Brake weight with 6in IS adapter: 288g (excluding rotor) / 160mm rotor weight: 114g (excluding rotor bolts) / Fluid: Dot 4
Hayes has three levels of Stroker — the entry-level Ryde, the no-tools reach-adjustable Trail, and the Carbon with, you guessed it, a carbon lever blade.
All models share the same two-piece, twin-opposing piston, post mount caliper, and use various adapters to fit the 6, 7, and 8in rotors. A rotating banjo mounted to the caliper allows for a more direct cable routing and leads us nicely to the lever body and the Stroker’s claim to fame. Basically, it is the first symmetrical radial piston brake. So, combined with split clamps you can run your brakes moto-style, front brake on the right, or the opposite way round without having to swap hoses and bleed brakes. But this isn’t just a design feature; it’s also a cost-saving exercise, as Hayes only has to produce one lever body instead of two.
Hotlines, the UK distributor for Hayes, was kind enough to send us its only Stroker test sample over a month ago as we promised to return it immediately. Obviously we didn’t — so this should be what you call an exclusive first test. The reason for keeping the brake is that after testing it in the UK we were impressed with the Stroker’s light lever action, good modulation and ample stopping power. But seeing as all disc brakes perform well in the UK, we decided to take the Stroker to the 2008 Marzocchi product launch in the Dolomites to test its big-mountain potential.
The first thing we noticed is that even with an 8in rotor the Stroker didn’t have that wooden grabby feeling that previous Hayes brakes were criticised for. Give the lever a tug, though, and there was enough power in reserve for one-finger braking on the steepest descents. We never suffered from brake pump or fade, but we only had the front brake to test and, seeing as it’s normally the rear that goes, it is hard to know for sure.
The profile of the lever blade is the best Hayes has produced to date. Like most manufacturers it’s a two-finger design but, seeing as there isn’t much free lever travel on the Stroker, it is easy to run the blade close to the bar without pinching your other fingers. For riders who like to run their levers well inboard for maximum mechanical advantage, the blade has a pronounced kink at the end that will hold your finger in place, even on the roughest trails.
With the Stroker Trail, Hayes is definitely back in the braking game.
MBR RATING: 9/10