Product Review: Hayes Dominion A4 Brakes

Hayes has a long history with mountain bike brakes but has been relatively quiet over the last several years. Other brands have been pushing new product at a rapid pace, but there has still been plenty of room for improvement in terms of quality control and consistency. Hayes hasn’t been in hibernation by any means; instead, the company has been busy working on a new set of brakes that they hoped would prove to be reliable and consistent. Hayes sent us a pair of its new Dominion A4 brakes for a long-term review. After riding them through the hottest of summer days, we felt confident giving these brakes a solid verdict. 

Tech info: To develop the Dominion, Hayes started with a blank slate with no final production date for the engineering team. This allowed Hayes’ engineers to focus on the finer points of the Dominion and make sure that the final version of the brakes was spot-on. Starting with the calipers, Hayes used four pistons for maximum stopping power but also made sure the brakes were strong enough for everything from trail to downhill use. There are several clever bits designed around the Dominion calipers, with one of the more notable being the Crosshair caliper alignment system. Basically, Hayes used tiny set screws to allow riders to make micro adjustments to the caliper alignment in relation to the rotor. In other words, it’s a lot easier to make sure your caliper won’t rub the rotor. It’s not uncommon for air to get trapped in the caliper. To prevent this, Hayes used its Two-Stroke design, which uses two separate bleed ports on the caliper. 

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