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  1. #1
    Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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    Hygia Disc Brakes

    I posted this on the weight weenie forum already but since its apparently too generic a brand name for them (while being as light as XTR for 1/2 the price), figured it'd would get more attention in the brake forum. I won an ebay auction for some red annodized Hygia Elite disc brakes on ebay, and they arrived in the mail on wednesday and installed them yesterday and then rode them on a brisk but alas short ride due to my riding partner's Formula ORO K24s failing on her yet again (she fell slowspeed and the lever body broke where the pivot pin is for the lever... i had to juryrig it in place with a zip-tie so she could even use it to drag the rear brake at all).

    Out of the packaging from Taiwan, they were 291g for the front, 316g for the rear (lever, caliper, hose, and post-to-flange mount adapters installed), 23g for each package of hardware (2 stainless steel mounting bolts, 6 stainless steel rotor bolts), and the rotors were 207g for the pair (160mm 6-bolt). The levers have a reach adjustment, a two-bolt removable clamp (like formula, tektro, hope and many others) which uses T25 bolts instead of the more usual 3mm or 4mm allen head bolts, and they come in an annodized red, gold, or grey finish.





    Performance wise they stopped my Haro Beasley quite well in technically singletrack, didn't exhibit any fade, and didn't have any unusual dragging issues. The pads look to be identical to what shimano uses for the XTR/XT calipers so sourcing replacements should be simple. They're also quite a good deal ($229USD for the brakes, $35USD shipping to N.A.) and it took about 1 1/2 weeks from payment for them to arrive at my door.

    I seriously recommend folks looking for an affordable light weight disc setup without resorting to rotors that are so cut out as to destroy pads quickly, or fancy Al/MMC rotors which take specific expensive pads, give these brakes a look. They also incidently make an even lighter brake called the USAGI that's actually cheaper ($199USD) but the manufacturer only rates it as being for light cross country usage where the Elite's are for XC/AM and bordering into light freeriding. I in any case am ordering more of them and will likely convert over several of my bikes to them. They're certainly lighter than anything I used previously.

    Incidently I checked the manufacturer's website and its pretty detailed and it seems likely given the similarities of their brake designs to some other brands, that Hygia is the actual source manufacturer for the other ones.
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  2. #2
    ride hard take risks
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    Nice looking set up. They claim to use the XT/XTR pads so that makes pad replacement simple.
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  3. #3
    The Beast Breathes
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    Something like that should get more attention. They look pretty sweet.
    Good luck with that, mister 300-Mile Turn Radius.

  4. #4
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    Any US support for those at all? Any special kit needed for bleeding? Do look nice.
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
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  5. #5
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    Heh you can be the long term road test guy.

  6. #6
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    I posted this on the weight weenie forum already but since its apparently too generic a brand name for them (while being as light as XTR for 1/2 the price), figured it'd would get more attention in the brake forum.
    Hah, they'll wait for either a rebranding from their favorite "lite" brand and then pay attention.

    ...or maybe wait until nino panders them.

    but alas short ride due to my riding partner's Formula ORO K24s failing on her yet again (she fell slowspeed and the lever body broke where the pivot pin is for the lever... i had to juryrig it in place with a zip-tie so she could even use it to drag the rear brake at all).
    Not possible, if you go by the forums. Formulas don't break and are teh bestest.

    Looking forward to hearing more about them.

  7. #7
    Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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    Well so far her formula's have been a pain but they came stock on her RM Vertex Ladies so its not like she had much choice in the matter. Now that they're beyond the cheap replacement part stage (she's already replaced the brake line, the rear pads, and several fittings from a previous collision, and had to undergo about a dozen bleedings to get them to feel close to new again) she gets to go to something more reliable and supportable in canada. Hell, given the wait time, the hygia's are even good alternatives. To get a new formula master cylinder would take a week. Full set of hygia's a week and a half.

    I just ordered a set of the USAGI's to put on one of my more XC oriented bikes (replacing some rather retro Rockshox discs). I may order a set of them for her bike if she wants to spend that sorta dough. I told her she should try and sell her formulas (the front is fine, the rear is just good for parts now) to offset some of the cost of the new brakes.
    I don't post to generate business for myself or make like I'm better than sliced bread

  8. #8
    The Beast Breathes
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    Fart powered toy gun?

    Good luck with that, mister 300-Mile Turn Radius.

  9. #9
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    Can always count on Upie to keep obscure parts from past, present and future flowing through the system.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by celly
    Can always count on Upie to keep obscure parts from past, present and future flowing through the system.
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  11. #11
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    I've seen those brakes on eBay, on occasion. I've wondered about them.Thanks for posting up with a review.

  12. #12
    sh*t disturber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    Stalker!
    Look who's talking.

