Well, to start things off, these brakes are going to be going on a 6" travel hardtail. I weigh about 220 pounds. I usually ride AM singletrack and will make a few DH/FR trips a year for shuttle runs and such. These brakes need to modulate well, be strong, and preferably not weigh a ton. I currently ride BB7's and some of the things I like about them are: where the lever engages, the lever is about parallel to the bar, or about 1.5" out when the brake is fully engaged. I also really enjoy how I am able to run them with one finger braking. The power is ok, but I am definitely looking for something more. Modulation would be pretty good except for the fact that my rotor is out of true. These brakes will be ridden in their 8" front and 7" rear flavors. I have already done a fair amount of research and price checking, and these are what I came up with.
Avid Elixir CR - These seem to be a fairly solid option, and well within my budget. I haven't heard anything bad about them other than the pad contact tends to wander and sometimes you get the Juicy Shudder, but on the other hand, I also haven't heard anything all that great about them either.
Formula K24 - These also seem to be fairly solid, but the thing that worries me is the fact that formula markets them as a XC intended use from what I have seen, correct me if I am wrong. Parts availability is also a pitfall of these brakes.
Formula Mega - Marketed as a DH/FR brake, which is good, but I haven't seen a whole lot review wise of this member of the formula lineup. and if I am not mistaken, they don't use a one piece caliper, would I notice this?
Formula The One - This is about $65 out of my budget, but if it is truly my best option I suppose I could spring for it. I have heard nothing but amazing things about this brake, but it is a race brake, so would it require more maintenance and be more delicate than the others?
Hope Moto V2/FR / Tech X2/ whatever it is now - This was hard to track down because it seems Hope has like four names for the same brake, but oh well. Just barely out of my budget and I haven't heard a lot about it, but it seems to be the most expensive out of Hope's lineup, so it has to be worth something I imagine? I don't like the rotors though because I have a Fox Talas RC2 and I have heard the "rivets" tend to rub, so that would be another expense.
Hope Mono M4/Tech M4 - Same story with the name and the rotors, however this one is comfortably within my budget. I like the one piece caliper and the four pistons, but how does that effect modulation and such?
Magura Gustavs - Definitely the most powerful of the bunch, maybe even the most powerful on the market. I have never heard of anybody able to fade these brakes, but they are pretty heavy I would imagine. Can anybody here attest to how grabby they are? or aren't? I also don't like the odd rotor sizes, 210/190/160??? I need some middle ground Magura!
Magura Louise BAT - Another fairly solid brake here, I have heard lots of things about it, but none of them really positive or negative, just kind of neutral. The BAT system sounds nice though, to adjust your braking power for the available traction you have. How well does it really work? The Venti disks look good, albeit a little heavy.
Shimano Saint (next gen) - These things just look hawt, and I have heard nothing but amazing things about them, no fade, great power, excellent modulation, but for some reason it doesn't seem to get the raving fans that the One does. does anybody here use them and what do you think of them?
So those are the brakes I have been considering, sorry for the long post, but if you have read this far I know your input will be useful and have some thought behind it. Any suggestions are welcome, and feedback on these brakes is much appreciated, as well as a recommendation as to which you would put on there for the riding conditions I described.
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Thread: help choosing an AM/FR Brake?