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  1. #1
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    Avid BB 203 mm or Hayes 9?

    In need of good advice or a wake up call here.
    I currently run Hayes 9's on my 08 SC Nomad. I am around 85 kg with gear (about 200) and ride all mountain.
    Based on snide comments and stories of busted brakes under pressure I am thinking of changing to mech Avid BB's.
    Should I or shouldn't I?
    Thanx

  2. #2
    TNC
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    Avid probably makes the best cable disc brakes going, but they still don't perform as well as a properly working set of hydro disc brakes. If you're basing your concept of hydro brake reliability on comments in the brake forum, that might be like trying to determine how good the Chevy small block engine is from sources on a Ford forum. By that I mean that most people come to this forum to discuss problems and find solutions to brake problems...most frequently hydro brakes. On this forum, just looking at it on the surface, one would think that one out of every two sets of hydro brakes are consistently problematic. That's not the case obviously, but it might make one gunshy.

    If you have a solid performing set of Hayes hydros, they'll probably remain that way for quite awhile. The same applies to most brands and models. I wouldn't worry about it too much. Enjoy your hydros. If you need service down the road, get a good bike shop to service them and then continue to enjoy them. As newer and better performing brakes come on the scene, you might want to upgrade at your convenience. I recently changed from Hayes Mags on my primary MTB's to Avid Elixirs because of the increased performance of the Elixirs. One of those Hayes Mags was from 1999. I used Avid BB7s years ago and would never consider going back to them from hydros...good and reliable, but no where close to better or equal.

  3. #3
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    Avid BB or hayes 9

    Thanks for your detailed reply

  4. #4
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    I've been running HFX-9's on my DH bike for 4 years now. I love them, I've never quite been sure where all the negative press about them came from, I've always wondered if there weren't a lot of bad batches out there or whether there were just so many sets out there the failure rates appeared a lot higher.

    In any case, I have Avid BB7's as well. I do like the Avid's but in my personal experience the Hayes feel better and require less maintenance. I also get longer life out of the pads even though the Avids are on a trail bike and the Hayes are on a DH bike.

  5. #5
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    the hfx9's definitely arent the best brake ever. they're a little weird to adjust, very basic with no features. nothing fancy. people like fancy these days.

    i liked my hfx9's a lot. once set, they just worked and never gave me problems. just worked, all day every day. bled them once in a year of owning them (broke a line, my fault) and thats it. i dont like tinkering, or adjusting, or maintaining crap i dont have to. bb7's need constant adjustment. my 9's wore the pads dead without needing adjustment.

    now they're being blown out for 49 bucks online, and its a hell of a deal! i ran bb7's and hated them. you cant get rid of the mechanical feel. it always feels like a cable brake, which sucks imo.

    i would like to see these stories about hydros busting under pressure thats a myth from the bb7 clan.

  6. #6
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    I hate to hijack but....
    I have hays HFX 9's, and I can't seem to get them to work right. I bought the bike used, and I have done several brake bleeds exactly according to the given instructions. I'm pretty confident there's no air in them... but they still feel mushy. I'm debating going back to BB7's (had them on my old bike and loved em). Advice?

  7. #7
    TNC
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrampBredo
    I hate to hijack but....
    I have hays HFX 9's, and I can't seem to get them to work right. I bought the bike used, and I have done several brake bleeds exactly according to the given instructions. I'm pretty confident there's no air in them... but they still feel mushy. I'm debating going back to BB7's (had them on my old bike and loved em). Advice?
    I'd say they still have air in them, especially if both front and rear are still mushy after both were bled. 9's are not my favorite Hayes brake by any means, but a properly operatiing set of 9's should beat a set of BB7's hands down. Do you have a lot of experience bleeding bike brakesets? Also you mention they were used, and this always adds a potential variable of someone having done something really strange to them like mixing brake fluids or other somewhat fatal error. Before chucking them, why not see if a good bike shop can get one of the units to operate at full potential with a good bleed? Perhaps this will tell you that it's just a bleed issue, and then you can make a better judgement about ditching the hydros. Brake bleeding may not be rocket science, but if you don't do it quite a bit, technique can sometimes be a make/break element in a good bleed.

  8. #8
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    If looking for an inexpensive upgrade I would be checking out some of the Juicy 5 and juicy 7 deals going on.

    I ran the BB7 and BB5 brakes back when they were new. IME they are a bit fiddly. I was always adjusting pads in/out and having to adjust cable tension after heavy braking due to pad wear. They are not light. By the time you get calipers, cables, housing, and levers you are out as much money as a decent set of hydraulics.

    Once I started using hydro again I was reminded of the benefits. Brakes are tighter, more responsive, better modulation, and self adjust for pad wear. I don't intend to go back to cable discs. Nor would I want to go back to v-brakes or cantilevers. Technology has moved on.

    The nines are okay. I found that the MC couldn't handle thermal expansion on big dh runs and would get pumped out. For every day trail riding they work well though.
    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine
    that's the stupidest idea this side of pinkbike.

