Most of the updates to the Tech 4 lineup come at the lever end. And by that, I mean that the entire lever assembly has been completely redesigned from the prior Tech 3 generation. At the center of Hope’s goals for the redesign was an increase in power — which they claim is up 30% over the Tech 3 brakes — through a combination of increasing hydraulic and mechanical leverage ratio.
[If you want a more in-depth explanation of what all that means, check out the “Design” section of our Cascade Components North Fork brake caliper review. But in short, Hope has increased the mechanical advantage of the Tech 4 lever by both reducing the size of the master cylinder piston (to 9.5 mm in diameter, from 10 mm) and increasing the leverage of the lever blade itself.]
Hope’s longstanding tool-free reach and bite-point adjusters carry over largely unchanged from the Tech 3 brakes, though Hope does say that the exact leverage curve has been changed to provide more at the bite point. I’m on the record as finding contact-point adjustments to be not terribly useful since, as implemented on most brakes (the Magura MT7 HC3 being the only counterexample that I’m aware of), they simply make for a period of dead stroke in the lever throw before the brake starts building line pressure, but there’s one here if you want it.
Hope has made a number of refinements to the ergonomics and feel of the Tech 4 levers, including revising the seal design to reduce friction and adding cartridge bearings to the lever pivot with the same goal in mind. All of that allows Hope to use a lighter lever return spring in the new Tech 4 lever, which makes for a lighter lever feel and Hope says also helps reduce hand fatigue, especially on longer descents.
The Tech 4 levers are right- and left-side specific, but no matter which lever you order, the brakes ship with a full-length hose so there are no headaches in swapping hoses around, no matter which side of the bike you run the front and rear brakes. The standard hose option is a fairly typical plastic and kevlar affair; braided stainless steel lines are available for a $15 upcharge, and are said to offer a slightly firmer lever feel due to reduced expansion under pressure, at the cost of, well, cost, and a bit of weight. The Tech 4 brakes still use DOT fluid and are machined in Hope’s own facility in Barnoldswick, UK. Hope’s classic options for anodized colors (black, silver, blue, red, orange, and purple) carry over as well, though the caliper and lever body are now offered in black or silver only, and the colored bits are limited to accent pieces.