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  1. #1
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    BB5's 160mm and 230#, what to upgrade first?

    Okay have BB5's with 160mm G2 rotors and avid speedial Ti levers.
    I can clamp down pretty hard on the lever with good traction and not lock it up.
    I can do endos if I want by staying forward on the bike but when trying to stop hard and fast I can feel them not doing their job well.
    Not looking to replace everything right now or spend a bunch of money.
    Would I be best to just get a different caliper adapter and a 185mm rotor?
    Or get a BB7 caliper for the front and see if that is enough with a 160mm rotor?
    I'll will probably end up going BB7 on front and rear once the pads wear out on the current 5's

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Never trust a fart
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    Cheapest thing to do would be to upgrade your front rotor to a 180 or 185mm rotor. You will need a rotor and the appropriate brake caliper adapter.

    This way would probably address your issue quite well.

    If thats not enough, then an upgrade to the BB7's.

  3. #3
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    Check out the ti-ni coated 180mm Alligator Wind Cutter rotors on pricepoint.com. I'm running 180's front and rear on my BB5's and love them, and I'm 235lbs. They retail for $80 but are on sale for around $20 each.

  4. #4
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    Yea, been looking. But for the money looks like I can get a BB7 caliper and 185mm rotor for $60.

  5. #5
    thecentralscrutinizer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eville140
    Yea, been looking. But for the money looks like I can get a BB7 caliper and 185mm rotor for $60.
    This is the way to go IMO. I'm the same weight as you and run BB7's and 185/160 rotors frt/rear. Plenty of stopping power. Going to a 185 over a 160 in the front makes a huge differnence. If you are bombing down BIG hills you may want to consider upsizing the rotors to a 203.

  6. #6
    Never trust a fart
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    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch rides a SS
    Check out the ti-ni coated 180mm Alligator Wind Cutter rotors on pricepoint.com. I'm running 180's front and rear on my BB5's and love them, and I'm 235lbs. They retail for $80 but are on sale for around $20 each.


    The Ti-ni coating is worthless. It wears off after several rides. If getting the Alligators, the regular ones work just fine and are cheaper to boot.

  7. #7
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    Just throwing it out there but have you tried readjusting the caliper?
    BB5s can be powerful, real powerful. If properly set up.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eville140
    Yea, been looking. But for the money looks like I can get a BB7 caliper and 185mm rotor for $60.
    That's the way to go. BB5's are terrible brakes. They work as well as the BB7's when the pads are new but as the pads wear you start to lose braking power. When the pads are a little over half worn, you only have about 50% of your original power. You need that outside adjuster like the BB7's have. Avid should be ashamed of themselves for putting something like that on the market. When BB5 pads are ready for replacement, they're about equal to the stopping power of the brakes on a 69.00 Huffy!

    I'm only 185 lbs. I couldn't imagine what they'd be like for a Clyde. I now run the BB7's with 160mm rotors and one of my buds (220lbs.) uses the BB7's with the 185mm rotor up front.

    Truth be told, you could put a bigger rotor on the BB5's and it could work well for you if you replaced the pads every 2 months or sooner,depending on how much you ride.

  9. #9
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    It sounds like you guys aren't adjusting your brakes as frequently as you should. Unlike hydros, mechanical brakes need a little more attention because there is only one piston. As the pads wear, the distance between the stationary pad and the disc grows. This causes the disc to lean (bend) when the active pad pushes on it.

    It only takes a couple minutes to adjust my mx-2's, and I imagine the bb5's are just as easy to adjust. Try looking on the avid support site. The hayes have a set screw that you have to loosen before you can adjust it. With the wheel off the ground, I spin the wheel while adjusting it toward the disc until it barely whispers in a couple spots. Don't forget to tighten the set screw if it has one. Should work as well as if you installed new pads.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by UEDan
    Just throwing it out there but have you tried readjusting the caliper?
    BB5s can be powerful, real powerful. If properly set up.
    Here's the deal on the BB5's. I know you have to move the caliper when adjusting to compensate for outer pad wear. But there's a limit as to how much you can move it. What happens is that after they're about 50% or so worn, you can't get the outer pad close enough to the rotor. So with the inside pad adjusted as close to the rotor as it will go, you're still 1/8" away from the rotor and when you squeeze the lever, it goes to the bars. The only solution is to adjust the brake cable, and that's where you lose all the power. Because now the actuating lever on the caliper is about halfway through it's stroke and that's what causes the big loss of power. All the braking power is at the beginning of the caliper lever stroke. One particular long downhill section that I use the brakes on, now hurts my hands when braking. With new pads on the BB5's, 1 or 2 finger braking is normal for the same trail.

