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  1. #1
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    Help!; Good entry-level: Mech vs Hydros?!

    So I'm just about to hit the trails for real, but I'd like to upgrade my brakes from the crapola Tektro IO's I have on my stock Windsor 4900 to some legit but cheap equipment. I'm reasonably adept with brake stuff (I installed and adjusted the brakes I have) but want something that I can maintain without having to go the LBS. Here's what I'm thinking spending no more than about $100 for the whole set up:

    Mech:
    BB7's - reasonable $, easy parts replacement, being mech, simpler to maintain (no bleeding). BUT: its mech.
    --------------
    Hydro
    Avid Juicy 3/5 (depending on what I could get for what price) - hydro BUT: not so great reviews here, finnicky.

    Hayes HFX 9 - good n cheap hydros BUT: also not great quality

    Shimano Deore LX (M585), Deore (M525), M485 (depending on the price) - Good reviews, seem more reliable than Juicy and Hayes. BUT: do i need to buy special shimano rotors or will the ones from my tektro's work (they usually don't come with rotors)?

    So what's the verdict, ladies and gents? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    I've found my HFX-comp (like mag but heavier) easy to bleed. I've heard they're one of the easiest to bleed and you can pick em up for less than $100.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/HAYES-HFX-MAG-CO...3A3%7C294%3A50
    You can probably find a better deal than that since they're old. Heard they're better than 9s too.

    With shimano calipers, you won't need shimano rotors as they have narrower pads & rotors than most other manufacturers.

  3. #3
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    I only testrode the Juicy 3 and compared to the BB7s I currently have I have a lot more braking power, but not as much modulation as the Juicy 3. That being said, the Juicy 3 I rode were brand new on a demo bike, so it might not have been broken in all the way. Comparing what I know I'd go with the BB7s.

    On the other hand, if you can afford the 5's i'd go for that.

    If you decide to go with Avids 185mm rotors.... they are unique, so if you want to drop other rotors on you may have to shave the post adapter or buy something different as ost everyone goes with 180mm rotor size. The 203 and 160mm sizes are standard.

  4. #4
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    For ease of set up, and.....

    reliability I'd go with the BB7s. And the BB7s come with rotors, adapters and all necessary mounting hardware, so you can go with any size size you want. And they will be compatable with your current brake levers. They'll be your best " bang for the buck" investment. And they will perform better than your IOs. And as a bonus, if you are sticking with the 160mm rotor size, the BB7s "should" work with your Tektro rotors. Just sand and clean the Tektro rotors and reburn them with the new brake pads. Differences in pad compounds can cause noise and performance issues. So you should clean the old pad material from the Tektro brakes off the rotors before using different pads on them.

    If you go hydro get the best brakes you can afford. As vk45de noted, most shimano brakes can be used with other rotors. But anytime you mix and match calipers and rotors there is the possibility of compatability issues. You just have to be aware of it and check to be sure. But you won't know for certain till you try it. Chances are you'll be fine, but you never know.

    For the best chances of compatability, best bang for the buck, and ease of the swap, I'd say go with the BB7. But if you want to try hydros on a budget then Avid J5s or Shimano LX or SLX are your best bets.

    Good Dirt


    Good Dirt
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  5. #5
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    I just shortened the lines (finally, after ~300 miles) on my Stroker Trails yesterday. They were actually really easy to bleed. Didn't get a ride in on them yet, but on the stand the feel much better than the factory bleed. The brakes came with everything I needed to shorten the lines, I just had to supply to wrenches. They've been great and uber reliable so far. They don't exhibit any noticeable fade, even on longer descents (29er running 185 f&r) Modulation is really good as well, something I was surprised to find moving up from my 160's - which brings me to my other bike (26er running 160 f&r) which runs BB7's:

    Want to spend just $100 and be done with it?

    Get the BB7's. They're wonderful brakes. Really. As setup n my 26er, they've seen downhill duty and all kinds of weather conditions and I never had a reason to lose faith in them.

    I would have gone with them on my 29er, but just had to have hydros. In retrospect, I probably would have been just as happy. Sure, in the long run, the hydros will need less frequent maintenance, but need it nonetheless. Adjusting the BB7's for wear is really easy. Combined with the Speed Dial 7 levers (def. worthwhile upgrade...and can be found cheap) you have a brake that is pretty darn adjustable, extremely reliable, and easily serviceable.
    Oh noes. I'm going to drink the Kool-Aid.

