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  1. #1
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    Is 203mm fronts overkill for XC

    I have juicy 5's with 160mm R and 203mm F mounted on my King Kikapu. I only ride FL XC trails and was wondering if my 203mm Front rotors are overkill, since I have read the 203mm size is mainly for DH and FR. I am 6'2 and 245lbs, so I figured the extra stopping power is nice. My fork is a Tora 318 Solo Air and the SRAM website says it can be used with a max rotor of 210mm. Should I go down to a 160mm F???

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    It's overkill. Why not 180 mm?

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    Quote Originally Posted by leoh
    It's overkill. Why not 180 mm?
    Cause I only have a spare 160mm rotor, and a friend gave me a new 203mm rotor and adaptor he had as a spare. I figured I wanted bigger than the front (because of my size) but didn't know if 203mm was too much.

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    not exactly...

    I wouldnt say that its really overkill. you will probobly never have to use all of that, but in my opinion, its always better to have more stopping power then you need just in case. ifu just want what u need 160 will be fine. but unless ur really concerned about the extra grams the larger rotars are, they arent doing any harm by stickin with 203's

  5. #5
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    At your size I'd say keep the 203. No point in being a weight weenie.
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  6. #6
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    Weight Weenie...LOL before watching grams on my bike I need to loose 60lbs. With components like Azonic Outlaws, Tora 318 Fork, SLX cranks, etc and a bike that weighs 30lbs. I am no weight weenie!!!

  7. #7
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    Yeah, just throw the 203 on their and ride. If you ever get yourself into a long downhill stretch or do some chair lift riding, you'll be happier.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  8. #8
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    I'm 240lbs. and I'd say with decent brakes the 203 is excessive. It's not just about another 100grams of weight, the bigger rotor gives you more power due to leverage but at the expense of modulation. For XC type riding I find that more important than outright power, especially in tight trails.

    Now if I was doing endless downhills, then 203s would be the way to go. With a 180 on the rear. But mostly so they don't boil and to reduce arm pump. XC conditions don't really offer that.

  9. #9
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    I like a 203 up front myself and I don't find I sacrifice modulation much. I do find, however, that it's easier to knock the rotor out of true with the larger surface area. Maybe it's just me but it seems like a little more messing with the rotor on rare occasions. I say that the only two concerns to worry about are what kind of attachment you use with your fork and if you're worried about the extra weight. If you have a skinny QR on the front, you might want to be careful with that much clamping force otherwise I say slap it on and ride. If you don't like it, pull it off. We all have lots of rotors laying around so join the club... lol

    Good luck.
    A.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by neex
    I like a 203 up front myself and I don't find I sacrifice modulation much. I do find, however, that it's easier to knock the rotor out of true with the larger surface area. Maybe it's just me but it seems like a little more messing with the rotor on rare occasions. I say that the only two concerns to worry about are what kind of attachment you use with your fork and if you're worried about the extra weight. If you have a skinny QR on the front, you might want to be careful with that much clamping force otherwise I say slap it on and ride. If you don't like it, pull it off. We all have lots of rotors laying around so join the club... lol

    Good luck.
    A.
    Actually, I have several rides with them, but have nothing to compare it too. This is my first time with Hydro's. I have always rode V-brakes . I think I love the 203's but I wanted some opinions to see if a smaller size would be better.

    I also do ride with the QR clamps, should I be worried???

  11. #11
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    I have a 200mm front on my trail/xc bike i find its better to have overkill on your brakes when you have a bit of weight to you( i weigh 230lbs) than cook a standard 180mm.I have formula oro k24's and they are excellent i had hope mono minis with 185/160 and would cook them on some of the steep technicals i ride.
    Keep it.

  12. #12
    TNC
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    You have the parts. It doesn't take long to swap rotors and caliper mounts. Ride what you have there for a bit and see if you like it. At your weight and depending on the performance level of your Juicy's, you might find the 203 to be just fine. If on the other hand you find you're locking up the front a little too much and too frequently, then you know you have too much brake. You'll be able to tell after a few rides. If 203 is too much, a 185 rotor and caliper mount will probably be ideal. Frankly I'd be surprised if a 160 front is going to suit you. Many Specialized bikes, even at the Stumpjumper FSR level, come with a 203/185 front and rear brake setup. My '08 SJ FSR with Juicy 5's and 203/185 rotors was just about perfect. I installed some new Elixir brakesets and had to go down to 185/160 rotors...the Juicy's had an inconsistent feedback but never too powerful even with the big rotors. The issue of brake power is a combination of rotor size and master cylinder/caliper performance.

