1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
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    Are Disc Brakes Over-rated For Low End Mountain Bikes?

    First of all, I know that disc brakes are better than V-brakes. However, it seems like on the lower end mountain bikes I've test ridden (around $500), it seems like V-brakes not only stop better, but they require fewer adjustments and don't have the break in period that disc brakes have.

    It seems that in some cases, if your budget is less than $500, you are almost better off getting V-brakes, because in addition to the reasons I've mentioned above, you will save about $100 on the sticker price of the bike. I've also heard horror stories of people who purchased bikes with disc brakes where they can be difficult to adjust, but I suppose that will depend on the model of the disc brakes purchased. What are your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Master of Disaster
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    I suppose that if you rarely ride in the wet or mud, don't have long downhills and don't ding up your rims, then, yeah, V-brakes could be cheaper and more efficient than discs.

    Personally, I've got XT M775's on my bike and love 'em.

  3. #3
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Are you trying to tell other people not to buy cheap discs, or make a decision yourself?

    I learned to ride in the "bad old days" when disc brakes were only just starting to show up on a few DH bikes. V-brakes worked fine then, and while I'm quite fond of my hydraulic disc brakes, I haven't been that impressed with Tektro IOs and Avid BB5s - the mechanicals I've got some saddle time on. However, it depends on the circumstances. Even a fairly bad mechanical disc can outperform Vs on days that get mud or oily water all over the rims.

    Starting on a bike with discs makes it easier to get nicer brakes later, if you're the sort to chip away at the build on your bike over time. I just don't think people should be that impressed by the presence of disc brakes (or suspension, for that matter.) People say BB7s are a big improvement over 5s. I haven't got the experience in that particular part to comment.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
    It's about showing up.
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    V-brakes new are about as good as they will ever be.

    Don't sweat the break-in period with discs it will be well worth it

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
    I haven't been that impressed with Tektro IOs and Avid BB5s - the mechanicals I've got some saddle time on.
    That's exactly what I'm referring to. Some of the bikes I've test ridden with disc brakes seem fine, but on others, you can totally hear the disc rubbing against the calipers, and you really have to squeeze hard to make the brakes stop! I suppose, however, as eluded to above that in wet / oily / muddy conditions, it would be better to have disc brakes.

  6. #6
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    I went from v-brakes to bb7's about 1.5 years ago with no regrets whatsoever. My experience so far has been that they stop great and are infinitely easier to adjust, but that could also be because I never really learned to adjust v-brakes properly.

  7. #7
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    well... it depends when and how your daily ride is. if you ride in rain or shine, discs. if you just ride shine, V-brakes.

    if your on downhill, Discs. if your just on a slight downgrade, v-brakes.

    i personally think those discs you tried may have been containminated OR the pads are crap. Also in the long run, i think discs/pads last alot longer than v-brakes.

  8. #8
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    Subscribing : popcornsmiley:
    Mid 90's Trek 820
    2011 Trek 4300

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip
    . I've also heard horror stories of people who purchased bikes with disc brakes where they can be difficult to adjust,
    My experience is with the Tektro IO. Its not that they are hard to adjust, its that you are adjusting them quite frequently, and as a result you become quite proficient at the task.

    What is your goal with the new bike? If it is just to get started and you will buy a better bike later, the V-brakes will work just fine in the interim--people have been using V-brakes effectively for years. If you plan on upgrading your ride as you go, you may want to start with the cheap disc brakes, so that you know your frame, fork and wheels are already disc brake compatible.

    An upgrade to Avid Juice 3's would cost about $140.

  10. #10
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    big ruckus, are those Avid Juice 3s good? im wanting to replace my Shimano Deore XT set

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattlikestobike
    big ruckus, are those Avid Juice 3s good? im wanting to replace my Shimano Deore XT set
    Avid Juicy 3's are entry level Hydros. They are better than entry level mechanicals as they do not require constant pad adjustment.

    You want to upgrade from XT disc brakeset like the M-775's? The Deore XT disc brakes are pretty good. Or are you talking about Shimano V Brakes?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigRuckus
    Avid Juicy 3's are entry level Hydros. They are better than entry level mechanicals as they do not require constant pad adjustment.

