Over a year ago, in Issue 20, we gave the Hayes CX-5 mechanical disc brakes high marks for a great feel and value, as well as having the fastest pad contact of the three brake sets we tested. Our good impressions of the CX5 came with one drawback. The sheer weight of the CX-5 was by far and away the heaviest tested brake set at 347 grams for the complete set.
In the passing year, Hayes has dropped the CX-5 name, and we were able to see their latest three options, their CX Pro, CX Expert, and CX Comp, at Press Camp 2014. Their top-of-the-line model, the CX Pro, displays some of the most drastic changes from last year, including saved weight, better adjustability, and the benefit of coming equipped with compressionless housing.
Like the CX-5, the CX Pro is a one piece forged aluminum caliper, but the intricate level of machining on the newer model takes off a solid chunk of weight. There are two startling differences: the first is the caliper body sitting above the piston as shown in the picture below, and the second is a far larger vent window. The latter should also help keep the pads cooler, which might interest gravel riders with long descents more than cyclocross racers.
Between the optional titanium bolts and revamped design, Hayes claims the weight of the CX Pro Caliper is 159 grams, which a solid savings of 38 grams over the older CX-5, bringing Hayes’s top of the line calipers within a matter of grams to Shimano’s since recalled CX75 calipers we also reviewed in Issue 20 (they have since replaced this with their CX77). Steel bolts, although more affordable, raise the weight up to just 164 grams. Like the CX-5, the CX Pro mechanical disc brakes comes with built-in barrel adjusters, which makes roadside adjustments and swapping wheels with different rotor widths much easier. Also like the older model, Hayes’s three new models are single piston brakes with a fixed inboard pad, and all three come with semi-metallic pads.
Hayes also gave us a few pleasant surprises as well. Two small adjusting bolts sit alongside the holes designated for the CX Pro’s mounting bolts. Hayes calls this their Crosshair Alignment technology, which allows a mechanic to dial in the pad/rotor alignment when the mounting bolts are loosened. Hayes has been using this setup for some time on their Prime mountain bike hydraulic brakes, although the single piston action of these mechanical calipers will benefit even more from the Crosshair Alignment system.
Another improvement is the compressionless brake housing, which was displayed with the CX Pro at Press Camp 2014, and we can’t recommend this housing enough for use with mechanical disc brake calipers. With full length housing typical on bikes with mechanical disc brakes, the compressionless housing offers a less-mushy feel, and Hayes including this with their brakes is a major upgrade over standard, coiled brake cable housing typically found with mechanical disc brakes.
Keeping in line with their new naming system, the next model below the CX Pro is the CX Expert, which Hayes admits is the relabeled CX-5. Their claimed weight of the CX Expert is 195 grams, not far off from our tested weight of the CX-5 of 197 grams. Rounding out the three is Hayes’s CX Comp, a new offering for 2014. At 208 grams per caliper, the CX Comp is relatively heavy for a mechanical caliper, although still a good option for the rider looking to enter their first cyclocross race, and is an OEM-only product. The price of the CX Pro is $100 for the caliper and rotor, while the CX Expert comes to $65 for each wheel.
For those of us more comfortable ripping through a cyclocross course on a mountain bike, Hayes also has an equivocal level to the CX Expert for flat-bar levers they call the MX Expert, which is also a re-branded MX5. As with its drop-bar compatible cousin, the MX Expert weighs in at a claimed weight of 345 grams for the caliper and rotor, and comes with semi-metallic pads.
For more information, check out: www.hayesdiscbrake.com
Stay tuned into cxmagazine.com for more product updates!