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Thread: Breaking Power

  1. #1
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    Breaking Power

    Hi,
    I am considering Avid BB7 disk breaks but I hear that being mechanical they do not have the same stopping power that hydraulics do.

    I am a moderate XC rider.

    Would appreciate some learned opinions - Thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winnetou
    Hi,
    I am considering Avid BB7 disk breaks but I hear that being mechanical they do not have the same stopping power that hydraulics do.
    That's not true. They're one of, if not the most powerful xc BRAKES I've tested or owned. Check the spelling of that word in upper case. Power is not dependent on the method of force transmission.

    Mike T. (mcm # 717 & FOG)
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  3. #3
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    They have more than enough stopping power--I run a set on my bike. Before Avid came out with these mech. disc brakes, the existing mech. discs weren't as good as hydraulics. That's where the mech. brake got it's bad rap from. However, those were first generation brakes, and the Avid's are pretty awesome. Oh, and extremely easy to set up.

    The only difference that I keep hearing brought up is that the Avid BB7's don't have the modulation of hydraulics--you have to pull further and harder to get the full power from mech. brakes (Hydros' power arrives almost 'instantaneously'--they're really sensitive)
    waaahoooooooooooooooooo

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    Quote Originally Posted by ickyickyptngzutboing
    The only difference that I keep hearing brought up is that the Avid BB7's don't have the modulation of hydraulics--you have to pull further and harder to get the full power from mech. brakes (Hydros' power arrives almost 'instantaneously'--they're really sensitive)
    I'm pulling up a chair for when Shiggy comes along and has his way with you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    Power is not dependent on the method of force transmission.

    Mike T. (mcm # 717 & FOG)
    Huh? I can get lots more caliper force, and stopping power, with x number of ounces of effort applied to my hydraulic levers than you can with your mechanicals. Nevertheless, both systems are miles better than the old systems. Good luck. - Dave
    Last edited by dnpeters; 04-17-2005 at 02:02 PM. Reason: Changed manual to mechanicals

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    Quote Originally Posted by dnpeters
    Huh? I can get lots more caliper force, and stopping power, with x number of ounces of effort applied to my hydraulic levers than you can with your manuals. Nevertheless, both systems are miles better than the old systems. Good luck. - Dave
    I don't have any "manuals". I don't have any mechanicals either or any cable discs. I never said I did. I still don't agree with you though.

    Uhh on 2nd thoughts, they're ALL manuals.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    I don't have any "manuals". I don't have any mechanicals either or any cable discs. I never said I did. I still don't agree with you though.

    Uhh on 2nd thoughts, they're ALL manuals.
    Maybe those of us who are "older" still remember the differences we experienced when cars changed from "mechanical" to hydraulic brakes, and then to power. For me, the improvement is just as noticeable on my bike. You may not agree with me, but I've had both, and apparently you haven't. Good luck. - Dave
    Last edited by dnpeters; 04-17-2005 at 02:00 PM. Reason: Changed manual to mechanical

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnpeters
    Maybe those of us who are "older" still remember the differences we experienced when cars changed from "mechanical" to hydraulic brakes, and then to power. For me, the improvement is just as noticeable on my bike. You may not agree with me, but I've had both, and apparently you haven't. Good luck. - Dave
    The first car we had used rod operated brakes. It was probably a '50s British Ford. I used to help my Dad change the clevises, lube the bellcranks and adjust the adjusters. That led to an early career as a licensed auto tech in two countries. Now who would even consider comparing a drum braked, rod operated braking system to a disc brake hydraulic one?

    I've extensively tested Avid cable discs and many other hydraulic systems not to mention Formula cable discs in my "research" for the implementation, writing and editing of our Disc Brake FAQ at the top right of this page. I said at the time and I'll say it now after having tested, owned and used many disc braking systems over the past six years - the Avid cable disc is at least as powerful as the most powerful hydraulic xc disc setup I've tested and more powerful than most. That's my findings and opinion.

    BTW - I use hydraulic brakes.