  13. #13
    Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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    A followup update...

    Just a mini-update, haven't used the USAGI's yet. Was going to put them on my DosNiner when I built it but decided that since I wasn't using any other white parts, I'd order another set of Elites in the silver for it instead. So far my own momentary problem with the Elites has been a stuck piston seal that wouldn't let the master cylinder piston retract fully and that was discovered at the start of a ride (and fixed in 2 mins with some liquid wrench spray lube on the piston seals). No problems since and its experienced a LOT of mud since then. Also my USAGI's and the second set of Elites came with extra bits in the small parts bag. Olives, hydraulic line end fittings, and one of the banjo bolts for the caliper end. So any worries of not being able to support the brakes with say, a line replacement are now solved.
    I don't post to generate business for myself or make like I'm better than sliced bread

  14. #14
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    Any updates on the brakes?

    I'm interested in the Usagi but I certainly like the red anodized elites. I'm only 150 lbs on an Anthem X and was looking to upgrade my stock Deore hydraulic brakes to something a little (a lot) lighter.

    Looks like they're going for about 150 bucks now.

    Since you've had experience with both which would you choose? In terms of adjustibility and over all durability. I'm riding in Florida so long down hills aren't a concern.

    Thanks!
    09 Giant Anthem X3
    07 IBEX Trophy Comp X7

  15. #15
    Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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    My elites continue to work fine, bit of howling on the rotors lately but its the wet season here and you can't do a half-hour ride without even the top of your stem having mud on it afterwards. I still have not used my set of Usagi's, largely because the white colour scheme fits practically nothing in my collection until I assemble the '07 Rocky Mountain Blizzard frameset I'm selling. I may order a set of Usagi's in black with the price drop on ebay, since those would more readily go with the colour scheme of my own bikes. I'm planning to run Ashima AiRotors on them when I use them, so I'll probably switch to the shimano sintered pads at the same time. If I had to choose between them... well the Elites are easier to take off/put on thanks to the split-clamp on the levers, but the Usagi's have a nicer lever blade shape. I guess it depends for me right now on colours and the bike.
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  16. #16
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    These sound like really nice brakes. How do they compare to the big brand's offerings?
    Good luck with that, mister 300-Mile Turn Radius.

  17. #17
    I win.
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    Well I went ahead and took the plunge on the white Usagi brakes. The weight savings over my Deore brakes was attractive. Me being only 150lbs I'm not worried too much about the size.

    I'm really looking forward to getting these and putting them through their paces.

    I've got BB7's, Juicy Carbon, and Deore brakes to compare them to.
    09 Giant Anthem X3
    07 IBEX Trophy Comp X7

  18. #18
    agu
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    Quote Originally Posted by Popper252
    Well I went ahead and took the plunge on the white Usagi brakes. The weight savings over my Deore brakes was attractive. Me being only 150lbs I'm not worried too much about the size.

    I'm really looking forward to getting these and putting them through their paces.

    I've got BB7's, Juicy Carbon, and Deore brakes to compare them to.
    How're the Usagi brakes so far? Which Deore did you upgrade from?

    Would be nice if you could post up a review

  19. #19
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    The short and sweet: they work great and so far I'm extremely pleased. People ask me about them all the time and they're amazed when I tell them the price.

    When I get home from work later today I'll try to be a bit more thorough
    09 Giant Anthem X3
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  20. #20
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    Picture Overkill Hygia Usagi

    Alright, so I finally got a chance to take some pics tonight. I went a little crazy with the pics just because I know there is so little information out there about these brakes. I would have loved to see more pics when I was first researching them

    Anyways what can I say? These brakes rock!

    In general the construction is very solid. The lever feels great on your fingers. Uses easily replaceable XT pads. Didn't need bleeding and felt great out of the box. The only adjustment I needed to make was to fine tune my lever reach (red knob) and then adjust the pad contact point on each lever. No brake rub or drag using the typical caliper centering method (loosen caliper bolts, squeeze lever to center caliper over rotor, tighten bolts. Done.)

    In my opinion these are well worth the 160 dollar (shipped) price tag. I'm very very happy.

    Included in the box: 2x Rotors, 2x Fully assembled pre-bled brakes (levers, calipers, hose), 2x front and rear I.S. Mounts, and all mounting hardware. Only thing really missing was an instruction manual (who actually reads those anyways )

    My only one complaint is that the rear brake hose is maybe a centimeter or two too short on my full suspension frame. I would have preferred a little more breathing room in terms of length, but as they are out of the box they're still perfectly usable. They would probably be perfect on a hardtail with more direct hose routing. On my bike the hose is a little shorter than what I'd want. Just something to keep in mind when ordering these.

