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Bleeding Hope Minis

The first brake bleed that you do will probably feel horribly clumsy and fiddly. Don’t panic – it gets easier every time. Once you’ve assembled your bleed kit, you’ll know you have everything you need so it’s a good idea to store it all in a dedicated plastic box with a tight fitting lid to avoid the inevitable dribbles of fluid escaping into the rest of the toolbox.

Hope Minis are my favourite brakes, and are likely to be around a while. They work very well, weigh very little, look pretty and are made by the same nice people from the north of England who answer the phone in a reassuring Lancashire accent to respond to your technical questions with useful, friendly answers. Hopefully you won’t need to do anything to yours for years after fitting them except change the pads. The Hope Minis use DOT 5.1 fluid, which you can buy in small bottles from car spares shops. Don’t buy a large bottle because the fluid absorbs water and becomes ineffective once the seal has been broken.

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Step 1: Remove the wheel. The brake pads must be removed to avoid contamination – remove the spring clip on the brake pad retaining pin, remove the pad retaining pin and slide out the pads and spring. Wiggle a tyre lever into the calliper slot and push the slave pistons right back home inside the calliper. Squeeze a wedge of cardboard between the pistons to ensure they don’t move during the bleed process.

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Step 2: Remove the plastic cover from the bleed nipple on the calliper. Put an 8mm spanner over the flats on the nipple, then push-fit a short length of plastic hose over the nipple. Lubricate reluctant tubes with brake fluid. Tape the other end of the tube into a plastic bottle and secure to your frame or forks. Wrap a rag around the lever to catch overspill, because brake fluid is corrosive.

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Step 3: Hope Tech levers are ambidextrous (the same lever can be used on either side) and so have a reservoir cap [A] on the top and the bottom of the lever. Loosen the brake lever clamp bolts and roll the lever so that the reservoir is level. Dial the bite adjuster as far out as possible, then remove the upper top cap and the black rubber diaphragm. Stash somewhere clean.

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Step 4: Fill the master cylinder almost full. Open the bleed nipple one quarter-turn. Pull the brake lever gently, forcing fluid and air bubbles through the system and out of the bleed nipple. Hold the brake lever on, close the bleed nipple. Release the brake lever gently, drawing fluid into the hose from the master cylinder. Top up the master cylinder. Repeat until there are no more air bubbles. Close the bleed nipple.

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Step 5: Refit diaphragm and reservoir cap and rotate the lever on the bars so it points directly downwards. Pump the lever, allowing any air trapped in the master cylinder bore to rise into the master cylinder. Rotate the lever so that the reservoir cover is level again, and remove the top cap and diaphragm. The fluid level will have dropped – top up the reservoir so it is completely full.

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Step 6: Take a new diaphragm and roll it onto the reservoir (this ensures that no air gets trapped between the diaphragm and lever). Refit the top cap carefully so it sits in the correct groove of the diaphragm. Don’t force it as you will damage the diaphragm. Realign and secure brake levers. Remove the bleed tube and replace the cover. Refit brake pads and wheel then pump lever to settle the pistons.