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  1. #1
    Let's fly!
    Reputation: MultiRider's Avatar
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    Dec 2005

    Give me a BRAKE!!! (recommendation

    I'm getting an Ibis Mojo SL for general cross-country/xc purposes and racing. I race the Winter Park Mountain Bike Series and the Breckenridge 50 and other such events. I want the bike to be as light as possible but not stupid light -- I want to be able to ride it all day, day after day without having to bleed brakes or other constant maintenance.

    It comes with Avid Elixer R brakes which weigh 375g and seem to have a decent reputation among mtbr contributors. I could just stick with those. Or I could go for something lighter -- it would be great to lose 100g (1/4 pound).

    After searching the forums and reviews and reading some magazines, it seems like the best choices would be Magura Marta SL, Avid Ultimates, Hayes Gram, or Formula R1s.

    The reviews of the Avid Ultimates are pretty mixed and the Avid site says they are for light-duty xc use which causes a little concern. Check out the little avatar things on this web page: I'm not doing downhill or freeride or anything heavy duty. I weigh 180 pounds and most descents are a max of 15 minutes. Would the Ultimates hold up to that? If you've been to Moab, I don't do anything more extreme than descending Porcupine Rim or Amassaback. In fact, those are unusually long descents for me -- don't do that on my normal riding/racing.

    The Formula R1s are getting rather mixed reviews as well. In particular, there is concern they are "stupid light" -- rotor starts out very thin and has very low wear tolerance so will have to be replaced often, the screws have to have Torqz heads to no strip because they've been engineered with so little metal. Am I reading too much into those comments? Will R1s hold up to Porcupine/Amassaback descents? They sure are light!

    Not much discussion of the Hayes Stroker Grams. My current Hayes HFC9s have been decent brakes.

    The Magura Marta SLs seem to have a strong reputation.

    I'm sponsored by a shop that gives great discounts on many products -- Avid and Formula are on the list. Magura is not. I had made up my mind to get the Marta SLs until I found out I'd have to pay pretty much full retail for the brakes now and pads forever. That caused me to pause. But maybe I should just bite that bullet and get the Marta SLs.

    Y'alls thoughts about the best (durable, lightweight [in that order]) brake? Or should I just keep the Avid Elixer Rs? I haven't even ridden with them yet. It's just that I'd like the bike to be as light as possible.

    Thanks for your input!

  2. #2
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    Reputation: Silentfoe's Avatar
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    May 2008
    I agree that I've heard mixed reviews of the R1's. That pretty much goes for all the brake systems out there but the R1's have a few more negatives than positives. If you want super light, price must not be an issue. The R1's are the only brake that will lose 100g over your current brakes though. I am using the new 09 Marta SL's and love them. I weigh 195lbs with gear. I race XC on a 29er and haven't had any issues with fade at all. I use a 180mm front and 160mm rear. They are cheaper than the R1's but weigh about 50g more. You may want to also look at the Hope X2 pro's. My only problem with them is that they only come in a weird blue or pink.

    My recommendation would be to ride the brakes you have (are getting?) on the new bike. They will most likely work really well and you won't notice the weight difference, especially if they weigh in at 375g.

  3. #3
    Let's fly!
    Reputation: MultiRider's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    I've been talking to friends about my bike choice and several have encouraged me to get a true lightweight racing rig (i.e. Yeti ASR) since I race about a dozen events each year (just FYI -- I will be racing the Expert class this year and have trained very hard, so this is not a case of trying to buy speed without having put in the work). I'm pretty competitive and would be severely bummed to get 4th place in a race to some guy on a uber light hardtail or short travel bike. If I end up off the podium by mere seconds to someone with a 24lb bike and I've built a portly Ibis of 26 or 27 pounds, one factor in the race results could be bike weight. Thus, I'd like my new Ibis to be as light as possible.

    I realize 100g is not likely to change race results, but 100g here and 100g there (brakes, handlebars, pedals, crank, etc) adds up to pounds. I'm getting very light bars (Easton MonkeyLite) and have 4Ti Eggbeaters, so I'm looking at other components.

    The Magura Marta SLs are 315g each, so that would save approx 120g total savings fr/rear over the 375g Avid Elixers. 120g is meaningful weight when combined with other weight reduction efforts. But the Maggies are kind of expensive in comparison to the other alternatives since I can get a great deal on other brands.

    I'm not in the luxurious position of "money doesn't matter", so I'm trying to figure out if I can make a meaningful difference in bike weight for a reasonable sum of $$. I'd love to shave 100g off my brakes. It looks like the R1s would save maximum weight. But I don't want to pay big bucks and end up with problems. How about the others -- Hayes Gram, Avid Ultimate, others? Quite a few glowing reviews and quite a few negative reviews of Avid Ultimates on review site.

    More feedback is welcome!

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: limba's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    XTR is worth a look too. Marta SL, Avid Ultimates, Formulas and XTR are the best brakes out there. They all get great reviews and a few guys that hate them. There's no clear winner.

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