  6. #6
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    I just made the jump from tektro IO to BB7....the difference is night and day, its as if the tektros wernt even working in comparison. But while the BB7s have great power, the modulation sucks IMO, so hydros may be better for you

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camshaft213
    I just made the jump from tektro IO to BB7....the difference is night and day, its as if the tektros wernt even working in comparison. But while the BB7s have great power, the modulation sucks IMO, so hydros may be better for you
    Add the Avid Speed Dial Ultimate levers to the BB7's and modulation is quite nice. eBay has an overstocked selection of them selling for $100 a pair. Still, that takes them out of a "budget" range putting one's cost near $185 - $200 for the BB7 set (with Ultimate levers).

    But boy, are they nice with the Ultimate levers. I don't think any other lever compares...

    BB

  8. #8
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    So I think I've narrowed it down to either the BB7's or M525's (both for nice prices at http://www.cambriabike.com/shopdispl...e=1&filter=yes ) (though I could get M585's for the rear only). Or Juicy 5's if I can find them for cheap enough.... The 3's just seem to finnicky and sketch quality, same with the HFX 9s. (The HFX comps are too expensive I think). Does this seem good? Thanks!

  9. #9
    AKA Frank N. Bike!!
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    I have Hayes on my bike. I've had Avid BB5 and must say that Hayes are far more powerful.
    My Bike: '03 Specialized HardRock FrankenBike
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  10. #10
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    hey, i was looking at the same thing as you and was going to buy a set of bb7s because they were cheap and very good.But, i got a pair of shimano slx hydros on eBay for $130 new but if i didn't find these at this price i would've got bb7s from this link (best deal): http://www.blueskycycling.com/produc..._Combo_Kit.htm
    comes with a set of bb7s with rotors, speed dial 7s, and shimano brake cable with housing.

  11. #11
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    K so after I realized I'd have to get matching rotors for the Shimano I'm now between the BB7 combo kit (http://www.blueskycycling.com/produc..._Combo_Kit.htm) and some Hayes HFX 9's here. What do you all think?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by PortlandMTB
    K so after I realized I'd have to get matching rotors for the Shimano I'm now between the BB7 combo kit (http://www.blueskycycling.com/produc..._Combo_Kit.htm) and some Hayes HFX 9's here. What do you all think?
    BB7's. You will learn how to tune them exactly to work liking, and you won't need help from the LBS with your brakes ever again. IMHO

  13. #13
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    Hayes 9 are great for the price. Real easy to get dialed in out of the box and great stopping power.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by PortlandMTB
    K so after I realized I'd have to get matching rotors for the Shimano I'm now between the BB7 combo kit (http://www.blueskycycling.com/produc..._Combo_Kit.htm) and some Hayes HFX 9's here. What do you all think?
    I just ordered some Shimano SLX disc brakes from BlueSky for $200. They are pretty quick shippers. I think I found a new online shop to buy from.

  15. #15
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    bb7s modulation is great with a good set of levers like speed dial.i had tektro levers on mine at first and it sucked.changed out to some deore ones and it was night and day.most people i know go with the speed dial.
    09 Ventana El Bastardo 650b
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  16. #16
    AKA Frank N. Bike!!
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    BB7 this and BB7 that...

    Sigh...

    Spend a bit more and get a good set of hydros.
    My Bike: '03 Specialized HardRock FrankenBike
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  17. #17
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    Elixir R

    Just got a set of Elixir R's 160 F/R for a buddies bike for around $190.

    Just like the CR's on mine without the pad adjustment.

    Good Power, Great modulation. For the money they're bad a**.

  18. #18
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    Not this again....
    BB7's. They'll work great until the pads die, and you'll never have that paranoid "Is there air in the lines?" feeling that you get with hydros. Plus, they'll work with your existing levers and cables.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197
    BB7 this and BB7 that...

    Sigh...

    Spend a bit more and get a good set of hydros.
    Spoken like a true man, living at home, unemployed and with no cash flow.

  20. #20
    AKA Frank N. Bike!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown
    Spoken like a true man, living at home, unemployed and with no cash flow.
    What's being unemployed have to do with it? We still have money coming into the house. Leave my personal life out of this. The op asked mech or hydro - I answered. easy as that.

    Besides I managed to put a set of hydros on my bike while being unemployed so I guess that part of your argument has no value.
    My Bike: '03 Specialized HardRock FrankenBike
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  21. #21
    Beasley
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown
    Spoken like a true man, living at home, unemployed and with no cash flow.
    haha well said bruce. im not even getting into this i just wanted to praise you.

  22. #22
    AKA Frank N. Bike!!
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    Oh for the love of...

    Forget I said anything.
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  23. #23
    huh?
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    I agree with the hydro statement. The power and feel of hydros can not be matched with mech's. BB7's are great, but I'll never go back to mech's.

    For the record, I'm using Avid J5's

  24. #24
    AKA Frank N. Bike!!
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    tacdad5x - prepare to get yelled at for your post...
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  25. #25
    huh?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197
    tacdad5x - prepare to get yelled at for your post...
    Bah...
    Let them flame.

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