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  1. #1
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    How do V-brakes differ?

    Just wondering how to compare the value of different v-brakes on the market?

    It seems that lot's of people have opinions about the strenghts/weaknesses of various disk brakes, but I assume v-brakes are less complex and was wondering what features I would look for if purchasing a new pair...cheers.

  2. #2
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    Not a whole ton of variance, but there is some. I've used a few:

    Shīmano XT V w/ Parallel Push linkage;
    Cane Creėk noodleless Direct Curve;
    Avīd Arch series;
    Avīd Single Digit series;
    Ritchey V's

    Real quick-like, the XT's were my first coming off of cantilevers and while easier to set up, the Parallel Push linkage that keeps the pads parallel to the rim developed slop and noise and required a little extra attention for pivot maintenance.

    The Direct Curve brakes looked really snazzy and I felt stopped as well as the XTs. Noodleless setup was novel and worked well for me.

    The Avīd Arch series improved upon power and offered something similar to Parallel Push, but that was their downfall for me: Less mud clearance, extra pivot maintenance, and difficult to remove wheels because the Arch brakes only open just a little before the arch hits the tire tread.

    I had a Single Digit Ti that replaced the Arch series and I liked it much better -- equally powerful, if not just a touch less, without the clearance or pivot issues.

    Later I installed the less expensive Single Digit 5 brakes on a 1x9 and I preferred them. Essentially the same brake as the Ti & SD 7, it uses non cartridge pads which I felt stopped as well but wore much more slowly. Weight difference was (to me) negligible. I would buy these again in a heartbeat, and the SD5's are what I recommend because they were so hassle free for me.

    Lastly, the Ritcheys have a nice look to them and they are relatively uncomplicated, but I've only used them on a cruiser bike, which isn't really a fair evaluation of their ability.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the thorough reply!

    I take my front tire off the bike for transport, and with the V's I have now (tektro) I can't have them set too close to the rim otherwise I can't lossen the noodle to get open them. So I have the pads set a bit further from the rim...but I would love to have it closer and not deal with this. Are any of the brands you mentioned better for this?

    Cheers.

  4. #4
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    Hmmm... good question. Without a doubt, the Arch series are the biggest problem. Can't recall having pad clearance issues with any of the others.

    Consider your levers, also. Shīmano levers use the "Servo Wave" leverage adjustment that, unlike Avīd's Speed Dial leverage adjustement, allow the pads to sit a little further from the rim. When you squeeze the lever, the initial lever throw bring's 'em in quick.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonievut
    Thanks for the thorough reply!

    I take my front tire off the bike for transport, and with the V's I have now (tektro) I can't have them set too close to the rim otherwise I can't lossen the noodle to get open them. So I have the pads set a bit further from the rim...but I would love to have it closer and not deal with this. Are any of the brands you mentioned better for this?

    Cheers.
    I don't know about other vendors that may be better in that regard but there may be something you could do to your current setup. For instance, grinding off some material from the end of the noodle or the noodle receiving unit (does that thing have a name?). Just be careful with the NRU, you don't want that to fail but messing with the noodle itself (within reason) is probably safe. Another option would be set things up so that the pad distance is where you want it with the barrel adjuster somewhat extended. That way you'd just need to do a quick few turns of the adjuster to loosen it up in order to take the wheel off.
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  6. #6
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    i like parallel push link like shimano because the force applied is always perpendicular to the rim no matter how the brakes are set up. yes the XT's will loosen over time, but if you get XTR you will be smiling the whole time. XTR V's dont go for too much now, you could find some on ebay or mtbr for a good price.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaji
    i like parallel push link like shimano because the force applied is always perpendicular to the rim no matter how the brakes are set up.
    That's a misconception. The Parallel Push can hold the pads perpendicular to the rim, but the braking force is always going to be a tangent off the arc of the pad swing around the brake post. That's why, even with Parallel Push V brakes, it's still important to get your fat and thin washers set correctly so that the brake arms are more-or-less parallel to one another upon rim contact.

    But not that I think it matters a hill 'o beans. In general, if the brakes are set up properly from the get-go (arms parallel at rim contact), they're going to remain that way through the life of the pads (especially with thin cartridge pads). Due to the wear process, the pad surface will always be flush to the rim upon contact.

    Yours might be different, but my reality has been that any extra linkages, pivots, etc. aren't worth the slop, the extra maintenance, the reduced mud clearance, etc. I honestly feel that my nearly-bottom-rung Single Digit 5's were better performers than my fancy, pivot-laden XT's, but without the slop or squeel.

    Just another opinion -- I know I'm flying in the face of Parallel Push pundits everywhere.

  8. #8
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    Well, I've ridden and worked on both "parallel push" Avids and "regular" Avids, and I don't think you've committed any heresy, Nate. The Arch Supremes are excellent brakes, and I've never had difficulty getting wheels past them unless using a very narrow rim like a Campy. The SD-7 vees are just about the best deal going in vee-brakedom, though and they're what I reccomend to people, whether or not I have to be the one to work on the bike.

    The differences between different vee brakes, aside from parallel push issues, are in how heavy, how easy to set up and how resistant to flex they are. Some are crap, and I would lump the evil Tektro brakes into this category: sloppy on the brake boss and flexible in the brake arm. The Avid 7's are the opposite of this: reasonably light but rigid as all get out, AND, the nice edges on the arms make them very easy to set up...parallel edges mean parallel arms. The tension adjusters (like the 3/5's, too) are simple and effective and they work great.

    There are other vee brakes out there, including the brilliant Avid UItimates, but the Sevens get my vote for Bang for the Buck.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonievut
    Just wondering how to compare the value of different v-brakes on the market?

    It seems that lot's of people have opinions about the strenghts/weaknesses of various disk brakes, but I assume v-brakes are less complex and was wondering what features I would look for if purchasing a new pair...cheers.
    I picked up some Koski V-Lites for 10 bucks on Ebay for a cheap build. Every bit as good as my Avid SD's and quite a bit lighter. I was pleasantly surprised.
    If you want to play with electricity, more power to ya......

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaFireMedic
    I picked up some Koski V-Lites for 10 bucks on Ebay for a cheap build. Every bit as good as my Avid SD's and quite a bit lighter. I was pleasantly surprised.
    I got three sets of them myself. Probably should have bought more sets than that.

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