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  1. #1
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    Disc front and V rear?

    I know most people are going to say this is a stupid idea, but hopefully I can find a few unbiased opinions.

    Personally I have always been satisfied with my V brake performance ever since I got my first set (circa '97), I need only 1 finger to brake in most circumstances. But its time for a new front fork and its hard to find anything descent with brake posts. I found a good deal on a front hub and have already laced up a wheel. I then picked up a used mech disc brake (hayes I think) and I am thoroughly unimpressed- the overall power is maybe about the same as my Vs, but the lever is so much much harder to pull, plus its damn heavy when you factor in the hub, rotor, and that caliper which is apparently made of lead.

    So I'm ready up upgrade to hydro on the front, thats where most of the braking power is needed anyway. I just can't justify the cost of a new rear hub ($250+), plus a descent quality brake ($150+), which will still be heavier than current, plus all the maintenance of building a new wheel, when my rear brake works fine with 1 finger already.

    So my question is what front brake should I get? I prefer to stay away from the heavier and low-end stuff, but at the same time I don't know if I should get something too powerful and have a huge difference in brake feel of the rear. So I'm looking for light weight, durable, easy to maintain, but not necessarily super powerful and extreme modulation. The marta SL seems great, but maybe too powerful. I'm thinking formula RX is a descent price and weight. I have heard enough bad things about avid and shimano that I am not impressed, plus they seem heavier for the same price range. Any others?

  2. #2
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    I don't think it is a dumb idea at all and even if I did? It's your bike, not mine. I have Magura Marta's on my MTB and they are a pretty nice brake. They replaced Avid Juicy 5's, which were ok until the rear caliper froze up.

    Have you considered Avid BB7's for the front? That way you can run the same brake levers on both sides. I bought a used MTB to convert to a cargo bike, the front brake was a very unimpressive Hayes MX2(?). I've got front and rear BB7's with 203mm rotors on it now and even though the brakes haven't been broken in there is a huge difference in power. I also run BB7's with 160mm rotors on a recumbent and the brakes are pretty darn good. They are also easy to set up. On my Xtracycle I mounted my front brake first and didn't get it quite right (haven't fixed it yet since I'm working on getting the derailleurs adjusted) but the rear brake seems to be spot on. BB7's run in the $50 to $80 range depending on what rotor you choose and what is left over from previous years.

  3. #3
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    I've heard the good praise of bb7, and with larger rotors it might give me all the power I need. But with all that I would be adding almost a full pound of weight over my old setup (and its already a little heavy on the front end), so I think I would rather spend an extra $100 to drop the weight and get some real stopping power where it counts.

  4. #4
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    it's not a bad idea at all, I have a few friends that have it set up that way on older frames that don't have caliper tabs on the frame... works fine.

    I would agree with DM1333 and say got for the Avid BB7's it's going to give you the closest feel and and grip as the rear because you can use the same levers and power to operate the brake is about the same, just the BB7 will stop you better/faster and work better in bad weather.

  5. #5
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    The main advantage of a good V vs a good disc is not power, but modulation. Probably on mechs, going for the BB7 will work pretty good and be a cheap upgrade over your setup.

    Shimano brakes are excelent, as well as Avid, it's just that those two brands are most of the common ones, so it's more probable to find failed Avid or Shimano than failed Hopes or Formulas. Okay, personally I don't like Avids, but several friends really like them.

  6. #6
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    It works fine and is a great idea in theory because of the front doing the bulk of the work. But it always bothered me how different the brakes felt at the lever. Maybe I could get use to it but I've never had to. Go forth with the mixed setup and when you get that next upgrade itch do the rear.

  7. #7
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    If you're looking for light weight without spending too much, I've heard good things about the Hygia Usagi brakes, available on eBay for about $200 F&R. I know you only need front, but you could sell the rear or keep it for when you upgrade the back wheel.

  8. #8
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    I've just bought a Hope Evo X2 front set-up and am very impressed with the build quality, weight and attention to detail. I've yet to fit it but all the reviews I've read indicate that it's amongst the best XC brakes available. The lever is adjustable to reach and bite point and so can be finely tailored to suit tastes.

