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  1. #1
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    BB7's......don't even bother to ask.

    Just go get some.

    I'm guessing that mine are officially broken in, and all I can say is wow!! I had 100% full control on one of the fastest descents I have in my area. Speeds can easily see 33-35 mph. with runoff ditches and small holes.

    I had Formula hydros on my last bike, and could never control the speeds like I did today.

    When it came time to slow down for real (approaching hikers) they grabbed like nobody's business.

    My experience today makes me wonder, has anyone ever done stop tests with various brakes? I am sure my BB7's stop me in way shorter a distance than my old Formula hydros.

    I'd be interested in any REAL data.
    2012 Trek Marlin BB7's / SD-7's, G3's, and Kenda Nevegals


    My website: www.n2ovette.com

  2. #2
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    Agreed. Once dialed in they are incredible brakes!! I always am looking at other brake kits but damn if I can't fault the ones I have. Always stop me, good modulation, everything. Only gripe I have is my back one, the piston likes to stick a lot so sometimes it take a good whack to get it back to normal but other than that they are incredible brakes.

  3. #3
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    must admit i really love my bb7s. pair them u with the SD7 levers and you're golden.

  4. #4
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    Im curious for a review of the sd 7 levers? What makes them any better than a traditional cheapo cable lever?

  5. #5
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    there are tons of reviews of the speed dial levers. I think the biggest thing is the extra lever feel knob. i don't know how necessary it is though since I use regular avid levers and they work perfectly.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Limey Johnson View Post
    Just go get some.

    I'm guessing that mine are officially broken in, and all I can say is wow!! I had 100% full control on one of the fastest descents I have in my area. Speeds can easily see 33-35 mph. with runoff ditches and small holes.

    I had Formula hydros on my last bike, and could never control the speeds like I did today.

    When it came time to slow down for real (approaching hikers) they grabbed like nobody's business.

    My experience today makes me wonder, has anyone ever done stop tests with various brakes? I am sure my BB7's stop me in way shorter a distance than my old Formula hydros.

    I'd be interested in any REAL data.
    OK, I'm curious.... As a relative newb, contemplating a brake upgrade over the winter, I've been reading as much as I can. I've seen lots and lots of enthusiastic recommendations on the BB7's. It seems the big points are that they are a very easy to adjust and maintain and do a superlative job of stopping bicycles and they are the best bang for the buck, period.

    I have been looking for/at the 2012 Shimano XT M785 as the replacements for the M 575's that came on the bike, but I keep wondering whether these BB7's might be fine.

    As I said, I've done a fair amount of searching and reading on this forum, but aside from finding a lot of people happy with BB7's, I still am unclear about the advantages they have over a good hydraulic system. I'm assuming that hydraulics must be better in some ways since I've never heard of a top-level bike using anything other than hydraulics. Ditto for racing bikes.

    I have seen a few posts that claim that BB7's are equal to or better than hydraulic setups up to a certain quality level, and someone mentioned that being a $400 set of brakes, but offered no more data than his opinion.

    I'm not trying to start an argument but trying to get a clear idea of where BB7's stand in relation to hydraulic alternatives, specifically the Shimano XT and XTR setups.

    TIA for any enlightenment.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  7. #7
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    I like them on my old hardtail. They are good.

    But I do like my Elixir 5 hydros even better.

    Just one man's opinion.

  8. #8
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    My BB7s have to be the best upgrade Ive done to my bike. The stock Tetkro brakes just flat out sucked. There was no adjustability and the pads would easily glaze over requiring a good cleaning and some sandpaper to get some feel back.

    With the sales on the BB7s, it was a no brainer in my mind. The ability to actually stop is a huge plus.

    As for why I went with BB7s, its all cost. A good hydro set would of run around $200. I got the BB7s for about $105 shipped to my door. Im sure I will upgrade to hydro in a few years but the mechs work good for me for now.

  9. #9
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    I've rode both BB7's and Hayes MX-4's.... And I prefer the MX-4's.
    They took less effort to pull the lever... Other than that they were similar.

    I'm currently riding Avid Juicy 3's... The lever pull is much easier but they are a pain to adjust and require attention to keep them from squeaking!
    I just upgraded to a 180mm rotor up front to combat some fade I had at 25mph+ as well... Never had those problems with the MX-4's...
    Quote Originally Posted by William Blake
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  10. #10
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    BB7's are easily the best upgrade I've made to my bike. Can't really argue with $100 bucks shipped for the set either.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joey47 View Post
    must admit i really love my bb7s. pair them u with the SD7 levers and you're golden.
    found a set of SD7's at a lbs for $28 set. Just did the install.

    not sure on performance difference yet over the FR-5's that came with my brakes, but they at least stopped me on my test ride.

    the adjustability will be a plus.
    2012 Trek Marlin BB7's / SD-7's, G3's, and Kenda Nevegals


    My website: www.n2ovette.com

  12. #12
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    Wait until you really break them in.

    I also have the 185s so I not only got a bigger rotor to combat the brake fade but also still have excellent modulation to go with it. With the Tetkros it was either full or nothing. Very scary.

    Speed dials are pretty sweet. They do make a good difference as well. Change the feel while on a bike ride? Heck yes!

  13. #13
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    Modulation is the only difference IMHO. The BB7's can be a bit touchy. I have both BB7's and XT's, both are easy to set up and both work well but the XT's just feel better. In the end, the hydro's offer a slight incremental improvement. That being said, I would be perfectly happy if all my bikes had bb7's. Not so sure I'd recommend some of the non Shimano hydro's for a noob though, can be a ***** to set up and maintain (gf has hayes -- which I work on, they suck and always have a bit of rub). I also don't think you need to get the xt or xtr's, slx or lx or even deore work well in the trailbike application. YMMV
    Drink beer all day

  14. #14
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    The only real data I can provide is that the BB7's paid for themselves.

    I upgraded from BB5's which was eating my lunch on replacement pads. My BB7's with metallic pads typically go 2 to 3 seasons where I was going through 2-3 sets a season with the BB5's.

    Overall, the metallic pads may not grab as well as organics in really hard stops but it does extend their life -and- provides much better modulation control by not being quite so grabby. They will still put you over the handlebars if needed.

  15. #15
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    Good job!

    I have a few bikes that have really nice, high end hydraulic brakes that work really well. I have a set of BB7's on my Quiring that work just as well, and in some cases better. The hydro's require a lot of bleeding and fiddlefukking to keep them working well. My BB7's just require me to occasionally crank a knob to account for pad wear. BB7's are still, IMHO, one of the best brake systems on the market.
    Pisgah Area SORBA

    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    ... your idea of technical may be much different than other peoples idea of technical.

  16. #16
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    Russians say - dont compare a finger with a penis.

