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  1. #1
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    Avid BB7 stopping power?

    I recently bought a set of avid BB7's for my custom hardtail. They work very well for mechs and worked fine after the cables stretched, but as of late I need to really jam on the front brake to stop from 25+mph, whereas before I didn't need to use so much input force. Does anyone know why this is happening??

  2. #2
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    Cable stretches over time, and pads wear over time. Unless your pads are worn out, you likely just need to take up a bit of slack in the cable using the barrel adjuster.

    Being BB7's, you don't need to worry about uneven wear as they self adjust. BB5's are a bit more of a pain as you need to manually adjust the inside pad as the pads wear.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by VenomousDancer1234 View Post
    I recently bought a set of avid BB7's for my custom hardtail. They work very well for mechs and worked fine after the cables stretched, but as of late I need to really jam on the front brake to stop from 25+mph, whereas before I didn't need to use so much input force. Does anyone know why this is happening??
    Have you checked the inboard pad adjustment? BB7s (and pretty much all mech brakes) will give a pretty mushy lever feel and require a lot more force to stop if the inboard pad isn't nearly rubbing the rotor. Also check to make sure your travel is nearly as tight as it can be without rubbing. Maybe your cable slipped from the pinch bolt just a little?

    Are you pads contaminated? Easier to do than most people think, and they don't always make horrible sounds if they are contaminated.

    I rode with BB7s for a long time, and they work great as long as the above items are all good to go. Compressionless cable housing helps too, but not as much as proper pad adjustment. If you ride hard, BB7s will scrub pads pretty quickly, especially in wet/mud/dusty conditions.

    Good luck!

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    Its because bb7's are terrible and require constant adjustments and upkeep to function.

    For some ungodly reason they're still sort of in demand, so you can probably sell the whole setup and buy shimano without being out more than a few bucks.

    You certainly can fix them as described. You can swap rotors, do special setups, etc... or do none of that and just have consistent brakes that need no adjustments and always work.

    I ran them for 2 seasons and used all the tricks in the book. Mine did work just fine, so its not a case of me not understanding how to adjust them. I got them dialed just fine. Its just an unnecessary amount of upkeep for no benefit. Their main selling point is supposed to be simplicity, but in reality they're anything but.

  5. #5
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    BB7's do not self adjust, at least mine don't. Running organic or sintered pads? Using 180 mm rotor front and 160 rear as a minimum?

  6. #6
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    Huh, for some reason I thought BB7's didn't have the inboard adjustment! Oops!

    That will be your problem right there. Adjust your inboard pad until it's as close to the rotor as you can without it rubbing when you turn the wheel. From then on, you'll get used to turning it in a click once every few rides.

    Still running BB5's on one bike and Hayes MX4's on another bike. I've found that once you have them set up and aligned correctly, and you know how to keep on top of the minor adjustments required with the inner pad and cable tension, they are very reliable and not a problem to deal with.

    I'm running Guide's on a new bike and while they are great, and definitely my favourite brake setup I'm running currently, it's not a revolutionary change. While I wouldn't buy a set of mechanical brakes at this point, I won't be replacing my existing ones until I have need to. As far as stopping power goes, they're all on the same level.

  7. #7
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    I've had several sets of BB7s and still rave about them. Modulation might be a bit lacking but stopping power is fine on anything short of DH or aggressive Enduro.

    2 things that will make a huge difference.

    1. Correct initial setup - use the business card method
    2. they do indeed require regular maintenance for adjustment. I find I'd have to readjust mine about ever 3-4 rides. Takes all of 3 minutes to do a full reset(again business card method) or all of 5 seconds to turn the inner pad in a click with a T10. I just chalked this up as part of my regular post ride maintenance.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Its because bb7's are terrible and require constant adjustments and upkeep to function.

    For some ungodly reason they're still sort of in demand, so you can probably sell the whole setup and buy shimano without being out more than a few bucks.

