How to: Fix Hayes Stroker Trail Slow Lever Return
Eventually, all disc brake levers will lose that snap they had when they were brand new. They won't return as quickly and will often feel mushy, reducing confidence on big descents. Fortunately, for owners of Hayes Stroker Trail (and similar) disc brakes, there is a kit that is available for free to remedy this issue.
I've had this set of Hayes Stroker Trail disc brakes on my bike for close to 7 years. I've never had to do anything major, aside from normal maintenance. Recently, however, the levers became noticeably slow to return and just felt... old.
After some searching online, I found that people have called Hayes and asked for a kit to fix this slow returning lever issue. I got in contact with them through email and they promptly sent me this kit for free:
It has 2 pistons, 2 springs, 2 retaining clips, a bleed fitting, and some lube for the bushings. The pistons were actually redesigned and look different from the stock ones. I guess they're supposed to have lower friction. Along with these items was a printout with some directions on how to swap in these new parts.
Here's a step-by-step process illustrating how I followed this procedure (Video and write-up below):
Step 1: Remove lever pivot pin set screw (2mm hex)
Step 2: Slide out lever pivot pin
Step 3: Remove (2) bushings
Step 4: Unscrew lever reach adjuster to completely remove lever
Step 5: With safety goggles on, use snap ring pliers to remove retaining ring from piston shaft.
Step 6: Pull out piston shaft, piston and spring. Be careful, as some brake fluid may leak out.
Step 7: Not really an action item, but look at the difference between the stock piston and the redesigned one. The new one is on the top, and is supposed to be designed not to bind up as much.
Step 8: Attach new spring to new piston, insert back into master cylinder.
Step 9: Depress existing piston shaft into master cylinder and secure using the provided new retaining ring using snap ring pliers (wear safety goggles).
Step 10: Reattach lever via reach adjuster knob and reinsert pivot pin and secure with 2mm hex set screw.
Step 11: Bleed the brake. Instructions on how to do this are widely available. There's a good tutorial by Hayes on YouTube that I followed.
Step 12: Enjoy the brand new feel of your brakes!