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  1. #1
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    The best brakes?

    I am about to get rid of my new Elixir CRs for some new brakes. I was wondering, what are the best brakes? I love how powerful the Elixir CRs are, but I cannot stand the noise/warbling after ten minute downhill rides.

  2. #2
    GL1
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    NEW XT or XTR

    I can't say enough about the NEW XT or XTR's. I got the XT Trail's with the the ICE tech metal pads and rotors. Amazing! Seriously. And mineral oil over DOT 5 brake fluid.

    I am running 180's front and rear on rotors. The lever feel, modulation, and adjustments are top notch. I have been riding for 20 years and these are by FAR the best brakes I have ever had.
    My most brilliant achievement was my ability to pursuade my wife to marry me. - Churchill

  3. #3
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    +1 for the 2012 XTs.
    I'm running 180 ice techs F/R.


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    +1 for 2012 XT/XTR. I'm running full XTR awesome 180front 160rear

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    Yep. Those are them.

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    Right now with my Elixirs I have to clean the pads (organics) of contaminants after every downhill ride. If I don't they howl and vibrate horribly. This is a daily thing I have to do pretty much. Would that be the case with the Shimanos?

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    hopefully not intruding here, but i have some supplemental brake questions: wondering if anyone else out there feels it's better to run smaller rotors on the front and big ones on the back to balance out the braking forces a little? i really have no desire to enable one finger lock-ups of my front wheel... also on that note, do hydraulic brakes "feather" better? i am thinking of a mismatched pair - hydro up front mech out back...

  9. #9
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    By feather you mean modulate.
    Hydros in general modulate better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venison View Post
    hopefully not intruding here, but i have some supplemental brake questions: wondering if anyone else out there feels it's better to run smaller rotors on the front and big ones on the back to balance out the braking forces a little? i really have no desire to enable one finger lock-ups of my front wheel... also on that note, do hydraulic brakes "feather" better? i am thinking of a mismatched pair - hydro up front mech out back...
    Nope. Either the same size or 1 size bigger on the front ie 180mm F and 160mm R.

    You want the "stronger" or more powefull brake on the front.
    Duct tape iz like teh Force. It has a Lite side and a Dark side and it holdz the Universe together.

  11. #11
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    yes... modulate. with my current front there isn't nearly enough range between zero and full stop.
    anyone notice better modulationability (fun new bike word?) in one brake over another?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venison View Post
    yes... modulate. with my current front there isn't nearly enough range between zero and full stop.
    anyone notice better modulationability (fun new bike word?) in one brake over another?
    What brakes do you have now?

    Generally the better model brakes have better modulation. Read reviews. Modulation means different things to different people IMHO. I am quite happy with how my J3's (EBC green pads, 185mm rotors) perform some reviews say they are either "on or off". I don't feel that.
    Duct tape iz like teh Force. It has a Lite side and a Dark side and it holdz the Universe together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mitzikatzi View Post
    Nope. Either the same size or 1 size bigger on the front ie 180mm F and 160mm R.

    You want the "stronger" or more powefull brake on the front.
    yes, i know this is the norm.... but i find that even with cheap mechanical disc brakes and the smallest available rotor on the front i can very easily lock up my front wheel with relatively light pressure from one finger (and i am running pretty fat tires... 2.35" if i remember right).

    what is the point of having all that extra braking force unless you have matching friction available b/t tire and ground?

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    That is what modulation does. It allows you to have control over the power. Weaker brakes are not the answer. You want better brakes not weaker brakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mestapho View Post
    That is what modulation does. It allows you to have control over the power. Weaker brakes are not the answer. You want better brakes not weaker brakes.
    yes that does make sense. although it still seems that much of the stopping power available in the brakes could never actually be used in real-life due to lack of traction. maybe i just need better tires...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mestapho View Post
    That is what modulation does. It allows you to have control over the power. Weaker brakes are not the answer. You want better brakes not weaker brakes.
    This

    see How to properly use disc brakes see my post at 37
    and mimi1885 at #36 for example

    Read the thread some good info and some not so good.
    Duct tape iz like teh Force. It has a Lite side and a Dark side and it holdz the Universe together.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venison View Post
    yes that does make sense. although it still seems that much of the stopping power available in the brakes could never actually be used in real-life due to lack of traction. maybe i just need better tires...
    Or, better technique.
    If you haven't already you should read Mastering Mountain Bike Skills, by Brian Lopes and Lee McCormack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mestapho View Post
    Or, better technique.
    If you haven't already you should read Mastering Mountain Bike Skills, by Brian Lopes and Lee McCormack.
    yes, i hear you. however technique (at least not mine) cannot overcome the laws of physics.
    think of it this way... what good are disc brakes if you're riding on ice? you can only use as much of the braking force as you can match in traction. of coarse technique helps with all of this, but we still will hit the limits of traction at some point, and i guess i still feel like it is better to actually reduce the front force relative to the rear (not saying weak or worse, just relative front to back.. could also say increase the force of rear brake relative to front) to create a more balanced braking feel. i have a bigger tire on the back to add to the effect, and of coarse in the steeps you're usually trying to keep your weight more over the rear than the front... anyway, it works good for me, but maybe i'm just weird.
    after coming from calipers, it took a bit to adapt to how quickly a front disc will lock up a front wheel, so i'm for sure looking to step up to something with better modulation.
    thanks for the suggestions
    (btw... i have avid 7-somethings? bb7 maybe? i forget. it's been a while since i put them on)

  19. #19
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    I just ordered the XT brakes with Ice Rotors. With overnight shipping. Should be here by Wednesday, then on my bike the same day. Score!

