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Thread: BB7 or Juicy 7?

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    BB7 or Juicy 7?

    I've basically narrowed down my decision for disc brakes for a bike I'm building to these two brakes. After reading the reviews here I've seen excellent ratings for the BB7s, with mixed ones for the Juicy 7s. However, some here have also said that hydros will always be much more powerful than mechs. What do you think I should do? My riding style is mostly level paths and trails with a few jumps and no hucks or drops or anything of that sort. I may occasionally go flying downhill on smooth terrain, but none of the extreme DH stuff. Also, if the BB7s are weaker, would going to a larger rotor make up for the difference? Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by TalonSL
    I've basically narrowed down my decision for disc brakes for a bike I'm building to these two brakes. After reading the reviews here I've seen excellent ratings for the BB7s, with mixed ones for the Juicy 7s. However, some here have also said that hydros will always be much more powerful than mechs. What do you think I should do? My riding style is mostly level paths and trails with a few jumps and no hucks or drops or anything of that sort. I may occasionally go flying downhill on smooth terrain, but none of the extreme DH stuff. Also, if the BB7s are weaker, would going to a larger rotor make up for the difference? Thanks

    I weight 233 lbs have the BB7 mechanicals 160mm, My riding style is similar to yours, and braking power has never been an issue... I could not be happier... Just put them on, adjust them, once every few weeks turn the knob a single click, and they work like new again...

    Get the mecs.. From the sounds of your riding style you will love them.. I don't think any other item is ranked as high with so many reviews...

  3. #3
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    Bb7

    The BB7 are probably the ideal cost/performance disc brake out there. I happen to have juicy carbon too and the even though the difference in performance is noticeable with the BB7, especially with modulation, you really pay for the difference. If you don't care for the weight, don't mind that much the modulation and mind about $$, get the BB7.

    And if you are above 190lbs, I strongly advise to use a 7" rotor. It makes for a good deal of difference.

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    Thanks guys. I'm about 6' 5" and 200 lbs myself, so I think I'll go for the 7" (185 mm) rotors, at least on the front. From what I've been seeing on Ebay, the BB7s can be had for as low as $140 while the Juicy's are $200+. I did find a good deal on Magura Julie's, but the reviews I've read were horrible, especially for bigger riders. I also considered Juicy 5s, but bad reviews there too.

  5. #5
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    Mechanical brakes can be a problem if you ride in wet muddy conditions.You need to give them the same attention as gear cables to stop the friction building up from mud and contamination.Me, i prefer sealed hydraulic pipes. No maintenance.Just something to bear in mind.More time for riding

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    The BB7s stand toe-to-toe with hydros in terms of performance, and exceed those same hydros in the number of adjustability options.

    Where BB7s fall short is weight, appearance, and the number of adjustability options.

    Yes, it's true, some riders would rather never mess with their brakes. Dependable hydros are completely hands-off, whereas BB7s require you to click in the pad dials to adjust for wear every few rides, and there are more exposed mechanical parts that may need cleaning or attention. Hydros, for the most part, can be installed and forgotten about, whereas BB7s have setup options up the wazoo, including bite point, leverage adjust, spring tension, lever reach, and inboard pad spacing (affecting modulation).

    What I'm getting at is, don't base your selection on performance. From that standpoint, you'll be happy with either.

    Instead, decide if want a completely tunable/adjustable cable system, or if this is specifically what you're trying to avoid.

    Edit: Worth noting that the BB7s have quite a few fans up in the muddy Pacific Northwest and in wintery areas who swear they are unaffected by mud / snow / etc.
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    The maintenance is what worries me, because I've always had trouble with V-brakes, and so far the LX hydro discs on my other bike have worked flawlessly without any work needed. The problem is all of the hydros in my price range seem to have poor reviews, although I'm thinking it may not be a problem for me if I'm not going to be doing any really aggressive riding. I must say the Juicy 5s and Deores are looking tempting.

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    BB7's are "on-off" brakes and cables require maintenance. Juicy 7's have fantastic modulation and great adjustability and levers feel like non other that I've tried. One is not "weaker" than the other. It comes down to what you want to spend on brakes really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by velocipus
    BB7's are "on-off" brakes...
    "On/Off" if you want them to be. It really all depends on setup.

    I think a lot of users take Avid's instructions far too literally, or just plain ignore them.

    Avid says to back the inboard pad off of the rotor "2 or 3 clicks". This results in a very firm, but grabby (on/off) braking action.

    I shoot for 5 or 6 clicks off the inboard pad. This forces the outboard pad to flex the rotor just a schooch more to contact in inner pad, and really makes a drastic change in how the brake modulates.

    Additionally, the suggested "2 or 3 clicks" for the outboard pad results in a very early engagement point, with even my relatively large hands still mostly extended. By backing the the outboard pads out a few more clicks, the engagement point moves comfortably closer to the bar, where I believe all of our fingers have better dexterity, resulting in better braking modulation.

