SOC14: First Look! Hayes Radar Hydraulic Disc Brakes w/ New Venom Mineral Oil

new Hayes Radar hydraulic disc brakes get mineral oil and revised bladder

The all-new Hayes Radar disc brakes get a completely revamped design, from the fluid to the master cylinder, making for a simpler and (on paper) much better part.

The original Hayes HFX Mag brakes were introduced in 1997 and brought motorcycle stopping tech to mountain bikes. With them, they introduced 360º bladders, which allows a flip flop design, the post mount standard and the six bolt standards to the industry. In 1999, they introduced the split clamp lever design, and in 2000 standardized rotor thicknesses. Since then, plenty of iterations have followed from a number of brands while Hayes’ own subsequent introductions were relatively few and far between. Now, almost two decades later, they’re introducing a fresh aesthetic, a switch to mineral oil and a very user friendly design to kick off the next generation of Hayes brakes…

new Hayes Radar hydraulic disc brakes get mineral oil and revised bladder

The new Radar brakes slot in between their Dyno (entry level) and Prime (higher end) models. They don’t replace anything, and are meant to compete at the same price range as Magura MT2, Avid Elixir 3 and Shimano Deore while offering a huge feature set for the $95 asking price.

They spent a lot of time with customers for feedback on brakes, and brought industrial design to their engineering department. The result is a sleek, smooth part with a good pivot location for the gloriously long lever.

new Hayes Radar hydraulic disc brakes get mineral oil and revised bladder

Caliper’s use a 22mm piston (Prime’s have 26mm pistons) with an inside-mounted hose banjo and their excellent Crosshair alignment system. The pads insert from the bottom and use a top-mounted retention pin. They’ll come standard with sintered pads, semi-metallic are also available. They’re designed around their L-series rotor, shown, but rotors are sold separately in 140, 160 and 180mm sizes.

new Hayes Radar hydraulic disc brakes get mineral oil and revised bladderHayes Radar brake cutaway copy

The big news here isn’t some crazy new technical innovation. It’s that they’ve refined the brakes and removed extra parts to make them more reliable. Compared to the Mags’ 25 parts, the Radar uses just 17 pieces. Some parts, like the bladder retainer, serve multiple duties to make it all simpler.

The 360º bladder is the accordion shaped bit shown above. The silver part sticking up from the lever (visible better in other photos) drives the piston into the master cylinder, which slides past the black rubber o-ring to close the system and start moving fluid down the hose to the caliper.

new Hayes Radar hydraulic disc brakes get mineral oil and revised bladder

The split clamp makes them easy to install without removing your grips. It also means easy swaps from standard to moto style brake placement.

new Hayes Radar hydraulic disc brakes get mineral oil and revised bladder

The Radar has a tooled reach adjust, accessed from the front of the lever. The bleed port is top and center, which would actually face down when installed…meaning you’ll probably have to rotate it or the bike up for service.

The brakes are designed for XC/Trail use, come in black only and weigh in at a claimed 280g (without rotor). We see plenty of opportunity for lower weights -a carbon lever blade is an easy start- with this platform.

new Hayes Radar hydraulic disc brakes get new Venom mineral oil pro bleed kit

The other big news is the switch to mineral oil over DOT fluid. Hayes says some OEM customers require it, and it’s generally much less toxic. It’s safe for paint and parts, particularly important for internal cable installations. It’s also safer for your skin, and it won’t absorb water.

As part of the switch, which you’ll see on future Hayes brakes, too, they have a new pro-level dual syringe bleed kit. Venom is a specially formulated mineral oil just for these brakes, so they recommend sticking to authorized parts for bleeds and service. Why? Mineral oil is completely unregulated, so they can’t say what would happen if you used someone else’s fluid. The brakes might work with other fluids but doing so will void warranty.

new Hayes Radar hydraulic disc brakes get mineral oil and revised bladder

For consumers, brakes start shipping in June and will be supported by a complete selection of pads, rotors and accessories. For Shops, new service parts for the different fluid are ready to ship. Yes, this time, things should actually ship when promised (Primes were almost a year late coming to market). They made a big deal about this and recognize tardiness doesn’t help anyone.