    Edit: Medik, on the issue of standard 9mm QR front forks and hubs with 203 brakes, I'd say if a manufacturer like Specialized is installing them as OEM on such forks, I'd doubt there's much danger or liability with it. I've never experienced any issue over many years of 203 front rotors on forks more spindly than what we have now. It probably has more to do with how the bike gets used and abused as to the potential for carnage.
    Last edited by TNC; 03-13-2009 at 03:10 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNC
    I installed some new Elixir brakesets and had to go down to 185/160 rotors...the Juicy's had an inconsistent feedback but never too powerful even with the big rotors.
    How was the modulation? I understand the elixirs are supposed to address this far better than the 7's and 9's?? Do you think they are an improvement? I'm getting the elixirs on my new nomad, 203mm's.
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  14. #14
    TNC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red PeeKay
    How was the modulation? I understand the elixirs are supposed to address this far better than the 7's and 9's?? Do you think they are an improvement? I'm getting the elixirs on my new nomad, 203mm's.
    Improvement?...man, I'll say. You know...working at a shop and having owned and tried all kinds of cool stuff over the years, the Elixir brakes have really gotten my attention. They came in on one our Specialized Elite SJ FSR's that is a test model. When I rode the bike, I was so impressed with the brakes that I ordered a set for my '08 SJ. I've never been a Juicy fan and stuck with my various sets of old Hayes Mags which performed very well IMO. The only other brakeset for trail/AM riding that got my attention was the Shimano 4-pot XT model that wasn't available anymore as new. I found the Elixirs on the test SJ to be even better...and they're stupid inexpensive in the R model.

    I got a set of the plain R models back in January for my SJ and wasn't disappointed. They're just awesome. I just picked up a set from the shop today for my Nomad. I'm actually going to try a 185/185 setup on my Nomad instead of the 203 front that it's always run before. They're that strong but still modulate well. I think you'll be pleased with yours.

  15. #15
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    Where in Florida do you ride??

    At your weight, and if you ever go to Alafia and ride their long steep descents you're going to want those 203's up front.

    I say your setup is good and stick with it. I plan on going 160 rear since I am running 203 front and rear, previous owner's setup. I wiegh 200lbs.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RiceKilla
    Where in Florida do you ride??
    I mainly ride Oleta.

  17. #17
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    I'm a clyde (6'6" 250 lbs) and I run a 203mm rotor up front 180mm rear squeezed by Juicy 5 calipers, and I have no issues with modulation or power, to keep the weight down I run Alligator Serration rotors.

    http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/162...rake-Rotor.htm

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  18. #18
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    I weigh in at 195 and the bike is 34 lbs. and came with 203s front and rear. I had 160s on my previouse bike and they felt a little underpowerd on long downhills but not bad.

    I do like the power, and 203 in the rear is probably overkill. I only lock up rear if I slam on the binders in emergencies, it really doesn't get out of control. I think I can adjust the modulation for the rears at the levers. So far I have felt no need to do anything to them. I swithched to XTR rotors when I upgraded to XTR hubs.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by medik13
    I mainly ride Oleta.
    Yeah I'd stick with your setup.

    Also, the setup is justified if you do all the double diamond stuff at Markham.
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  20. #20
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    im 50lbs lighter than you and use a 203mm rotor for everything.

    your wheels however, are definitely overkill for xc.. even at your weight.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomsmoto
    im 50lbs lighter than you and use a 203mm rotor for everything.

    your wheels however, are definitely overkill for xc.. even at your weight.
    Actually, I thought there were alot of clydes riding Outlaws for aggressive XC. In the clydes forum, they get great reviews. I ride pretty harsh. I like to jump the smaller bumps and have bent my other wheels several times, so I thought these would be great for me. I have them mounted with 2.1 Crossmarks and I ride fast and hard and they still are true.
    Last edited by medik13; 03-13-2009 at 05:20 PM.

  22. #22
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    I run 2.3mm rotors on both of my bikes because im big and heavy, and I use my bike for everything.

    Even if your trying to save weight I would stick with the bigger brakes as saving 100grams wont make any difference.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by medik13
    I have juicy 5's with 160mm R and 203mm F mounted on my King Kikapu. I only ride FL XC trails and was wondering if my 203mm Front rotors are overkill, since I have read the 203mm size is mainly for DH and FR. I am 6'2 and 245lbs, so I figured the extra stopping power is nice. My fork is a Tora 318 Solo Air and the SRAM website says it can be used with a max rotor of 210mm. Should I go down to a 160mm F???
    I'm around 190 with gear. I went from a 160 to 203 rotor on the font of my Heckler a few years back with BB7 brakes, and to be honest, I did not like it for anything but the steepest, fastest downhill sections. The rest of the I did not like how touchy they were. It was harder for me to modulate in loose terrain at slower speeds. I went down to a 185 and it works much better for me on everything. At 245 lbs, though, given the choice of a 160mm or 203mm, I'd go with the 203. You can always switch back.

  24. #24
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    Thanks to all who replied. This board is outstanding and I am glad to be a part of it!!!

  25. #25
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    I'm ~200# with gear and my 160mm rotors serve my juicy 7's perfectly.

    I have 2 main issues with running 203's on an xc bike.

    Number one, 203mm rotors are much easier to warp than 160's which leads to rotor rub which can (always...) lead to a very noisy bike. Personally, squeaky rotors are a bit of a buzz kill on a ride.

    Number two, With a big rotor you're losing modulation which is more important than outright stopping power for xc. The avid juicy series is grabby to begin with.

    Your juicy 5's are plenty powerful and should cope fine with 160mm rotors.

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