Hayes Stroker Grams Review

Components Pro Reviews



Impressions
The Stroker Grams are very easy to install since they use a split clamping system, and have a symmetrical flip flop design. The flip flop design means you can put the brake levers on either side of the handlebars, which is great if you are like me, and want your front brake in the motorcycle mode (on the right). One pain with the Marta SL’s is they lack the split clamp system, so to swap out brakes I have to remove the grips and shifters, which is a royal pain in the wazoo. They are a bit clunky looking, but retain a certain charm, and I did like the speckled black finish.

hayes_level

Measured Specs
——————–
Rear (line, caliper and lever) – 57 inch line: 247.4 grams
Front (line, caliper and lever) – 34 inch line: 231.1 grams
180 Hayes rotor – 151.7 grams
160 Hayes rotor – 114.7 grams
180 Hayes adapter – 10.1 grams
180 Hayes adapter bolts – 15.8 grams
Rotor bolts (titanium) – 7.2 grams
Caliper bolts (titanium) – 7.7 grams

The levers have a small adjuster knob that allows you to alter the reach, although it was a bit difficult to adjust them on the fly while riding. I really liked the feel of the lever in my hand, it was extremely comfortable and ergonomic. The brakes performed admirably, and they were very fade resistant, even on extremely long downhills. I abused them regularly on one of my local steep rides, in which I ride the brakes pretty hard and quite frequently, and all I could get them to do is make a low guttural grit sound.

Like any brake, when they get wet with rain or snow, they squeal and howl for a bit, but it seems to be short lived. They do make a deep gritty sound, especially when grabbing a good handful of brake. Their power loss when they were extremely wet was noticeable, but not significant.

hayes_level_side

I did find that the levers were just a bit flexible, and it took a long amount of stroke before the lever actually engaged, which made them feel a bit spongy until you really pried hard on the lever. Their modulation was good, though they could be a bit grabby, and you really needed to grab a good handful of brakes to get the power coming from the system, but they were quite powerful when you needed them. One thing that they seem to lack is an ability of lightly feathering the brakes, something that is nice to have in some technical terrain. Another quality was their lack of drag from the pads, which is always a slight issue on my Marta’s. My overall highlight would be to call them powerful, with a good bite, a tad grabby, excellent fade resistance, with good modulation.

The brake pads are easy to take out, even with the wheels still on the bike. However, during re-installation I sometimes had some issues getting the little spring to pop back in properly on the piston. If it doesn’t pop back in just right, then things won’t line up, and you’ll get rubbing on the rotors.

hayes_pad_clips

I was initially a bit apprehensive about the levers getting damaged since they sort of stick out from the body, but that turned out to not be the case. I have taken a few good diggers, and twisted handlebars in some strange contortions, and the levers have survived without a scratch. I think the flexing levers might help protect themselves, since they can subtly move, which prevent them from breaking or getting damaged.

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • m429 says:

    Had these and quickly put them on a back up bike I am planning on selling. Compared to the Hayes 9′s I’ve had for 5 years, these are a pain in the buttocks to center on the rotor. Tried pushing pistons back in their bores, spacing with business cards, not spacing with cards, eyeing up caliper to rotor, everything. Just way harder than it should be and all the lever pull never felt anything other than soft and weak. I know Hayes makes good brakes but I didn’t like this offering at all.

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