    And all this before the Speed Dial leverage adjustment at the lever, which provides yet another adjustment to help perfectly tune the action of these brakes. Pad selection can make a difference, as well.

    It's a lot, and I don't disagree that many riders don't want to deal with any of this. However, there is undeniably a large population of happy BB7 owners who love this range of adjustment & tuning which is unmatched by any hydro system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    "On/Off" if you want them to be. It really all depends on setup.

    I think a lot of users take Avid's instructions far too literally, or just plain ignore them.

    Avid says to back the inboard pad off of the rotor "2 or 3 clicks". This results in a very firm, but grabby (on/off) braking action.

    I shoot for 5 or 6 clicks off the inboard pad. This forces the outboard pad to flex the rotor just a schooch more to contact in inner pad, and really makes a drastic change in how the brake modulates.

    Additionally, the suggested "2 or 3 clicks" for the outboard pad results in a very early engagement point, with even my relatively large hands still mostly extended. By backing the the outboard pads out a few more clicks, the engagement point moves comfortably closer to the bar, where I believe all of our fingers have better dexterity, resulting in better braking modulation.

    And all this before the Speed Dial leverage adjustment at the lever, which provides yet another adjustment to help perfectly tune the action of these brakes. Pad selection can make a difference, as well.

    It's a lot, and I don't disagree that many riders don't want to deal with any of this. However, there is undeniably a large population of happy BB7 owners who love this range of adjustment & tuning which is unmatched by any hydro system.
    yup, I like the BB7's too... a lot better than a lot of hydros including my pos el caminos. And yes with the right levers and some tweaking, the BB7s will have some modulation... again better than some hydros...

    My short answer along with S. Nate's set up explanation is really all there is to be said

    So again Talon... it comes down to what you want to spend. Both work great.

  11. #11
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    With Avid Ultimate levers the BB7's are absolutely wonderful. I am 240 pounds, typically ride what you are talking about and use 185mm rotors and stop when I want to stop (and how I want to stop).

    I originally had Speed Dial 7 levers and they were fairly decent but once I through the Ultimate levers on it was like night and day. The Ultimates just seem to have smoothed everything out just nicely.

    Good luck with your decision.

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    Gotta say I'm not all that impressed with the Ultimates.

    Are they light? Hell yeah, right at 150g each.

    Are they smooth? Oh brother, they feel like butter!

    Do they have slop? Unlike the other Avid levers, out of the box, no not a bit.

    Are they worth $150-180 I see them listed for? Uh....personally, I'm not so sure.

    Fact is, a light as they are, and as precisely as they're machined and assembled, once I mounted them to my handlebar, and got out on the trail, they honestly don't feel any different that the 5 year old Speed Dial 5's they replaced, no different than the SD7's on my wife's bike, no different than the Speed Dial SLs on my fullie.

    Money wasted? Ehh.. I dunno, I got mine for a decent price. Bling factor and all that. But no performance or functional advantage that I can speak of. Don't get me wrong, I'll keep 'em. I just don't see the point in buying them again.
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    Interesting question. My current bike has a 160 mm BB7 on the front, the bike I'm getting in a few days will have Juicy 7s.

    My experience so far with the BB7 is mostly set-and-forget. The first couple of rides I was tweaking the pad adjusters a lot to get them dialed in. Now I pretty much leave them alone. Stopping power is more than adequate and I'm up around 220 lbs. I don't notice any modulation issues... but I haven't used a hydraulic brake yet.

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    I am the perfect person to answer this question. I used the BB7s on my bike for 2 years, I weigh around 230 and had the 185mm rotor on the front, they were setup using an Avid Speed Dial 7 lever and teflon coated and sealed brake lines. I loved and still do love them, the power was fantastic and completely kills the performance of my friends Shimano mechs.
    Well it was time to upgrade to a new bike and the Jamis that I bought has the Avid Juicy 7 setup. I spent about 30 mile in the saddle this week on the new bike and they are broken in and working fantastic now (this is a very even comparison because I put my old tires on this bike because I love them so much, so any differences cannot be related to increased traction due to different tires.) The biggest things I noticed have to do with power and modulation. The 185mm rotor on the old bike gave better total power, I felt that I when I was flying down a steep singletrack at and indicated 28 mph the 185mm rotor gave more stopping power, and the inital bite on the BB7 was stronger (either due to rotor or maybe pad differences, both have stock Avid pads.) The biggest improvement from the Juicys is in the modulation department. I could feel the rim and traction through the lever better on the Juicy setup, when negotiating a very steep slippery decent the hydros gave me more control and confidence (not that I lacked it with the BB7 I just felt even more so here.)

