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  1. #1
    Northeastern Rider
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    BB7 vs. Juicy 5 stopping power

    Hello all,
    Considering BB7's for my next build but I have never used them before. I usually use Juicy 5's on my builds. Does anyone have time w/ both? How is the stopping power/feel of the BB7's compared to the juicy 5's?
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  2. #2
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    The biggest reason people dislike BB7s is because they don't have them adjusted properly. When dialed in properly, they will feel a lot like the Juicy 5's.
    When dialed in poorly, they will feel much much worse.
    I think the stopping power will be better with the Juicy 5s, but it depends on how big your rotor is and how well you need them to stop.
    If you're doing flat XC stuff, BBs with a 6" rotor should be fine. If you're doing steep descents, put on an 8" rotor.
    I've run BB5s with a 203 rotor and found they stopped me as well as a strong hyrdo with a 160.

  3. #3
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    Define: "stopping power" I weigh 230ish lbs with my backpack on and the first time I grabbed a handful of brake on my 185mm BB7 kit I put the rear wheel in the air. If you have levers like speed dials where you can adjust the ratio you can set them to be so powerful that they're unusable (if your rotor is true enough).

  4. #4
    Northeastern Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by nato_the_greato
    If you're doing flat XC stuff, BBs with a 6" rotor should be fine. If you're doing steep descents, put on an 8" rotor.
    I've run BB5s with a 203 rotor and found they stopped me as well as a strong hyrdo with a 160.
    Plan was to run 203 front and 185 rear rotor. W/ stopping power aside how was the feel compared to the hydrolic( I run 160/160 w/ the juicy's). I have found w/ the juicy's that I get good modulation but its almost as if the levers feel dead. I can feel the brakes while they work but they don't have a very lively feel. How do the BB7 compare to that?
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by zach.scofield
    Plan was to run 203 front and 185 rear rotor. W/ stopping power aside how was the feel compared to the hydrolic( I run 160/160 w/ the juicy's). I have found w/ the juicy's that I get good modulation but its almost as if the levers feel dead. I can feel the brakes while they work but they don't have a very lively feel. How do the BB7 compare to that?
    Mechanical brakes as a rule will have a "more lively feel" because you are pulling a cable and actuating a lever that activates your brakes, so you are actually pulling weight on the end of a cable rather than just pushing fluid through a hose.

  6. #6
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    I just got done with a lot of downhill with my 203/185 BB7s and my friend's 160/160 Juicys.

    This was the perfect opportunity to get some seat time with the Juicys since I had 35 miles of steep downhill.

    My observations...

    The BB7s had more power but that's not fair because my rotors are bigger. Either one will put you over the handlbars easily.

    I prefer the feel of the hydros (I like a lever that has very little to no movement) but oddly enough my BB7s have just as good of modulation.

    My BB7s react in the first 1/16" of lever travel with total pull of about 1/2" while the Juicys took a little travel until they engaged and at that point the lever was rock hard. I've never set hydros up so this may be in the setup.

    As contradicting as it sounds I would base your decision on something other than modulation and power as both brakes are great in those departments, I could not tell a difference even with a somewhat even split with 15 miles on each bike. If you like the stiff lever, go with the hydros. If you like a "lively" lever, go with the BB7s. Each setup has it's unique advantages and disadvantages.

    Take this with a grain of salt, I'm still a newb.

  7. #7
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    I'd say the BB7's can be adjusted from not as powerful to way more powerful depending on how you have the levers set up. If your using the Avid levers there is an adjustment that changes the leverage the caliper sees. I've got 160mm rotors front and rear on my hardtail and set the levers to the max initially not knowing what to expect. They grab, and they are strong! After burning the pads in I backed the power off quite a bit and they still grab extremely strong. I haven't owned juicy's but I've ridden demo bikes and friends bikes with them and they have been all over the map.

    For me bottom line is properly set up BB7's are a damn good brake, they are just missing that hydro feel that I really like. They go on the XC hardtail, I save money for nice brakes for the big bike.
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  8. #8
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    The BB7 and Juicy 5 use the exact same pad so raw stopping power should be the same if the rotors are also the same. But that doesn't take into account lever feel, fade, modulation, etc

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by nato_the_greato
    The biggest reason people dislike BB7s is because they don't have them adjusted properly. .
    so how exactly do you adjust out the crappy mechanical feel?

    they have plenty of power. they feel, and always will feel, like a mechanical brake. you can adjust in modulation and power and everything, but it still has that crappy feel.

  10. #10
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    I have bb7s and ive stuck with them for the reasons some dont like, with my speed dials adjusted at the lowest power setting i can still get plenty of stopping but i have a longer lever throw to have finer modulation, i have yet to find a hydro where i can get this progressive long lever throw they all feel really short throw with lots of power really soon

  11. #11
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    I just recently swapped out my BB7's with 2008 Juicy 5's. Same size rotor. I was using SD-7 levers with the BB7's and Flak Jacket cables and housing.

    My opinion is that the BB7/SD-7 combination offers a better feel of the brake and similar modulation and power. If both are set up properly, I'd give the edge to the BB7's.

    I went for the Juicy's because I got tired of replacing brake cables/housing every year and got tired of having to fiddle with brake levers.

    My suggestion to those that talk about BB7's feeling cheap is that you really need to have them set up properly with decent equipment to get a true feel. That said, they require more maintenance to feel good and thus are more work to maintain, despite their intent to be field-serviceable I have never needed to do anything to any of the hydro's I've used over the years so I'm not sure if that would be a factor for you.

