Hope 3.3mm Vented Rotors Review


Brake rotors have never been the most exciting part on a bicycle, but Hope is doing their best to change that with their 3.3mm thick Vented Rotors. Hope uses two discs per rotor connected with fins between them to move air through for improved cooling. These Vented Rotors come in either 203 or the huge 220mm diameters, and are only offered in the black color way for now. With huge promises of improved braking power and reliability in all conditions, let’s see if this brake rotor can live up to the hype!

Hope Vented Rotors

  • 3.3mm thick

  • 220 or 203mm options

  • 1 degree of float

  • Steel braking surface with aluminum spider

  • 6 bolt only

  • Black only

  • Best in class heat dissipation

  • 220mm: 292g | 200mm: 250g


First impressions

Right when I pulled them out of the box, I was surprised how much thicker and burlier they looked compared to the SRAM HS2’s that they replaced. While they’re only 1.3mm thicker, that’s a 65% difference and completely sets them apart from any other brake rotor on the market. Because of that thickness, these rotors are only compatible with the Hope Tech 4 V4 brakes, even complete with the same branding as you’ll find on the brake caliper. Just like Hope’s other rotors, the braking surface is steel and is attached to the aluminum centerpiece by the riveted floating discs that offer 1 degree of float. That little bit of float allows them to slightly expand with heat, and keeps the entire rotor from warping after cooking the brake on a steep descent. You won’t find a centerlock version of these rotors available for now, with 6 bolt being the only option Hope offers.

Because of it's 3.3mm thickness, the Vented Rotor must be paired with Hope's Tech 4 V4 brakes

Installation and Design

Installing these rotors was just like installing any new rotors, and after pushing the pistons back and installing new pads, these huge dinner plates slid right into place. I’ve got the 220mm version in front and the 203mm version in back. I’ve always found the 203mm standard pretty odd, and wished that we consolidated it with the 200mm rotors, but I digress, that’s all that Hope offers! Getting the new pads bedded in took a bit more effort than other rotors because warming these thick boys up takes some effort! Just pedalling and hitting the brakes in the parking lot wasn’t doing the trick, so I had to get some help from gravity before they started biting nicely.

So why the vented design? Well there are a couple of main reasons Hope has put all this effort into redesigning the brake rotor, and it mostly comes down to heat dissipation and keeping your brake system from overheating. The two methods they’re using to dissipate heat are using more material by taking inspiration from the Double Stuf Oreos and essentially stuffing two rotors between each caliper, as well as more surface area and letting air flow through the middle of them. Hope claims that this equates to 15% less heat build up in their testing compared to their standard 2mm rotors, but I’ve found that they go beyond that on the trail.

Looking down at this view might never feel normal

On trail performance

Hope claims that these rotors dissipate 15% more heat than a comparable rotor, but I found that number to be on the conservative side. After a couple days of laps in the Sun Peaks bike park (which I found to be criminally underrated), I struggled to get my brakes to overheat to the point of it affecting performance, even on the long and rough downhill tracks that park is known for. On the HS2 rotors I used as a benchmark, I would always get to the point of my levers pumping up and the bite point wandering further out in the lever throw on extended descents, but with Hope’s Vented Rotors, this was noticeably harder to achieve!

Another benefit of the Vented Rotors is how efficiently they can clear water during those rainy rides. We’re just getting back into the long winter here in Bellingham, and that means wet brakes! Normally on those rainy rides, it takes a second of weak braking and howling to clear the water from the rotor’s braking surface, but these rotors live up to Hope’s claims about their wet weather performance. I was immediately surprised at how much more immediate bite I was getting from the Vented Rotors compared to standard rotors, and I’m not sure if that’s a product of the water having an exit port when it gets smushed between the pads or if there’s some other witch craft going on, but Hope has designed a product specifically for the less than ideal riding conditions that you can expect over in the UK.

During those dry months, where predictable braking is an expectation rather than a luxury, these slotted rotors gave me exactly the performance I was looking for, with a nice predictable bite that I could count on all summer long. But when the rotors get a film of dust on them, they're prone to a high pitched squeeling sound, which doesn't affect performance at all, but was incredibly noticeable, and was only a problem on the dustiest rides. When we got back into the shoulder season and a bit of rain came back into the forecast, this concern faded into the backround and the brakes quited down, just like everything else on the bike.

A quirk of the Vented Rotors is a tinging/clicking sound they make while cooling down, just like car brakes. I'd never heard anything like that from any other mountain bike rotors before, so I feel confident in saying it's a symptom of the 2 piece design expanding when they heat up and then contracting as they cool back down. You won't hear the clicking at all while riding, but I figured I'd mention it as its a part of the whole experience!

As far as power goes, Hope’s Vented Rotors delivered the same amount of power as my HS2’s they replaced, and I wouldn’t say that the increased thickness translates to an increase in power. While they didn't make it into my initial brake review, the Hope Tech 4 V4 brakes have quickly rocketed to the top of my list of powerful stoppers.

If you want more power from your rotors, increasing the diameter is the way to go, and it also provides the added benefit of better heat dissipation, just like increasing the thickness. Another pro of the thicker rotor is their resistance to bending or warping compared to a single sheet of metal. I was definitely less worried about laying my bike down and bending a rotor, a small but welcome change.

Who are these brake rotors for?

These brake rotors are definitely not for everyone, especially with their price tag of $164.37 per end, and only being compatible with Hope’s own Tech 4 V4 brakes. If you don’t already a set of those, it comes out to over $900 to use put this brake system together, but that premium price tag comes with premium performance. Hope’s Vented Rotors manage heat far better than anything on the market, which could be the difference between your brakes overheating at the bottom of a downhill race and them keeping their cool. Plus, their wet weather performance is also significantly better than any other rotor, which I’ve really come to appreciate living in the PNW.

But if you’re counting the grams, then you are barking up the wrong tree! The 220mm Vented Rotor weighs in at 292 grams, compared to 200 grams for Hope’s more traditional 220mm Floating Rotor. That’s almost 100 grams per wheel of unsprung weight, and I’m picturing all of the XC riders spitting out their espresso while reading that. It’s certainly a compromise I’m willing to make when hurtling down the trail at mach chicken.

Everyone looking for maximum performance from their brakes and has a bit of extra money in their pocket book should absolutely get a set of the Hope Tech 4 V4 brakes with the Vented rotors, especially if you're riding an eMTB where weight isn't a factor.

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Tor Weiland



Bellingham, WA

Current Bikes: Chromag Lowdown

Bike Size: Medium/Large

Favorite Trails: Dirt Merchant in Whistler, Oriental Express on Galbraith

About Me: Hailing from the sunny landscape of California, Tor headed north and landed here in the cloudy town of Bellingham, WA. His riding style is "PINNED" and he loves to scope out those seemingly impossible triples. He loves riding and also loves sharing his experiences with others. You can catch Tor in front of the camera or behind the keyboard, but best of luck catching him on the trail!