The Hayes Dominion A4 and A2 are seriously impressive brakes. They offer loads of power, but only require a light touch at the lever for excellent control of your speed. Now, those same features are carrying over to a new brake, and it’s the lightest Dominion yet.
Called the Dominion T2, the new brake package features updates at both the lever and caliper to drop weight.
The most obvious change is the addition of a carbon fiber brake lever made by Reynolds. As we saw with the Blacklabel 309/289r XC LTD wheels, the addition of Reynolds to the Hayes Performance Systems family is starting to bear fruit. You’ll also find a composite reservoir cover to drop a few more grams. The weight savings extends to the bar clamp with two titanium mounting screws for the split clamp design.
Unlike the aluminum levers of the A2 and A4, the carbon lever doesn’t feature the wheel for tool free reach adjustment.
That adjustment is still there, only now you have to use an allen wrench to adjust the reach. The same goes for their bite point adjustment. Brakes are factory set to have the smallest dead stroke possible meaning the pads move almost as soon as you start moving the lever which is good for having the levers close to the bar. If you prefer more dead stroke, you can add it with a 2mm allen.
Each brake lever also still pivots on sealed cartridge bearings for a silky smooth lever pull.
At the caliper, the dual piston design has been further optimized with machined pockets for weight reduction. You’ll also find titanium hardware, and even aluminum backing plates for the stock Semi-Metallic T106 brake pads held in place by their structural ‘KingPin.’
These pads include their QuickBite² system which is a coating that is said to help speed up the bedding-in process, but you’ll still need to bed them in properly. To do that, Hayes states that you should perform 50+ stops under 15 mph or 24 Km/h in order to reach full braking power. You’ll notice the brakes gradually increase their power until you stop on a dime.
The calipers still include Hayes’ 2-Stroke dual bleed port system to make it easier to eliminate any air bubbles hiding inside. As we found with our first experience with the Dominions, the bleed process includes an additional step, but is very easy to do well. The flip-flop lever design also includes two bleed ports for easy bleeding whether you run your brakes moto-style or standard. Note that these brakes still use DOT brake fluid and Hayes recommends DOT 5.1 or 4 only.
Fans of the Hayes Crosshair system will be happy to see it continue here, with the clever set screws helping to dial in your caliper position.
Designed to work with their D-Series rotors, the rotors are specifically meant to work in tandem with their brake pad design to cancel out any noise or vibrations. The result is an insanely smooth brake with massive power even with just two pistons. Rotors are not included with the brakes, so you’ll have to purchase these separately at $49.99 a piece.
One bonus with the T2 brakes though – in the box you’ll find titanium rotor bolts to replace the steel bolts that come standard with their D-Series rotor. Every gram counts, right?
On that note, Hayes claims the T2 is 50g lighter per brake than the Dominion A2.
Priced at $289.99 per brake, you’re looking at at least $679.96 for two brakes and two rotors before adding any necessary brake adapters.
Due to time constraints before the launch, the fastest way for me to get the T2s on a bike was to slap them on my dirt jumper and head to the pump track. I think in the future I may swap these out with my Dominion A4s and put the T2s on a mountain bike, but the dirt jumper was perfect for confirming that these brakes are just as good as the prior Dominions. Better, if weight is a concern.
Thanks to the QuickBite² system, bedding in the pads went very smoothly. It’s worth noting that immediately after installing the brakes, but before ever riding them, it seemed like the pads were ‘sticking’ to the rotor at times. I’m assuming this is due to the QuickBite² coating, which went away after the first ride likely as the coating wore away to help bed in the pads.
Once bedded in, the T2 brakes reward you with the same feel as the A4 – one of the smoothest braking sensations that I’ve felt. The lever offers such a light touch that it’s surprising how much power is available as a result of each lever pull. I think with the difference in material and lever shape, it even feels a bit lighter than the A4. The lever itself is quite smooth, though it never felt slippery while wearing gloves. My rides so far have been in fairly cool weather, so this might not be the case when it’s massively hot and humid and your gloves are drenched with sweat though.
Overall, the Dominion T2 seems like a fantastic addition to the Dominion range for those who prioritize weight over outright stopping power. With that said, the T2s still offer a massive amount of usable power and should be a great addition to bikes that don’t necessarily need four piston brakes.