The Clarks M2 hydraulic brake set is one of those products that is hard to believe at first. The reason for this is because for only £40.00 you get a full hydraulic brake set by a brand that is pretty much well-known in the world of bikes. In the set, you get two 160mm rotors, two calipers, two levers and required I.S to Post mount adapters as well as the securing bolts for the set. So yes for £40 you get everything you need. If you look elsewhere you’ll find some companies selling just a single rotor for that price.
Not only does the amount of stuff you get here make the price seem weird, the styling does too. The brakes are modern looking with a sleek finish all around. The lever designs are similar to that of products by Shimano and also feature an adjustable bite point, while the calipers are sturdy and well made, complete with a red anodised bore cap that really gives them a premium look and finish. The rotors are rather basic but get the job done.
When it comes to replacing the pads, you’ll be happy to know the set is compatible with Shimano Pattern pads, meaning replacements are never too hard to find at all. A quick look on the internet reveals plenty of compatible pads and your local bike shop is sure to have them in as well.
Installation isn’t that bad, although thanks to a fixed bar clamp, you will need to remove your grips to install the levers. Elsewhere everything else is technically plug and play. The set is self-adjusting so there’s no need to mess around and adjust the pads on your own. The brakes are also pre-bled so you don’t have to worry about that. You may find the back cable is a bit long, so you may need to cut it down and this may also require you to bleed the brake after. Since these are brakes, it may be a wise idea to take them and your bike to a shop and have them professionally fitted if you are unsure about any of the installation process.
The levers have a tangible amount of squeeze, which makes them feel very sturdy, while at the same time reducing the amount of squeeze required to slow or stop the bike completely. They feel just as good as the Shimano levers on my housemate’s bike.
Stopping power is pretty good, especially for basic XC riding, although there are obvious better more expensive alternatives if you require brakes for downhill riding or extreme off-road riding. If like me you are upgrading to these from older brakes, you’ll instantly notice the difference. Several times I have come to emergency halts using the front brake that almost sent me flying over the handlebars, something my last set of brakes was no longer able to do.
Wet weather riding yields some good results in terms of responsiveness, but the level of squeal between the rotor and pads is highly annoying. Don’t get me wrong, disc brakes are known to squeal when wet, but this set provides one of the loudest howls I have ever heard. This is most likely down to the metals used for the rotors.
For only £40 you can’t go wrong with the Clarks M2 hydraulic brake set, especially if you ride on the roads and basic trail paths that XC riding is known for. Stopping power is good enough for basic needs and installation is fairly straightforward if you know what you’re doing.
- Unbelievably cheap price
- Easy to install
- Stylish looks
- Good enough stopping power for XC riding
- Really loud squeal when the brake surface is wet
- Fixed bar clamp requires removal of bar grips