    My current bike has XTR V-brakes which I really liked when new but now they have so much play in the linkages that the performance has dropped away badly. I can find anywhere in GB that sells the rebuild kits either.

    Anyway, have a look at Hope products - Home - Hope Technology - Disc Brakes - Seat Stems - Hope Hoops - Bottom Brackets - LED Lights - Made in UK - Barnoldswick - England - anodised - etched - freeride
    Using yesterday's technology, to create tomorrow's problems, today.

  9. #9
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    I though that using front V brake and rear disc would be better in my opinion (in a case where you can't afford full disc brake set up or just want to quit messing around with your rear V's).

    Disc brake's advantages are mostly into constant performance into various weather. V's are really affected by mud and other liquids substances and can pack up sand easily and kill your rims fast compared to discs. Plus the rear wheel is where at the most stress is, with the cranking on one side and taking drops and being splash with dirt, etc... So a rear disc would be better then front, since it won't be affected by a muddy rim, not perfectly straight wheel and you won't have mushy and heavy brake lever feel... Front wheel don't take much of a beating and get less dirt, plus lever feel is pretty good already with short cable and direct housing. V's already have enough stoping power, so no problem running front V and rear disc.

    But if you want, run full disc, I don't care. Ride what makes you happy. Sloppy mushy hard rear V brakes always makes me want to kick a puppy and punch a kitten in the face



    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!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by David C View Post
    I though that using front V brake and rear disc would be better in my opinion (in a case where you can't afford full disc brake set up or just want to quit messing around with your rear V's).

    Disc brake's advantages are mostly into constant performance into various weather. V's are really affected by mud and other liquids substances and can pack up sand easily and kill your rims fast compared to discs. Plus the rear wheel is where at the most stress is, with the cranking on one side and taking drops and being splash with dirt, etc... So a rear disc would be better then front, since it won't be affected by a muddy rim, not perfectly straight wheel and you won't have mushy and heavy brake lever feel... Front wheel don't take much of a beating and get less dirt, plus lever feel is pretty good already with short cable and direct housing. V's already have enough stoping power, so no problem running front V and rear disc.

    But if you want, run full disc, I don't care. Ride what makes you happy. Sloppy mushy hard rear V brakes always makes me want to kick a puppy and punch a kitten in the face



    The front brake is the more important one. The rear one helps to prevent skiding and only in certain situations it could be better.

    One thing that I think that's misleading is that one of the advantages of a disc brake vs rim brakes is modulation, not sheer power.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rzozaya1969 View Post
    The front brake is the more important one. The rear one helps to prevent skiding and only in certain situations it could be better.

    One thing that I think that's misleading is that one of the advantages of a disc brake vs rim brakes is modulation, not sheer power.
    Well as always, depends on where you ride. I'll say during winter here, having a rear disc would be a lot better then having a front disc (the other wheel using rim brake). Now to the modulation part, sure the disc has better and allow very fine tuning, but I never said is wasn't an advantage. Disc will remain powerful longer under rain and mud then rim brakes. This is why a lot of people choose them. Good V's with proper levers and cables/housing (and good pads) have plenty of modulation, not as much as discs, but enough for many racers and most riders. You don't have the same riding technique in AZ than you have in BC. It's all related where you ride. And where I ride, I already have plenty of control on my front wheel with V's, but need a rear disc to keep up the pace. I have other bikes with full disc setup and full v-brake setup and I'll be getting a rear disc on that one too.
    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!

  12. #12
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    Its not a bad idea, in fact in the early 2000's several manufacturers did it. The only real reason these days not to go disk brake at the back (or front) is price, which is obviously a factor for you. However, lightweight disk brakes are at worst only minimally heavier than v-brakes (as evidenced by cross country racing) so if you have the money at some point, go for both. That said, I used to run bb7's which are awesome in every way, for what they are worth. Now I run shimano slx which is far better, but don't get the wrong, the bb7's are great. SLX can be had for 100 for the front from blueskycycling.com, while several places have bb7's for as little as 50.

  13. #13
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    I run a BB7 on the front and an Avid single digit on the rear of my Homegrown Hardtail. It works pretty well.