    You certainly can fix them as described. You can swap rotors, do special setups, etc... or do none of that and just have consistent brakes that need no adjustments and always work.

    I ran them for 2 seasons and used all the tricks in the book. Mine did work just fine, so its not a case of me not understanding how to adjust them. I got them dialed just fine. Its just an unnecessary amount of upkeep for no benefit. Their main selling point is supposed to be simplicity, but in reality they're anything but.
    Mine work great on my commuters and touring bikes. 180 mm rotor front, 160 rear. Like 10 minutes a year in work. Really.

  9. #9
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    The self adjustment function on BB7's is, lean over, turn the knobs on both sides....they don't do that on their own. Also, the caliper only moves in from the outboard side and then pushes the disc into the fixed inboard side.
    I used them for a few years in the '90's.
    I really don't get the attraction with XT's available. But since you have them, keep them set up properly and they'll stop you.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Mine work great on my commuters and touring bikes. 180 mm rotor front, 160 rear. Like 10 minutes a year in work. Really.
    You're adjusting them once a year? That sounds like a set of brake pads a decade!

    They were much more popular about 10 years ago, and we had near constant threads about people having problems with their bb7 brakes, and tons of people still claiming how problem free they were...

    They're extremely sensitive brakes. If you dont have them dialed in, they either have a death grip that easily throws you over the bars, or they have no power. Theres too much variance, too much inconsistency... and its all for nothing.

  11. #11
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    I can turn the cable adjuster on the brake lever while I'm pedaling. Changing pads takes just a few minutes. Like I said, on the commuter and touring rigs, less wear for the most part.

  12. #12
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    You have to stay on top of the setup. I have a bike that I bought in 2010 and they still work great. I had trouble on another bike that Magura Hydro's and ordered another set of BB-7's and ran them for months. Great Brakes.
    TREK EX9 27.5

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  13. #13
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    We have a BB7 with a 203mm Aztec rotor on the front of our tandem. It stops just fine.

    BUT, if you've let the inner pad wear crooked because you didn't keep it close to the rotor (as in practically touching), when you finally adjust it, it won't work right until the pads are worn flat again. You lose a ton of brake pad surface contact if you adjust it back after a long period of neglect, so it will work like crap until the pads are flat to the rotor again. That will require frequent adjustments DURING a ride.

    ^^^This is why many people have bad experiences with BB7s.^^^

    Usually, for every click on the inside pad adjuster, you will need one click on the outer adjuster (and no cable adjustment).

    -F

    PS - But are they really 27.5-specific brakes? If you bought the 29er BB7s by mistake you'll probably die.
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeedyStein View Post
    Have you checked the inboard pad adjustment? BB7s (and pretty much all mech brakes) will give a pretty mushy lever feel and require a lot more force to stop if the inboard pad isn't nearly rubbing the rotor. Also check to make sure your travel is nearly as tight as it can be without rubbing. Maybe your cable slipped from the pinch bolt just a little?

    Are you pads contaminated? Easier to do than most people think, and they don't always make horrible sounds if they are contaminated.

    I rode with BB7s for a long time, and they work great as long as the above items are all good to go. Compressionless cable housing helps too, but not as much as proper pad adjustment. If you ride hard, BB7s will scrub pads pretty quickly, especially in wet/mud/dusty conditions.

    Good luck!

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
    Yeah, what Speedy said is spot on.
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    But are they really 27.5-specific brakes? If you bought the 29er BB7s by mistake you'll probably die.
    LOL, this! Don't even get started on the road/cyclocross/gravel/adventure versions....

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

  16. #16
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    Yeah, I do notice the shitty lever feel when compared to even cheap hydros. I do ride in very dusty conditions and I have a strange tendency to bend brake rotors. Also, my front pads make a terrible sound when I start to brake.

  17. #17
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    I have been fairly happy with my BB7 brakes on my 26" heavy hard tail. Getting them adjusted / wearing just right is my biggest complaint. Just purchased a new bike with hydro though, so now I will have something nicer to compare them to.

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