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  1. #1
    viva la v-brakes!
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    disc brake for winter

    I need a disc brake for the back wheel of the fatbike I am building up. I am a long time v-brake fan so I haven't really been keeping up with disc brake developments. I need brakes for riding in the winter, so here are some criteria I have:

    1) Will continue to work well at sub-zero temperatures.
    2) Carbon lever, so my fingers don't get cold. Levers could be balsa wood for all I care, as long as they are not aluminum (I have huge problems keeping my fingers warm even in poagies so any little bit can help).
    3) good price to weight ratio
    4) rear brake only, snow slows you down plenty as it is

    So I'm probably looking for something on the cheaper end of models with carbon levers. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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  2. #2
    I'm with stupid
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    Not shimano, I love the brakes for everything until it drops below freezing and the levers become really hard to squeeze and the power is just not there. I was new to this two years ago and could have sworn there was something wrong with my brakes and kept taking them back to LBS to get worked on and every time it was wam and I was that guy saying "I swear there is something wrong"

    Avids work well in the cold but just about suck for everything else. This winter will be my first shot with formulas in the cold so I hope they work. For as much as they cost they better hang the moon and the stars also.

  3. #3
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    go with mechanic BB7s

  4. #4
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by DimitrisCSD View Post
    go with mechanic BB7s
    And use front and rear brakes.
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  5. #5
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    Not a disc brake option, but, to keep your fingers warm have you looked into heated grips? These things get pretty warm. Almost hot to touch gloveless. I would certainly have some if i was riding in the 30's and below.

  6. #6
    I'm with stupid
    Reputation: hitechredneck's Avatar
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    Those things look nice for super cold days/nights but im not sure 200 bones cool....

  7. #7
    Huckin' trails
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    Quote Originally Posted by DimitrisCSD View Post
    go with mechanic BB7s
    +2. Plenty power and reliable under any condition. And for the price, you can go front and rear and still get yourself carbon lever blades for the linear pull brake levers of your choice. Or just a lever hoodie.
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  8. #8
    Twin Six METAL Team
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    Quote Originally Posted by DimitrisCSD View Post
    go with mechanic BB7s
    +3! I've used BB7's on my fat bike for the past few years, and they've worked great...even with the aluminum levers! Pick up a good set of gloves, and you'll never even feel the cold levers.

  9. #9
    viva la v-brakes!
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    The problem with BB7's is that any mechanical system, even with full cable runs, eventually gets fouled with salty slushy sandy snowy nastiness. Also I've never been impressed with BB7's, still looking for the 'magic' that disc brakes are supposed to have; more power and modulation than v-brakes... not my experience at all, and they have been a constant maintenance battle on my monstercross bike.

    With that said, I have a BB7 in my parts bin and I'm on a budget, so that's what I'm going to have to go with for now. I will just have to dip the lever in tool dip to try to keep the chill of aluminum off of my fingers. But I'd still like to know what brake I should be dreaming about.

    As for 2 brakes vs 1, my experience has been that on snow I max out around 13mph on flat ground and if you stop pedaling you stop moving in about 30 ft. That makes snow a more reliable braking system then my legs on my fixed geared bike. I can always add a front brake later if I feel I need it.
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  10. #10
    Huckin' trails
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishMan473 View Post
    The problem with BB7's is that any mechanical system, even with full cable runs, eventually gets fouled with salty slushy sandy snowy nastiness. Also I've never been impressed with BB7's, still looking for the 'magic' that disc brakes are supposed to have; more power and modulation than v-brakes... not my experience at all, and they have been a constant maintenance battle on my monstercross bike.

    With that said, I have a BB7 in my parts bin and I'm on a budget, so that's what I'm going to have to go with for now. I will just have to dip the lever in tool dip to try to keep the chill of aluminum off of my fingers. But I'd still like to know what brake I should be dreaming about.

    As for 2 brakes vs 1, my experience has been that on snow I max out around 13mph on flat ground and if you stop pedaling you stop moving in about 30 ft. That makes snow a more reliable braking system then my legs on my fixed geared bike. I can always add a front brake later if I feel I need it.
    Hem... While I do not have any hydro brakes currently, I can tell that BB7 are more than adequate for winter riding in those conditions. heck, I had to deal with flimsy v-brakes in that sort of slushy horrible pad freezing staining crap and I would take BB7 over v's any time. Yes, you might experience some crunchyness if they get soaked up in muddy sandy slush, because the actuation arm is mechanical, not fluid, and that might be a concern on long term durability without regular maintenance. But even if they are shot at the end of the winter (if they even get shot), you'll still have the best reliability on the field compared to hydro where cold might damage the seals and affect performance... And honestly, would you rather scrap a $30 caliper or a $150 hydro brake ? In the end, you might not get any issue with the hydro, but if you do, it's mostly a dead-stop on your riding till you get it fix. And BB7 performances are not affected by cold weather.
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  11. #11
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishMan473 View Post
    The problem with BB7's is that any mechanical system, even with full cable runs, eventually gets fouled with salty slushy sandy snowy nastiness. Also I've never been impressed with BB7's, still looking for the 'magic' that disc brakes are supposed to have; more power and modulation than v-brakes... not my experience at all, and they have been a constant maintenance battle on my monstercross bike.

    With that said, I have a BB7 in my parts bin and I'm on a budget, so that's what I'm going to have to go with for now. I will just have to dip the lever in tool dip to try to keep the chill of aluminum off of my fingers. But I'd still like to know what brake I should be dreaming about.

    As for 2 brakes vs 1, my experience has been that on snow I max out around 13mph on flat ground and if you stop pedaling you stop moving in about 30 ft. That makes snow a more reliable braking system then my legs on my fixed geared bike. I can always add a front brake later if I feel I need it.
    Full length housing, Teflon coated cables, BB7s, 13 winters, mud, rain, snow. Never had an issue.