Neither does poor performance, so they’ve had their sponsored athletes on them for a while, adding real world field testing to their own lab tests. The result? A lifetime leakproof guarantee. And early OEM placements on bikes from Specialized, Cube, Alutech and others.

They say the new optional pads are an extremely high quality semi metallic sintered pad standard with a special treatment that provides fastest burnishing in the industry. Break in should be very quick.

new Hayes Radar hydraulic disc brakes get mineral oil and revised bladder

As an aside, they also showed off the new Hayes Reunion. It’s a quick connect hydraulic fitting for OEM customers only. Banjo or direct fitting, for DOT or Venom. Steel fitting can be reconnected and can be mounted at the lever or caliper. No re-bleeding required for up to 10 uses. It’s primarily made to ease internal cable installation, not as a travel disconnect.


anonymous - 04/10/14 - 3:38pm

“Venom is a specially formulated mineral oil just for these brakes, so they recommend sticking to authorized parts for bleeds and service.”

sounds like someone is trying to sell snake oil

deanopatoni - 04/10/14 - 3:40pm

My first disc brakes where Hayes Mags, bought back in 2001. Still working (on my spare bike). Totally awesome. The El Caminos were cr@p, the Stroker Carbons were amazing in comparison, and kept me going strong till I got some XT’s. These new brakes look like a step in the right direction for Hayes and I wish them every success…

Luiggi - 04/10/14 - 3:53pm

So, this is just a mineral oil Avid Elixir… I mean, I’m not talking Hayes down here, but as far as I can see they just reworked the TaperBore mechanism from the Elixirs into their own version…

Sky - 04/10/14 - 3:58pm

Everyone hates the el camios but me for some reason. Mine seem to have gobs of power, never leak, when i do bleed just for the sake of it once a year the fluid is hardly discolored to boot. there’s tons of slop in the levers as the bushings have worn out but i rather enjoy that feel. I suppose i should scoop up some new bushings and replace them soon though.

Smokestack - 04/10/14 - 4:02pm

Luiggi- I’d say it’s an update to their Dyno design. Looks to be the same lever blade and master piston. Caliper too.

kuan - 04/10/14 - 6:21pm

So will it work at -15F?

greg - 04/10/14 - 6:29pm

nothing about it says the piston bore is tapered. i’d say it’s a refinement of the oldie-but-goodie Mag/HFX, this time using mineral oil. nitpicking, it’s not “cool looking” enough, but if it’s extremely reliable, it’ll do well.

MissedThePoint - 04/10/14 - 10:32pm

A lot of brakes with new lever designs lately. Did a vital patent on hydraulic brakes expire or something?

Cheese - 04/11/14 - 12:39am

Brilliant. Hayes is finally admitting that glycol ether is toxic and unnecessary for bicycles. And if I’m not mistaken, this is the first application of a static piston seal on bicycles. I would have gone with a u-cup seal instead of an o-ring myself, though.

Marcassin - 04/11/14 - 9:18am

I’m not sure it is a good idea. Taperbore system, are you serious Hayes? Sram is stepping back from that design for some very good reasons. Maybe this particular design works better with mineral oil.

At least in Europe we just have to go and buy some Citroen mineral oil in the supermarket so …

Cheese - 04/12/14 - 4:35pm

No, Marcassin, the Avid piston o-ring moves with the piston and seals against a precisely honed cylinder bore. (Like the mis-bored cylinders that caused their road hydraulics to fail.) These Hayes o-rings seal against a centerless ground piston like Siemens automotive master cylinders do. Cheaper to manufacture and longer seal life. Plus the use of mineral oil doesn’t mandate crappy EPDM rubber the way DOT fluid does.

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