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  1. #1
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    convince me to go hydro instead of BB7

    I've been running BB7's happily for years but now i'm about to build a new bike and am considering other options. if you were trying to convince me to go hydro instead of BB7, what would you suggest?

    i'm a 150lb aggressive xc rider. i don't do any "real" downhill riding but i ride down hills, of course. occasionally i'll find myself riding a pretty serious downhill but that's like a couple of times per year so i don't feel compelled to spec a part for that. I'm interested in keeping the cost low and the weight shouldn't be too far out of line either.

    i ride year round in all conditions. long pad life is nice but not a determining factor. noise sucks.

    your suggestion?

  2. #2
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    You owe it to yourself to try it, you can always go back if you don't like it.

  3. #3
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    If you want lighter brakes with more modulation, more power, and less maintenance, go hydro.

    If you're happy enough with bb7's and dont mind the adjustments, stick with what you've got. Since you state that you've been happily running them for so long, I dont think changing now is all that necessary.

    Ill never go back to bb7's. I didnt like constantly adjusting them, and I never really liked the feel (no matter how adjusted). For me, its hydros every time without question. Riding style doesnt play much of a factor in that decision, they're just as good for trail riding as they are for the occasional steep downhill.

  4. #4
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    suggestions then? I'm totally ignorant of the worthy offerings vs the also-rans.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by head View Post
    ...noise sucks...
    Don't bother with Avid then (hydraulic).

    What bike will these be going on? And what's your budget? I know you asked us to simply convince you why. But it will make a difference as cheap hydraulic brakes are in some cases worse than your beloved BB7's.

  6. #6
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    Jones diamond frame with unicrown fork.

    i'll decide my price range based on the choices. in other words, don't recommend something that sucks just because it's cheap and hydro. tell me what you think is equivalent or better than well set-up BB7's and I'll go from there.

    i'm going to balance out the part spec cost so if i "need" to spend more on brakes then i'll go cheaper on the crank or something like that.

  7. #7
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    In that case, Shimano SLX/XT. They just plain work. And they are easy to install and maintain. Shimano also uses more environmentally friendly mineral oil.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by head View Post
    I've been running BB7's happily for years
    Save yourself some trouble, time and money and stick with the BB7. They just work fine day after day, month after month, year after year...

  9. #9
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    I ride BB7s and hydros. I've found that I prefer hydros over the BB7 due to the lower brake lever force required and prefer Avid hydros because the feel is closer to a BB7 than the rather firm Shimanos. That said, I've ridden some XTs that were setup pretty well and I would also be happy with them.

    My Avid hydros (Elixir CR, and just added some XO Silvers) have been trouble and noise free. The only time I had any complaints was when I was playing around with rotors and found Avid G2 160mm rotors too loud and seemed to vibrate move than other rotors under light to moderate braking. My favorite rotors are Avid Roundagons, and my XX rotors seem to work fine as well.
    Dave
    Blog / Strava

  10. #10
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    convince me to go hydro instead of BB7

    +1 on the shimano xt or slx. I had bb7's on my bike for a few years and then switched out to xtr hydros. They are very nice and im glad i have them, i never had any problems out of my bb7's , i still have them in my garage as a backup, but i much prefer the hydros. The biggest difference to me is single finger braking in any condition. If i can keep more fingers on the bar and not on the brakes thats a big deal to me in sketchy terrain. The brakes were a gift from my father in law, if i had to spend my own money on them i probably would have got xt's or slx. I think there is very little difference between the slx xt xtr.

  11. #11
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    Re: convince me to go hydro instead of BB7

    Stick with your bb7 if they work well for you. If you absolutely want change go for the slx. Wonderful stuff. Have three sets now and got them all for 180 a set at bluesky.
    Some find them even cheaper sometimes.

  12. #12
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    convince me to go hydro instead of BB7

    Another thought.. If you already have a set of bb7s that you would use for this build, use em. If you have to buy new brakes i would get shimano hydros.

  13. #13
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    Tough call. For me, I have BB7's on my SS, and I don't think I'd have it any other way. They are strong, reliable, and easy to fix if anything stupid does happen. Off hand, I can't think of any downsides to them, other than "They aren't hydros."