    Compared to my BB7s:
    Pros:
    • Tons more modulation. A lot less of an on/off feeling. (Although if you dial in your BB7's correctly you can alleviate a lot of that on/off feeling)
    • Much more finesse in braking.
    • I can finally brake using only one finger under all but the most extreme of stopping.
    • A ton lighter (Claimed weights are very accurate. About 258g for front caliper hose and lever minus the I.S. mount. 285g for rear due to longer hose and inclusion of I.S. mount. The included rotors weigh 106 grams.)
    • Look better in my opinion.
    • Won't throw you over the bars as easily

    Cons:
    • Not as much brute power. I can no longer lock up my front wheel on pavement
    • Not as easy to work on vs. a cable actuated system. A con for all hydraulic brakes really.


    Compared to my juicy carbons:
    • Pad contact point isn't as easy to adjust. You need an allen wrench to get to it. But generally this is a one time setting and you won't have to fiddle with it much once you get it set to how you like it.
    • Much less noisy under braking. You get your typical wet disc brake squeal under wet conditions but once the rotors dry they're quiet again.
    • No weird vibrations under braking like I would occasionally get with my juicy brakes.
    • A little less powerful but nothing all that concerning. If you're a larger rider you shouldn't be looking at weight weenie brakes anyways The elites would probably work better for you.
    • Lever feel is a bit smoother.
    • Clamping them on isn't as easy. On the juicy's the entire back of the clamp comes off so you don't have to remove the grips. With these you have to slide them on from the bar ends.


    Compared to the Deore M486 (surprisingly good brakes for a low end offering btw):
    • Again a little less power.
    • Equally great lever feel. (This is more a testament to how nice the Deores felt)
    • Again weight was a huge plus for the Usagi brakes.


    Tonight I added some Alligator wind cutter rotors to the mix. From the couple of hard stops I've taken in my driveway they feel pretty good. I know I'll have to break the rotors in a bit more before I can really discern what kind of power I'll get out of them but so far so good. Compared to my Avid G2 (108grams) my Windcutters(92g) save me a bit more weight and they look pretty awesome aswell
    Looking at the pad contact area on the windcutters it looks like It makes contact with a good amount of the rotor so that's definitely a plus.

    Alright well here are the pics of the brakes on my Anthem X.












    Here you can see the red reach adjustment knob and the pad contact adjustment point. Just stick an allen wrench in there and adjust to your preferred feel.












    I've got the front post mounted.


    The rear is using a traditional mount. If you wanted to use a 140mm rotor on the back just use the front IS mount adapter. Works best if your front fork is a post mount obviously, otherwise you'll just need to buy a new adapter.















    Sorry about the less than flattering Garage pics. The lighting kinda sucks so the details are kinda hard to see in some of the pics. If you all have any questions or want to see anything specific please let me know!
    09 Giant Anthem X3
    07 IBEX Trophy Comp X7

  21. #21
    Live 2 Ride
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    Where can you get those Hygia brakes other than Ebay?
    My Bike: '03 Specialized HardRock FrankenBike
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  22. #22
    agu
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    Thanks for the info popper! The photos are much appreciated too. Though nothing beats actually holding and using a set.

  23. #23
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    There are a few sites I've seen them listed on. I honestly can't remember where they are but I did find them through using google.

    Actually here's one store: http://isgcycles.com.au/shop/index.p...od&productId=3

    You'll just have to sift through the google results unfortunately. Ebay is the cheapest from what I can tell.

    Yeah, nothing like holding the set in your hands and using them that's for sure!

    Took a nice 21 mile ride over at Snowhill in central florida. Not a difficult trail by any means but there are lots of quick tight turns where braking is integral. The brakes with the new rotors performed fantastically. My measuring stick is, if I don't have to think about them then they must be working right!

    I've finally got my bike really dialed in and I'm in heaven on it. There may be some drivetrain upgrades in the future but as for my brakes I've settled on my set.
    09 Giant Anthem X3
    07 IBEX Trophy Comp X7

  24. #24
    agu
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    Quote Originally Posted by Popper252
    Yeah, nothing like holding the set in your hands and using them that's for sure!
    Will keep you guys updated

  25. #25
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    Right now I have Elixir R's and I hate them! and I really like the look of these and they seem nice.

    Does anyone know the actual (not claimed) weights of the Hygia Usagi compared to the Avid Elixir R?
    How do you bleed them?
    I want to use a IS mount 160mm up front with a 140mm IS mount in the back, will this work? (will be using Alligator Wind-cutters).

    Thanks,
    Colin.

    EDIT:
    one more, any idea what the bolts are made of on the usagi? could I bolt tune them with alu. and ti bolts?
    Last edited by COLINx86; 12-12-2009 at 09:42 PM.

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