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  1. #1
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    Brake Boosters...Are they worth it?

    Hello all. I using Paul's Motolight brakes and Love levers w/ Mavic ceramic rims. Gives me pretty good stopping power. Will adding brake boosters give me more braking power? Are they worth the extra weight? If it matters, I ride mostly XC and weight 185.

    Thanks,
    Craig T

  2. #2
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    Depends on your bike and what brand "bike boosters" they are.

    If you can visually see flex around the arch when you pull hard on the brakes, then yes. Salsa makes a nice booster...

  3. #3
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    Oh yeah !

    Boosters definately improve lever feel and I believe increase power by reducing frame and even brake boss flex. Some frames may not need them as much as others though...watch your frame or brake bosses as you squeeze hard on the levers to see how bad your flex problem is. I've found the stronger the brakes, the more important the booster. I really liked the "Gorilla" brand, light , cheap and effective (availible in many colors to). Salsa's are good too, they even make a Carbon Fiber one (so did Shimano , not easy to find though) GR
    that rug really tied the room together.

  4. #4
    The Dude Abides
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    Tough Call

    We put a Salsa carbon arch on my roomates 10 year old Stumpjumper this fall. Without you could watch the stays flex over 1/4 inch each! Playing with the arch not mounted was fun. Its super pretty and impossibly hard to flex with your hands. But when its on the frame, the brakes flex it out no problem, almost as much as without it. I haven't done a direct with/without comparison, but it watching the flex, it seems like it can't be doing much. No solid information here, just my experiences with brake arches. If nothing else, carbon arches look the S#!T

  5. #5
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    You should also mention the frame/fork you're using, and...

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig T
    Hello all. I using Paul's Motolight brakes and Love levers w/ Mavic ceramic rims. Gives me pretty good stopping power. Will adding brake boosters give me more braking power? Are they worth the extra weight? If it matters, I ride mostly XC and weight 185.

    Thanks,
    Craig T
    ...even the rims as well. At your weight, I'm assuming you have a reasonably stiff frame and fork, but a good booster will add power even if you can't see them flexing much. I mentioned rims because you may notice a drop in modulation unless you are using ceramic ones that are well worn in, ie: smooth. The added power and pressure can heat up the bare aluminum sidewalls, and create a more grabby feel. Depending on your pad compound, you may notice more smudging as well. Ceramic rims are the way to go for powerfull Vs, especially if you're above average weight.

    Even already powerful rim brakes can benefit from boosters, this is why the Magura HS 33s come with steel boosters. I used my HS 33s without the boosters at first, on a fairly stiff frame and fork (Uzzi SL, and White Bros SC 90). What I got was noticeable flex without them due their hydraulic power. Very few seatstays can resist the flex that powerfull rim brakes can create, and even the fork's studs can flex.

    Using boosters will help minimize pad chatter/vibration on any canty bike.

  6. #6
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    I went ahead and purchased a Salsa carbon booster for my rear brake. I notice a difference. Not sure it gives me more power, but I don't have to sqeeze as hard to get full power. Feels crisper. I have a ti frame w/ good brakes (Paul's motolight) and Mavic Crossmax (ceramic) rims. Can't really see the seat stays flex anymore.

    Thanks for the input.

    Craig T

  7. #7
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    Good move Craig, Salsa makes good stuff. IMO, what you described...

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig T
    I went ahead and purchased a Salsa carbon booster for my rear brake. I notice a difference. Not sure it gives me more power, but I don't have to sqeeze as hard to get full power. Feels crisper. I have a ti frame w/ good brakes (Paul's motolight) and Mavic Crossmax (ceramic) rims. Can't really see the seat stays flex anymore.

    Thanks for the input.

    Craig T
    ..."I don't have to sqeeze as hard to get full power."...definately SHOULD be included in the definition of more power. Quite often this means more, or exclusive one finger braking, allowing the rider more hands on control and less fatigue, essentially giving YOU more power as well. Good brake feel also gives a rider a more relaxed and confident feeling.

  8. #8
    OldTeen
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    Just installed a cheap steel arch booster (from Nashbar) on my Haro hardtail. The flex in the seatstays without the booster was barely visible, but you sure could feel it with your fingers. With the booster the flex is now minimal. There is a clear improvement in braking power. Well worth the small cost in weight & $$ (if you install yourself). These babies should be stock on all v-brake MTB's!!!!

  9. #9
    all hail der Fuhrer Bush
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    how to tell

    place index finger on one brake boss bolt. place thumb on opposing brake boss bolt. squeeze lever hard. if you feel any movement -- the bolts getting further apart -- then, yes, you're using limited hand strength to flex the stays instead of control speed or stop.
    and if you have a flexy suspension fork you can stiffen it up with the addition of a brake booster.
    even cooler, you can add two and really stiffen things up. remove brake bosses from fork. install booster, may need to drill slots larger to fit back end of the bosses. re-install bosses. install brake. install another booster on the bosses in the usual manner. this makes a dramatic difference with something like a Manitou III.
    Get the Gorilla. It's made in Durango. It also offers better mud clearance than a lot of others. And it's made in Durango by an actual person who would appreciate the business.
    Don't pay the $85 fee to ride land you own! Resist!

  10. #10
    OldTeen
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    Nice tip, bulC !

    I tried a cheap booster on the rear because I noticed the flex there. I'll check out my fork & get a Gorilla if needed.

  11. #11
    all hail der Fuhrer Bush
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    you should already know

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTeen
    Nice tip, bulC !

    I tried a cheap booster on the rear because I noticed the flex there. I'll check out my fork & get a Gorilla if needed.
    With the fork, you know I'm talking about twisting flex of the two fork legs, right? Not brake boss flex -- although a booster will help with that of course. The tip about using 2 boosters on a fork is to stop the two legs from flexing and making it feel like the handlebar is only loosely connected to the front wheel. For fork brake boss flex you only need one booster.
    If you have ridden your fork, you should already have an idea about whether its flex is troublesome to you. Since I ride mostly rigid forks, most all suspension forks annoy me that way.
    Actually, for fitting behind the frame brake bosses, the Gorilla is one of the best choices, as it is one of the thinnest boosters of which I am familiar. You don't want to use up too much of the bosses' threading with the booster, lest the boss not hold.
    Don't pay the $85 fee to ride land you own! Resist!

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