    You want to upgrade from XT disc brakeset like the M-775's? The Deore XT disc brakes are pretty good. Or are you talking about Shimano V Brakes?
    oh. no wonder their price point was low.

    Yes, i have the XT disc brake set, i believe the M775.

  13. #13
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    If XT-level stuff works correctly, there is no "upgrade" from it. You can get lighter components, or components that are better at a certain task, but not something that's better the way that XT stuff is better than Acera stuff. Do your current brakes work right? If not, have you tried to fix them?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    I have some Shimano V brakes on my winter beater bike (26" rigid). After only using discs on mountain bikes for years, I was worried I would have problems with mud and snow, but honestly, I was very happy with them. No, I don't ride the bike nearly as hard as my fancy bike, but we are talking about beginner riders on entry level bikes.

    Another anecdote, I've had to borrow my dad's bike twice (older GF Sugar) for races when dealing with frame failures in the past. His bike has Promax V brakes. Both races were in the fall, and a little bit muddy. Though the performance of the Vs was below what I was used to, they were still manageable.

    Comparing some half decent V brakes to Tektro IO and Avid BB5, I think that the difference is not quite as big as some may suggest. Both systems require fairly regular adjustments to compensate for pad wear.

    FWIW I weigh about 155 lbs.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


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  15. #15
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    Thanks for all the responses. Another question: if you wanted to upgrade to disc brakes at some point, what would be the next step up from Tektro or Avid BBs? Also, what would a low end disc brake ready wheelset cost?

  16. #16
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I went to Avid Elixir 5s. It's the same mechanism throughout the Elixir line, but the more expensive ones have more adjustments and are lighter. My mechanic and I talked about it and decided that if I couldn't see the label on the brakes, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Of course, if I'd wanted to be able to adjust pad contact and reach without a tool, I'd have had to pay more. If you want to do the newbie thing and get successive incrementally better brakes, maybe the Shimano 400-level brakes, or Tektro's basic hydro. Never used either of those systems, though.

    The lowest-end wheelsets that I'd consider worth owning are probably the basic rims on XT hubs that bicyclewheelwarehouse carries. Some of their specials are under $150 for the set. It depends what you want, though - if you'd like to get weight down a little, you need to spend twice as much. Wheelsets over a certain point, maybe $400, start getting more expensive because the hubs are more expensive. Usually lighter, sometimes not actually more reliable, though. You also start getting into non-traditional wheelsets - less than 28 spokes, funny spoking patterns, funny spokes, etc. A few of those might make a difference to someone racing Expert or Open in a competitive region, but a lot of them, I think, are just designed to separate easily impressed people from their money, and some actually have higher rotational inertia about the hub.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  17. #17
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    Tektro IOs are crap. My friend got a cheap bike with them, and they needed constant adjustment, and the pads kept glazing and squealing. Eventually he had to replace both sets of pads with aftermarket ones for $20/pair just to get them working alright. V brakes are probably better than IOs.

    BB5's are alright, but difficult to keep in adjustment since they lack an outer pad adjustment knob. I've gotten the technique down so I can always adjust them for enough stopping power, but I choose to live with some constant rubbing in the front to maximize power. I bought a BB7 for the front, and I'll put that on as soon as the BB5 gets out of whack again. I would say BB5's are better than V brakes if you don't mind spending the time to keep them adjusted, and BB7's are certainly better.

    My other bike has Juicy 3's, and they are great. I rode all summer with essentially no adjustments at all.
    Matt

  18. #18
    usually cranky
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    tektro entry hydro brakes are actually pretty good. i think they have a better feel than juicy 3's. op if you wanted to do the wheel/ brake upgrade your probably looking at dropping around $300.

  19. #19
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    IMO starting with a <$600 disk bike has one major benifit and that is a cheaper upgade to disks. If you get the urge to upgrade you will not have to buy new hubs/wheels. if you start with a V-brake any upgrade is going to be >$300. If you start with crappy disks you can upgrade to good mechanicals for <$100. Of course if you get disk ready hubs on your V-brake bike this doesn't give you a benifit.

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