WHAT: Hope Moto V2 disc brakes
WHERE: 936-582-2411; hopetechusa.com
HOW MUCH: $325/Wheel

Brakes are undoubtedly the most visceral point of interaction on the bicycle. Right there, in the finger, their performance and reliability is a crucial element of a good ride. More often than not, unfortunately, we notice our brakes. They're pumping up, squealing, jacking, losing power. Good brakes should just be there. Never changing, never squawking, just stopping. Enter Hope's new Moto V2 disc brakes with vented rotors. Braking's never been so good.

Everything about the Moto V2s, it appears, is about dissipating heat. Less heat in the rotors, the calipers, the oil—it all equates to more consistent braking. It starts with Hope's new 203-millimeter vented rotors, the first in the mountain bike industry. A long-time staple on motorcycles, vented rotors allow air to flow between two individual rotors sandwiched together, thus reducing heat. The pistons are made of a heat-resistant ceramic/plastic material. Tack on braided lines, designed to minimize expansion of brake fluid due to heat, and you've got brakes
that are powerful and remarkably consistent.

In addition, the Moto V2s are some of the most adjustable brakes on the market. A red barrel adjuster dials in the "free stroke" on the lever before the caliper pistons are driven into the rotor. The levers also have a reach-adjustment screw so you can set them up super close to the grip with minimal travel before you're locked up like a bank on Sunday.

Two months of hard vertical, including 3,000-foot descents at the Whistler bike park, failed to alter them in the slightest. And the power? Insane. The brakes are so full on, they took a little getting used to.

As for shortcomings, they are heavy at 636 grams per wheel. They're also expensive. But if you've got the cash, and favor powerful braking over saving weight, these are some of the best downhill brakes made.