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  1. #1
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    Brakes with best modulation?

    Last year I ended up getting Shimano Saint brakes, which replaced my Codes. I got a good deal on them with the purchase of my frame, and had centerlock hubs anyway...so it made sense.

    At first I felt no difference, they had about the same power, although the Saint brakes looked more well made. However, over the next year I started to notice a big advantage. The initial grab of the Codes was very abrupt, and modulation was worse than the Saints.

    I am now in the market for a brake that I will be using on my urban/DJ bike. This bike is used for stunts (to the ability that I can perform them). In particular, I am interested in doing very long wheelies. I am up to about 50-100 yards (goal is around the lake, which is 3 miles) and I think the modulation factor is what is killing me, since it is difficult to slow down with such abrupt engagement (currently using the Codes).

    I am considering XT or XTR, but my current wheelset has 6 bolt hubs. I heard the Formula Oros are good, and many swear by Maguras.

    What you all recommend? Brand? Rotor size? (smaller is usually better modulation, but obviously less power, heat buildup will not be an issue)

    Thanks in advance!
    Regional Race Manager, Knolly Bikes
    Washington State, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdhfreethought
    Last year I ended up getting Shimano Saint brakes, which replaced my Codes. I got a good deal on them with the purchase of my frame, and had centerlock hubs anyway...so it made sense.

    At first I felt no difference, they had about the same power, although the Saint brakes looked more well made. However, over the next year I started to notice a big advantage. The initial grab of the Codes was very abrupt, and modulation was worse than the Saints.

    I am now in the market for a brake that I will be using on my urban/DJ bike. This bike is used for stunts (to the ability that I can perform them). In particular, I am interested in doing very long wheelies. I am up to about 50-100 yards (goal is around the lake, which is 3 miles) and I think the modulation factor is what is killing me, since it is difficult to slow down with such abrupt engagement (currently using the Codes).

    I am considering XT or XTR, but my current wheelset has 6 bolt hubs. I heard the Formula Oros are good, and many swear by Maguras.

    What you all recommend? Brand? Rotor size? (smaller is usually better modulation, but obviously less power, heat buildup will not be an issue)

    Thanks in advance!
    You do not need centerlock rotors with XT or XTR brakes. Most manufacturers 6 bolt rotors will work just fine. I have used Avid and Hayes in XT's before.
    In fact, most aftermarket Shimano kits will not come with rotors..

  3. #3
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    thanks, I am aware of that (and have mixed them around before). However, I believe a major part of the braking capabilities are determined by the rotor. The Avid rotors are terrible imo. Drilled rotors from other manufacturers are fine, and the new Shimano rotors are great (even though they look like the Avid rotors, they do not have that 'stutter' that the Avids are so famous for).

    Any recommendations?
    Regional Race Manager, Knolly Bikes
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  4. #4
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    Semi metallic pads.
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  5. #5
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    The best modulating brakes that I've ever used have been Hope M4's (they're 4 piston)


  6. #6
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    Is there a reason you're not using the Saints? Am I missing something ?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by WeakMite
    The best modulating brakes that I've ever used have been Hope M4's (they're 4 piston)

    +1 for that. Loads of power at the end of the stroke, too.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ettore
    Is there a reason you're not using the Saints? Am I missing something ?
    Yep, the Saints are on my Freeride bike. Also, I think a 160mm rotor will be superior, so that means looking at other brakes, hence the question. Otherwise, I would totally go with Saint again. I will ride almost exclusively on flats. Extra power is always nice, but heat dissapation will not be an issue. And low weight is always a good thing if you do not have to sacrifice for it.
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  9. #9
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    Formula The Ones (2010 Model). Best modulation and excellent power to back them up. I have a set of 2010 Hope Tech X2's as well and the modulation of those does not match that of the Ones. I do want to try sintered pads on the X2's before I sell them to buy another set of Forumulas.

    Other brakes with great modulation - Magura Marta and Louise BATS. I have always though that the Loiuse BATS are a very under rated brake that can be found for cheap if you search around.

  10. #10
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    Avid BB7.

    Sorry, I had to do it.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__
    Avid BB7.

    Sorry, I had to do it.
    BB6 is better
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdrunk
    I have a set of 2010 Hope Tech X2's as well and the modulation of those does not match that of the Ones. I do want to try sintered pads on the X2's before I sell them to buy another set of Forumulas.
    The M4 and V2 are the brakes to compare to the Ones. The X2, although by no means poor, is a relatively low-powered, XC-orientated brake.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by WeakMite
    The best modulating brakes that I've ever used have been Hope M4's (they're 4 piston)

    this is great one

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdhfreethought
    Last year I ended up getting Shimano Saint brakes, which replaced my Codes. I got a good deal on them with the purchase of my frame, and had centerlock hubs anyway...so it made sense.

    At first I felt no difference, they had about the same power, although the Saint brakes looked more well made. However, over the next year I started to notice a big advantage. The initial grab of the Codes was very abrupt, and modulation was worse than the Saints.

    I am now in the market for a brake that I will be using on my urban/DJ bike. This bike is used for stunts (to the ability that I can perform them). In particular, I am interested in doing very long wheelies. I am up to about 50-100 yards (goal is around the lake, which is 3 miles) and I think the modulation factor is what is killing me, since it is difficult to slow down with such abrupt engagement (currently using the Codes).

