Clarks release new 'premium' brakes with trick-looking levers and hope-fully lots of power

CRS C4 brake
(Image credit: CRS)

Clarks have been a hydraulic disk brake mainstay on budget mountain bikes for a long time, but now they have launched a new wing named CRS (Clarks Race Series) and released two new brakes aimed at performance riders.

Following the same format of TRP (Tektro Racing Products) and Tektro, CRS's new two-pot and four-pot brakes look to compete with the best mountain bike brakes in terms of performance but at a considerably cheaper price point.

The new brakes not only share many of the features that are common on top-spec brakes either, but they also bear a striking resemblance to other brake components that are already on the market.

The Hope-esque calipers are available in two or four-pot formats and use a single-piece CNC caliper with self-adjusting pistons. The two-pot calipers feature 22mm pistons while the four-pot has 16mm pistons. The four-pot gets a cooling fin upgrade but both calipers are Shimano-compatible so spares won't be a problem.

CRS C2 brake

The CRS C2 brake offers a lighter weight single pot option for cross-country and casual trail riders (Image credit: CRS)

Both brakes use the same two-finger brake levers which feature ergonomic vented lever blades. There is a 2mm hex reach adjustment screw positioned behind the two-pot lever but the four-pot gets a tool-less thumbscrew for on-the-fly adjustments. The lever blade and minimal handlebar clamp share some similarities with Trickstuff's brake levers, although the lever body on the CRS brakes is considerably larger.

The system uses mineral oil rather than DOT, which is less damaging to the environment and should make the bleeding process easier as it doesn't corode skin or paint.

To sweeten the deal the brakes also come with floating rotors. These use a CNC aluminum inner and a steel braking surface. The rotors are available in 160mm, 180mm, and 203mm sizes to cover all uses from cross-country to e-MTB.

CRS C4 brake set

The brakes come as a front and rear set and includes rotors and mounting hardware (Image credit: CRS)

CRS claim the C2 brakes weigh 218g for the front caliper and lever and 238g for the rear caliper and lever, while the C4 weighs 236g for the front caliper and lever and 254g for the rear caliper and lever. That means they are on par with SRAM's Level Silver Stealth 2 Piston although CRS doesn't confirm whether these weights are for a fully bled brake. The 160mm rotor comes in at 108g and the 136g for the 180mm rotor.

CRS says the brakes are available now, with the CSR C2 priced at $TBC / £129.99 and the CSR C4 at $TBC / £199.99. Those prices aren't just for one brake, they include front and rear brakes, rotors, and all the mounting hardware with is spectacularly cheap.

Graham Cottingham
Senior reviews writer, Bike Perfect

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road, based in Edinburgh he has some of the best mountain biking and gravel riding in the UK on his doorstep. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro, and gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotland's wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes, or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect.

Rides: Cotic SolarisMax, Stooge MK4, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg