Hurray! These special edition brakes are now available to buy. Originally they were only available as a custom build for ‘lucky’ people. I first saw them on Rowan Sorrell’s Orange Alpine 160, that he had built up for the Urge Cabo enduro race. I wanted them instantly on looks alone! Minimal levers with powerful calipers, all decked out with a touch of the ‘sponsored rider’ green anodising. Gorgeous. Looking swanky is one thing, but do they work?

It was Rowan's bike

I fitted this set to my Labyrinth Agile just before going out to the Alps to work on the Trans Provence race, (see my write up of the event here). I was really pleased with the performance of these brakes in the Alps. A long and steep 20 minute descent is going to highlight any problems with your brakes and we were riding 3 or 4 of these every day for 7 days. I’m running 203mm floating rotor on the front and 183mm floating rotor on the rear. I never experienced any over heating or brake fade. The rear rotor was doing a fair bit of pinging, as it cooled down at the end of some trails, but there was no effect on the braking power. If I lived in the Alps, I’d fit a big rotor on the back as well as the front, but for most of the riding I do it’s not necessary. Plenty of stopping power with a fantastic feel at the lever, so far so good.

It didn’t rain in the Alps though, so it was only on returning to the UK and the winter slither that I was able to see how the brakes faired in the wet. I’m happy to say that they are just as impressive as they are in the dry. The brakes lose none of their feel, or their controlled power.

The Race M4s have a lovely progressive feel and are not grabby at all. With the lever reach adjust, I’m able to have them biting nice and close to the grips, just where I like it. It’s easy to bring the bike to a quick and controlled stop. The Race lever combines minimalistic design with great functionality.  The lever hook is just right and feels dead secure. The great thing about the feedback you get through the lever is that you really can feel and control the grip you have at the tyres. Simply put you can decide if you skid or not. It’s like having finger ABS!

So with this package you get killer style as standard and feel good factor that comes with knowing that the product is all made in the UK. The lever is lightweight, all bolts are titanium, maintenance is straight forward and parts are easy to get hold of (should you need to do anything. I haven’t had the need).

Cost is £219 each end for the complete brake including 183mm floating rotor and caliper mount, all bled and ready to fit. More details on the Hope website.