    I am considering XT or XTR, but my current wheelset has 6 bolt hubs. I heard the Formula Oros are good, and many swear by Maguras.

    What you all recommend? Brand? Rotor size? (smaller is usually better modulation, but obviously less power, heat buildup will not be an issue)

    Thanks in advance!
    Don't do XTR. They came with my '07 Spec Enduro and I still run them and do AM/light FR with them. Great power no doubt, but almost no modulation whatsoever, even with organic pads.

    BTW I run the codes on my DH rig and LOVE the modulation, but now that you say Saints are better I'm wishing I could try them. Is there anyway to try brakes before you buy?
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  15. #15
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    Would grab a set of Magura Marta's, even a 2 year old set on special, thats what I run on my DJ / Urban ride, loads of power, awesome modulation....

    Cant go past Marta's...
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  16. #16
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    Hmm this mopdulation thread might go different than most.

    OP: What brakes have the most modulation

    The Hordes: Formula One

    OP: but they cost so much, I will buy shimano XT

    The Hrodes now split between argueing on how crap/or good XT are.


    Just get the Ones if you have a real budget,
    Better modulation that Saints with a more linear brake feel.
    Easy to set up once you know the trick (pump level with wheel out to move pads closer, easy but baffles most).

    You will not regret the ones.
    Why would I care about 150g of bike weight, I just ate 400g of cookies while reading this?

  17. #17
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    +1 on M4, it really has superb modulation and is a very trouble free brake at that. Also no problem at all to use Shimano rotors on CL hubs (I do so myself) as they use a brakepad format that is also in use by Shimano (old 4-pot XT exactly the same and Saint I believe is almost the same).

  18. #18
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    Of course, my comments are focused purely on the modulation aspect as the X2 and One have very different intended use cases. I can safely assume that he lever/master cylinder assembly is a large % of what contributes to good modulation (X2 & X4 share the same lever).

    There are a number of things I love about the X2's. If somebody could take the best attributes of the Formulas and the Hopes and build a new brake it would be killer.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    The M4 and V2 are the brakes to compare to the Ones. The X2, although by no means poor, is a relatively low-powered, XC-orientated brake.

  19. #19
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    The M4 (there's no such brake as the X4) has four pistons and a larger (longer) pad than the X2. It is a notably more powerful brake than the X2, but is, like all Hopes, easy to modulate. The X2, M4 and V2 all use the same lever, with the different characteristics of each brake (all else being equal) being produced by the different calipers, pads and rotors. The V2 is most similar to the One in that it uses two large pistons and large pads with very broad rotor track. It's similar in power to the M4 but has a much shorter range of modulation, which can make it feel quite bitey. The Tech lever makes it easy to adjust the feel of all the calipers (within their capabilities, of course).

    The Mono M4 has been on the market with three different levers and has always been regarded, like the similar Shimano XT M755, as one of the most versatile brakes available. Although the attractive power/modulation mix is produced by the caliper/pad design, the Tech lever adjustments have just broadened it's suitability, in my opinion.
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  20. #20
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    Hope x2's ,,, modulate very well. Maybe not the strongest, but they have been strong enough for my XC riding.

  21. #21
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    Why not get a set of SLX brakes? They are going to be very similar to your saints (which you seem to be very happy with) and they shouldn't cost you a fortune.
    Shimano also do 6-bolt rotors like these or

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    The M4 (there's no such brake as the X4) has four pistons and a larger (longer) pad than the X2. It is a notably more powerful brake than the X2, but is, like all Hopes, easy to modulate.
    Give it up brotha most people have no clue what modulation is other than its a buzz word.
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  23. #23
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    Another vote for m4s

    Hopes have the most linear feel at the lever of any brakes I've tried.

    Have Saint m810s on the big bike and the 'servo wave' levers really make the brakes ramp up at end of stroke. By no means uncontrollable but its just not linear like the Hopes.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaveGiant
    Hmm this mopdulation thread might go different than most.

    OP: What brakes have the most modulation

    The Hordes: Formula One

    OP: but they cost so much, I will buy shimano XT

    The Hrodes now split between argueing on how crap/or good XT are.


    Just get the Ones if you have a real budget,
    Better modulation that Saints with a more linear brake feel.
    Easy to set up once you know the trick (pump level with wheel out to move pads closer, easy but baffles most).

    You will not regret the ones.
    First off, I said BEST modulation. Not Most
    Second: never in my post did I mention cost. It is not a factor, as long as they are reasonable (300-400 is reasonable, thus includes XTR ceramic, and manufacturers from Germany, England etc). Care to comment on the original question?
    Regional Race Manager, Knolly Bikes
    Washington State, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa

  25. #25
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    I've never used the hope offerings so far, but am eager to get a set.

    I have tried all the avid, hayes and shimano offerings and really like the modulation of the Strokers.
    Had a set of Rydes and upgraded to the Trails.
    Both have a very similar feel, but the trails have better heat dissapation imo, most likely due to the larger pads.
    I have found the avids to be a bit too grabby for my taste.
    Shimano brakes are a 2nd place in my book to the hayes.
    The strokers are a good, not too much $$ alternative to the big $$ Hope and Formula options.
    YMMV
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