    My final opinion is that the hydro setup is a worthy upgrade if you dont mind the maitinence, the BB7 was fairly set and forget every once and a while I would readjust the pads but that was it. My opinion is that they cost the same, I have seen the Juicy 7 for $110 a piece for the '06 model, the BB7 is cheaper but I feel that a quality cable and lever is a must so they are not that different in price once you factor that in. All in all I say go for the Juicys, they are lighter, feel better, and should have equal stopping power when they have equal rotor size.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TalonSL
    The maintenance is what worries me, because I've always had trouble with V-brakes, and so far the LX hydro discs on my other bike have worked flawlessly without any work needed. The problem is all of the hydros in my price range seem to have poor reviews, although I'm thinking it may not be a problem for me if I'm not going to be doing any really aggressive riding. I must say the Juicy 5s and Deores are looking tempting.
    Juicy 7 or 5 (depending on what year and which is the best deal), you would not regret.

    As was mentioned, modulation with the Juicys is great, they are super smooth and controllable.

  16. #16
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    Speed Dials

    Make a huge difference in my opinion. If anybody goes with bb7's get the speed dial levers. The extra feel they give is well worth it. Both of my bikes have bb7's and I didn't realize what the speed dials could do until I got my hardtail which came with them. Now both bikes have them.
    "Being smart and fit is expensive, but not as expensive as being fat and dumb" - 9.8m/s/s

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    Thanks for the replies. Another question I have is whether I should take advantage of some of the good deals on the remaining '06 models, or if the '07s are much improved? I've heard a lot of mixed reviews on the '06, but I'm not sure what the difference with the '07 is other than color. Also, On my other bike I have LX M585 brakes and they seem to work really well, except for not having much modulation. Are the Juicy 7s much better than the LX?

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    I know for a fact the modulation on the BB7 is not as good as the Juicy 7s. I find that they are a bit grabby. More than one of you guys mentioned weight as a problem... how so? According to Avid's site the bb7s weight 318gms http://www.sram.com/_media/pdf/en/av...discbrakes.pdf

    while the Juicy Ultimates weigh 345gms http://www.sram.com/_media/pdf/en/av...discbrakes.pdf

    Would seem to me like the BB7s are lighter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by m3talslug
    According to Avid's site the bb7s weight 318gms ... while the Juicy Ultimates weigh 345gms ...Would seem to me like the BB7s are lighter.
    What all comes in a Juicy box?

    What all comes in a BB7 box? (Hint: What's missing?)
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  20. #20
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    I love my BB7s, they are heavier though because the stated weight does not include the cables housing or levers. The weight of the hydros includes the whole system, calipers, rotors, levers and hose. If you add it all up it comes out to 1/2 to 3/4 of a pound weight penalty on the mechanicals. As for power, the BB7s are every bit as powerful as hydros and don't fade on long descents since there is no hydro fluid to boil over. You can tweak the lever feel to get pretty darn close to the feel of hyrdros IMO. I use XTR servowave levers with the pitch fixing block completely removed and the stop screw wound all the way in. SD7 levers accomplish pretty much the same thing. Couple that with the caliper adjustments and you can get your pad contact and lever feel to be as abrupt "on/off" or as subtle as you want. It just takes some fiddling. Mine are very smooth and truly a one finger brake system. As for maintenance, if you run full length housing and quality cable (XTR again) you get virtually no cable contamination. I will trade the time involved in setting the system up correctly to the time, mess and expense of changing and bleeding the hydro fluid any day.
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    I hate BB7 brakes. I think they suck. I think they are worthless for anything more than flat trails.

    So I say J7.


  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29Colossus
    I hate BB7 brakes. I think they suck. I think they are worthless for anything more than flat trails.

    So I say J7.

    Consider the source
    Aren't you still using a pedal activated drum brake on that rig of yours?
    P.S. - did Boy Scout Trail last night - buttah!
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    Quote Originally Posted by cutthroat
    As for power, the BB7s are every bit as powerful as hydros and don't fade on long descents since there is no hydro fluid to boil over.
    Fading has nothing to do with fluid boiling; it's the pads being cooked, and that happens whether you have hydro or mechanical brakes. Sintered pads and bigger rotors (plus not riding the brakes) is the solution for that. Fluid boiling issues will make the lever go the bar, which is not fade. That's mostly caused by water (moisture) in the lines. Water boils well before DOT 3 or 4 fluid boils. Bleeding your brakes periodically to remove old, moisture laden fluid is the answer to that.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by cutthroat
    Consider the source
    Aren't you still using a pedal activated drum brake on that rig of yours?
    P.S. - did Boy Scout Trail last night - buttah!
    I am a source! Huge source! Mega Source! SUPER SOURCE!

    And... I am still using drums front and rear, and I also carry a drum as I ride that I beat on when the downhill gets really good.

    Boy Scout... hmm.... I guess I'm gonna have to go ride it this week... but it is sooooo short... hehe. Man... I'm jealous and I just got off the dang bike a half hour ago!


  25. #25
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    Actually pad fade is just one type of fade. Fluid fade also occurs: link - http://www.h-e-l.co.uk/HEL_Performan...Brake_Fade.htm
    Since pad fade is a given for all disc brakes, I was comparing the difference in fade between hydros and cables. Cables do not have a fluid fade issue, and don't require changes to the fluid to eliminate the water in the brake fluid issue. I think most riders would consider the lever going to the bar and a resultant loss of braking power to be "fade"
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

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