  9. #9
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    I have done it several times, once first with the help of an experienced mechanic. He's successfully bled his (same brakes), and his feel much better than mine ever have. I agree that properly performing hydros should beat mechs, but that means nothing If I can't ever have properly performing hydros. BTW, at first they were bled by a reputable bike shop- same results. Cursed brakes?

  10. #10
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    maybe your master cylinder is shot, or you have a bad caliper. it happens to the best of brakes.

  11. #11
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    Nope, disassembled and inspected everything. But- I finally resolved the issue. The "mush" I was feeling was actually flex in the mount of the master cylinder- I didn't have the mounting bolts tight enough and that let it flex too much. It's all good now, just in time for this weekends trip to Plattekill

    Thanks all for the advice....OP- stick to hydros.
    Last edited by GrampBredo; 05-20-2009 at 07:09 PM.

  12. #12
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    I recently went on a DH ride with a friend who has Juicy 7s (I know, you're asking about the 9s not Juicys). I switched back and forth over the 35 miles between my BB7 equipped bike and his. Mine have the same or better modulation and I'm sure I'll get flamed for saying that. Mine have more power but they're also larger so that's not a fair comparison.

    I can't imagine anyone with a properly setup BB7 complaining about modulation and feel. I did recently replace the stock pads with ceramic pads and forgot to realign the caliper. I finally got to see what it feels like to have them not properly setup and I can see how that would cause lots of complaints like I've heard on here even though it's not the brake's fault.

    The only thing I like better about the hydros is how the brake lever doesn't move once the pads make contact with the disk.

    Personally, I doubt the BB7s are much cheaper when you start buying the "upgrades". I'm running BB7s with cleansweep rotors, ceramic pads (huge improvement in modulation) and speed dial levers. I would gladly do it all over again even if they were the same price as good hydros.

  13. #13
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    The 9's are awesome, seriously. Very simple, cheap to rebuild if needed. The thing I hated the most about my 9's was the reach adjustment screw moving; some red loctite fixed that.

    The pads are cheap, and they have great modulation. If you bleed them once in a while, you will have a reliable brakeset for a very long time. Not the lightest, from what I remember, but that never bothered me. Had them on my Enduro and a Kona Caldera, dead reliable on both.

  14. #14
    The Mud Stud
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    Well I dont know much about hayes hfx 9 other than the fact that I looked at the mtbr reviews and almost bought a bike with them once. They dont get good reviews on here. That said they may be better for you, or worse, I dunno. I can tell you this. Set up properly, bb7's will NEVER fail. Whether you like them or not is another issue entirely. I like mine. Get single finger locking wheels with 6 inch rotors (just dont run avid roundagon rotors, they suck crap on an epic scale).

  15. #15
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    hayes nines rock

    I have had hayes nines for 5 years untouched (except brake pad changes) till i put them on my craftworks full suspension and these brakes have delivered rain hail sun or whatever you throw at them. The only thing with them are the actual hose connections but these lasted till the move then failed. I replaced the hose and connections with Goodridge stuff now there ready for another 5 years.

    And compared to the avid brakes i have ridden ( mechanicals, juicey 5's and 7's) they squeal their lungs out when they have been wet and the hayes have not carried on like that. Hayes also makes it so easy to line your disc and pads up too.

    Last thing is the difference between the mechanical to the hydro is night and day in plushness of lever feel and i own both so that's valid opinion here and not just a ride on a mates bike.

  16. #16
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    Thanx CW and all the rest of you guys - I will continue to rely on my Hayes, hopefuly not until proven otherwise.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by craftworks750
    I have had hayes nines for 5 years untouched (except brake pad changes) till i put them on my craftworks full suspension and these brakes have delivered rain hail sun or whatever you throw at them. The only thing with them are the actual hose connections but these lasted till the move then failed. I replaced the hose and connections with Goodridge stuff now there ready for another 5 years.
    So they're about as reliable as the BB7s...
    Quote Originally Posted by craftworks750
    And compared to the avid brakes i have ridden ( mechanicals, juicey 5's and 7's) they squeal their lungs out when they have been wet and the hayes have not carried on like that. Hayes also makes it so easy to line your disc and pads up too.
    I can't imagine anything being easier to setup than the BB7s. Mine take less than 5 minutes per brake.
    Quote Originally Posted by craftworks750
    Last thing is the difference between the mechanical to the hydro is night and day in plushness of lever feel and i own both so that's valid opinion here and not just a ride on a mates bike.
    Sounds like they're not setup right. My BB7s setup right offer better modulation than the Juicys. 35 miles on my "mates" bike is more than enough to notice the differences in lever feel. After a certain point, why would more miles matter for determining feel?

  18. #18
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    My two cents. I am running BB7, Juicy 5, and Hay 9 on my three bikes. BB7 is my favorite because it bites better than the other two. Modulation is great. easy to adjust.

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