  20. #20
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    I guess it's too late for you but I would recommend Shimano Saints they are the most powerful brakes that Shimano makes. I've tried the new XT's on a Tallboy and I wasn't impressed. The Saints on the otherhand always have power to spare.

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    I can't afford saints. I only want something as powerful as my elixirs without the squeal.

  22. #22
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    I like the new XT/XTR stuff quite a bit as long as you're not running them on big downhill runs. They can overheat. As far as overall, it's a damn good brake, but not sure anything is better than the hopes.

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    A lot of the time I will bike up the hills here in town (on the road), and ride down. The descent can take between ten to thirty minutes, depending on how high I want to go. I don't ride on the brakes too much, only when I go over thirty miles per hour. Will this cause any noise/warbling on the shimanos?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by brf4n View Post
    A lot of the time I will bike up the hills here in town (on the road), and ride down. The descent can take between ten to thirty minutes, depending on how high I want to go. I don't ride on the brakes too much, only when I go over thirty miles per hour. Will this cause any noise/warbling on the shimanos?
    You'll be fine. The overheating issue is overblown IMO.


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  25. #25
    GL1
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    Cool!

    You are going to love the XT's with the ICE Tech rotors.

    A few things to consider if you haven't already...

    What size rotors did you get? You will need the correct size adapters for the rotor plus your frame/fork mount type.

    Also, you MAY need to trim the lines. There are vids all over about how to do it and it's easier on the Shimano's than others. Still though, you might need a funnel and bleed kit.

    You will love those brakes. Guarantee!
    My most brilliant achievement was my ability to pursuade my wife to marry me. - Churchill

  26. #26
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    Dont forget to brake the pads/rotors in!

  27. #27
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    Oh...

    The shimano's handle heat better than most other brakes. All the ICE technology really helps with that. I have railed mine at the bike parks and they hold up well...better than any other brakes I've had. Personally I like the metal compound pads (mine came with them). They have a bit more bite and last longer. A little more potential for some squealing but mine have been really minimal in that dept. The pads are VERY simple to pull out and so if they squeal at all it's a 5 min job to pull them out and do a quick sand with 600 grit paper and/or clean with 90% alcohol. Then they bed back in and are good to go.

    Oh, and on your list of things to check...also, make sure you have the right rotors for your hubs..IS bolt pattern vs centerlock etc.
    My most brilliant achievement was my ability to pursuade my wife to marry me. - Churchill

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by GL1 View Post
    The shimano's handle heat better than most other brakes. All the ICE technology really helps with that. I have railed mine at the bike parks and they hold up well...better than any other brakes I've had. Personally I like the metal compound pads (mine came with them). They have a bit more bite and last longer. A little more potential for some squealing but mine have been really minimal in that dept. The pads are VERY simple to pull out and so if they squeal at all it's a 5 min job to pull them out and do a quick sand with 600 grit paper and/or clean with 90% alcohol. Then they bed back in and are good to go.

    Oh, and on your list of things to check...also, make sure you have the right rotors for your hubs..IS bolt pattern vs centerlock etc.
    I was super careful to get the 6 bolt rotors. I ended up getting a 180mm for the front and 160mm for the rear. I called the LBS today and asked if they had an adapter for the 180mm rotor and they said they had them for $20.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by GL1 View Post
    The shimano's handle heat better than most other brakes. All the ICE technology really helps with that.
    I would disagree with this a bit. I burned up my set. But in their defense, I am 225 on a Mojo HD going down a pretty big hill, but I toasted both front and rear with the ice rotors. Now again to be fair, most brakes don't have to deal with that too much I would think, but they do have limits. Big limits. I love the feel of them, but went back to my trusty Hope mono 6ti's.

  30. #30
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    IMO, for:

    light weight: Formula R1 Racing
    outright power: Formula RO
    heat handling: Hope V2 with floating vented rotors
    bling-factor: Formula or Hope, depending on your taste
    best price-to-performance ratio: Shimano Deore M596
    best price-to-power ratio: Shimano SLX M666
    best all-around: Shimano XTR M988 or M985
    ease of maintenance: Any Shimano (servo wave (large pad clearance), mineral oil) OR Hope brake (bits and pieces available idividually)

    There are no brakes that are ideal for every purpose and every situation. You need to identify what type of riding you do the most, what are the performance demands for the brakes. Only then can you select brakes that are the best suited for your situation.

  31. #31
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    I'd also be considering the new Magura MT line.

    MT4 has excellent adjustability and is fairly cheap.

    MT6 is killer price/performance/weight combo

    MT8 is ultralight and bat**** crazy looking

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