    There may be some people that don't notice this defect because it's gradual and you slowly get used to it especially if you ride terrain that's fairly flat. I also had a set of hayes mechanical disc brakes that were ok but lacked the power of the BB7's and you needed a tool to adjust them. I think both pads were adjustable but the adjusters would freeze up on them every once in awhile so I guess they were junk too.

    The BB7's don't suffer from this problem and it's only because they have that simple outer pad adjuster. You never have to re-adjust the cable nor the caliper position and it has the same stopping power through the entire life of the pad. Adjusting is only needed at the pad adjusting knobs. They're simple, foolproof , durable and cheap. Personally, I like them better than Hydros. But if bb7's we're discontinued, I'd go straight to Hydros because no cable brake that I'm aware of comes close to the BB7.

    In fact, I have a brand new set of Hayes hydros in my bike shed. My buddy took them off of his new Enduro without even trying them out, except for a ride around the block. He put new BB7's on instead.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbeck
    Here's the deal on the BB5's. ....So with the inside pad adjusted as close to the rotor as it will go, you're still 1/8" away from the rotor and when you squeeze the lever, it goes to the bars. .....
    At that point, can't you back it out some and reposition the caliper?

  12. #12
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    Just the other day I was able to adjust my BB5's to be able to easily lock the front wheel for the first time since I've had the bike (bought it used). Here's approximately what I did:

    -Loosen the cable all the way
    -Loosen caliper bolts
    -Put a sheet of paper between the outside pad and the rotors (maybe fold it in half if you don't like brake rubbing noise, but the results won't be as good).
    -Tighten the pad contact knob all the way
    -Press the entire caliper towards the wheel with your hands (squeezing the paper between the pad and the rotor) while tightening the bolts
    -Adjust the cable to remove slack
    -Loosen the pad contact knob a few clicks (as little as possible)

    Right now the brakes rub a bit, but I get the stopping power I want out of the front. I haven't been on a ride yet, so I'll have to see how long it holds up. At some point I am definitely going to switch to BB7's or hydraulic in the front, probably hydraulic.
    Matt

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlouder
    At that point, can't you back it out some and reposition the caliper?
    No, because the caliper is already as close to the rotor as I can get it. The only way to get the outer pad closer to the rotor is move the actuating lever and shorten the cable but that kills a lot of power. The brakes are very powerful, equal to the BB7's,when the pads are new or near new. But when the linings get down to about 1/16", forget about it. And they get progressively worse until they're worn out.

    Hmmm.... If I shimmed my rotor about 1/16 of an inch from the hub,it would probably work. I'm thinking maybe my fork mount is out of spec?

    I had Hayes HMX cable discs on another bike about 5 years ago and they were very problematic too. I was always adjusting them and the adjusting knobs would freeze up on a regular basis and sometimes break. Shoot, V-brakes never gave me this much trouble!

    I've been using BB7's for about 4 years now,on both of my bikes without any problems. The only time I have to realign calipers is when I change pads or clip a rock. Don't even use the barrel adjusters any longer. All adjustments are at the caliper. Now if the BB7's would have given me the same problems as the BB5's or HMX brakes, I would have gone straight to hydros. The BB7's just plain work! With no dicking around.

    I'm thinking maybe you've never worn your BB5's down far enough to experience this?

    The good thing is that they will still stop you with a lot of hand pressure. The bad thing is that when you put new pads in and try to stop with the same hand pressure, they'll flip you right over the bars. Anyways my BB5's are retired.

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