    BTW┬▓ - I am "older". I'm 57. But that's relative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    The first car we had used rod operated brakes. It was probably a '50s British Ford. I used to help my Dad change the clevises, lube the bellcranks and adjust the adjusters. That led to an early career as a licensed auto tech in two countries. Now who would even consider comparing a drum braked, rod operated braking system to a disc brake hydraulic one?

    I've extensively tested Avid cable discs and many other hydraulic systems not to mention Formula cable discs in my "research" for the implementation, writing and editing of our Disc Brake FAQ at the top right of this page. I said at the time and I'll say it now after having tested, owned and used many disc braking systems over the past six years - the Avid cable disc is at least as powerful as the most powerful hydraulic xc disc setup I've tested and more powerful than most. That's my findings and opinion.

    BTW - I use hydraulic brakes.

    BTW┬▓ - I am "older". I'm 57. But that's relative.

    Mike T. (mcm # 717 & FOG)
    Mike - Thanks for your "opinion". Fortunately there are differing opinions, or this would be a rather boring forum. Maybe when you're older and wiser you'll change your mind . Good luck. - Dave

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    I think any of the "kids" should have their messages verified for content by the older group..say 55 plus.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    I'm pulling up a chair for when Shiggy comes along and has his way with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lebikerboy
    I think any of the "kids" should have their messages verified for content by the older group..say 55 plus.
    That lets Shiggy out then. He's in the former group.
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  12. #12
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    I haven't used hydros yet, but my understanding is that they are easier to modulate, meaning less unintentional lockups.

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    What about the IRD Dual-Bangers? I hear reviews that they are actually BETTER than Avids because the dual bangers push both pads into the rotor instead of one pad pushing the rotor into the other pad.
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    Using Avid BB7s? Need an adjustement?

    1) Place fingers on red dial located on caliper.
    2) Turn dial.
    3) Ride bike and be happy
    The more complicated it is, the more that can go wrong.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipAllen
    Using Avid BB7s? Need an adjustement?

    1) Place fingers on red dial located on caliper.
    2) Turn dial.
    3) Ride bike and be happy
    Using Hydros ? Need and adjustement?

    1)Tear hair out
    2)Scream abuse at anyone near you from frustration
    3)Continue with adjustment procedure

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ickyickyptngzutboing
    ...The only difference that I keep hearing brought up is that the Avid BB7's don't have the modulation of hydraulics--you have to pull further and harder to get the full power from mech. brakes (Hydros' power arrives almost 'instantaneously'--they're really sensitive)
    BULL-PLOP!

    I have used Avid BB brakes since the day they hit the market. They have plenty of power. Plenty of modulation. And need very little effort at the lever.

    They are THE most adjustable brake available and can be setup to work and feel any way the rider prefers, especially when used with Avid Speed Dial levers.

    Because of the adjustability it is also fairly easy to do a poor setup on the Avids. If you tried a set and thought they lacked power or modulation it was either a cr@p setup or the rider prefers them adjusted differently than you.

    I have had friends ride my bike and say the brakes lack power. I make a 2-second adjustment and have them try it again and they are tossed over the bars.

    For me modulation has as much or more to do with lever effort and lever position as anything. I want a very light lever and a brake that works with the very close to the bar. This gives me the best control of the lever and hence the best modulation. I still have power. If I have the lever contact point far from the bar the brakes become grabby.

    I have ridden hydro discs. They work well. But none can be adjusted to my liking and have the light lever feel I want.

    Enough?
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strafer
    I haven't used hydros yet, but my understanding is that they are easier to modulate, meaning less unintentional lockups.
    That is not what I think of as modulation. Modulation is how easy it is to control and change the braking force whether you are near the point of lockup or not.
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  18. #18
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    "They are THE most adjustable brake available"

    Shiggy - that is VERY debateable. Avid isn't the best IMHO.
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    It's been suggested that some mechanicals are as powerful as hydraulics. For those of us who have had both, this is hard to understand. From a racers perspective, can you give us your opinion. Thanks. - Dave
    Last edited by dnpeters; 04-19-2005 at 04:06 AM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    That's not true. They're one of, if not the most powerful xc BRAKES I've tested or owned. Check the spelling of that word in upper case. Power is not dependent on the method of force transmission.