  17. #17
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    Love my BB7s. Just picked up a Felt 29er that was a demo bike (great deal on it!) and it was 100% SLX stuff. I swapped out the brakes with 7s and a set of speed dial levers and it's perfect. More power by far than the hyd. SLX brakes, and better control.

    I still don't know why they make the BB5s. . . Sticking your foot into traffic to stop works better than those things.

  18. #18
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    Really with the BB7s your main items are cost savings (comparable pair of hydros will end up costing at least $200 and really end up being more unless you are into bleeding them yourself. Then you have the simplicity of adjustment, turn the barrel adjuster to increase some tension, turn your inboard/outboard pad adjustment knobs for more or less brake grab and you are pretty much done. The only problem that I have had with my 2006 pair is that one of the cylinders sticks and so every once in a while I have to smack the housing to get it to release. Overall, considering you can get a new 2011 pair with XT cables and SD7 levers for $120 from Blueskycycling you really can't go wrong.

  19. #19
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    A big thanks to everyone here that recommended BB7's in one of my earlier threads.

    Had I not asked here, I fear I would have ended up with the BB5's, or maybe even something from another mfg.

    I'm back from my adjustment ride with my new SD-7's

    After I learned what the magic red knobs on the levers do, I have my brakes fine tuned to my particular riding style.

    It's truly amazing what a couple "clicks" can do!! I may never own a different set of brakes.
    2012 Trek Marlin BB7's / SD-7's, G3's, and Kenda Nevegals


    My website: www.n2ovette.com

  20. #20
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    I have a pair of BB7s and the speed dial levers on my monocog, but I can't seem to get them set up just right. The inside pad is nearly impossible to move, but I have it in pretty much the right spot now. I can't get good braking with out a little bit of rub though. And they are awfully squeeky.

    Any advice?

  21. #21
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    honestly, the only advice I could give, is to take your time, and follow the install/adjustment procedures 100%.

    I watched a good vid on youtube.

    google "avid bb7 setup" and check out the vid from SRAMtech.

    Follow his steps to the tee. Unfortunately, these are very sensitive brakes, so patience is key, but when they are finally properly adjusted, you'll actually know it. I thought I was done, but had a slight rub, and went back and readjusted.

    I had the FR-5 levers for the install, and they worked well...until....the SD 7's.

    For the SD 7 levers, I did no further adjustments at the calipers. I followed the install sheet step for step.

    The "red knob" adjustment is not a "my brakes are better than yours" type of adjustment. It's purely a personal feel to the brakes. What I like, may not work well for you, and vice versa.

    As for squealing...I'd give the rotors a good cleaning with some alcohol. I have even experienced squealing with my setup. Weather has alot to with the squealing...early morning rides, and predusk rides can cause noise. heat of the day, mine seem to be okay, but you WILL occasionally experience squealing.
    2012 Trek Marlin BB7's / SD-7's, G3's, and Kenda Nevegals


    My website: www.n2ovette.com

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porschefan View Post
    OK, I'm curious.... As a relative newb, contemplating a brake upgrade over the winter, I've been reading as much as I can. I've seen lots and lots of enthusiastic recommendations on the BB7's. It seems the big points are that they are a very easy to adjust and maintain and do a superlative job of stopping bicycles and they are the best bang for the buck, period.

    I have been looking for/at the 2012 Shimano XT M785 as the replacements for the M 575's that came on the bike, but I keep wondering whether these BB7's might be fine.

    As I said, I've done a fair amount of searching and reading on this forum, but aside from finding a lot of people happy with BB7's, I still am unclear about the advantages they have over a good hydraulic system. I'm assuming that hydraulics must be better in some ways since I've never heard of a top-level bike using anything other than hydraulics. Ditto for racing bikes.

    I have seen a few posts that claim that BB7's are equal to or better than hydraulic setups up to a certain quality level, and someone mentioned that being a $400 set of brakes, but offered no more data than his opinion.

    I'm not trying to start an argument but trying to get a clear idea of where BB7's stand in relation to hydraulic alternatives, specifically the Shimano XT and XTR setups.

    TIA for any enlightenment.
    I'm looking at the XT hydraulic brakes too, except I'm looking to build up my first mtb. The XT brakes I see at Jensen are the XT M775's hydraulic, and they are hella expensive: $370 without rotors. I see the 2012 XT M785's at Universal for $292 without rotors. After watching this video on how to bleed the XT brakes:

    Shimano XT M775 Hydraulic Disc Brake Kit at JensonUSA.com

    I really don't want anything to do with hydraulic brakes. If the Avid BB7's can be had for $121 at Blue Sky(160mm rotor front and rear), that seems like the way to go to me. I weigh 230 lbs., though, so I think I might need a 180mm rotor in the front.

    I've demo'ed a few of mtbs over the last two years: Ibis Mojo, SC Blur LT1, Carbon Nomad + XT kit. Would those have been equipped with hydraulic brakes or mechanical brakes? Alternatively, if you buy, say a Santa Cruz Blur LT2 with a kit today, will those be hydraulic or mechanical brakes?
    Last edited by happyriding; 09-18-2011 at 03:30 PM.

  23. #23
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    And that $120 includes $40 in pads; I'm just sayin'

  24. #24
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    The other ones come with pads too....I did make a mistake though, the M775's at Jensen are $370 w/o rotors!

    resin v. metallic pads???

  25. #25
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    I still don't know why they make the BB5s. . . Sticking your foot into traffic to stop works better than those things.

    That's just dumb, BB7s are better than BB5s but the BB5s stop just fine. The 5s more difficult to adjust than the 7s but I've had no problem with stopping - once they're adjusted properly.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyriding View Post

    I've demo'ed a few of mtbs over the last two years: Ibis Mojo, SC Blur LT1, Carbon Nomad + XT kit. Would those have been equipped with hydraulic brakes or mechanical brakes? Alternatively, if you buy, say a Santa Cruz Blur LT2 with a kit today, will those be hydraulic or mechanical brakes?
    Hydros, I doubt you will find any of those bikes with mechanical brakes, not saying for or against, just saying

    Most hydros work exceptionally well, and set up right are mostly maintenance free. All brakes will require periodic cleaning of the rotors and pads, more often if you ride in wet/muddy/dusty conditions.
    Ride On!

  27. #27
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    BB7 are great. King of the mech. King of the brake, maybe not, but you are looking at maybe 4x the price of the BB7 to get that level of performance in hydro that BB7 are to mech.

    And to answer that question why does really high end bike are equipped with hydro ? to sell them more expensive. Because I know a lot of people who had their LBS change the high end hydro for BB7 when they bought their high end bike, such as Giant, Santa Cruz, Intense, etc...

    It's not because it cost more that it work better, and BB7 only required a 5mm hex key (and cable cutter). Hydro require bleed kit, many hex size, special hose cutter, fitting, etc...

