. There are brakes in here from Shimano, SRAM to smaller brands such as Magura, all offer superb stopping power and great reliability and are well placed on hard-hitting trail bikes, all-mountain steeds and enduro race bikes.
Magura MT5 brakes
Super powerful and reasonably priced, the Magura MT5 hydraulic disc brakes have blown us away in terms of sheer braking prowess. As long as you don’t mind the ‘functional’ look and the large lever blade, these are a solid performer suitable for any trail or enduro mountain bike.
Shimano Saint M820 brakes
The Shimano Saint M820 hydraulic disc brakes are a superb, powerful and a mostly reliable brake. They are good value given the stopping power on offer and they look pretty sweet too. The raw power on offer from the Saint’s is spectacular, it’ll be the only thing you think about. That power, plus some of the best cooling tech on the market is the reason to buy the Saint brakes.
TRP G-Spec Quadiem brakes
TRP make two Quadiem disc brakes – a standard model and an upgraded G-Spec version. The latter was developed with the help of Aaron Gwin the reigning DH world cup champion. Obviously, Gwin uses it for downhill racing but this brake is equally at home on a trail or all-mountain bike. Overall the G-Spec Quadiem is sensitive and well-modulated and on face value looks good value but the price listed above doesn’t include rotors, calliper adapters or the shifters mounts. With those, you’re looking at over £260 an end. At that level, the G-Spec Quadiem is less attractive but there is a way of having your cake and eating it and that’s by considering the standard Quadiem. You don’t get the G-Spec name but it has essentially the same features but with a painted finish and a more affordable £140 price tag.
SRAM Code RSC brakes
SRAM’s older Code disc brake was the go-to option for downhill riding but the latest model features a lighter weight brake lever and several features found on the trail-specific Guide range, making it suitable for all-mountain, enduro or everyday hard riding. SRAM’s Code brake was originally a downhill only brake but I reckon the changes open it up to enduro and all mountain use. The only issue we have with that is SRAM already has some excellent brakes suitable for those disciplines, including the Guide RE, an e-bike specific brake that currently sells for around £85 an end.
There will be more added to the lineup soon, we have a review of the SRAM Guide RE brakes plus new Shimano XTR's in the pipeline.
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