    Mike T. (mcm # 717 & FOG)
    Did you win the spelling bee when you were a kid? LOL, this is an internet forum, not an English class.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by KITB
    Did you win the spelling bee when you were a kid? LOL, this is an internet forum, not an English class.
    Being pedantic is one thing, but it gets irritating trying to read what people write wen dey star wraiting liek dis Or wrItE wIth All thE vOwEls In UppEr cAsE etc etc you get my point

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197
    "They are THE most adjustable brake available"

    Shiggy - that is VERY debateable. Avid isn't the best IMHO.
    In that case: In your opinion, which set of disc brakes are more adjustable and why? How do they compare performance-wise to the Avids?
    Don't believe everything that you think.

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    Well... I think these brakes are just as adjustable and MORE powerful.

    Avid Juicy 7
    Hayes El Camino
    IRD Dual Bangers
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    picking nits

    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197
    Well... I think these brakes are just as adjustable and MORE powerful.
    Avid Juicy 7
    Hayes El Camino
    IRD Dual Bangers
    I do not think the Juicy 7 is any more powerful than the Avid mechanical discs. I own both and honestly I prefer the mechanicals.

    Technically, since the pads on the J7 are self adjusting, it actually has less adjustments than the Avid mechanicals.

    How long have you ridden the El Caminos and IRDs? Are you finding them to be more powerful than the Avid mechanicals?
    Don't believe everything that you think.

  25. #25
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    Well I don't have any ride time on the El Camino or the IRD brakes. I based my choices on the reviews of MBA and word of mouth from friends. I do have a fair amount of ride time with the Juicy 7 brakes.

    I would think the IRD brakes would be more powerful because they push both pads into the rotor instead of just pushing ONE pad into the rotor and pushing the rotor into the other pad.

    I guess I just don't like Avid mech brakes. They are a pain to set up. But I guess that is due to the fact when I set them up on a friends bike he has lost all the mounting washers and concave/convex washers and he runs 8" rotors while using 6 inch rotor adapters. So I get fusterated trying to set them up.

    Perhaps if I was to buy a new set with all the proper hardware my opinion would change.

    By that as it may I'm going to quit argueing now.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnpeters
    It's been suggested that some mechanicals are as powerful as hydraulics. For those of us who have had both, this is hard to understand. From a racers perspective, can you give us your opinion. Thanks. - Dave
    Have you owned the Avid mechs or some other mechanical brake? There is a big difference between the different brakes.

    A few years back, Bicycling magazine did a test of 22 different disc brakes, which included 14 different hydraulic brakes. Only 4 brakes had more stopping power than the Avid Mechanicals. Stopping power was tested on Cannondale's brake dyno. The Avid mechanicals had more power than most of the hydraulic brakes tested including the Hayes hydraulic.

    Only one brake had more "usable power". Usable power takes into account modulation (i.e. it doesn't help to have more stopping power if you can't keep from locking the wheel).

    The Avid mechanicals had the lightest lever effort of all of the brakes tested (again measured on Cannondale's dyno).

    I haven't spent enough time on any other brake to make a claim either way myself, but based on these tests I think it's safe to say that the Avid mechanicals have more power than many hydraulics.

    Here is a quote from the test:

    <I>
    Avid's mechanical disc brake shatters the myth of hydraulic superiority. These cable-actuated stoppers are amazingly consistent, extremely easy to modulate, and give stopping power that bests all other mechanicals and almost every hydraulic.
    </I>
    Last edited by Backmarker; 04-20-2005 at 02:56 AM. Reason: typo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Backmarker
    Have you owned the Avid mechs or some other mechanical brake? There is a big difference between the different brakes.

    A few years back, Bicycling magazine did a test of 22 different disc brakes, which included 14 different hydraulic brakes. Only 4 brakes had more stopping power than the Avid Mechanicals. Stopping power was tested on Cannondale's brake dyno. The Avid mechanicals had more power than most of the hydraulic brakes tested including the Hayes hydraulic.