    And most of the time, bad experience with either hydro or BB7 is user related to bad wrenching or abuse... or something simply manufacturing default... I have a BB5 road, a BB7 MTB and a Hayes MX-2. BB7 and MX-2 are both super stopper, BB5 is less powerful. BB7 can be adjusted super fine and easy, BB5 and MX-2 are harder to adjust and even harder to perfectly align without any rub. BB7 cost $50, BB5 and MX-2 cost $30... all on 203mm rotors.

    Pic yours.

    And yes, $20 pads provided with the BB7 (or BB5) for the price is really nice. I've bought a BB7 MTB 203mm kit this summer, $47. Rotor only (G2) sell for $40, pads $20, adaptors, bolts, etc...

    Value for everyone who can appreciate it.

    I've never tried hydro, I have to admit it. When I was looking to purchase my first MTB, hydro were a nice feature, but I ended up with one with MX-2 and BB5. Gotta say I would had mess hydro bad if I had them on my first MTB, with all the new wrenching, etc... Mech are really cheap to run, and for weekend warrior, really cheap to maintain and will work after 2 months not touching the bike...

    Hydro are great, dual side movement of the pads, reducing warp development in the rotor, super firm feeling, not friction, etc. Costly and expensive to maintain, but if you are ok with the wrenching, they also last very long. But problem are more likely to be a PITA with hydro then mech.

    Personal choice from budget and experience.

    David
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  28. #28
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    I have a question about the BB7's. I swapped out Tektro discs on a Novara Bonanza with the BB7's and they really aren't that strong. (I used a 185mm rotor up front, too.) I left the Tektro levers and stock cables; was that a mistake? I was also wondering if the stock pads are good or should I change those out?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian-B View Post
    I have a question about the BB7's. I swapped out Tektro discs on a Novara Bonanza with the BB7's and they really aren't that strong. (I used a 185mm rotor up front, too.) I left the Tektro levers and stock cables; was that a mistake? I was also wondering if the stock pads are good or should I change those out?
    BB7 stock pads are good.

    Levers and cables are ok too, unless your cables have a lot of friction but its not braking-power related.

    Are you using the Avid rotors ? Which model ? G1, G2, Roundagon, etc ?

    And finally, it would take up to 20 to 40 complete braking, so hitting at least 15 mph (at least) and make a full stop. Then start again. Urban riding will get you that break-in quick. And 20-40 stops for each brake, so 40 back, then 40 front.

    In the BB7 user manual, they say about 20 stop, maybe 40, well, me it took about 40 (BB7 MTB, rear, 203mm G2 rotor).

    And when they are break-in, clean the pads and rotors with alcohol. And also before starting the break-in session if you ever touch the rotors/pads with your fingers or anything greasy/oily, such as a rag.

    David
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  30. #30
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    BB7's are such winners because they are easily the best value. They offer solid performance at a price most folks can stomach.

    I do prefer hydraulics for lever feel, but it costs a good bit more to get that improvement.

    My wife's bike got a set of BB7's a couple years ago, and she loves 'em. I'm about to build a road commuter with a set of BB7's mated to some Tektro long pull road levers on moustache bars. That is not something you can do with hydros currently, so BB7's also get the nod for flexibility (the road BB7's can be used with any road lever, even, but I wanted flexibility with this bike).

  31. #31
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    Give 'em some time to brake in and fiddle with the adjustments a bit. They are plenty strong when setup right. Stock pads are fine but I would install new cables/housing cheap and doesn't hurt. I used a $10 Shimano mountain brake cable set, full length and works great. I only have the 160 up front right now and it's still beastly.

  32. #32
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    Just wanted to post that the XT M785 hydro's are on sale at BlueSky for $250 -- but the sale ends tonight(9/18). The brake package includes either a 160mm or 180mm XT RT75 rotor up front and a 160mm rotor in back, and comes with resin pads and adapters.

    Bike Radar says the XT M785's are five star brakes:

    Shimano XT M785 Disc Brake ? First Ride Review - BikeRadar

    I'm thoroughly confused now.


    (In the comments it says that when the new Ice Tech rotors were tested in Germany, the aluminum core melted. Yikes!)
    Last edited by happyriding; 09-18-2011 at 10:13 PM.

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    I passed on the XT M785's because there seems to be a manufacturing defect:

    Love the new 2012 XT brakes

  34. #34
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    I'm running BB7s (185mm F/R) and SD7 levers, and I love them. They're smooth when paired with good cables, modulate well, have plenty of stopping power, etc. I've contemplated swapping to a nice set of hydros a few times, but have yet to find an actual reason to do so.

  35. #35
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    As a Noob, I found the BB7's very easy to setup and adjust. I like the fact that I could swap the F&R brake on the trail, if needed. I like the minimal service requirement that a cable offers. Once the pads broke into the rotors properly, everything was very good. The hard part is properly breaking them in.

    Proper coaching is key for this, telling me to find a hill and go up and down a few times, isn't helpful. I need to know specifics, IE - 40kph-5kph in 5 second bursts, 15 times over. Some heat, or Lotsa heat? Heavy pressure or just moderate pressure...?

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Todd- View Post
    Proper coaching is key for this, telling me to find a hill and go up and down a few times, isn't helpful. I need to know specifics, IE - 40kph-5kph in 5 second bursts, 15 times over. Some heat, or Lotsa heat? Heavy pressure or just moderate pressure...?
    The more heat the better, hope you don't need a coach for that...
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  37. #37
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    just ride them I never did anything specific.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by dundundata View Post
    just ride them I never did anything specific.
    Ditto. Just be careful the first few stops and before you know it they'll be fine.
    Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised

  39. #39
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    so riddle me this.

    my front and rears were identically set up. My fronts seem to squeeze easier (maybe the shorter cable?) that would make sense.

    what does not seem to make sense is that the front lever comes considerably closer to the bar before stopping.

    what gives?
    2012 Trek Marlin BB7's / SD-7's, G3's, and Kenda Nevegals


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  40. #40
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    If the cables are the right length and don't have sharp bends then that's normal for the rear. The front should be able to bite quickly if the pads are close. Try giving the outboard pad another click in, sometimes you can get another click even when the pad is close and it doesn't seem to move the pad but the bite of the lever comes quicker.

    You might need to mess with that other dial on the speed dial's can't say though I don't have them.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhix01 View Post
    I still don't know why they make the BB5s. . . Sticking your foot into traffic to stop works better than those things.

    That's just dumb, BB7s are better than BB5s but the BB5s stop just fine. The 5s more difficult to adjust than the 7s but I've had no problem with stopping - once they're adjusted properly.
    I've owned both, and I know how to set them up. The biggest visible difference between the 5s and the 7s is the 7s have an adjustment knob for the outside (moving) pad. The 5s make due with cable length adjustments only.

    There are some otheer, less obvious differences, though. The pads are different, which shouldn't matter that much. With the change in pads, though, there is a difference in mechanics beyond the adjuster knob. I swapped 5s for 7s on a couple of bikes. In each case, the 5s were set up correctly. With no other components changed - including cables - the 7s have far superior stopping power.

