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Hydro E brake, Hydraulic Handbrake, Hydro...there are many names and many options out there for a Hydro Handbrake. It's hard to choose! Even Alibaba even has handbrakes (don't buy them). We made this unbiased ultimate guide to assist in your purchase.

Theres are six major factors we'll be judging; Comfort, Handle Ratio, Size, Strength, and Price. Out of the gate people who cheap out regret it so just don't buy anything under $200 dollars. Also keep in mind who supports and gives back to the industry when you're purchasing anything. Sending money to companies who have no intentions of helping maintain and grow the industry is a bad idea.

Aesthetic is important. This is one product you have to look at a LOT and aside from that many of us hold this as an important standard even if it sits in our engine bay.

Comfort is strictly how it feels when you pull. Some handbrakes are so poorly designed they cause blisters.

Handle Ratio is often overlooked. It's the distance from the pivot point of the handle to the clevis/pushrod from the MC divided by the total length of the handle from pivot point to middle of where your hand pulls. If its wrong you get too long of a throw or too difficult to pull. MC size, brake pads, and caliper size play a factor but we'll work off if those are sized properly.

Size is about the base. How compact it is with the MC plus the foot print. This can effect where it goes if its too tall or too wide of a footprint.

Strength is simply about how strong it is PLUS the shimmy in the handle. There is a lot of force on this product so strength is important plus it is very difficult to get a solid product with no play in the handle left-to-right or forward play.

Price as always is important. A decent designer/engineer can make something incredible with no cost restraint but sales will go down beyond a certain price point. This has to be paired with the concept that more sales = more buying power which can keep the price lower on a fantastic product.

1) HGK Hydro Handbrake

This one wins because it's good looking, compact, strong, has a modular handle ratio, and it uses a Tilton Spherical Master Cylinder which is $265 on its own. It looks great and the handle is more rounded for a comfortable feel. It's out of most folks price range at $635 USD but when you understand manufacturing and of course the high priced MC it make sense. Great group who make a lot of great products.

Aesthetics - 5
Comfort - 4
Handle Ratio - 5
Size - 4
Strength - 5
Price - 3
Total score = 26

2) Chase Bays Hydro Handbrake

Easily passes as the best bang for buck at $229 to $279, for what you get it really should be sold for more. Its a good looking piece, very compact, strong, proper handle ratio, and looks to be the most comfortable grip of all. Also had a Hoonigan x Chase Bays collab years back which is fun. More color options would be nice but apparently that will happen late 2022. Speaking of giving back, they are building a TRACK!

Aesthetics - 4
Comfort - 5
Handle Ratio - 5
Size - 4
Strength - 4
Price - 4
Total score = 26

 

3) Bakemono WRC Hydro Handbrake

This one rocks because its got a true carbon or kevlar handle and its based of the 99-06 WRC Handbrake. The handle is round which is comfortable for pulls and it has a small footprint since it uses Tilton/Alcon spherical bearing design. It's ratio could be higher so it's likely a little more difficult to pull. The con, it's $500 without a Master Cylinder. The base is simple and if they were a larger company would likely go down in price substantially with higher purchasing power.

Aesthetics - 5
Comfort - 4
Handle Ratio - 3
Size - 4
Strength - 4
Price - 2
Total score = 22

4) DriftHQ Hydro Handbrake

A nice item from a newer company. The handle is squared which can get uncomfortable during a drift day but its compact, has a proper handle ratio, and is well priced. The handle has a cool look and shows machining marks which in many design circles is frowned upon as unfinished. Overall can't go wrong with this one at $229.

Aesthetics - 3
Comfort - 3
Handle Ratio - 4
Size - 4
Strength - 4
Price - 4
Total score = 22

5) Fische Racing Tech Hydro Handbrake

Very cool aesthetically even if its bulkier than the above offerings. It is strong, has the proper handle ratio, and has a rounded handle for comfortable pulls. It's quite expensive at $395. The carbon handle is just awesome though and likely where all the cost comes in.

Aesthetics - 4
Comfort - 4
Handle Ratio - 4
Size - 2
Strength - 4
Price - 2
Total score = 20

WORST Hydro Handbrakes

You can't have a best without the worst!

1) Alibaba Special Hydro Handbrake(s)

The master cylinders are faulty out of the box, they're often rip offs of an already bad design Handbrake, the handle ratio is all wrong, they're weak and bulky. They offer zero benefit to growing our industry and of course there is no tech support. They're really cheap so the price score is hard, it's a 4 simply based on it being cheap but really you'll get an expensive paper weight.

Aesthetics - 1
Comfort - 1
Handle Ratio - 2
Size - 2
Strength - 3
Price - 4
Total score = 12

2) Voodoo Hydro Handbrake

This handbrake came out after Chase Bays released their compact Hydro Handbrake so we're not sure what was going on over there. It's the biggest bulkiest handbrake one could think of. It isn't aesthetically pleasing at all. The handle ratio is way too high and would create a massive sweep of a pull. It's INSANELY overpriced at $465 dollars. I can't imagine why anyone would want this. The only pro is it looks to be strong...which is easy when it's that large.

Aesthetics - 1
Comfort - 1
Handle Ratio - 3
Size - 1
Strength - 4
Price - 1
Total score = 12

 

3) ASD Hydro Handbrake

This was an early design in the drift world. It works and there's some reputable cars that use it in their competition drift car. But it's got a lot of problems. The base is very tall compared to modern designs, it's over 5" tall at the top of the MC mounting point, it's just a Wilwood under dash pedal base flipped upside down. The handle is very thin and will actually make your hand blister and bleed on a drift day. The ratio is actually too high and makes for a very long throw. The base has two mounting holes that are inline, you'll notice if you've used one it wants to bend left and right even if mounted on reinforced steel. It's just simply unappealing from a design perspective. Aside from that it is strong and holds together over time. Overpriced compared to the rest of the market.

Aesthetics - 1
Comfort - 1
Handle Ratio - 3
Size - 2
Strength - 4
Price - 3
Total score = 14

 

 

Thanks for reading! Make the right choice!