    Only one brake had more "usable power". Usable power takes into account modulation (i.e. it doesn't help to have more stopping power if you can't keep from locking the wheel).

    The Avid mechanicals had the lightest lever effort of all of the brakes tested (again measured on Cannondale's dyno).

    I haven't spend enough time on any other brake to make a claim either way myself, but based on these tests I think it's safe to say that the Avid mechanicals have more power than many hydraulics.

    Here is a quote from the test:

    <I>
    Avid's mechanical disc brake shatters the myth of hydraulic superiority. These cable-actuated stoppers are amazingly consistent, extremely easy to modulate, and give stopping power that bests all other mechanicals and almost every hydraulic.
    </I>
    Backmarker - Thanks for the info. No, I haven't owned the Avids, but it's obvious from this forum that they have quite a following. I'm definitely hooked on hydraulics, and can't imagine going back to vees or mechanical disks, but it's nice to know there are good alternatives. Take care. - Dave

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197
    Well... I think these brakes are just as adjustable and MORE powerful.

    Avid Juicy 7
    Hayes El Camino
    IRD Dual Bangers
    I never said that the Avid was the most powerful. You can think what ever you want but that does not make it a fact.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197
    ...I guess I just don't like Avid mech brakes. They are a pain to set up. But I guess that is due to the fact when I set them up on a friends bike he has lost all the mounting washers and concave/convex washers and he runs 8" rotors while using 6 inch rotor adapters. So I get fusterated trying to set them up.

    Perhaps if I was to buy a new set with all the proper hardware my opinion would change.
    Well DUH!!! Always good to judge a part based on incomplete, jury-rigged set.
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  30. #30
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    Shiggy - your responses don't need to be so smart-mouthed.

    Arrogance is not a good trait for a moderator. Other people have feelings to.

    BTW your tire site dosen't even list my tires.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnpeters
    It's been suggested that some mechanicals are as powerful as hydraulics. For those of us who have had both, this is hard to understand. From a racers perspective, can you give us your opinion. Thanks. - Dave
    I only issue I have with the Avid BBs in racing is during very muddy, wet events that accelerates pad wear. The pads are not self adjusting so I have to stop to do it. Still much, much better than any rim brake in the same conditions.

    Compared to hydros? I have never raced them.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197
    Shiggy - your responses don't need to be so smart-mouthed.

    Arrogance is not a good trait for a moderator. Other people have feelings to.

    BTW your tire site dosen't even list my tires.
    That was the restrained response. It gets very tiring correcting uninformed replies based on misinformation and/or hearsay.

    The Fire XC Pro 2.1 is on the spec charts.
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  33. #33
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    I've been on both...

    ..hydros and a couple mechs (Deore and Avids)

    My hydros (julies '02) have nice modulation and just decent power (even when the front rotor is 20mm bigger than my Avids or Shimanos). Unfortunately I got a problematic set that has a sticky piston at the rear.

    My Deores were as good as the Julies but the Julies are simply smoother. Only drawbacks of the Deores are that are heavy as hell (I bet those can outlast some suspension frames) and thanks to the resin pads they're more similar to vee brakes in the wet.

    Now the Avid mechs are simply powerful and all about adjustability.

    - Want modulation??? Just back off the inner pad a bit.
    - Want power??? Move the inner pad closer to the brake again.
    - Contact point adjustment?? Play a bit with the pads location, cable barrel adjustment (at lever) and the cable tension itself.
    - More modulation or different lever throw??? Get some Avid SD-5 or 7 lever (not to mention the uberexpensive Ultimates).
    - Different size of rotors?? They have three.
    - Ease of set-up?? Second to none
    - No Bleeding (DUH!!)

    Which other brake have each and every features mentioned above?? NONE.

    Maybe those are not the best brakes out there... but heck! Once you have them on your bike it's very difficult to find a real and good reason for an upgrade other that the 'going hydro' sentimental thing.