    By the way, thanks for calling names! Really appreciate it!

  42. #42
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    I will be upgrading to BB7's .. sooner than later due to the feedback here, very good to see constructive feedback in these forums.

    BB5's on my Hardrock SD are actually not that bad, however i do notice that on a rad decent the BB5's need that extra bit (two instead of one fingering it) to get them to slow you down.. personally, setting up the BB5's is easy but the inside adjustment knob can be a pain..

  43. #43
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    I have BB7s on my commuter and '11 Elixir 5s on my mtb (just replaced some ancient but lovely Hope Enduros) - the BB7s are fine, but even with new cables and SD7 levers, they never feel as nice as the hydros I've had or used. The front caliper also needs periodic fiddling with as one of the pads (or pistons, never quite sure) stops retracting completely and the pad "ting tings" on the disk. I do ride all year round though, so road salt probably doesn't help, and there's no guarantee a hydro would fare any better (mtb gets ridden all year round too, but not on the road). A strip down and blast out with carb cleaner usually sorts it out.

    Either way, I think they're plenty fine for my commuter, but I wouldn't stick a set on my mtb.

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    I have had a couple of decent hydro setups in the past and always seem to end up back on my BB7's. This is largely due to the fact that I get tired of dicking with the hydro's. My XT's developed a squishy rear that myself, 2 shops, three different lines and hours or frustration for all parties could not fix. I also had a set of Hayes and as mentioned, it was a constant battle with them rubbing and having to recenter. Total PITA. Don't get me wrong, I love the feel of hydraulics but I have yet to get a set that has been a set it and forget it sort of thing.

    Now for the BB7's, well I have technically had two different sets. I bought the first set when I was upgrading my first SS. It was a huge upgrade. But even out of the box, there is alot that can be done to improve them. This includes better rotors, titanium bolts, some high end cables, better pads (mine squealed all the time).

    I ran the Speed Dial levers and did not like them much at all. I actually had two different sets and both of them rattled and simply put, they just looked big w/ a large blade. However, they do not flex much which is critical when it comes to cable driven brakes. I say that because I jumped on the weight weenie wagon at one point and have been riding a set of CNC's levers for the past 6 months. My brakes still work but I know for a fact that the flexing of the lever has taken away from the over all performance of the brakes. Having a spring return in the lever also helps the feel as well (mine don't have that either-that would just add more weight). I think that if I do anything, I will pick up an older set of XTR levers as I love the ergonomics of them and they are definitely stiff.

    Cables make all the difference in the world. I have run Gore cables-work great but on the heavier side of things. I have also run Alligator i-link cables. Super light but since they are aluminum, the frickn rattled on my frame and drove me up the wall. Now running Jag Wire braided lines. They work great but I still think that the lever would make a large improvement.

    Rotors. The stock rotors work pretty well actually. But they were a little heavy (WW talking again) and I wanted something that looked more trick. I have been on a set of KCNC Razors for the past 8 months or so. They work well but I can tell you that while they are light as hell, they lack surface material which aids in braking. So it is really a bit of a trade off. I think I will give some Ashima rotors a try next. They are fairly cheap and still lighter than the stock rotors.

    My current BB7's are an older version. They supposedly weigh a little less than the current model but work the same. I picked them up used last year and they are still rolling!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails BB7's......don't even bother to ask.-brake-bolts.jpg  


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    By the way, thanks for calling names! Really appreciate it!

    I didn't call names dude, I said that saying "Sticking your foot into traffic to stop works better than those things." in reference to BB5s was dumb - which it is. I didn't say (and have no way of knowing) that BB5s were as good as BB7s - I doubt they are, but that doesn't mean BB5s don't work - they do (and way better than sticking your foot into traffic). When the pads on my 5s wear out I'll probably replace the whole shebang with BB7s - just for the ease of adjust-ability if nothing else. If I get better stopping then great but the BB5s stop me just fine.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porschefan View Post
    OK, I'm curious.... As a relative newb, contemplating a brake upgrade over the winter, I've been reading as much as I can. I've seen lots and lots of enthusiastic recommendations on the BB7's. It seems the big points are that they are a very easy to adjust and maintain and do a superlative job of stopping bicycles and they are the best bang for the buck, period.

    I have been looking for/at the 2012 Shimano XT M785 as the replacements for the M 575's that came on the bike, but I keep wondering whether these BB7's might be fine.

    As I said, I've done a fair amount of searching and reading on this forum, but aside from finding a lot of people happy with BB7's, I still am unclear about the advantages they have over a good hydraulic system. I'm assuming that hydraulics must be better in some ways since I've never heard of a top-level bike using anything other than hydraulics. Ditto for racing bikes.

    I have seen a few posts that claim that BB7's are equal to or better than hydraulic setups up to a certain quality level, and someone mentioned that being a $400 set of brakes, but offered no more data than his opinion.

    I'm not trying to start an argument but trying to get a clear idea of where BB7's stand in relation to hydraulic alternatives, specifically the Shimano XT and XTR setups.

    TIA for any enlightenment.
    XT m785's without a doubt....can't even compare them to any mechanical.

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    I hear you but those too appear to have their problems. Just read something this morning on here about issues folks are having with them leaking oil. One guy posted up that Shimano is sending him via his LBS a new lever/caliper as a replacement. He has only had one good ride on them before this problem occured.

    don't get me wrong, I like them, I really do and have seriously been looking at the XTR's actually. But I have become quite picky at this point and found that the BB7's have simply been a set it and forget it sort of thing. Sorta spoils you really.

    I mean, I'm not racing and I'm not sponsored so dropping $600 on a set of R1's just isn't worth it at this point. Espcially when the brakes will out price my frame! (not that my seatpost doesn't do that already mind you).

  48. #48
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    My 785's had a rear hose leak and shimano had a new brake to my door in 3 days (just in time for my race too). They've been flawless ever since (3 months).

    If cable brakes fit and work for your style of riding go for it. Nothing beats the feel of a good hydro brake though.

  49. #49
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    I totally agree with your last statement! I think that has been the only reason I have been searching for brakes again.

    I am also glad to hear that Shimano took care of you. That is always awesome to hear. Personally, I am dealing with some tire issues right now and the seller (ebay go figure) has yet to respond to me. Yet I have to mail the thing back to them within a certain period of time. Funny how that works...

  50. #50
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    Shimano sent me the brake first and then I returned the defective one. Great customer service for sure.

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    I think what it comes down to is the 7s are 95% as good as the best hyd setup ot there, and much better than a bad one.

