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Hope Bleed and Die :-) Or how to bleed a Hope Mono Mini disk brake set

This is something I did just before setting out for a MOB ride, and I don’t recommend doing that for the first time. You will find that you spill oil everywhere and getting oil on your disk brakes + pads is not recommended. Nor on your clothes, pets, baby or jibadeng (why would you want to do that anyway and who knows the correct pinyin for the beast? :P)

So, here are some pictures to explain the process. This is using the ‘My Little Bleeder’ kit from Hope, and a Hope Mono Mini setup but it will work chabuduo the same for other Hope hydraulic brakes. If you do not have the kit, I suggest getting one, or if you are with the MOB, asking nicely 😉

First. Read the instructions. Don’t start to do anything. Did you understand them? Good. Ignore this post. You are obviously looking for something else. If not, read on…

My Little Bleeder - small picture

If like me, you are wondering why the hell you need to put a hole in that damn bottle, then read this.

Get an empty (really empty and clean) plastic bottle. Actually do not use a coke bottle like I did, but use something a bit heavier duty with a wider neck. You will understand better when you have to turn the bleed valve back to close it 🙂 (hint, that spare short hose comes out from the bleed valve and into the bottle. When you – finally- frantically close the valve with that f-ing no8 spanner, chances are you wil be using both hands and yup, that damn hose just turned as well and popped out of bottle or off the valve. oh fuck I forgot to remove the pressure from the tyre. curse. mop. curse.shout at cat trying to lick the oil. etc etc).

OK – check out My Little Bleeder – the big picture you will notice that the cap for the master cylinder is setup, do the same, check Master Cylinder installed, screw on, washer, cap, washer, screw - tighten

now you see the rubber seal. Now comes first tricky part, you should have the pressure bottle preassembled and have just added the master cylinder bit. you also need the two screws that came in the bag that will secure the whole thing. these are different from the screws that come with the actual Hope master cylinder (different Allen number). You can unscrew the master cylinder – making sure it is as level as possible to avoid fluid spilling out. and safeguard the top plate and screws. now place the kits top plate (the right way round) making sure the seal is ok and then screw in the plate. You are at step 4 of the bleeding manual. You can safely unscrew the bottle and fill it up with the brake fluid – use *all* the bottle you will otherwise just bleed air into your system as you will never be quick enough to catch it before all the oil has poured through.

Next put the tube onto the bleeding valve, this is protected by a rubber cap, again place in a safe place. place tube into your (clean) bottle. Unscrew the bleeding valve half a turn. Now the instructions clearly ‘hope’ your 8mm spanner will erm, stay there. yeah, right. Your setup now looks like this – you are on step 5

Kit ready to go - just missing that 25Psied Bibendum!

Connect tyre with car valve (Schrader) at 20-25 PSI. Low pressure is fine, the bottle acts as an oil feed, the air just forces the oil through the system. You should be getting oil flowing into the bottle! Nothing is happening, panic, oil is seeping out of the master cylinder? You forgot to open that bleeding valve! Remove tyre, open that valve. Start again.

Do as manual says, pump the brake a few times while oil goes through. Promptly remove tyre. Panic stations and tighten that bleed valve before air magically goes back into the system. Did it all work? HURRAY!! you have done your first bleed!

Did it not work? Did air go back in, did you forget to first unplug the tyre before closing the bleed valve, did all the oil go through as you watched in fascination etc etc?? Luckily you can try again. The Hope system has bleeding hopeless instructions but the system is itself very cute and well designed.

Now you can remove the master cylinder cap and place back the usual one. Remember to put back that rubber bleed valve cap and you can now proceed to doing the other brake, or mop up the floor.

I am unsure if the oil is reusable, it looks like it is. If unsure, purge the system first (don’t put oil in the bottle, just connect the tyre to the setup) and then recycle the used brake oil.

My brakes have stopped howling (too much oil in the system – the high summer temps causes too much pressure) and the feel of the braking is more reassuring.

Remark for Hope – why use a 12mm pattern for the bolts for the master cylinder cover assembly? They are not part of the standard bike toolkits (Topeak Alien or Crank Bros 🙁 )

Now I have to work out why XTR rotors seem to give much better results than the Hope ones, and why the Hope brake pads seem to be rather weak, they don’t last that well, they become brittle around the edges and seem to need replacing quite often. If anyone has any idea if Swissstop pads are better, please say so!