    Try foam pencil/pen grips on the brake levers.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishMan473 View Post
    I need a disc brake for the back wheel of the fatbike I am building up. I am a long time v-brake fan so I haven't really been keeping up with disc brake developments. I need brakes for riding in the winter, so here are some criteria I have:

    1) Will continue to work well at sub-zero temperatures.
    2) Carbon lever, so my fingers don't get cold. Levers could be balsa wood for all I care, as long as they are not aluminum (I have huge problems keeping my fingers warm even in poagies so any little bit can help).
    3) good price to weight ratio
    4) rear brake only, snow slows you down plenty as it is

    So I'm probably looking for something on the cheaper end of models with carbon levers. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    1. I run XTR and XT brakes down to -35C for 7 years without problem.....over the course of the winter some fluid does tend to leak out.

    2. Get you mitts figured out.

    3. Both are good

    4 Put on what ever brakes you want....I have used the front pleaty of times in the winter...Don't you ever go down a hill????

  13. #13
    Natural Born Killer
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    I don't own a fatbike but I'm a big fan of the concept. After seeing some of adventures people have with their fatbikes, I've always thought that if I owned one and rode in severe fatbike worthy conditions I would be tempted to ride it fixed gear in order to eliminate drivetrain and rear brake issues. Just my 2 cents.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hitechredneck View Post
    Not shimano, I love the brakes for everything until it drops below freezing and the levers become really hard to squeeze and the power is just not there. I was new to this two years ago and could have sworn there was something wrong with my brakes and kept taking them back to LBS to get worked on and every time it was wam and I was that guy saying "I swear there is something wrong"

    Avids work well in the cold but just about suck for everything else. This winter will be my first shot with formulas in the cold so I hope they work. For as much as they cost they better hang the moon and the stars also.
    I agree. Shimano brakes suck when its cold. I always have issues with the pads not retracting all the way when the brakes get cold. The mineral oil can not handle extreme temps.

    I love my Hope M4 Evo brakes

  15. #15
    blood in / blood out
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    My shimanos work just fine in the cold. I switched out the mineral oil for Pentisin CH and have never looked back. But from all my research, Formula hydros work the best in the cold of winter. I know of a few that ride them and I also installed them on our store managers fat bike and he has no issues with the Formulas.
    RICOH for LIFE

  16. #16
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    check out chainreactioncycles.com, lots of selection at great price

  17. #17
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    This may be a stupid question how do you fix the feel of your brakes to make them softer or make grab more. I got Avid juicy three brakes am new at this.

  18. #18
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    BB7s here.

  19. #19
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    Hydraulic all the way!

    I'm in lake-effect-snowy, super-salty Syracuse and I went with the cheapo tektro drako and, despite the dragging bleed-side piston for the first few thousand miles, it has worked stupendously. Now that it's broken in there's no dragging and I still have superb stopping and modulation. I do want to change from the supplied plain plastic looking to a braided line now after a year in the sun, just because it seems like a good idea. I don't know if the line is braided inside or not but it has handled lots of 45-0 stops on a rather steep main route in town all year long and probably ought to be replaced anyways.

    I'm sure that they still make rubber lever covers so that you don't have to go with a plastic-and-cloth lever. Even if they don't, my cousin and seemingly all of his buddies down in the next county have cloth bartape on their levers- it can't take much more time to do the wrapping than the time at work to earn money for race-specific, failure-in-cold-temps-prone components.

  20. #20
    no trees are safe
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    I'd go with brands that use brake fluid NOT mineral oil. Mineral starts to make issues once in sub--zero environment.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Millfox View Post
    I'd go with brands that use brake fluid NOT mineral oil. Mineral starts to make issues once in sub--zero environment.

    Oh jeez...I guess I got lucky so far. I can't wait to see what these issues feel like. Good thing I didn't equip all of the bikes with these.

    In your experience, are the issues just general gumminess (slow piston retraction) or also diminished power as well?

  22. #22
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    WTB IRD Dual Bangers

    I have these on a tandem, and have been thrilled with them. They're off the market, but somebody must have one or more (used is OK) they want to sell. Contact me off-list, and we can work out a deal. Thanks

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Duderino View Post
    Oh jeez...I guess I got lucky so far. I can't wait to see what these issues feel like. Good thing I didn't equip all of the bikes with these.

    In your experience, are the issues just general gumminess (slow piston retraction) or also diminished power as well?
    The brakes respond poorly until the system heats up, then they work fine (assuming you continue to use them, and aren't just using them to stop every now and then). In extreme cases (store the bike in an unheated area or outside, then go for a ride) the brakes may not work at all, as the lines are frozen. If that happens, no brake works well-if at all-but cable pulls can be brought back to functionality with some lock de-icer squirted down the housing.

  24. #24
    PSYCHOLUST
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    Quote Originally Posted by DimitrisCSD View Post
    go with mechanic BB7s

    DEAD-ON
    My Girlfriend and I both ride FATBACKS all winter and run BB7's
    To be honest I went with BB7's after researching HERE before I built the bikes 3 years ago and found 90+% of fatbikes run BB7

    Easy to adjust and work on and they work great.

    The only thing I would do differently, knowing what I know after 3 winters, I'd have gone with 180mm rotors (or even bigger) as the rotating mass can be difficult to pull down from speed in some conditions

  25. #25
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    take your skirt off and use a coaster brake........ your lever requirements limit your options. i don't know about any of the other bands but Hayes offers a carbon lever: Carbon Lever | Hayes Disc Brake .. some walmart bikes i think have plastic levers that could be used with the BB7's
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