Hayes used to be the holy grail of MTB brakes, but the brand slowly faded into obscurity in the late 2000s. But, have we been missing out? Hayes have made something of a comeback over the last few years, so we decided to test out the Hayes Dominion T4 against 13 of the best brakes on the market.

Learn more about this comparison test: The best MTB disc brakes – 14 MTB brakes in comparison

Hayes Dominion T4 | Four piston | DOT | semi-metallic pads | 530 g (Set without rotor) | € 720 (Set without rotor) | Manufacturer’s website

Did you know that American manufacturer Hayes Performance Systems is the global manufacturer behind Hayes, Manitou, Reynolds, SUNringlé and ProTaper? Their headquarters are located on Lake Michigan in Wisconsin, which is where Hayes develop and test their brakes. In our 2024 brake group test, we put the € 720 Dominion T4 through the wringer to see how they fare against the competition.

Hayes brakes are available in four variants, A2, T2, A4 and T4. T stands for titanium and A for alloy, while the numbers stand for the numbers of pistons in each calliper. The four piston Dominion T4 we tested tips the scales at 530 g, which makes it the lightest brake in the entire test field. However, together with the SRAM MAVEN, it’s also the second most expensive on test, right after the shiny Trickstuff MAXIMA. The titanium hardware, carbon levers and composite reservoir cover help keep the weight down. The downside: the lever reach and bit point can only be adjusted using an Allen key, meaning that you can’t make on-the-fly adjustments while riding. If you’re not too fussed about weight, we recommend reaching for the Hayes Dominion A4, which is € 190 cheaper and only weighs a few more grams, delivering the same performance on the trail, but with the added benefit of practical, tool-free lever reach adjustment.

Bleeding the Hayes Dominion T4 with the two syringes requires some care, because the calliper has two bleed ports. For normal bleeding, you’ll just have to connect the lower syringe to the left-hand bleed port, while a “restore” bleed, for example after servicing the calliper or replacing the seals, you should bleed the right-hand port first. As far as the bleeding procedure goes, this is the same as with most other brakes. However, if you splash brake fluid on your skin, you should rinse immediately with plenty of water, because DOT fluid can be harmful to the skin (and paint) in the long run.

Another striking feature is the Crosshair Alignment system, consisting of a small grub screw inside each calliper mount point, which allows you to finely adjust the position of the brake to ensure perfect alignment and a drag-free experience. The good thing about it is that the pads will stay in the same position after replacement, even if you take the calliper off the fork or frame – goodbye squeaky brakes!

Unfortunately, the Dominion’s lever reach and bite point adjustments require a tool.

Hayes Dominion T4 brakes on test

When touching the Hayes brakes for the first time, your hands are in for a treat. The ergonomic carbon lever blade is easy to grab and doesn’t feel as “cold” as an alloy lever, ensuring a very pleasant feel. However, make sure you adjust the lever reach before leaving home, because this can be a pain to do with a multi tool on the trail, a fraction of a turn at a time. The free stroke before the bite point is super smooth, while the bite point itself is pleasantly snappy, yet easy to modulate. The Hayes engage rapidly and have a defined lever feel when the pads touch the rotor. As a result, the braking force is easy to modulate, with the brake delivering more than enough power in all situations. This is confirmed by our laboratory tests, where the Hayes Dominion T4 placed fifth, right behind the Shimano XTR and above the XTs. Strikingly: with Sinter’s aftermarket Green brake pads, the Hayes’ braking performance improves by almost 15%, catapulting them into the top 3 in this test. According to our BrakeAce data, the Hayes delivered a nearly identical performance as the new SRAM MAVEN, which was its biggest rival in the fight for the title. However, the two brakes have a totally different brake feel, meaning that it’s more a matter of taste rather than a clean victory. The Maven has SRAM’s typical brake feel with a softer bite point and great modulation, while the Hayes is simply nice and crisp. In the end, the Hayes secured Best in Test in our big 2024 brake comparison test, albeit by a small margin.

Our conclusions about the Hayes Dominion T4

In our 2024 MTB brake comparison test, Hayes made it from an insider tip to test winner! The Dominion T4 deliver a tremendous performance, both on the trail with their pleasant brake feel, and in the lab with excellent data. Yes, it’s a huge comeback! If the impressive power and lever feel wasn’t enough, the Hayes Dominion T4 comes out on top of the competition with the lowest weight, along with useful technical features like the Crosshair Alignment system.


  • Powerful deceleration, excellent modulation
  • Light
  • Top lever ergonomics and haptics
  • Finely adjustable callipers


  • Finicky lever reach adjustment

For more info, visit hayesbicycle.com

Find the overview of this comparison test here: The best MTB disc brakes – 14 MTB brakes in comparison

All brakes in test:
Formula Cura 4 | Hayes Dominion T4 | Hope Tech 4 V4 | MAGURA MT5 Pro | MAGURA MT7 | Shimano SLX | Shimano XT | Shimano XTR | SRAM CODE Bronze Stealth | SRAM CODE Ultimate Stealth | SRAM MAVEN Ultimate | Trickstuff MAXIMA | TRP DH-R EVO | TRP Trail EVO |

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Words: Julian Schwede Photos: Peter Walker