    Advantages of hyd:

    Very smooth, non-stick lever feel, which can give better control and modulation
    Easier initial set up
    Less adjustment needed as the pads and rotor wear
    Less pull effort required for the same ammount of stoping power - although both can put you over the handlebars

    Advantages of bb7s:

    Less possibility of total failure.
    Far easier maintenance
    Replace the cable with 2 tools in 10 minutes in the middle of nowhere, or 5 minutes in the shop.
    You can mix and match levers from any manufacturer easily
    Price - especially if you are upgrading from some other cable pull type brake

    Disadvantages of hyd:
    Every seal and joint in a hyd set is a possible failure point (I have had 2 seperate total failures due to blown out fittings. Getting the broken off piece of fitting out of the brake caliper was a P.I.T.A.)
    Bleeding and repair is more difficult (Not saying you are not able to work on them, but they are harder and more messy)
    Unless you want to do custom work on the lines to get the length perfect, you may have to live with extra floppy hoses
    Higher initial cost

    Disadvantages of bb7s:
    Cables MUST be kept in good condition if you want them to work correctly
    Even if the cables are perfect, they will never be quite as smooth as hyd
    Even if the cables are perfect, pull effort can be higher than hyd
    Adjustments needed as pads and discs wear, and the cable stretches
    Hyd brake owners will usually turn up their noses at your rig, even if it works perfectly fine and you are happy with it

    For me, the advantages of hydraulic brakes aren't worth the lower reliability. And the best mechanicals on the market are the bb7s.

  52. #52
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    Again it depends on your riding style and type of terrain you ride.


    My XT's stop far better for longer with less effort then the bb7's I ran years ago.

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    I run BB7's and set them up as they should be. One finger braking is nice but the power can be little much in loose over hard pack conditions. I haven't upgraded to hydros for a few reasons, but the main one is a lot of the current ones sold for bikes are junk. Once a hydraulic brake system is setup it should require almost no maintenance and should only need to be bled if the system is opened. Motorcycles and quads have hydraulic brakes, have you noticed they don't have to bleed them once they are set up?

    If you have to bleed the brakes on your bike once it is set up, it is because the brakes are letting in air. Air getting past the seals is not acceptable on any hydraulic brake system, unless it is on a bicycle. Somehow the manufactures have managed to make defective brake systems acceptable on mountain bikes. I deal with plenty of other hydraulic brakes, if any of those were to suddenly need bleeding I would know they were in need of repair. I have watched the hydros get better, but the number of people who say yeah I have great brakes I just have to bleed them once in a while really don't understand how a hydraulic system is supposed to work.
    "What kind of bike? I don't know, I'm not a bike scientist."

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    The new XTR trail brakes are the best ever when used with the ICE rotors and pads. Try before you judge. BB7's are great brakes, but not even in the same league.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapaso View Post
    I run BB7's and set them up as they should be. One finger braking is nice but the power can be little much in loose over hard pack conditions. I haven't upgraded to hydros for a few reasons, but the main one is a lot of the current ones sold for bikes are junk. Once a hydraulic brake system is setup it should require almost no maintenance and should only need to be bled if the system is opened. Motorcycles and quads have hydraulic brakes, have you noticed they don't have to bleed them once they are set up?

    If you have to bleed the brakes on your bike once it is set up, it is because the brakes are letting in air. Air getting past the seals is not acceptable on any hydraulic brake system, unless it is on a bicycle. Somehow the manufactures have managed to make defective brake systems acceptable on mountain bikes. I deal with plenty of other hydraulic brakes, if any of those were to suddenly need bleeding I would know they were in need of repair. I have watched the hydros get better, but the number of people who say yeah I have great brakes I just have to bleed them once in a while really don't understand how a hydraulic system is supposed to work.
    Exactly.

    Hydro is supposed to be the perfect braking solution. Unfortunately, manufacturer make them to be defective once in a while, so they can sell more oil, housing, hardware, etc...

    Have you ever had to play with your car's brake lines (unless accident, defaults or normal wear) ?

    No.

    David
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  56. #56
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    there's a huge difference in weight and drag requirements between disks on motor vehicles and bicycles. I'm sure one could make a bike hydro disk brake that's as well sealed and bombproof as one you find on a motorbike, but it would be a brick. It's just one of the trade offs that's made.

    Besides, every hydro brake needs bleeding periodically, say once a year or so, as the brake fluid attracts moisture which will eventually boil and cause the brake to fail. The fact that people don't doesn't mean that they shouldn't.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by moediff View Post
    The new XTR trail brakes are the best ever when used with the ICE rotors and pads. Try before you judge. BB7's are great brakes, but not even in the same league.
    I have hydraulic brakes on some of my motorized toys, hydraulics offers something that a cable can never do, and that is tactile feel. You here it called modulation a lot but that is not correct, hydros and cable brakes have the same amount of modulation. Basically with hydros you can feel the pads riding against the rotor through the fluid so you know how close you are to locking up a wheel. Once compressed the fluid offers a solid connection to the pads, which makes it a lot easier to modulate the braking force. This is a big advantage, especially when you ride on sand over hard pack. I will upgrade when I'm sure I'm not buying defective but generally accepted hardware.

    The XT's maybe it, but I'm taking a wait and see approach. The mountain bike community has accepted a lot of crappy, defective hydraulic brakes in the past, so now I'm a little leery.
    "What kind of bike? I don't know, I'm not a bike scientist."

  58. #58
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    You negative nancys should try a GOOD hydraulic brake before flat out saying they're junk.


    Your car needs brake fluid changes and bleeding too; it's just most neglect it. Go check your car...is your fluid dark in color? Time for maintenance!


    I've had good and bad hydraulic brakes; just like every other component some suck and some don't.


    If it's a price issue I get it but if it's because you just have this bias against hydraulics because you're uneducated on what's good then you're a fool.

  59. #59
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    Magura Julies have been solid for me since 2002 - same set. Bled once in that time...this past winter. Fluid color was gunky, but the system worked fine. Only difference was a slightly improved lever feel. I am so far not liking the organic pads much so will probably go back to sintered soon.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    there's a huge difference in weight and drag requirements between disks on motor vehicles and bicycles. I'm sure one could make a bike hydro disk brake that's as well sealed and bombproof as one you find on a motorbike, but it would be a brick. It's just one of the trade offs that's made.

    Besides, every hydro brake needs bleeding periodically, say once a year or so, as the brake fluid attracts moisture which will eventually boil and cause the brake to fail. The fact that people don't doesn't mean that they shouldn't.
    The brake system on my KTM is not a brick. Moisture like air has to be introduced, that is why once you open a bottle of brake fluid it needs to be used right away. If the system was set up properly and doesn't have any leaks it should not need to be bled for any reason, pretty much forever if everything was done perfectly. Of course things are never perfect, so changing the fluid is something that usually needs to be done, but very infrequently if it is done correctly. The hydraulics sold for bicycles would never have been tolerated by the average consumer on anything else. Bicyclists should stop drooling over every little thing the manufactures sells them and more importantly stop buying utter crap and then defending it, if the leaky (air and moisture) systems had not been tolerated we would have had decent low maintenance hydraulic systems already.