    In my case, I' m going to exhaust all possiblities to keep my Julies. But I just miss my Avids. It's ashame being the Maguras such a good brake.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197
    I would think the IRD brakes would be more powerful because they push both pads into the rotor instead of just pushing ONE pad into the rotor and pushing the rotor into the other pad.
    The IRD Dual Banger's were included in the Bicycling magazine test I referenced in a post below. According to the Cannondale brake dyno, the Avid mechnanicals have more stopping power and more useable power than the IRDs. On a scale of 1 to 10, the Avids scored an 8 for stopping power and a 9 for usable power. The IRDs scored a 6 and a 7 respectively.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197
    I guess I just don't like Avid mech brakes. They are a pain to set up.
    Boy, your experience certainly didn't match mine. I can't imagine an easier setup. It was my first disc brake installation and mine went from in the box to riding down the trail in a less than half an hour. Even without any frame or fork prep the brakes rarely make so much as a peep. This was two and a half years ago and I haven't touched the setup since (however, I do have to dial in the pads once in a while, which is my main complaint with these brakes).

    The Avid mechs aren't perfect and they do have some weaknesses compared to hydraulics, but I wouldn't consider power or setup to be one of them.

  35. #35
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    I got both

    Avid mech disc on my HT and Magura Marta's on my FS. They definitely feel different; the MM's have a softeness in the front end of lever travel that I like. It's good that I like that because there's no adjustability in the system. The Avid's feel remarkably good, not nearly as 'smooth' as the MM's, and I can adjust the feel of the brake at several points. Both systems will bring me to a screeching stop faster than I hope to ever need to. My hands don't feel more tired with one system compared to another. And after a month of flawless performance I became an instant expert in bleeding brakes when my MM front suddenly quit on me Sunday-still haven't figured out why, hoping it won't happen again.

  36. #36
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    My only beef with Avids is the rear rotor warped after a couple of rides.
    I was able to bend it back very close to straight so it doesn't rub, but it's not perfect.
    My front 203mm rotor stayed true, so it may be just a freak incident, and it's not really a problem that couldn't be fixed.
    Otherwise I'm very impressed with the power and adjustability, compared to Hayes MX1 on my other bike.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by nnn
    Being pedantic is one thing, but it gets irritating trying to read what people write wen dey star wraiting liek dis Or wrItE wIth All thE vOwEls In UppEr cAsE etc etc you get my point
    ummm... i'd say ridiculing someone for brakes v. breaks is pedantic.

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    Well guys, it seems my simple question (or maybe not so simple) started an interesting discussion from which my knowledge is quite enriched.

    I decided to go for the hydaulics - Hope Mono Mini.

    Thanks

  39. #39
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    you'll be happy with the choice.

    I was going to post that old... "to get back to the original question" and then conclude for you that obviously, YES the Avid Mech has enough power, but as to the issue of feel and adjustability, there is lots of debate that really indicates how much PERSONAL PREFERENCE plays into a person's idea of what is the most power, most adjustable, most modulation, best feel.

    I have a mix of disc brakes on my various bikes and I like every one of them for its individual merits. IMO no single disc brake system is "the best," because each has plus and minus features.

  40. #40
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    I'm brand new with mt bikes, but I've got about 100,000 miles of street motorcycle on my butt. I'm a bit confused as to the whole "hydro is more/less powerfull than mechanical" argument. It's a bit of an oversimplification regardless of what side of the argument you're on. On any disk braking system there are about half a dozen different things you can do to the brake that will change it's performance characteristics. Changing rotor size, caliper size, pad material, etc, will all have dramatic effects, regardless of the linkage mechanism. When I put stainless steel brake lines on my GSX-R, it made a huge difference. The 320mm rotor is nice, too. My Concours is notorious for weak brakes on the front, and a common upgrade is to a larger caliper. They're all hydraulic, though. Heck, changing the fluid often makes the brake feel crisper.

    All other things being equal, hydraulics will transfer energy more efficently than a mechanical setup. That's just physics. But there are rarely times when all other things are equal, and there are more requirements than just efficiency for most applications.

    I'm still giddy that you can even get a disk brake on a bicycle.