  12. #12
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    I have both J5s and BB7s and I prefer my BB7s primarily because I've had problems with my J5s (read the never-ending Turkey Warble thread). Though the J5s are easier to set up and adjust, you have to hope you like they way they work with the very basic adjustments. The BB7s with a set of speed-dial levers actually offer more adjustability.
    I should add that I have quite a few bikes and still do a lot of riding with rim brakes, so the mechanical cable feel is not an issue for me.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  13. #13
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    I have bb7s and juicy 7s setup on two of my hardtails. The biggest difference is the 'feel' of the hydro brakes. The bb7's stopping power was more than acceptable, but the completely enclosed hydro cables and no mechanical feedback (ie hand pump) sold me on the hydros. Since I've gone hydro I haven't gone back. The most recent hydros I picked up are the new XTs, I'd take those over juicys mainly for the ease of adjustment and pad removal, although the j7s aren't exactly difficult to adjust either.

  14. #14
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    I've owned both and I'm going a bit against the grain here. The BB7's are plenty powerful and when set up with quality levers (SD-7's are good) and quality cables and housing (I used Flak Jacket) they were a quality brake. But they are very dependent on quality and uncontaminated housing so if you ride a lot in wet conditions...it is critical that you use top quality cables and housing that are somewhat sealed to the elements. By adjusting the dial on the SD-7 levers, you could set them up with a firm lever but the brakes were kinda on-off or you could set them up for modulation but get a mushy lever. On long steep descents, they did tend to fade a bit as they are not self adjusting but for general trail riding they are fine. My Juicy 5's have similar power, but they are unaffected by the wet weather I am often in. In addition, they provide me with much greater modulation while still having a relatively firm lever at the end of the lever stroke. And of course, since they self adjust, no major fade on long descents and no need to fiddle with the calipers. So while I like the BB7's...I like the Juicy 5's better and would pick hydros over mechanicals for most situations.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
    I've owned both and I'm going a bit against the grain here. The BB7's are plenty powerful and when set up with quality levers (SD-7's are good) and quality cables and housing (I used Flak Jacket) they were a quality brake. But they are very dependent on quality and uncontaminated housing so if you ride a lot in wet conditions...it is critical that you use top quality cables and housing that are somewhat sealed to the elements. By adjusting the dial on the SD-7 levers, you could set them up with a firm lever but the brakes were kinda on-off or you could set them up for modulation but get a mushy lever. On long steep descents, they did tend to fade a bit as they are not self adjusting but for general trail riding they are fine. My Juicy 5's have similar power, but they are unaffected by the wet weather I am often in. In addition, they provide me with much greater modulation while still having a relatively firm lever at the end of the lever stroke. And of course, since they self adjust, no major fade on long descents and no need to fiddle with the calipers. So while I like the BB7's...I like the Juicy 5's better and would pick hydros over mechanicals for most situations.

    +1 I couldn't have put it any better, right on
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlhulit
    I have bb7s and ive stuck with them for the reasons some dont like, with my speed dials adjusted at the lowest power setting i can still get plenty of stopping but i have a longer lever throw to have finer modulation, i have yet to find a hydro where i can get this progressive long lever throw they all feel really short throw with lots of power really soon
    This is the type of response I was looking for. Thank you. Like you I prefer the longer lever stroke almost exactly as you described.
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  17. #17
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    Guys, Thanks for all the reply's. Keep them coming and lets continue this dicussion.

    So far what I'm gathering is that the BB7's will allow the rider to feel more of what the brake is actually doing requiring the rider to adjust more to the conditions of braking, where as the Hydro's actually do just the opposite making most of the adjustments for the rider and alleviating some if not all of the riders perception of what the brake is really doing.

    This is a combination of what I have noticed using juicy brakes exclusively and what I am reading. I find that with the juicy's I tend to have to look and see what is happening w/ the brake as the fluid doesnt allow me to feel it. This is a given but worth noting.

    Servicing and ease of adjustments make no difference for me.
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  18. #18
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    The BB7 / SD7 combo (I run it with 185mm rotors F/R on my HT) gives great control and power. If you have good cables and housing and keep it clean and lubed (with full housing runs it's easy to do with the dust wipers on the calipers for the cables and such) and feels great. They're very smooth, and give you good feel as to what they're doing.

  19. #19
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    The only adjustment that hydros do for you is accounting for pad wear. Hydros aren't adjusting to the trail for you or providing ABS or anything like that. The difference in lever feel does mean you can lose that sensation on the BB7 where you feel the pad contact the rotor, but that is all I have noticed so far. I find that the important signs on what the brake is doing are really felt through the tires, the steering, your body, your perception of speed, etc. I guess for me, without that mechanical pad contact feel, hydros do do a better job of "disappearing" and letting me focus on those important signs instead of whether my brakes are engaging or not

    Beyond that I'm not sure what you are getting at. What were looking down to see?

  20. #20
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    i liked the adjustability of my BB5's with SD levers, but i really like the power of my juicy 3's.... but of course those are both different then what the OP wanted to know about... i can say that when i switched from the jagwire cables to the shimano XT cables my braking performance increased with the BB5's.. bigger rotors helped with the fad problem too... id still take the juicy's though
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn

    Beyond that I'm not sure what you are getting at. What were looking down to see?
    Looking down is figurative.
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  22. #22
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    They hydros definetly feel weird to me coming from the old days of just v-brakes. I know you asked about BB7's, but personally even the BB5's are pretty good brakes when setup properly...albeit it can be a chore.

    You can adjust the levers on the juicy's and change the lever reach like you stated you like. I have read many topics regarding juicy's and it seems that many people don't know or haven't messed with the little allen screw.

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