    In a few years (maybe much sooner) Mountain bikers will look back at the earlier systems and wonder how they ever lived them. I have heard the current XT's and XTR's may not be junk, time will tell. I guarantee the manufactures will get it right though, as the first one that does is going to make a lot of money.
    "What kind of bike? I don't know, I'm not a bike scientist."

  61. #61
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    one of the few disc brakes reccomended on this forum,very reliable

  62. #62
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    From bitter experience forget all other mechs than BB7, BB5s and Tektros etc suck. Also forget all those low to mid range hydros like Elixir 5, 3, Juicy Hayes Stroker, Ryde and Trail.

    I'm getting XT next or BB7.

  63. #63
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    man...just look at the argument I started!!

    I guess, like most anything else, past experiences tend to sway a person's decision. My 2003 GT was upgraded by the previous owner with with Formula Evoluzione hydros.

    They were cool, and got alot of "hydraulic discs on a bike? comments, and after a thorough cleaning, new pads, and and new fluid, they stopped pretty well, but notice I said they were "cool", not great.

    The bad taste I got was when I drove 40 miles to a ride, and found a leak. All my buddies were running mech. and had no fluid. It was an extra hour of repairs before even getting out.

    I don't mean to bash hydros, they just are not what I'm looking for. Plus, I've never stopped so smoothly on any other bike but my current ride with my recently acquired BB7's. I'd call them "great".


    To the fella who said his BB7's were a bit much on hard packed stuff...snag yourself the SD-7 levers, and you can dial back the power. You can actually set your brakes to not lock up at all. Sorta like ABS for your bike.
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  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapaso View Post
    The brake system on my KTM is not a brick. Moisture like air has to be introduced, that is why once you open a bottle of brake fluid it needs to be used right away. If the system was set up properly and doesn't have any leaks it should not need to be bled for any reason, pretty much forever if everything was done perfectly. Of course things are never perfect, so changing the fluid is something that usually needs to be done, but very infrequently if it is done correctly. The hydraulics sold for bicycles would never have been tolerated by the average consumer on anything else. Bicyclists should stop drooling over every little thing the manufactures sells them and more importantly stop buying utter crap and then defending it, if the leaky (air and moisture) systems had not been tolerated we would have had decent low maintenance hydraulic systems already.

    In a few years (maybe much sooner) Mountain bikers will look back at the earlier systems and wonder how they ever lived them. I have heard the current XT's and XTR's may not be junk, time will tell. I guarantee the manufactures will get it right though, as the first one that does is going to make a lot of money.
    One of the reasons automotive disk brakes are more durable is because they have a honking great dust seal around the piston. Either it's not cost effective to put them on bike disk brakes (an Elixir 5 costs the same as a caliper holder for a KTM..) or they would add to much drag on the piston (causing the pads to rub) or the piston would need to be bigger (meaning that the caliper would be larger or heavier, plus the lever piston would have to be larger), I don't know, but no one does. Now, that could be because there's some evil conspiracy amongst all of the many disk brake manufacturers to not use a piece of technology that would give them an edge on their competitors. Or it could be for the reasons ^.

    Either way, all disk brakes absorb water over time. That's a simple fact - rubber diaphragms are every so slightly porous to moisture, how ever well they might resist oil leaks. Over time,enough of that water will be absorbed that it will lower the boiling point of the hydraulic fluid to the point where it can boil. When it boils, you get a compressible air lock and no brakes. That might take a couple of years, it might take 20 years, who knows. But when it does happen, it will happen when you're using your brakes the hardest (mountain descent, slowing hard for a junction at the bottom of a hill etc) which is when you least want them to fail. I was a passenger in a car when this happened and I'm lucky to be alive.

    As for looking back in a few years and wondering how we ever survived, just until recently I replaced a set of 10 year old Hopes that were (and are) still working perfectly fine. Bleed once a year, clean the pistons every few months, worked perfectly.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Limey Johnson View Post
    man...just look at the argument I started!!
    it seems to be a subject people like arguing about

    As long as you're happy with your brakes and they work well for you, that's all that matters. I have SD7 levers (came with my 1st set of Vs in 1998!) and I agree, they're perfect for BB7s and I'm amazed that they're still making them after all these years.

  66. #66
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    I have Avid BB7's on four different bikes! Even with 160mm rotors they easily stop a LOADED Surly Big Dummy. Reliable, affordable, maintenance free. The only downside is that little bit of cable drag you feel with mechanicals and I get a little high-pitch squeek every now and then but nothing major. I heard organic pads and G3 rotors make them silent. ***I have a QUESTION for everyone out there: I am building up an ultra-light cross country 9'er with a Carbon Cycles rigid fork on it and am considering putting larger rotors on. Any opinions about 180mm vs. 200/203mm? Anyone seen problems with straightness of the 203's? Would a 203 put too much strain on a carbon fork? Are 203's just plain overkill?
    "Go that way REAL FAST, if something gets in your way... turn".

  67. #67
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    I weight 185 and run 160's on my 29er that weigh in right at 20 lbs. Depending on your weight I don't see why you would need to go any larger than a 185. Most forks can handle the 185's as well. I just don't think I would waste my time going up to a 203. For me it would just be added weight that I don't need. The 185's should work just fine.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1SPD View Post
    I weight 185 and run 160's on my 29er that weigh in right at 20 lbs. Depending on your weight I don't see why you would need to go any larger than a 185. Most forks can handle the 185's as well. I just don't think I would waste my time going up to a 203. For me it would just be added weight that I don't need. The 185's should work just fine.
    Thanks, I'm thinking this is exactly what I need to hear. Anyone else?
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  69. #69
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    I actually have a 203 that I was given initially to try out. I can say that there was more braking power for sure but I realized after swapping back to the 160 on the front that I really did not need it. I kept saying I was going to put a 185 on there and still have not done that.

    I am however waiting for my new brakes to show up (Elixir CR-I know not the greatest but I got a good deal on them and figured why not). I still don't plan on swaping rotors though. Oh, I currently ride BB7's but the older gray versions. I don't think I will part with them and just hang onto them for when the hydros fail.

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    I run 185s F/R on my XC hardtail (also sees commuter duty with slicks swapped on). They've got more than enough power to stop the thing, even with some extra cargo (I'm only 150lbs though). I've yet to overheat them and get fade, although the roundagon rotors can be a little noisy at times.

  71. #71
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    Why not run good brakes and 160's?