  41. #41
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    disc brake test

    Here is a laboratory test of most hydro disc brakes available on the market today (PDF) - including Brembo!
    It's in German but I think it should be pretty easy to find your way through it. It seems that strongest one is Magura Gustav.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by pecka
    Here is a laboratory test of most hydro disc brakes available on the market today (PDF) - including Brembo!
    It's in German but I think it should be pretty easy to find your way through it. It seems that strongest one is Magura Gustav.
    What is graphed?? Braking force against force at the lever??

    Do the graph shows how the brake exerts its force as you press the lever and how it does when you release it??

    Please someone elaborate... my undertanding of german is ├╝berlimited
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by pecka
    Here is a laboratory test of most hydro disc brakes available on the market today (PDF) - including Brembo!
    It's in German but I think it should be pretty easy to find your way through it. It seems that strongest one is Magura Gustav.
    This test seems to have some strange results....For instance the Juicy 5s seem to be more powerful with 180mm (also strange since they use 185) rotors than with 205s.

    The Juicy 7s are listed with the exact same numbers as the 5s for 160s & 180s, but suddenly become much more powerful than the 5s when used with 205 rotors.

    While I do think tests like this are somewhat interesting discussion material, we all know bikes aren't ridden in controlled environments. Setup, pad, bike, user, conditions, tires are all going to play a role in how effectively your brakes stop you.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warp2003
    What is graphed?? Braking force against force at the lever??

    Do the graph shows how the brake exerts its force as you press the lever and how it does when you release it??

    Please someone elaborate... my undertanding of german is ├╝berlimited
    nass = wet
    trocken = dry

    So in the chart we are seeing power (denoted in Newtons) of wet and dry braking performance.

    Unsure exactly what all the graphs below are showing....

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jdub
    This test seems to have some strange results....For instance the Juicy 5s seem to be more powerful with 180mm (also strange since they use 185) rotors than with 205s.

    The Juicy 7s are listed with the exact same numbers as the 5s for 160s & 180s, but suddenly become much more powerful than the 5s when used with 205 rotors.

    While I do think tests like this are somewhat interesting discussion material, we all know bikes aren't ridden in controlled environments. Setup, pad, bike, user, conditions, tires are all going to play a role in how effectively your brakes stop you.
    Yeah, I was also bit tricked by the results but I think you can get GENERAL idea how the brake will perform on the trail. What shocked me a bit were results for Hope Minis...

  46. #46
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    the lower the angle the more modulation

    I think thats what most people like you still want the power to go up there but slower to have room to modulate the brembo runs up pretty quick. I don't think I would want those.

    Quote Originally Posted by Warp2003
    What is graphed?? Braking force against force at the lever??

    Do the graph shows how the brake exerts its force as you press the lever and how it does when you release it??

    Please someone elaborate... my undertanding of german is ├╝berlimited
    http://www.caddesignwork.com/ where CAD Design and drafting happens.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Festusjrf
    I think thats what most people like you still want the power to go up there but slower to have room to modulate the brembo runs up pretty quick. I don't think I would want those.
    Thanks Festus and Jdub....

    Still, the "first" (the upper part of the curve) part of the graph I can get it. It's the force you need at the lever to produce the X amount of force at the caliper. What has me drooling is the lower part of the curve... is that the wet beahviour??
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winnetou
    Hi,
    I am considering Avid BB7 disk breaks but I hear that being mechanical they do not have the same stopping power that hydraulics do.

    I am a moderate XC rider.

    Would appreciate some learned opinions - Thanks


    I have the Avid BB7 brakes (with 203mm rotors) on my Cannondale mountain tandem, the average payload being 140 kgs (about 310 lbs). I find that they stop well and offer good modulation. I fully trust them on descents even long ones. And so long as I don't drag on them, they do not fade. I have never used a hydraulic disc system on the tandem but based on the performance of the Avid thus far, I do not have to. I am using the xtr disc and Hayes on my single bikes. In terms of ease of maintenance, the Avid only require a change of cable every year or so (I've had them for 3 years) and a turn on the knob to centre the pads. As for the hydraulic systems maintenance is a bit more of an involved process. If you are thinking of getting the Avid, you can be assured that the system is powerful enough to bring a heavy tandem team to a safe stop.

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