    On the other hand, I have a set of XO silvers on my Anthem. I can't say that I understand the problems everyone else seems to have with Avid hydros, my silvers rarely make a sound, they have plenty of stopping power, and a great feel.

    My advice? Go with your gut. If you're asking this question because you have a nagging sense that you should try hydros on this bike, do it. If you're asking this because so many people say hydros have made mechanical brakes pointless an obsolete for everything up to and including cheap budget bikes and mechanical brakes suck.....use the BB7's, because you don't need anyone to tell you how good they are, clearly you know what the nay-sayers don't.

  14. #14
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    I've used both (BB7's and Hydros of many different flavors).

    The BB7's are great, simple and just work. Easy to set up and just keep working with regular maintenance (to keep from dragging).

    Hydraulics are typically lighter. Also, the big one I think is the ability to have less drag (cable) on the lever pull and modulation much easier to control. This is extremely beneficial for smaller riders, especially with smaller hands. It's not to say (once again) the BB7's are bad. It just means they aren't as good as one can get. This equates to less tired arms/hands when on long rides especially with long descents.

  15. #15
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    Just get the good stuff. Once you go hydro its hard to go back...

  16. #16
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    Shimano SLX. I had BB7 back in tha day, never again. It's like switching from condoms to not condoms, if you get my meaning. It was good before, but now... Yowza.

  17. #17
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    Start with one, install a hydro up front. I love my formula Rx. Should be an easy sell if you don't like them.

  18. #18
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    +1 on the XTs. Set up mine and they are night and day to BB7s. I had hydros before, and tried out the BB7s, which worked enough, but I will pick high quality hydro over mechanical any day of the week.

  19. #19
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    I used to swear by BB7s, until I rode a bike with hydros....go ride a bike with hydros, you will sell those BB7s I assure you. One finger breaking....there I'm done

  20. #20
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    My hydros are 08 models. I havent touched them *at all* since new. They just plain work. Id have hours and hours of futzing with a bb7 in that same time period. Thats the real benefit of hydros, you dont have to mess with them constantly. Theres really no upkeep comparison.

  21. #21
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    I have been running the same set of avid juicy 5's for 5 years. Outside of a couple sets of pads and installing/ bleeding new lines when i swapped frames, they have been carefree and effective the whole time. I've bent the levers on each sire and was able to bend them back. Now I don't have them completely screwed tight so they rotate on the bars when I crash. I am 150lbs and ride aggressive all mountain trails, I think I've over heated them one time on a super long steep decent where I was dragging them. Hydro all the way!

  22. #22
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    Cannot convince you, but I had BB7's for awhile. They worked well and were problem free and adjustable. Bought a new bike it had Avid Elixir CR's. They stopped better, say stronger although they were problematic. They had alot of noise (some tweaking finally fixed that) and would have to be bled a few times a year, and to top it off they simply became a on/off switch, no modulation. Flash forward, I have XT M785 trails, and XTR M988 race. There is absolutely no comparison to braking performance and modulation. BB7's are good, the Shimano's are fantastic.

  23. #23
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    If one knew they were getting a problem free hydro, of course go hydro. How can one be sure or reasonably sure? Given the number of hydro issues posted here compared to bb7's what is one to do.

    2 Shimano calipers I have weep oil on to the pads. One Magura lever bypasses oil at the worst possible time. Other hydros I have owned were flawless.

    My 3 sets of bb7's all have been without glitches.

    so....
    lean forward

  24. #24
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    convince me to go hydro instead of BB7

    Each system has it's merits. You know bb7 system really well. So for fun throw a set of slx on there and just try them out. You will know quickly if you like them more, the same, less, or differently from bb7.
    I think it's kinda telling they havnt dine much to the basic bb7 design over the years, they just plain work .

    But for gods sake stay away from avid

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1niceride View Post
    If one knew they were getting a problem free hydro, of course go hydro. How can one be sure or reasonably sure? Given the number of hydro issues posted here compared to bb7's what is one to do.
    BB7's are one of the most posted about problematic brakes... besides noisy avids.

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