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1SPD View Post
    I currently ride BB7's but the older gray versions. I don't think I will part with them and just hang onto them for when the hydros fail.
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  73. #73
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    Instead of starting a new BB7 thread I'm just going to piggyback on this one. I've been out of mountainbiking for 11 years now and am jumping back in and building an XC hardtail for next season. I'm seriously considering the BB7s for two reasons, simplicity and cost. I like the idea of being able to throw my bike in the trunk or on a bike rack and not having to worry about something happening to the hydraulic lines or being able to make fixes out on the trail. I know it's all over the forums how much these weight and how they are 300g heavier then a light hydro set up like the Martas. How much heavier are these brakes vs. a mid line hydro brake? With some careful shopping it looks like I can go BB7's with levers for just a bit over $100, seems like a good deal....I'm just a little worried about the weight.
    Last edited by caad4rep; 10-02-2011 at 06:15 PM.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by caad4rep View Post
    Instead of starting a new BB7 thread I'm just going to piggyback on this one. I've been out of mountainbiking for 11 years now and am jumping back in and building an XC hardtail for next season. I'm seriously considering the BB7s for two reasons, simplicity and cost. I like the idea of being able to throw my bike in the trunk or on a bike rack and not having to worry about something happening to the hydraulic lines or being able to make fixes out on the trail. I know it's all over the forums how much these weight and how they are 300g lighter then a light hydro set up like the Martas. How much heavier are these brakes vs. a mid line hydro brake? With some careful shopping it looks like I can go BB7's with levers for just a bit over $100, seems like a good deal....I'm just a little worried about the weight.
    Weight is for *****... Get some legs man !

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  75. #75
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    I'm 220 and run 180f 160r BB7/sd7/jagwire ripcord with no complaints. Huge improvement over the Tektro hydros that came stock.
    I decided not to run 203 up front because I don't feel a qr skewer axle is stiff enough to get the full power of 203.
    One thing that has gone unmentioned is the sluggish performance of hydros when the temp really drops. Never happens with good, clean mechanicals.
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  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtboroff View Post
    I decided not to run 203 up front because I don't feel a qr skewer axle is stiff enough to get the full power of 203.
    203 is all I've run for years. Never had a problem. At the same stopping power, the torque will be the same no matter what size discs are used, and you can already go over the bars with 160s.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by caad4rep View Post
    Instead of starting a new BB7 thread I'm just going to piggyback on this one. I've been out of mountainbiking for 11 years now and am jumping back in and building an XC hardtail for next season. I'm seriously considering the BB7s for two reasons, simplicity and cost. I like the idea of being able to throw my bike in the trunk or on a bike rack and not having to worry about something happening to the hydraulic lines or being able to make fixes out on the trail. I know it's all over the forums how much these weight and how they are 300g heavier then a light hydro set up like the Martas. How much heavier are these brakes vs. a mid line hydro brake? With some careful shopping it looks like I can go BB7's with levers for just a bit over $100, seems like a good deal....I'm just a little worried about the weight.
    Definitive BB7 weight thread is here at MTBR.com. The newer BB7 calipers (2008 to present) weigh 155g each compared to the 2002-2007 caliper which weighed 142g. The prior caliper model to that (1999-2002) - or known as Model F - weighed 157g.

    There are ways to trim them and get excellent performance. I use the Alligator Serrated rotors (160mm front/140mm rear), with Jagwire Ripcord cables and housing. I also have the Avid Ultimate Levers (152g for the pair). The smaller rotor in the rear helps build in an excellent amount of modulation for the BB7's. Combined with the black teflon coated Jagwire cables, you can really dial in a top performing brake that works great in all conditions. Well, outside of a rain storm in mud which will eat up in brake pad in very short order.

    Weights are like this for mine with the 2002-2007 CPS caliper:

    Alligator 160mm rotor - 92g for the rotor (313g total for caliper and rotor combined)
    Alligator 140mm rotor - 60.5g for the rotor (281g total for caliper and rotor combined)
    Avid Ultimate Levers - 152g for the pair
    Jagwire Ripcord housing and cable - whatever that is for the front and rear on an XL size frame

    And the same on two other bikes with 2008-present calipers at 155g each. Some of the light weight levers available include KCNC at 46-48g a pair, Extralite at 68g a pair, Paul's at 137g a pair, and the Ultimates at 150-152g a pair. I happen to like the Ultimates for their feel, performance, and weight.

    I've been using them since 2002 on all of my bikes (in the mountains, in the Midwest, for XC racing, trail riding, etc...). I guess if they didn't work so dang well, I would have swapped to hydros by now. Why fix what isn't broken and working? But I did mod them with the lighter rotors and levers along with the Jagwire Ripcord cables/housing to come up with a system that simply performs at a very high level.

    BB

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny settle View Post
    I have Avid BB7's on four different bikes! Even with 160mm rotors they easily stop a LOADED Surly Big Dummy. Reliable, affordable, maintenance free. The only downside is that little bit of cable drag you feel with mechanicals and I get a little high-pitch squeek every now and then but nothing major. I heard organic pads and G3 rotors make them silent. ***I have a QUESTION for everyone out there: I am building up an ultra-light cross country 9'er with a Carbon Cycles rigid fork on it and am considering putting larger rotors on. Any opinions about 180mm vs. 200/203mm? Anyone seen problems with straightness of the 203's? Would a 203 put too much strain on a carbon fork? Are 203's just plain overkill?
    I was never all that impressed with the power of the BB7's at 225lbs, until I stuck a 203 on the front. Now, I have true one finger braking and I love the feel of the brakes. Best money I've spent on brakes by far. I don't know if the 185 would have been sufficient, but I didn't wanna spend the money to find out I needed to go bigger. . .

  79. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by EclipseRoadie View Post
    I was never all that impressed with the power of the BB7's at 225lbs, until I stuck a 203 on the front. Now, I have true one finger braking and I love the feel of the brakes. Best money I've spent on brakes by far. I don't know if the 185 would have been sufficient, but I didn't wanna spend the money to find out I needed to go bigger. . .
    I'm right there with you on weight and run 185 BB7 front on my XC and trials bikes. I'm completely happy with it on my 29er and on my 24" trials bike it grabs and modulates better than I imagined. My 29er has about 5 or 6 rides on the brakes and they are getting better every ride. On my trials bike, they are bedded to perfection, I could not ask for more.

    I'll most likely go 203 front on my 29er when it needs a change though. But we will see when the time comes.
    '09 Specialized Rockhopper expert 29
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  80. #80
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    Has anyone tried Powercordz with their BB7 setup?

  81. #81
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    I just bought this brake set and am wondering if I should use the Jagwire cable set I also bought or just run the stock cables on them?

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by roblee View Post
    I just bought this brake set and am wondering if I should use the Jagwire cable set I also bought or just run the stock cables on them?
    Try the stock cables for the winter, then install the fresh new Jagwire cables for spring

    Or just install the Jagwires if you want.

