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  1. #1
    Mr. Peanut must die!
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    choosing disk brakes help?

    I have been shopping for a disk brake set-up for my 1 year old Trek 4300 to replace the rim brakes.

    I am a large rider (215 #'s) and I have had some cases where my rim brakes were not quite strong enough (imo) on downhill trails. I have checked out the reviews and faq and read about the various disks for a few weeks now. (great site btw!)

    I would like to get a new set of brakes that are strong but not too expensive, mechanical disks instead of hydraulics, something like Avid mechanicals or Shimano Deore mechanicals. I would prefer the mechs over hydr's mostly because of cost and headaches of bleeding hydraulic lines.

    But then when I went to a local bike shop the sales chick there was really rude, i mean she must have failed customer service 101, she told me that I should buy a new bike instead, and that disk brakes are NOT stronger than rim brakes, that I would not notice much of a difference??? Was she on crack i dunno, but when she contradicted everything I have read about disks, i got pissed and left. I was willing to spend money at their store but NOT now beotch! Like I'm gonna drop $5000 on a new bike at their shop!

    Anyways I still have some questions, Are disks stronger/better brakes for XC and trail riding? Will I notice an improvement over the stock rim brakes? Which brakes of the two listed above require the least amount of adjustment/tuning to get them set-up and broken in? Which brakes are stronger avid mechs or deore mechs?

    Thanx in advance.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by psycho-squirrel
    I have been shopping for a disk brake set-up for my 1 year old Trek 4300 to replace the rim brakes.

    I am a large rider (215 #'s) and I have had some cases where my rim brakes were not quite strong enough (imo) on downhill trails. I have checked out the reviews and faq and read about the various disks for a few weeks now. (great site btw!)

    I would like to get a new set of brakes that are strong but not too expensive, mechanical disks instead of hydraulics, something like Avid mechanicals or Shimano Deore mechanicals. I would prefer the mechs over hydr's mostly because of cost and headaches of bleeding hydraulic lines.

    But then when I went to a local bike shop the sales chick there was really rude, i mean she must have failed customer service 101, she told me that I should buy a new bike instead, and that disk brakes are NOT stronger than rim brakes, that I would not notice much of a difference??? Was she on crack i dunno, but when she contradicted everything I have read about disks, i got pissed and left. I was willing to spend money at their store but NOT now beotch! Like I'm gonna drop $5000 on a new bike at their shop!

    Anyways I still have some questions, Are disks stronger/better brakes for XC and trail riding? Will I notice an improvement over the stock rim brakes? Which brakes of the two listed above require the least amount of adjustment/tuning to get them set-up and broken in? Which brakes are stronger avid mechs or deore mechs?

    Thanx in advance.
    Disc brakes are better on long downhills, I have had rim brake pads glaze and loose stopping power. If you ride through a stream with rim brakes, the rim gets wet and you loose stopping power. I would recommend a 7" or 8" rotor in the front if the fork manufacturer allows it ( some fork manufacturers don't want 8" rototrs on quick release forks). I have heard many people liking the Avid mechanicals. I run Hayes Mag Hydraulics with 8" front and back, but I am a downhiller/freerider.
    Erik,
    Balle Racing
    www.balleracing.com

  3. #3
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    The Avid Mechs are phenomenal brakes, the very best disc brake for the money UNLESS you must have the hydro feel. That's a personal preference thing though, and if you have been riding cable rim brakes (not Magura hydraulic rim brakes) it's probably not an issue for you.

    The 185mm (7") rotor Avids should be enough for you if you ride XC. If your descents are REALLY long get the 200mm (8") front rotor. But as Erik said, be sure your fork can handle a 7" or 8" rotor. Some forks can't handle the larger rotors.

  4. #4
    ballbuster
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    I was in the same boat...

    a couple of years back. I was 215# and had mad cramping arms after going down the steep stuff. Rim brakes were not cutting it for me at all.

    I ended up getting a Deore Mech M515 Long Arm disc, and it made all the difference in the world. I checked with my LBS and they told me that anyting under $150 per wheel was crap and I should not bother. Many LBS employees can be total gear snobs, IMO.

    Anywho, that brake served me well. It was cheap at $39, but really heavy. I ended up upgrading to an Avid Mech for weight reasons. Those are even better.

    I would recommend an Avid Mech. Those things rock. They have monster stopping power, easy to service and fairly reliable. They are also common enough so finding brake pads in a pinch is pretty easy. Even at my weight, the 160mm rotors worked fine. I could overheat them if I tried, by barreling down super steep singletrack way too fast and grabbing the brakes hard and long, but I could easily avoid it. OTOH, the 185mm rotors are only $10 more.

    My only complaints were that they don't have really great modulation, they are still pretty heavy (compared to hydros) and you have to constantly fiddle with the little red knobs. Not a big deal, but you oughta know what you are doing, and it isn't hard to figure out. You also need to keep an eye on the nut that holds the actuator arm on. My front brake exploded on me soon after I put it on a bud's bike, sending it's innards all over the trail, and nearly causing a nasty stack. After posing my story here, it seems this happens fairly often.

    I would say go for it, even if you can only afford to do the front. Most of the stopping power is up front anyway, and you will see a pretty huge imporvement by just doing one up front.

  5. #5
    Mr. Peanut must die!
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    Thanx for the advice guys!

    I think the general concensus from people here is that the Avid mechs are awesome and powerful but i have read a few reviews/posts complaining about the fiddly little red knobs and having to tinker with them daily makes me worry.

    I might get the shimanos despite the weight, I'm not too concerned about weight, heck i'm 215 so a couple grams ain't gonna affect me much. And the cheepness factor is important, cheep-but-good-quality is what I am aiming for. This is my entry level MTB anyways, i'll ride it till it dies, and maybe in a few years upgrade to a bike with better components. I'll save my money till then.

    I agree about LBS employee snobs, damn that chick was nasty, maybe she didn't understand. . . . . I have money, and I want to spend my money, help me and you get paid! But instead she was a female-dog and now I will goto a different LBS that has better selection, better prices and respects the riders/shoppers.

  6. #6
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    Just a FWIW, I'm about your size and just upgraded my old OEM Quad(?) mechs for Shimao Deore hydros. Gotta admit I was skeptical, and originally wanted Avid mechs, but the ol' mineral oil Deores are real nice. Their DH performance in slick clay and mud was better than I expected - the feel is great, and my hands were feeling fine at the bottom of the hill despite a lot of cadence braking. If you want to stay with mechanical discs I'd go with the Avids no question, but the feel of the Deore 6" hydros really impressed me this weekend.

  7. #7
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    Yeah, there are many shops out there whose employees are less than helpful. On the other hand there are also many shops which offer expert advice and mechanic skills. You'll find a worthy bike shop sooner or later. Most any bike shop will try to sell you something though, that's just how it works.
    As for the brakes IMHO a great setup would include a 7" rotor Avid Mech front and 6" rear with some good Avid levers (You'll be fine w/ a 7" rotor on qr dropouts). I have 2 friends running 8" avids on their freeride bikes and they have similar stopping power to my Hayes 8" mags. The hydros have a better feel and modulation but it's a lot more $$. Go for the avids. Also, the red adjustment knobs on the avids make tunning the brakes easier not harder.

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