  14. #14
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    +1 on the Avid.

  15. #15
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    Another vote for the BB7. I run them on several bikes with Speed Dial levers, GOOD cables and housing, and 160 rotors and have no problem locking up the front wheel.
    However here is an idea. Ebay has tons of older forks with brake bosses for sale, find one in good shape and save some cash.

  16. #16
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    If you already have the lever and disc hub, a bb7 is a good way to go. On my commuter I run a bb7 up front and a V in the back and it's more than adequate. I hear what people are saying about consistency of feel between front and rear, but in my opinion taking the time to learn how to set up bb7s is critical and with a little effort it's possible to get them feeling about the same. The major difference being you'll have more ultimate power in the front, where it matters more for control when things get steep.

    Not sure why you'd want a disc in the rear with a V up front. If the the V works in the front but not the rear, then it might be a case of needing a beefier tire.

    Just a thought.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flats View Post
    Not sure why you'd want a disc in the rear with a V up front. If the the V works in the front but not the rear, then it might be a case of needing a beefier tire.

    Just a thought.
    It's because the rim can't stay clean enough for the pads to perform well, plus the rear wheel is much more prone to get a wobble then the front one. So if I had money for only one disc, I'd choose the rear wheel personally for practical purpose.
    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!

  18. #18
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    Like was said above, terrain, riding style, etc will play into your equipment choice. That being said, I like AVID for the money. I've been racing XC, short track and endurance with a 160mm BB7 up front, Single Digit Ti V-brake on the back and Speed Dial Ti levers for 5 - 6 years now. They are set up so they feel nearly identical at the bars and both modulate well, thanks to the Speed Dial levers. The BB7 was picked up on the local craigslist for $40.

  19. #19
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    another vote for bb7 i have a front disc and a rear v brake on one of my bikes. ( old barracuda ). This setup works great. If I had a hydro on the front I dont think i could get used to having two different levers.

    @ david c Im trying to understand you're theory.... i understand what you're saying but it just does not make sense to me. Even with the rear wheel getting muddy and not as efficient you still need the front brake more. There is just no way i could put a v brake on the front and a disc on the rear.... If it works for you I say go for it but its also possible that some of your braking techniques are all wrong..

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by OS cuda' View Post
    @ david c Im trying to understand you're theory.... i understand what you're saying but it just does not make sense to me. Even with the rear wheel getting muddy and not as efficient you still need the front brake more. There is just no way i could put a v brake on the front and a disc on the rear.... If it works for you I say go for it but its also possible that some of your braking techniques are all wrong..
    Simply that when V's are going bad, the rear one is the most affected. The front rim will not be as bad as the rear one, but not perfect either. If you ride during winter with v-brakes, into the slush and snow, you'll see your rear brake go away pretty fast, while your front will keep on working for a little while. Simply. And I don't have any braking technique problem at all with v brakes, discs or disc/v.
    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!

  21. #21
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    So I'm getting the idea that a good quality hydro on the front with a V on the rear might cause a big difference in lever pull/feel. But plenty of people are running bb7 front with V rear and claim its a similar feel.

    I guess that would mean that a hydro front and bb7 rear is also a bad match in terms of lever feel (since bb feels similar to V) ? Anybody have experience with running that setup?

  22. #22
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    BB7's with SD 7 levers and good cable/housing setup can get pretty close to a hydro lever feel. Never tried both at the same time however.
    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!

  23. #23
    renaissance cyclist
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob_co2 View Post
    So I'm getting the idea that a good quality hydro on the front with a V on the rear might cause a big difference in lever pull/feel. But plenty of people are running bb7 front with V rear and claim its a similar feel.

    I guess that would mean that a hydro front and bb7 rear is also a bad match in terms of lever feel (since bb feels similar to V) ? Anybody have experience with running that setup?
    the big reason why the feel wold be similar is because you can use the same leaver. Hydros brakes require different lever leavers, so presumably the feel would be different. I run a mini-V in front and cantilever brake in back on my cross bike (with the same leaver) and I don't find having different amounts of braking power on front & back to be problematic at all.

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