    David
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  83. #83
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    I tried a bike with bb7s on it. They worked fine but not any better than a good set of V brakes. The crappy Hayes Stroker Rydes on my current bike stop much better and after initial setup after purchasing the bike from a co-worker have been problem free. Would I own BB7s, probably not but I wouldn't recommend against them either. You get a lot of brake for the money.
    09 Giant Trance X3 1x9

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sorebuttbiker View Post
    I tried a bike with bb7s on it. They worked fine but not any better than a good set of V brakes. The crappy Hayes Stroker Rydes on my current bike stop much better and after initial setup after purchasing the bike from a co-worker have been problem free. Would I own BB7s, probably not but I wouldn't recommend against them either. You get a lot of brake for the money.
    I guess it all depends on who is writing their opinion and what their experience is or has been with various brakes.

    I just rode for 5 days on a new Cannondale Jekyll (demo/rental from a shop) out in the San Francisco East Bay area (Mt. Diablo and Briones). Bike came outfitted with Avid Elixir 7 brakes 180/180mm. Longest descent was the ride down from Mt. Diablo which certainly tested the brakes - especially in the wet and slop. Not the same steep and long descents as I used to do in the Alps with the BB7's, but enough to give the brakes a run for their money.

    I liked the brakes, but at no time during those 5 days did I find the Elixir 7's to outperform or do anything better than the Avid mechanical brakes I've been running since 2002.

    Again, the Avid mechanical brake caliper is an excellent product. Time tested. Rider proven. That's nothing against hydraulic brakes - just saying, it is hard to read a comment such as this with regard to the BB7...

    They worked fine but not any better than a good set of V brakes

    When you factor in dirt, mud, rain, maintenance, rim braking surface - it makes me scratch my head when I read something like that. Or at least wonder what exactly someone's experience has been riding mountain bikes in the dirt, wet and wild when it comes to rim brakes vs. disc brakes in terms of performance, maintenance and longevity.

    Really? A set of BB7's set up correctly provided nothing better than a good set of V brakes? I've got about the best money can buy V brakes on two bikes and two mountain bike tandems. I'd put my BB7's way above them in performance out on the trail. Any day. Any time.

    BB

  85. #85
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    I dunno, I've ridden lots of bikes with all kind of brakes and I'd say a well set up set of V-brakes would equal a 160mm disk brake in the dry any day. In the wet or snow, now that's a whole different kettle of fish.

    If I had to choose between the 160/160 BB7s+SD7s on my commuter bike vs. the 180/160 Elixir5s on my mtb I'd go for the Elixir5s just based on feel. I can't compare power as they're different sizes used in very different situations, but both are as powerful as I need. It's just that the Elixirs (and other hydraulics I've used) feel better - an entirely subjective term. Maintenance wise they're a wash as my hydraulics need a piston clean and bleed every 6mths to a year, whereas my BB7s need new cables and a clean out about once a year.

    Whether the perceived benefit of "feel" is worth around twice the money is very much a personal thing, but I'd happily pay the extra.

  86. #86
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    I still feel happy with a $100 BB7 MTB f/r kit and more money in my pocket then with $400 of XT f/r kit and top my bike budget for the season...

    Hydros "feels" better, but at the end of the day, the result is the same. When you're flowing down a single track, you don't stop to focus on the trail to jizz about how smooth your brake lever feels... you just want it to work and keep it trouble-free. Sure it's nice to have a friction-free feel with your brake lever, but it won't make you a better rider. It's all inside your head. And to how deep your pockets are.

    BB7 are top of the line brakes, without the big price tag of a hydro and with the simplicity, reliability and durability of a mechanical brake. Sure there's hydros who exceeds the BB7, but won't get you as much bang for your buck as the BB7 and again, it's all inside your head. Down on the trail, you could be as fast and in control with either nice hydro or BB7. It's called personal preference. Be glad they don't sell the BB7 twice the price like they do with hydros.

    David
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  87. #87
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    each to their own. For the riding I do the difference in feel between my BB7s and my Elixirs would have me landing on big piles of hard rocks, so for me that "feel" isn't something to "jizz" about, it's something that makes a considerable difference on the trails I ride.

    As for reliability, I've had to strip down and clean my front BB7 to keep on top of an incomplete pad retraction problem more times in the 2 years I've had them than I ever had to do in the 10yrs I owned a set of Hope Enduros plus it's something that p1sses me off on a regular basis in between fixes. The LBS that I go to also has as many people in needing their BB7s set up properly as they do hydros. So, the big sell of "BB7s are more reliable than hydros" is mostly from their advocates and not necessarily representative of them as a whole. The big advantage of BB7s is cost, plain and simple, and that, along with any difference in how much you value feel and/ or jizzing over your bike on the trail, is very much down to the individual. It's not set in stone (even though this is the internet, obviously)

  88. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    each to their own. For the riding I do the difference in feel between my BB7s and my Elixirs would have me landing on big piles of hard rocks, so for me that "feel" isn't something to "jizz" about, it's something that makes a considerable difference on the trails I ride.
    At least we have something in common. You mention riding a set of Hopes for 10 years. Another month and I will be beginning year #10 of my 2002 Avid mechanical calipers. I've never had to mess with them outside of buying new pads every two seasons or so. Those same calipers have served me well in the Alps, the Dolomites, the Rockies, the Black Hills, Northern California, and throughout the Midwest. Never ended up in any big piles of rocks. Proof is in the performance. The only thing changed over the years were the bikes and the rotor size. I ran 185mm's in the Alps and am down to 160mm front/140mm rear on all of my bikes these days.

    And the other Avid calipers I own (5 sets of them in total) are equally outstanding in performance.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    As for reliability, I've had to strip down and clean my front BB7 to keep on top of an incomplete pad retraction problem more times in the 2 years I've had them than I ever had to do in the 10yrs I owned a set of Hope Enduros plus it's something that p1sses me off on a regular basis in between fixes.
    Sounds like you had one caliper that indeed needed replacing. A mere $50 would have fixed you by buying a new one to take care of the pad retraction problem. But it does explain your negative attitude towards the product's performance.

    BB

  89. #89
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    yeah, the front caliper I think is more a victim of being old and being on my commuter bike which gets ridden all year round in all weathers, so I don't think it's necessarily representative. I could buy another caliper but that goes against my whole "never spend money on your commuter" ethos

    I don't have a negative attitude to BB7s, I think they're great brakes and outstanding value. I think that they can be fiddly to set up and are less tolerant of cack handedness/ crappy components, but overall I'd far rather have them than V-brakes. I'd even go with BB7s over hydros on my commuter bike if I had the choice because I think they'd need less maintenance (specifically piston cleaning, the bane of hydros). I just prefer the feel of hydros, especially over the extremely rocky and technical trails here in the north east. I'm not saying my way is the only way or that people shouldn't get BB7s, only that I'd rather spend the extra for the riding I do and go with hydros. That's all

  90. #90
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    my 2 cents....

    BB7's are awesome! it is all about setting up.... and i think adjusting over the years is better than dealing with a lot of hydro's.

    and all avid Juicys are the worst brakes ever.... nothing can get them to preform better than a V-Brake.

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