Brakes Whose 203mm brakes has a positive reputation?


Well-known member
Local time
10:02 PM
Oct 22, 2023
Southern Arizona
My bike came with 160mm DYIsland hydraulic brakes. They do get the job done, but I am itching for a bit more.
I saw a dual piston (per caliper) Tektro HD-e730 brakes which seemed to check all the boxes, but, I am pausing on the purchase.
I would like to hear who has a full 203mm dual-piston Hydraulic kit for those going from smaller disks to a larger disk.

I am a real "bang for your buck guy". I don't have a strong attraction to paying a premium price, if it is only for a label.
But, if one of the big guys is really doing it right, I could be tempted.

I find some vendors use misleading titles, they refer to their products as "dual piston", but they only have ONE piston per caliper.
This is also true of the Tektro, which advertises as 4-piston, but looking at the image it is clear it is only TWO pistons per caliper.

I do like how Shimano has engineered their brakes to make bleeding them a less fussy event.

Please, come at me with your opinions, they will all be useful.
Shimano, Hope, and Magura are all good quality brands. Floating rotors are worth it, especially if you have any noise issues. Amazon, and eBay are my favorite go to for these kind of parts.
I am holding a Tektro E730 calliper in my hand and it is twice the size of the E350 I’m about to replace it with and it has twice the number of pistons - however you want to describe them. To me the two big advantages are the extra calliper power coupled with 2.3mm rotors verse the usual 1.8mm. If weight isn’t an issue for you then no contest. Tektro seem to have been at the forefront of ebike brake systems, maybe even more so than Shimano, and I’ve never had a problem with them.
I’m installing the E730’s on a class III behemoth of a cafe cruiser which needs more stopping power.
What @NZSimon says about 2.3mm rotors is absolutely worth paying attention to. The Tektro Type 17 rotor is 2.3mm thick, and it was originally a niche product marketed by Tektro and selling in very small volume, since they were marketing it as a downhill-mtb rotor. For the first couple of years I used them, they were really tough to find and only carried by a few specialty outlets.

Then someone at Tektro got the bright idea of calling it an ebike rotor - no change to the product whatsoever - and boom they are everywhere now.

Their advantage is they are more warp-resistant, and since a brake rotor is a heat sink, more material means more heat can sink into it (hence the downhill application). They also last longer since their wear-point is 1.8mm. I think in five years I have worn out one of them, and I use them on several bikes. But at 2.3mm they are too fat to fit on most brake calipers. They fit on the Tektro calipers of course, but they also fit on Magura calipers, both the 2-piston MT4 class and the various 4-piston MT5 and MT7 flavors. I used MT4's with them on one bike, but everywhere else it has been 4-piston MT5's all the way. Magura rotors are 2.1mm thick, so the calipers are made to handle wider rotors. They take the 2.3 Tektro's with no room to spare... but in 2023 they work with a fresh rotor and pad combo. A few years ago I had to sub in slightly worn pads with a new rotor, but Magura has apparently made some kind of change so that is no longer necessary.

One last point: Even though the Type 17 rotor has gone up in price, it hasn't gone up by much. These are the best rotors you can buy, and they cost a fraction of the foo-foo fancy and floating rotor options out there sold by Shimano, Magura et al. In particular I would not do floating rotors. In addition to the astronomical price, something I found with floating rotors is yeah they have less rotational mass, but alloy hats mean less effective material to sink heat into and you end up with rotors that get hotter as a result (the fast-cooling alloy center does not overcome its lack of capacity versus a simple steel center).

For me, Magura 4-piston MT5 calipers, purchased online from an authorized dealer for quite a bit less than MSRP, coupled to Tektro Type 17 rotors are the way to go. They never leak, have splendid modulation so 2-finger braking in extreme circumstances is still possible, and the pads self-center so they never need adjustment. Just drop in the pads and forget about them until you need to replace them. Worth noting: The MT5 and MT7 calipers are identical, so as soon as you wear out the 2-piece MT5 pads, replace them with 4-piece MT7 pads and gain a clamping advantage.
I appreciate much of the information. The Magura MT5e was also on my radar as well. It and the Tektro E730 seem to sit at about the same price point within a few dollars.

I am also considering "trying" a 203mm disk on the front, and an 180mm disk on the rear with Post-Style adapters with my existing calipers.
I am unsure whether I could be satisfied with my DYIsland, if they were working with larger disks. To that end, I have some Magura disks on hand, and the adapters on order.
I try and stick to 203mm rotors front and rear on all my bikes. My thinking is that just like prescription drugs, if the recommended dose is good, a bigger one must be better.

More seriously, I have never had an issue with 203mm rotors on frames and forks where the limit is supposed to be 180. Part of this may be braking technique, but I have panic stops just like everyone does and all the technique in the world goes out the window when you have an ohs**t moment. Still no problems.

And with that said, after going big on bike after bike and swearing by it, I built one a couple of years ago based on a 1999 mtb frame and fork. disc brakes were in relative infancy then and so were the brake mounts. I still did the MT5e's, but stuck to the back-in-the-day rotor sizes of 160 in the front and 180 rear. Guess what? Braking was just as effective. It was a lightweight, nimble mtb, but still I was surprised at no noticeable difference.

And ... I had more than ample opportunity to test the brakes on its weeklong maiden voyage.