Thanks, and I hope this has been useful! Let me know if I forgot something (I am sure I have :-/ )

Index of pictures

Kit in full rig

Top of rig, master cylinder connected

Kit components, including bag containing screws for the mster cylinder assembly
Detail of the master cylinder part, after assembly, without the rubber liner.

now sleep!


1 Jonathan Biddle { 06.23.07 at 3:08 pm }

Thank you!

The funny thing is – I am a British mountain biker here in Taipei, and I have been trying to fix my bloody hopes for weeks… I ordered the bleed kit… read the instructions… and googled ‘Hope my little bleeder’… and you came top!

I am actually planning to move to BJ at the end of the summer. How is the riding out there? Taiwan is pretty rocking, and that is one big reason I do not want to move to Shanghai. Thanks for the tips!

From Jonathan (whos tiny apartment is now spread with tools and manuals and parcel force kits of seals and pads)

2 Jonathan Biddle { 06.23.07 at 6:04 pm }

Just for reference, I also referred to these two articles today which i found useful:

It could be cool to put a link on their site back to this one – sure some people would find it useful.

Anyway – super thanks for the guide. I now have an almost working bike again.


3 patrick { 06.24.07 at 4:09 pm }

hey Jonathan! Thanks for the feedback, I am really happy that I have been able to help a bit, yes trying to find a simple guide was a real problem, and those instructions are just plain weird when you read them. Probably bad weed 😛
Went to the sicklines site – very good manual but like, way too technical and luckily I dont have to dismantle the brakes in order to do a bleed. If you just want to bleed the brakes and you see that guide you will most likely crap yourself in fear. But if you need to do the whole hog and bleed the brakes without a kit, then it is very detailed about what needs to be done.

4 patrick { 06.24.07 at 4:16 pm }

Re BJ and MTB. well you definitely are coming to one of the right places 😉 Me and Xingou ‘run’ the MOB and organise weekly rides out into the mountains. Yesterday the 23/06 we went to Lingshan, one of the most beautiful rides out there, with a long ‘hike a bike’ section but with great rewards and a fabulously entertaining single track section. Shangers is a bit more difficult, but there are guys who go out to Moganshan nearly every weekend, this is also a fabulous place to go to, but you need to stay the whole w-e, it is a 3.5-4 hour ride out. Go to and signup when you get close to your arrival date to check on what will happen.

5 Jonathan Biddle { 06.25.07 at 10:29 pm }

not sure if you can read ROC posts in the PRC, but this was one of our recent rides. A real belter!

6 patrick { 06.29.07 at 12:19 pm }

Hi Jonathan, that one is an absolute corker! fantastic pix and ride. My Ellsworth would kill me, it is not too heavy, but just heavy enough for me not to want to carry it too much. Our Lingshan ride has some bike carrying bits, but nothing like yours. Moganshan is in a bamboo zone – although I don’t know if it has any zen experience bridges 😛

7 Trevor Parsons { 08.09.09 at 6:11 am }

Excellent instructions, thanks to which I just bled my brake myself for the first time having owned the bike for 5 years. Well chuffed!

8 patrick { 08.11.09 at 9:57 pm }

Yihaa!! Cool, glad I did something of use 🙂
I am now the owner of Hope M4 Red – which have a different cover for the reservoir, argh… so I have to find a new top next time I go to Flying Ball :-/

9 adam { 01.18.10 at 3:21 am }


Hope standard pads are organic, and they are pants. Get the sintered pads, they last longer and have more stopping power as they are a mix of metal and friction material compressed under high pressure at high temp, so they are stronger and act more predictably, just like real car brakes.

Brake fluid, especially 5.1, absorbs water, so if you plan to reuse the excess after bleeding, you need to store it carefully. Best to just buy fresh and have peace of mind.


10 patrick { 01.18.10 at 8:47 pm }

Hi adam, thanks for that info about 5.1 brake fluid, as I (inadvertently) put the used fluid into the new when doing the bleed I may have contaminated it for future use. bugger.
On the other hand, my replacement Hope pads were sintered, and they are pretty pants like as they are very brittle so the pad breaks off at the edges in little flakes. they only last 500-1000KM of normal use and lose their braking power well before that. I got some A2Z pads but never tried them. Swissstop most likely best bet for replacement pads. *but hard to get here and expen$ive!)