Sea Otter 2014 – Hayes Radar Brakes

by Brian Mullin on April 24, 2014

introduced their new Radar cross-country and trail brake at Sea Otter,
and the new platform looks very promising due to it’s extensive
engineering, industrial design and simplified internals.

breaking with tradition and going with a mineral oil based system,
using their proprietary Venom fluid for its hydraulic source. OEM
customers initially prodded Hayes for a non-DOT system, and mineral oil
does have some advantages, as it doesn’t absorb water and isn’t caustic
to paint and skin. The Radar’s design has the look and feel of their
original 1997 HFX Mag brakes, which was the first viable hydraulic
braking system on the  market. The Radar incorporates Hayes 20 years of
braking experience, bringing to fruition a modern braking system with
more refined technical features and functions. The lever has an improved
feel and action, and they reduced the internal part count by 30% over
the original Mag (17 vs. 25). It includes some great features, including
split clamps for easy installation, and a flip flop design for simpler
moto-style set up, and an Allen-key reach adjustment. They have an
optimized bleed port for ease of service, which works in concert with
their 360 degree bladder to simplify evacuating the air and filling it
with oil.

post-mount calipers use sintered-metallic pads that are supposed to
reduce break-in time, so they’ll be quick to use in full-power mode on
the trail. The calipers also feature their Cross-Hair alignment system,
which uses set screws to micro-adjust the spacing between the rotor and
pads. The calipers have 22mm sized piston, and the pads are bottom

help reduce the reservoir’s part count and improve reliability, the
bladder retainer serves a a multifunction part (MFP), and acts as a
reservoir seal, a bushing for the pivot pin, a guide for the piston and a
piston stop.

During a very short test ride, the brake felt
strong with good modulation and a nice lever feel, and it didn’t feel
like their typical grabby.  The Radar is intended to compete against the
Shimano Deore 596, Magura MT2 and Avid Elixir 3. The weight of the
brake without the rotor is 280 grams, and they’ll retail for $95 per
side, and the optional rotors will come in 140, 160 and 180mm diameters.
Although they wouldn’t give much of a definitive answer, a more upscale professional version of the brake system is being worked on.

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